Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

Used is shown on a blue car's license plate.

Reasons To Buy A Used Vehicle

Whether you’re shopping for your first vehicle, or maybe even your second, you probably have pondered over the idea of purchasing a brand new vehicle from the manufacturer. We’re here to tell you why shopping for used cars is more beneficial to you in many ways, while still retaining that feeling of a “new” vehicle.

There are plenty of reasons why a used vehicle is a better investment than a new vehicle, not only will a used vehicle especially one made within the last few years perform exceptionally, it will save you money in the long run, especially if you plan on upgrading your vehicle again within the next five or so years.

According to Carfax, “The value of a new vehicle can drop by more than 20 percent after the first 12 months of ownership.” This is due to something called depreciation in which your new vehicle will lose value at a striking rate over the course of the first year of ownership. This means purchasing a used vehicle will ultimately save you money since it has already depreciated.

Depending on where you shop for a used vehicle, you are usually granted a more generous warranty compared to a new vehicle. This is very important because you’re going to want a “safety net” of sorts, in case anything happens to malfunction while you are still within the warranty. Car parts aren’t always perfect and are prone to malfunctioning at random times, and if your car is brand new, the warranty might not have been long enough.

Comparing The Two

A black 2020 Toyota Camry SE is parked in a brick warehouse.

Some shoppers believe going with an all-new 2020 offering will ultimately mean no upgrades or repairs for the foreseeable future. While slightly true, if you purchase a used vehicle from within the last five or so years, a majority of the technology you will find inside a 2020 offering will still be present at an intense fraction of the cost.

For our comparison, we will be taking a look at the all-new 2020 Toyota Camry SE and pairing it with a used 2017 Camry SE. We’ll be taking things into consideration, such as price, features, and overall condition. These days, finding a used vehicle of your choice, such as a Camry can be extremely easy thanks to internet tools such as Kelley Blue Book and Carfax.

From an exterior point of view, both the new and used options are still strikingly similar, and we find the design of the Toyota Camry SE to be timeless. For a used shopper, this is vitally important because you will always have that feeling of being up-to-date and having a stunningly designed vehicle.

The Toyota Camry SE

If we go to a Toyota dealership and purchase a 2020 Camry SE, it will start at an MSRP of $26,170. Based on our research, as an example, we were able to find a 2017 Toyota Camry SE’s as low as $13,280. That’s a price difference of 49% when compared to the 2020 model. It goes without saying that price can vary depending on factors including mileage, but the used vehicles will always be noticeably cheaper when put side by side.

The 2017 offering is very capable even by today’s standards with its 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine achieving 178 hp and getting 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. If you shop around a bit, you may even find a used Camry outfitted with a 3.5L V6, which produces 268 hp, which exceeds the base engine found in the new 2020 Camry while retaining a lower cost. This is one of the best reasons to choose a used vehicle over a new one since previous customers could have fitted the car with expensive upgrades at the time that will not raise the value significantly down the line, meaning you can get more for your buck as a used car shopper.

Shopping Used vs New Camrys

Inside the 2017 Camry, you will find a 6.1-inch touchscreen that displays media controls, navigation, and your backup camera, which is a very respectable size for a stereo display and not much smaller than the 2020 offering of 7 inches. While the 2017 Camry lacks the later implementation of Apple Carplay and Android Auto as those would be found in the later 2018-2019 models, you can still seamlessly connect your phone through Bluetooth and utilize your music library wirelessly.

A blue 2017 Toyota Camry, which is a popular option among used cars, is parked in front of palm trees at dusk.

Many features remain in the 2017 variant, such as power mirrors, anti-theft systems, and so forth. For the money you can save by purchasing a used vehicle, the amount of differences compared to a brand new counterpart are far and few between, and simply aren’t worth the extra cost for what you get in return. With the used car, you still get features such as Keyless Entry and 17-Inch Alloy Wheels and are as capable as the newer ones. Your 2017 Camry will also retain the Paddle Shifters behind your steering wheel, allowing you to shift gears manually like those found in the 2020 Camry. Continuing with the trend of similarities, your steering wheel inside of the used variant will be the same leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic 3-spoke steering wheel as those found in the new one.

All of your seats inside the SE model will be Sport SofTex trimmed with power-adjustable seats for you and your front-seat passenger. The material your seats are made out of are easily cleanable and resistant to stains and spills. You will find this arrangement on SE models, including the used 2017 Camry, which is as good as the 2020 Camry.

What We’ve Learned

The most important take-away from all this is to consider shopping used before you purchase a new vehicle. Just because a vehicle is a few years old, that doesn’t mean it lacks any innovative tech, even by today’s standards. For example, in 2015, Toyota made the body of the Camry stronger, something drivers have noticed a difference granting them a smoother ride from 2015 onwards, meaning our choice of a used 2017 Camry fits the bill when it comes to the recent revisions made to the Camry’s body.

Considering how much money going with a used vehicle can save you, it allows you to keep saving up and maintaining your car as long as possible; you may even find yourself upgrading your used car and still spending less than you would have to go with a brand new one. It’s always important to check with a local used dealership to see their offerings before anything else because you may find the car you’re looking for, without having to travel far.

Some drivers specifically purchase used vehicles over new ones, and for a good reason. In the long run, a driver who primarily drives used vehicles will save a tremendous amount of money while still enjoying a modernized ride. As cars get more advanced, the market for used cars will continue to grow, and each year, used cars will become more tempting as the tech we once believed to be expensive and high-end, is now finally reaching a price-range most people can comfortably afford.