Auto sales are going strong in the U.S. right now on both the new and used vehicle fronts despite the fact prices are way up compared to last year.
Although sales slowed in both segments in July, prices are beginning to decline as well. However, price isn’t the only measure of a vehicle’s value. There are several factors playing into what’s important for a buyer. Obviously availability is one, but also what’s the vehicle going to be worth when the buyer decides to move onto the next car, truck or SUV.
There are plenty of ways to determine value, including the latest edition of CarGuru’s Best Used Car Awards. The fifth year they’ve handed out the honors, the website identifies the best “recent-year” used models by category so buyers can find out if what vehicle they want best suits their needs.
Factors in buying and winning
“CarGurus’ Best Used Car Awards have become an industry mainstay for the last five years, and the extra layer of guidance and trust they provide is even more important this year, as car shoppers consider purchasing a used vehicle due to the current new-vehicle inventory shortage,” said Matt Smith, deputy editor at CarGurus, in a release.
“Each of this year’s winners and finalists earned their accolades through our data-driven analysis that looked into several factors such as availability, value retention and reviews from both industry experts and consumers.”
The 2021 awards cover 10 categories based on the company’s analysis of long-term projected value retention, driver satisfaction, user reviews, expert evaluation, and both model popularity and availability.
Top choices for used vehicles
The overall choice for best used vehicle, according to the website, or “Editor’s Choice” is the 2017-2021 Mazda CX-5. The second-generation compact crossover offers plenty of performance with impressive gas mileage and plenty of utility. The other top choices include:
- Small Crossover/SUV: 2017-2021 Mazda CX-5
- Medium Crossover/SUV : 2011-2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Large Crossover/SUV: 2011-2019 Ford Explorer
- Luxury Crossover/SUV: 2016-2021 Volvo XC90
- Sedan/Hatchback: 2017-2020 Hyundai Elantra
- Luxury Sedan: 2014 – 2020 Lexus IS
- Midsize Pickup Truck: 2016-2021 Toyota Tacoma
- Full-Size Pickup Truck: 2015-2020 Ford F-150
- Minivan: 2017-2021 Chrysler Pacifica
- Sports Car: 2015-2021 Ford Mustang
Now may be the time to buy
Sales of used cars are slowing down, falling 15% last month compared with the year-ago result. They were down 3.4% from 2019 as well.
The July used SAAR was 38.5 million, which was down from 44.8 million last year and down from June’s 39 million rate, according to Cox Automotive. The July used retail SAAR estimate was 21.5 million, down from 23.7 last year but up from June’s 21.3 million rate. The July 2019 retail SAAR was 21.1 million, so the rate this July was 4% higher.