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Inflation has hit many sectors of the economy hard over the last year, but few categories can compare to the automotive industry.
Economic experts debate how much the current period of inflation has come from increased consumer demand and how much has been caused by constraints on supply. In the vehicle market, both forces are clearly at play. Low interest rates, federal stimulus payments, and better-than-expected economic conditions throughout the pandemic gave households more money to spend on big purchases like cars. But the unpredictable spread of COVID-19 has made it more difficult for carmakers to meet demand. Due to difficulties sourcing materials and keeping plants staffed amid the pandemic, both automotive parts manufacturers and car factories themselves have frequently been forced to shut down or operate at reduced capacity. As a result of these issues, new vehicle supply is down 59% compared to this time in 2021.
The scarcity of new vehicles has driven up prices for current models. But this has also had a major effect on prices in the market for pre-owned vehicles. With fewer new cars available, consumers have been competing for used models, which has sent used car prices increasing even faster.
Year-over-year increases in used car prices have topped 30% for each of the last four quarters, reaching an all-time quarterly high of 39% in Q1 of 2022. Annual inflation in the used vehicle market had not topped 10% since 2010, early in the recovery from the last recession, and one would have to look to the Great Inflation period of the 1970s to see increases comparable to those in the current market.
Used car prices can change daily. If you’re in the market for a used car, be sure to try CoPilot’s used car price tracker to help pinpoint the best time to make your next used car purchase.
And some types of used vehicles are seeing rates of inflation even greater than the overall average. Used SUVs, trucks, and crossovers—where carmakers have produced more inventory in recent years in response to changing consumer tastes—all have seen median price increases below 40% for the 2020 model year. Minivans and sedans, in contrast, have had the largest price increases in recent months at 47.5% and 45%, respectively. And with gas prices setting record highs in recent months, competition in these comparatively fuel-efficient categories could continue to keep prices elevated in the near future.
The current market is challenging for any buyer seeking out a used vehicle, but some recent makes and models have seen slower price increases than others. To determine the most popular cars that are most affordable, researchers at CoPilot calculated the difference between the current market price and the original price forecast for 100 of the most popular model year 2020 used vehicles on the market.
Here are 10 popular used cars that have gone up the least in price.
The Most Affordable Used Vehicles
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10. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
- Current price premium (%): +29.0%
- Current price premium ($): +$10,126
- Current price: $45,052
- Original price forecast: $34,926
DID YOU KNOW?
Resale value is an important factor to consider when car shopping. Before you make your next purchase,be sure to read about the cars that depreciate the fastest.
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9. Subaru Outback
- Current price premium (%): +28.9%
- Current price premium ($): +$7,959
- Current price: $35,480
- Original price forecast: $27,521
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8. Toyota Tundra
- Current price premium (%): +28.1%
- Current price premium ($): +$10,652
- Current price: $48,524
- Original price forecast: $37,872
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7. Lexus RX
- Current price premium (%): +27.4%
- Current price premium ($): +$10,773
- Current price: $50,144
- Original price forecast: $39,371
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BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN USED CAR PRICES DROP
With car prices sky high in this crazy market, don’t overpay. Be the first to know about price changes using our Price Pulse tool, so you can buy at the right time.
6. Lexus NX
- Current price premium (%): +26.2%
- Current price premium ($): +$8,380
- Current price: $40,346
- Original price forecast: $31,966
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5. BMW 5 Series
- Current price premium (%): +26.1%
- Current price premium ($): +$10,788
- Current price: $52,165
- Original price forecast: $41,377
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4. Toyota 4Runner
- Current price premium (%): +25.3%
- Current price premium ($): +$8,864
- Current price: $43,932
- Original price forecast: $35,068
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3. Honda Pilot
- Current price premium (%): +24.7%
- Current price premium ($): +$7,860
- Current price: $39,653
- Original price forecast: $31,793
Shopping for a used car doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re looking for a clear, easy-to-understand rating that tells you whether to buy, pause, or walk away, CoPilot has you covered. Download the CoPilot app, and get car shopping today.
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2. Subaru Crosstrek
- Current price premium (%): +24.3%
- Current price premium ($): +$5,994
- Current price: $30,683
- Original price forecast: $24,689
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1. Acura MDX
- Current price premium (%): +22.8%
- Current price premium ($): +$8,315
- Current price: $44,777
- Original price forecast: $36,462
Methodology & Detailed Findings
The data used in this study is from Copilot’s Price Pulse tool. To determine the most popular cars that are still affordable, researchers calculated the difference between the current market price and the original pre-COVID price forecast. Only the 100 most popular used vehicles with available data were included in the study. The data shown reflects pricing data for model year 2020 used vehicles that are currently for sale.
Get a Curated List of the Best Used Cars Near You
The CoPilot car shopping app is the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.
Only looking for newer models? CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars. Only see cars five years or newer with low mileage — CoPilot Compare is the best way to find off-lease, early trade-in, and CPO cars.
The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out our About Us page to see how CoPilot works.