The Most and Least Expensive Cities to Buy a Used Car

·5 min read

Used car prices have declined from record highs, but they are still significantly higher than they were a year ago as a result of the ongoing microchip shortage. Limited inventory of new cars has increased demand for used cars, and as fewer people are trading in used cars to buy new ones, used cars remain in short supply and command higher prices. 

Due to regional used car price variations, budget-minded used car shoppers who are willing to travel can increase their chances of getting a good deal. “When looking at the most popular cars on the market, used car prices can vary by as much as $14,166 between cities,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “In today’s market, deals on used cars are hard to come by, and even after purchasing a plane ticket or taking a road trip, consumers may find traveling to buy a used car in another state to be worth it for significant savings.”

iSeeCars analyzed the used car prices of the top 25 most popular cars to determine the cities where they are the most and least expensive.  

Used Cars With the Largest Price Disparities Between the Most and Least Expensive Cities

When examining local prices of the most popular cars, the vehicles with the largest price disparities had at least a 22 percent price difference between the cheapest and most expensive cities.

Popular Used Cars With the Largest Price Disparities Across the U.S. - iSeeCars Study

Rank

Vehicle

Cheapest City to Buy the Car

Most Expensive City to Buy the Car

% Savings 

$ Savings

1

Nissan Rogue

San Antonio, TX

Fairbanks, AK

32.4%

$10,738

2

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Baton Rouge, LA

Fairbanks, AK

27.8%

$13,152

3

Ford F-150

Zanesville, OH

Glendive, MT

26.8%

$14,166

4

Honda Civic

Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, NE

Harlingen-Weslaco-McAllen, TX

26.7%

$8,514

5

Ford Escape

Fresno-Visalia, CA

Alpena, MI

26.4%

$7,599

6

Ford Explorer

Lafayette, IN

Fairbanks, AK

25.8%

$11,103

7

Subaru Forester

Duluth, MN-Superior, WI

Columbus-Tupelo-West Point, MS

23.5%

$7,889

8

Toyota Tacoma

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Anchorage, AK

23.5%

$10,394

9

GMC Sierra 1500

Marquette, MI

Casper-Riverton, WY

22.5%

$12,144

10

Ram 1500

Lafayette, IN

Anchorage, AK

22.0%

$10,701

The Nissan Rogue is the vehicle that has the greatest price disparity between the most expensive and least expensive cities. “A used Nissan Rogue costs 32.4 percent or $10,738 less in San Antonio, Texas than it does in Fairbanks, Alaska,” said Brauer. “Even though these cities are nearly 4,000 miles apart, you could still save a considerable amount of money even after shipping costs, which would likely be less than $5,000.” 

The Subaru Forester provides the greatest savings with the shortest distance between its most expensive and least expensive city. “Shoppers in the Duluth metropolitan area can drive 17 hours to save nearly $8,000,” said Brauer. “Even factoring in gas for the round trip that would cost around $300, hotel costs at around $150 per night, or even a one-way plane ticket for under $500, traveling to purchase this vehicle can yield significant savings.” 

Best Cities to Buy Popular Used Cars at the Lowest Prices

iSeeCars found which cities offer the greatest savings on each of the most popular used cars when compared to the nationwide average.

Cities with the Best Prices for Popular Used Cars - iSeeCars Study

Rank

Vehicle

Cheapest City to Buy the Car

Local Used Car Price

National Used Car Price

% Savings

$ Savings 

1

Honda Civic

Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, NE

$23,375

$28,169

17.0%

$4,794

2

GMC Sierra 1500

Marquette, MI

$41,886

$48,300

13.3%

$6,414

3

Subaru Forester

Duluth, MN-Superior, WI

$25,648

$29,353

12.6%

$3,705

4

Ram 1500

Lafayette, IN

$37,890

$43,302

12.5%

$5,411

5

Nissan Rogue

San Antonio, TX

$22,372

$25,353

11.8%

$2,981

6

Ford Escape

Fresno-Visalia, CA

$21,147

$23,952

11.7%

$2,805

7

Jeep Wrangler

Springfield-Holyoke, MA

$32,211

$36,359

11.4%

$4,148

8

Toyota Tacoma

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL

$33,880

$38,155

11.2%

$4,275

9

Hyundai Tucson

Elmira, NY

$22,412

$25,126

10.8%

$2,714

10

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

St. Joseph, MO

$37,745

$42,242

10.6%

$4,496

Honda Civics in the Lincoln, Nebraska metropolitan area tend to be priced 17 percent cheaper than the national average, for savings of $4,794. “The best places to buy popular used cars are all across the country,” said Brauer. “Even if car shoppers find a deal in their area, it’s worth comparison shopping in other areas to find an even better deal.”

Bottom Line

It can be difficult to find a deal on a used car in today’s market, but expanding your search radius can provide consumers with the best chance to find more savings. “Even if you can’t travel to the city with the greatest savings on your car, you will probably find greater savings beyond your local area, making the travel worth it,” said Brauer.

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.3 million 1-5 year old used cars from the top best-selling models sold between January and April of 2022. The average asking price of each model in each DMA was calculated, and the highest and lowest prices were compared to each other, as well as the nationwide average price. Model/city combinations with low inventory were excluded from the analysis.

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About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check reports and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $337 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.

This article, the Most and Least Expensive Cities to Buy a Used Car, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.