2 of the Best Used-Car Deals of July 2022

Find out how to discover deals on desirable rides like EVs and luxury sports sedans in today’s volatile used-car market.

2018 Chevrolet BoltChevrolet

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Over 450 brand new models have been slated for release from 2020 through 2022. That amounts to millions of new cars, trucks, and SUVs every year trying to find a new home in someone's driveway. All these new cars will instantly become used when the first owner gets the keys. But are those cars really worth buying again once they become used? If so, how much should you pay? What determines a "great" used-car deal?

That decision depends entirely on you, the marketplace, and the automaker's success at selling new versions of that car.

The Best Deal Always Starts With You, and Then the Marketplace Has Their Say

Everyone has different used-car needs.

A penny-pinching high-performance electric vehicle (EV) can be a non-starter if you live in an apartment complex where you can’t easily charge an EV.

Supersized trucks may also be less than ideal if you live in a big and crowded city where parking is tight. But if you live in the large empty spaces of rural America and haul everything from hay to horses, a full-size truck may be your perfect fit.

New compact cars are selling nearly as quickly as they’re arriving at dealerships. Those won’t be cheap in today’s market. But specific EVs that aren’t Teslas or Ford trucks are still sitting in dealer lots, even in this new era of high gas prices.

That’s because sometimes, an automaker will make the wrong bet at the wrong time.

Like all car manufacturers, General Motors and Nissan received healthy $7,500 per vehicle federal subsidies on the first 200,000 EVs they sold starting in 2010. They sold plenty early on, unlike many of their competitors. But now, GM’s EVs are no longer eligible for that subsidy, and Nissan will likely have their subsidies wholly run out by the end of the year.

While Hyundai, Honda, and Mazda can sell an EV for $30,000 and have consumers qualify for a federal income tax adjustment of up to $7,500, GM now needs to discount their similarly priced EV by $7,500 to get the same bang for the buck as their competitors.

Some less popular EVs, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, require rebates and price reductions directly from the automaker. Those rebates make used versions of that same model far cheaper to buy. That means a brand new vehicle that qualifies for a $7,500 federal income tax adjustment will have a used version that will cost over $4,000 less than its usual market price.

That’s a big opportunity for a great deal. This brings us to two well-engineered used vehicles that, for right now, are far cheaper than expected.

2018 Chevrolet BoltChevrolet

Best Electric Car for Under $25,000: 2018 Chevy Bolt EV

The 2020 Chevy Bolt EV was one of the cheapest lease deals in 2021, especially for consumers receiving incentives coming from GM and non-GM leases. Today GM is discounting leftover 2021 Chevy Bolt EVs to the tune of $12,900 off manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), along with an extra $3,000 off for those Bolts which offer DC fast charging. No federal tax credits and new models on the horizon are pushing that massive discounting. Best of all, these older — but still technically new — Bolts now come with a brand new battery pack with an 8-year/100,000-mile EV battery warranty, which is fully transferable to the next owner.

Some 2018 Chevy Bolt lease deals were as little as $107 a month for 36 months, with only $107 due at signing. Those state incentives made an average deal dirt cheap to over $200 less a month than the average gas-powered vehicle. If you don’t mind a vehicle with a few miles already on it, used 2018 Chevy Bolts with 40,000 miles are currently only $20,700 at wholesale dealer auctions, according to the Manheim Market Report — that is almost an $18,000 saving compared to the original $37,945 MSRP, likely giving you more negotiating power at the dealership.

2018 Kia StingerKia

Best Sports Sedan for Under $40,000: 2018 Kia Stinger

When it was new, the 2018 Kia Stinger was one of the best values in America. Whether you want a rear- or all-wheel drive sports sedan with impressive real-world performance, or all the features of a BMW 3-Series for thousands less, the Stinger four-door hatchback has proven to be a top choice for those who value curb appeal over snob appeal.

In 2018, the base Stinger offered rear-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 255 hp that can get nearly 30 mpg on the highway; all for the same price point as a top-line Toyota Camry or Honda Accord while beating both of them in features, interior quality, and real-world driving dynamics.

The six-cylinder Stingers came with a turbo-V6 and a solid 365 hp yielding a 25 mpg highway rating. These V6 Stingers were regularly compared to the best the established German brands could offer, routinely beating the pricier BMW and going toe-to-toe with the Audi A5 Sportback that can cost between $10,000 to $15,000 more than the Kia.

Even in its final year, the Kia sports sedan has registered over 3,000 sales for the first quarter of 2022, which speaks well for its long-term value. Today, the fountain of rebates has opened up with new Kia Stingers getting $1,000 rebates starting in June. This will likely yield lower prices for the 2018 Kia Stinger in July.

Whether you’re looking to buy a longer range EV that will have its battery under warranty until 2030, or an all out sports sedan considered the best value in the American market just a few years ago, new car rebates and incentives can help you get an even better deal for the same car in the used car market.

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Steven Lang
Steven Lang is a special contributor to Capital One with nearly two decades of experience as an auto auctioneer, car dealer, and part owner of an auto auction. Some of the best-known auto publications turn to him for his expert insight. He is also the co-developer of the Long-Term Quality Index, a survey of vehicle reliability featuring over two million vehicles that have been inspected by professional mechanics.