Last week I focused on resources to help evaluate the safety and performance of cars.
Today, I share a cool tool that helps a buyer understand the value proposition of a car. Everyone talks about the savings a used car offers. "Let someone else take the depreciation" is a common refrain. But what does that really mean? And in walking the lots and checking the internet, I have not see a huge difference between new and used prices for some of the more popular cars -- RAV-4, CR-V, and other good value crossovers, which are the bulk of what I am looking at.
Enter UsedFirst, a website that illustrates the depreciation curve for a variety of vehicles. I can't vouch for the data, and they don't have every car in the system. But in reviewing their charts and graphs along with real world pricing, I do see correlation.
The site allows you to search by brand and vehicle. It then shows you the depreciation curve, and highlights the sweet spot -- where you get the most bang for the buck in the used car market. For example, a 2016 Ford Escape provides the best value proposition. By the time you get to a 2011 model, the curve is so flat that there is no difference between that model year and 2006. It is a good resource for looking at how well vehicles on your list hold their value -- and, more commonly, how far they plummet.
Happy Car Hunting.