5 cars that are better to buy when they're 1 year old

  • Volvo

    When you're buying a new car, how well it holds its value can be a prime consideration. But when buying a used car, the math is reversed. A big loss for the original owner in the car's first year can present you with a bargain -- if, of course, the car is a good one.

    The automotive website iSeeCars.com has done a study to see what cars are the biggest bargains as used one-year-olds. The cars on the list, which runs heavily to luxury sedans, all delivers savings of 31 percent or more versus the new-car price for the same car's current year model.

    The study reviewed 14 million used-car sales between Aug. 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016, to get the average depreciation figures. Because of the time span, in earlier cases it was 2014 models vs. new 2015s, while later it was 2015 used vs. 2016 new. The price and savings amount average all those transactions.

    iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly explains that "The cars that experienced the greatest changes in price tended to be those that are less popular, especially luxury brands." Luxury models almost always decline in value faster than mainstream brands -- especially when compared with those like Honda with very strong resale values.

    But recently sales of all sedans have slowed while lower gas prices have encouraged strong sales of pickups and SUVs. And indeed, the top five vehicles on the study's list of those that hold their value best -- all 8 percent or less loss in the first year -- included three pickups, a Jeep Wrangler and a Honda Fit.

    We picked out five of the most interesting bargains from the iSeeCars list to tell you more about. So if you're interested in an almost-new luxury car (Volvo, Mercedes, Lincoln) or near-luxury (Buick and Chrysler) sedan, click ahead for more details.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.