The Best Deals In Off-Lease Used Cars

The 2014 Cadillac CTS is one of the best deals among used cars, having already lost 51.4% of its original value, according to the used vehicle website ( FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

With car dealers’ lots being flooded with a tsunami of off-lease vehicles returning to the market following the big post-recession new-car sales surge, used car shoppers are finding some sweet deals being offered on three-year-old like-new models.

As always, the best buys among pre-owned vehicles are usually those which, perhaps because of slow sales and/or hefty incentives required to move the metal, tend to suffer the lowest resale values. Of course, depreciation is a two-way street when it comes to automobiles. A too-rapid loss of value is the bane of new-car buyers as it means getting less money at trade-in time, but it favors a used car shopper looking for a great car at a bargain price.

To that end, the statisticians at the used-vehicle website have compiled a list of 11 cars from the 2014 model year that have already lost the highest percentages of their original sticker prices in the industry, based on an analysis of 5.8 million car sales.


11 Best Bargains in Three-Year-Old Used Cars

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Most are still covered by a portion of their respective manufacturers’ original warranties and are often marketed as “certified” used cars that pass a stringent mechanical inspection, may come with additional warranty coverage, and sometimes include other services like roadside assistance and low-rate financing programs. We’re featuring the 11 best bargains among three-year-old used cars, noting their loss in value and current average prices in the accompanying slide show; since pre-owned prices can vary greatly from one part of the nation to another because of supply and demand issues, check dealer ads and online listings for current used car values where you live.

“Whether you call them almost newgently used or lightly used, the fact that auto leases have risen 91 percent in the last five years means a boon for shoppers who want a late-model car at a bargain price,” says Phong Ly, CEO of “While some of the best bargains we identified are leased more than others, they all have the most depreciation after three years and they’re great buying opportunities when you look at the data.”

The winner (or loser, depending on one’s point of view) in this regard is the midsize Cadillac CTS luxury sedan, which after three years has already lost a whopping 51.4% of its original sticker price. It was redesigned for 2014, and while it became a better car in most respects, it also received a hefty price increase of around $6,000, which led to slower sales and eventually hefty incentives.

In fact, most of the models on iSeeCar’s list are luxury cars from Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Infiniti. Bigger percentage drops in value here mean larger cash savings here, simply because there’s more money at stake to lose. With trucks and SUVs being in particular demand in both the new- and used-vehicle markets, all 11 vehicles on the best bargains list are passenger cars. The top deal for cash-strapped used-car shoppers here would be a 2014 Ford Focus, with a 45.0% loss in value that warrants an average $11,853 sales price.

But if you’re adamant about driving an SUV, iSeeCars found the best values among three-year-old used crossovers are the Cadillac SRX (average 44% loss in value versus new), Buick Enclave (-43.7%), Kia Sorento (-42.9%), and the Infiniti QX60 (-42.4%).

The full study on used-vehicle values can be found here.