7 great deals on used cars

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    You say you always wanted to drive a Mercedes-Benz or BMW? This could be your time to get a late-model luxury sedan at about half of what it cost as a new car.

    Automotive data and research firm iSeeCars.com scanned the current market for the best bargains in three-year-old used cars -- the time when most returning lease cars go up for resale. They found a clutch of luxury sedans, and some mainstream models, that are selling for just over half of what they cost as new cars. These models have depreciated at least 1.3 times the average three-year loss in value for all vehicles of 34.5 per cent.

    These sedans have lost value in part because of new- and used-car shoppers' preference for SUVs. But the high incidence of leasing among luxury models also plays a part.

    "Luxury brands are known for depreciating at a higher rate because they are so often leased to keep monthly payments down," said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. "This helps create a constant influx of three-year-old vehicles in the used-car market, driving prices lower."

    In compiling this list, iSeeCars.com analyzed 1.1 million used-car sales from January through May this year. With models such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and others that have a large number of variations, they averaged the price paid for almost all vehicles under the umbrella of that model name.

    For the original 2014 new-car prices, they also averaged all versions for the actual selling price -- not the manufacturer's MSRP.

    We're profiling the seven cars on the best bargains list that have average or above-average reliability in Consumer Reports ratings. (Two Cadillacs, the CTS and ATS, are priced at less than half their original cost but have below-average reliability).

    Here's a closer look at these five luxury and two mainstream brand 2014 sedans, in order of the size of their depreciation.

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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.