5 of the Best Used-Car Deals of June 2022
Prices of used cars may be peaking, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. To find a deal, you still need to know where to look.
While inflation is rising, used-car prices are beginning to trend lower from their stratospheric highs over the past two years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year average used-car prices were up a stunning 40.5% back in January 2022. This May? According to the Manheim Market Report, used-car prices are only up 9.7% versus May of 2021.
The market slowly coming back to normal can only be viewed as welcome news if you’re shopping for a used vehicle. That stiff arrow of high prices is gradually leveling off for several reasons. New-car inventories are up, the stock market is having jitters, and consumer sentiment is now on a steep decline. These nervous financial times result in fewer shoppers looking for an expensive new or pre-owned vehicle.
If you’re shrewd, you can definitely get a better deal for your dollar than you could a couple months ago. That’s not to say that it’s a buyer’s market, though. You’ll still pay a premium to buy any used car right now. That’s why it’s important to shop wisely.
I’m a long-time car dealer and auto auctioneer who wants to help you find a keeper for your daily driving. The key to making that happen is buying a vehicle with good reliability to keep future maintenance costs as low as possible. Fortunately, I’m fluent in automotive quality. Want a car that could be easy on your wallet today and well into the future? Here are some of the best used-car deals this month.
2002-2006 Toyota Camry: $5,000 to $8,000
2011-2014 Volkswagen Jetta: $9,000 to $12,000
Used four-door sedans are still generally much more affordable than trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. And both the mid-size Toyota Camry and compact Volkswagen Jetta have remained reliability stand-outs over the past ten years.
At $5,000 to $8,000, a well-kept 2002 to 2006 Camry is more expensive than comparable mid-size sedans from the same era, but it is worth the premium given its exceptional long-term quality. Everyone from Consumer Reports has given the Camry sedan top rankings, which is a big plus if you want to limit future car repair costs.
A well-equipped Jetta, made between 2011 and 2014, will likely be priced between $9,000 and $12,000. While the 2015-model year and newer models can offer substantial safety improvements such as high-strength steel reinforcements and a forward-collision warning system, those Jettas typically cost over $12,000.
The key to getting the best value on both of these used sedans is avoiding the high-end versions while upgrading certain features after your purchase. Buying rear-view cameras, infotainment systems, and even premium floor mats can offer a startling change in your daily driver's feel and ambiance for just dimes and quarters on the retail used-car dollar.
2018 Audi A6: $25,000 to $40,000
2017 Audi Q5: $25,000 to $40,000
The Audi A6 mid-size sedan and Q5 compact SUV offer two of the nicest interiors in today's luxury used car market if your budget is near $30,000. That takes you out of Tesla's $40,000-plus territory in today's market but puts you in the thick of European luxury vehicles. Plus, both Audis deliver dramatically improved long-term reliability over previous versions.
If safety, sportiness, and comfort are on your driving lifestyle horizon, these two Audis offer an unbeatable combination. A sophisticated all-wheel drive system is available on both models, which will come in handy if you live where snow and ice are part of the scenery. The Audi A6 also receives an overall five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association while the Q5 rates four stars.
The four-cylinder gas-engine models will provide all the power and comfort you’ll need, with the all-wheel drive Audi Q5 receiving kudos for its lively 2.0-liter turbocharged unit. The front-wheel drive Audi A6 shares the same motor and offers a surprisingly parsimonious 34 mpg on the highway.
2020 Lincoln Aviator: $45,000 to $55,000
The three-row Lincoln Aviator SUV gets excellent reviews thanks to luxury features that would make you feel like you’re in a spa, such as 30-way Perfect Position adjustable leather seats with massaging capability and a front-view camera system that scans for potholes and then adjusts the suspension to keep you and your passengers relaxed.
But if you’re looking for value-driven luxury for under $55,000, it pays dividends to skip these expensive gizmos and instead opt for the base and Reserve trim levels. Both trims are equipped with four-zone climate control, a 360-degree camera system, and a 14-speaker sound system. Or you can upgrade to the world-class 28-speaker Revel Ultima 3D sound system if you opt for a Reserve trim with the Luxury Package.
Whether it’s an upscale feel or solid reliability, there is plenty of long-term value to be had once you take a deeper dive into the sweet spots of today’s used-car market.