Car buyers are discovering the benefits of buying used cars. J.D. Power conducted a survey of Generation Z, which are those who were born from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s, and found that they prefer to purchase used cars that have more features and cost less than new entry-level compact cars that are affordable.
Today, the cheapest new cars on the market are designed to attract young buyers who have less money to spend. The goal of many manufacturers is to establish brand loyalty. However, the younger age group has been doing its research and knows that they can get a lot more for their money in a used car.
More Features for the Same Price
Car manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to upgrade their vehicles to make them more comfortable and more tempting to car buyers. Vehicles are upgraded with a variety of features that range from making cars easier to drive and ride in to increasing the safety equipment that comes with a vehicle. Car seats offer more support these days. Some vehicles also provide ways for you to customize them by allowing you to change their position.
For instance, the 2017 Lincoln Continental has a 30-way seat available. You can slide the front seats forward or backward. They recline back, and you can modify the angle of the seat. The top portion of the seat’s backrest features a separate reclining adjustment, which is great for back support. The head restraints shift, and you can extend the length of the seat for your preferred thigh support.
A vehicle with this many seat features may be tough to afford new. If you go the used route, however, then you may be able to get one.
Recommended Used Car Safety Features
When buying a used car, make sure that it comes with top safety features. Automatic emergency braking is one to look for. A car that has this system activates the brakes when needed to avoid an accident. Try to get one that includes pedestrian detection software for even more value.
Forward collision warning systems are also worth paying a little more for. Cars that have this safety feature warn you visually or audibly that you’re at risk of an accident, giving you time to react and prevent it.
A blind-spot warning system is a great safety feature as well. This technology notifies you when there is another vehicle traveling next to you.
The director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, Jennifer Stockburger, said, “These three safety systems have been proven to reduce injuries and crashes. In fact, Consumer Reports believes so strongly in these systems that it gives extra credit to models that come with them as standard equipment on all versions.”
Convenient Safety Features
When you’re spending less on a used car, you may be able to afford a few safety features that are just nice to have. Automatic high beams fall into this handy category. This system flips on the car’s high beams automatically when it detects that there are no vehicles in front of you or coming at you. The system automatically switches the headlights back to low beam when it does spot other drivers to avoid blinding them. If you have this feature, then it’s likely that you’ll use the high beams more than you ever have with other cars that you’ve owned.
Rear-cross alert is a convenient safety feature for when you’re using reverse. If you have this system, then your vehicle will notify you if there’s a car or an object coming up behind you that’s out of sight of the vehicle’s rear backup camera.
Used Car Convenience Features
Used car convenience features are also more affordable. Any used car that you’re considering should have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When your vehicle includes this connectivity technology, you’ll have access to the same smartphone interfaces. These features make your car safer since you can use your smartphone without looking at it.
Physical knobs for temperature control and the audio system tend to work better and are safer than touch-screen controls. The reason for this is that you may have to move between screens to reach the one that you want, increasing distraction and causing you to take your eyes off the road. Physical knobs allow you to make the adjustments that you need without looking.
Auto-dimming mirrors are a feature that prevents you from getting distracted by bright lights hitting your eyes from the rearview mirror. The mirror automatically dims when it detects lights from the vehicles that are driving behind you. This is especially nice if the car behind you has the brights turned on.
Keyless entry is a handy feature that many carmakers are starting to offer with their vehicles. It senses when you have the fob nearby and is nice when you’re holding a child or groceries because it will open the car as soon as you get close enough. Some used cars may even open the trunk or allow you to activate a tailgate with the wave of a foot.
USB charging outlets are in many of today’s used cars. Some of them can even charge your electronic equipment super-fast. Most USB outlets charge at a rate of 0.5 amps, but newer vehicles may charge at a rate of 1.5 or even 2.4 amps.
By choosing to buy a used car, you may be able to get one that comes with a 360-degree surround camera. When car manufacturers add this type of system to a car, they install cameras around the vehicle in places such as under the side mirrors and within the grilles. The system also uses the rearview camera. A 360-degree surround camera gives you a complete view around the vehicle. It makes parking and backing up safer and easier.
Affordable New Car Sales Are Dropping
According to an Automotive News survey, the sales of new cars with a price tag of less than $20,000 fell by 19% in 2018. At the same time, automobiles costing more than $40,000 grew by 7.4%. People like vehicles that are amenity-rich. Also, the car-buying budgets of car shoppers are rising.
While there are cheaper new compact cars on the market, the average cost for a new car increased from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, the average was $31,700 while in 2018, the price went up to $32,500. When first-time buyers start looking at new cars and see that the vehicle they want is more than $30,000, many of them are making a beeline for the used car market.
Midsize Sedans Are Popular on the Used Market
Midsize car sales have been dropping for years. The model segment is struggling. In December of 2019, midsize car sales had dropped by 29,000 units. The great thing is that midsize sedans are popular in the used car market.
Sales for used midsize sedans increased by 7% in 2018 while used compact car sales were up by 9%. Car buyers are not purchasing these vehicles new, but the features and quality of them become more attractive at a lower used car price point.
The reason for young car buyers to purchase used cars is clear. Depreciation is a big deal. On average and during its first three years, a new car will lose around 35% of its original value. In some cases, new cars lose even more value than that.
J.D. Power reports that used cars are around 51% less than new vehicles. This is a savings that young car buyers with limited budgets aren’t ignoring.
There Is Variety
Each year, carmakers introduce an estimated 300 to 400 new vehicle models, but you’ll have access to more variety on the used market. Vehicle manufacturers are always looking to tempt buyers into bringing home the latest model. This means that they update models and discontinue trims frequently.
The perfect car for you with lots of features may be one that came out two or three years ago and was a trim that was available for just one year. For instance, you may need a small pickup, and while manufacturers are revisiting them by introducing updated models now, crossovers are still the dominant vehicle. You’ll have more small pickups to choose from on the used market.
Cars Are More Dependable
You might be worried about buying a used car because you don’t know how well it was taken care of before you bought it. However, today’s vehicles last longer now than they ever have. These days, 100,000 miles on a vehicle is no longer considered a lot. Car manufacturers make vehicles that can last at least 200,000 miles or more if they are cared for properly.
Getting More for Less
When it comes to buying a used car, you can get a vehicle with more features for less money. You can get the car model of your dreams without breaking the bank if you’re willing to buy a car that’s a few years old.