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These 10 Cars Are Actually Worth More Used Than New

One post-pandemic surprise has been the spike in used car prices. In recent months, some used cars are even selling for more than when they were new!

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Dodge Challenger SxtBarcroft Media/Getty ImagesBarcroft Media/Getty Images

What Makes a Car Worth More Used Than New?

Traditionally, economic uncertainty and less travel means less demand for cars. But surprisingly, many vehicles from the last few model years are selling at a premium compared to their original prices. Various factors have pushed used car prices into stratospheric heights, including:

A microchip shortage: COVID-related factory closures reduced the number of microchips available to manufacturers. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average car uses more than 100 such chips.

Supply chain issues: Besides parts shortages, there are fewer delivery drivers. That means it’s harder to ship completed vehicles to dealerships.

Low new vehicle supplies: When the supply of a new model is essentially zero, prices for used models naturally rise.

Low older used car supplies: The Great Recession caused manufacturers to cut back on production between 2009 and 2011. That means that many vehicles that would be affordable and well-maintained aren’t on the market. That’s why more consumers are looking to new or late-model vehicles.

Cash for clunkers succeeded: To jump-start the automotive industry, the government-sponsored Cash for Clunkers program offered owners financial incentive to trade in older vehicles. It worked well enough to eat up a large chunk of the older car supply.

Dealers are paying more for trade-ins: Eager to add stock, dealerships began to pay more for used vehicles. But that meant sales prices also increased. According to Edmunds, the average trade-in value for used vehicles rose to $21,224 in June, an increase of more than 75 percent compared to June 2020.

The end result, according to Consumer Reports? Current used car prices are 42 percent higher than in the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2020.

We used data and listings from Edmunds.com to find 10 popular selling for more than when they were new. Car prices fluctuate with time, local market and trim package, so double-check prices near you before deciding to buy or sell.

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Toyota Tacoma Trd SportRaymond Boyd/Getty Images

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport

Price new: $41,862.

Price used: $42,998.

Pickup trucks have been steady sellers over the past few years, and the popular Toyota Tacoma seemed like a natural pick to kick off this list.

We found listings of used models that look like they were purchased in one dealership, driven across town and listed for sale as used with a slight markup. With the continuing popularity of trucks, Tacomas are seeing similar price hikes nationwide.

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Tesla Model 3 Standard Range PlusThe Washington Post/Getty Images

2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

Price new: $41,190.

Price used: $49,950.

The Tesla Model 3 has already been holding its value, but we found a used model listed in the Dallas area for a 21 percent premium.

Tesla is a hot brand. Electric vehicles are even more appealing because, in these times of reduced commutes, the hurdle of driving range is less of a factor. Any vehicle with a waiting list to buy new is always going to have a strong secondary market.

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Toyota Rav4 Hybrid XseBoston Herald/Getty Images

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE

Price new: $38,781.

Price used: $44,998.

The second Toyota on our list, the RAV4 Hybrid is a popular vehicle that gets about 40 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined city/highway fuel economy.

During our research, we found used 2021 RAV4 Hybrid XSEs selling for $5,000 more than new models. While our numbers are for the XSE, the base LE package lets buyers get into a hybrid for only about $2,000 more than a standard RAV4.

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Honda Civic SiFREDERIC J. BROWN /Getty Images

2020 Honda Civic Si

Price new: $24,602.

Price used: $31,998.

The venerable Honda Civic is also seeing a price jump in its used stock. The latest generation of Civic rolled out in 2016 to reclaim its popularity as one of America’s top-selling cars, a perch it continues to hold today.

In Ohio, where many Hondas are made, used Civics are selling for almost $32,000, up to $7,000 more than a new model.

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Kia RioChesnot/Getty Images

2020 Kia Rio

Price new: $16,566.

Price used: $20,590.

The chip shortage has hit affordable cars hard, as manufacturers opt to produce more of the higher-profit luxury models. So it’s no wonder a budget-friendly vehicle such as the Kia Rio made this list.

Selling in the Beverly Hills area, a used 2020 Kia Rio LX with about 5,000 miles goes for a $4,000 premium over new. The 2020 Rio features a redesigned engine and transmission, with some serious fuel efficiency (41 mpg highway) and Kia’s always impressive five-year, 60,000 mile warranty.

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Kia Telluride SxRaymond Boyd/Getty Images

2021 Kia Telluride SX

Price new: $50,648.

Price used: $53,999.

Edmunds’ top-rated SUV for two years, the Kia Telluride is also one of the hottest vehicles in resale value. Edmunds says you can expect to pay almost $900 over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the popular SX trim package on this mid-size three-row SUV.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise we also found used Tellurides selling for even more than that. In the Seattle area alone, we found multiple Telluride SXs at $53,999, with 3,000 to almost 13,000 miles on them.

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Honda Odyssey ExSmith Collection/Getty Images

2020 Honda Odyssey EX

Price new: $33,944.

Price used: $37,590.

Family vehicles are in the mix as well. In Pennsylvania, we found 2020 Honda Odysseys selling at a $3,600 premium over new. These used vehicles still have plenty of life, especially considering the reliable Honda craftsmanship and V6 engine. The EX also hits the value sweet spot, with safety and comfort features above the baseline without a dramatic jump in price.

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Dodge Challenger SxtBarcroft Media/Getty ImagesBarcroft Media/Getty Images

2020 Dodge Challenger SXT

Price new: $27,869.

Price used: $32,999.

A gently used Dodge Challenger SXT not only sells for $5,000 more than the price of a new model, it sells for $1,000 more than the original MSRP! We checked Challenger listings in this range near Minneapolis, but the prices on this roomy muscle car appear to be high nationwide.

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Chevrolet Corvette Stingray CoupeRaymond Boyd/Getty Images

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

Price new: $81,425.

Price used: $98,135.

Comparing used pricing on high-end vehicles can be tricky, because they often have pricey options and packages. We did our best to account for variations, and still found the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray selling for a healthy premium over new models.

We found several 2020 Corvettes selling in the Boston area for more than their original purchase price. Much like the Tesla, a high-demand prestige vehicle can command a wait list. That will always generate after-market heat.

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Subaru Forester SportRaymond Boyd/Getty Images

2021 Subaru Forester Sport

Price new: $32,987.

Price used: $34,649.

Foresters are consistently popular with consumers who value all-wheel drive and generous ground clearance, but don’t need the power or hauling capacity of a full-size pickup or SUV.

Subaru has kept the Forester in production for almost a quarter century, and this early crossover SUV has a well-earned reputation for dependability. Although it’s not seeing the same percentage of markup as some vehicles on this list, we found used Forester Sports selling above MSRP in markets like Colorado and Michigan with abundant off-road trails and heavy snowfall.

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.

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