If you go the older car route, Consumer Reports recommends looking at models known for reliability. Everything is more expensive, so your budget may preclude used cars on the newer end of the spectrum. In any case, older used cars will provide better value than more recent models that can be closer in price to new cars. The downside is that if you have to finance the purchase, interest rates tend to be higher on loans for older cars.
You’re likely to be out of factory warranty territory with an older car, and although you can purchase an extended warranty or service plan, it’s better to save cash for those future expenses if you can. Also, prices on older cars have dropped the fastest.
Is it better to get a new vehicle or used?
There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a vehicle, whether you’re buying a new or used car. One aspect of buying nearly new you should be aware of is that the vehicle you purchase will be one model year older than the brand-new car you are also considering, and that fact will be reflected in a lower trade-in value when the time comes to get another new vehicle. But this can be a problem if you total the car and don’t have GAP insurance or if your life changes and you need a different vehicle. For example, if you can afford a new vehicle that doesn’t have many bells and whistles, you could instead buy a used one with all the bells and whistles.
Used cars are generally cheaper because the high depreciation of their early years is already behind them and you may not need as much insurance coverage.