Without a doubt the #1, best used car value for the money is found in late model, high mileage Honda and Acura lease turn-in vehicles.
The old saying, “they don’t make them like they used to”, has never been more accurate. The new car market is full of sub-par car manufacturers bragging about the length of their new car warranties, ‘trinket’ factory equipment and exotic factory colors.
While today’s car manufacturers want the exterior of their products to ‘turn heads’, their self-proclaimed concern for customer care is ‘thrown out the window’. For instance, when a car maker (such as Hyundai) chooses not to include a spare tire in their new car package, one may compare the elimination of a spare tire to the Titanic’s owners opting for deck space over life boats.
The truth is, when considering the cost of living and the percentage of average income it takes to purchase a new car, one may have to go all the way back to the mid 1970’s to find a poorer value for the money. Today’s new cars are less equipped and the quality of the parts incorporated to produce the units is inferior to previous year models. These parts are usually what someone would consider to be ‘nickel and dime’ components, such as power door lock actuators, power window regulators and cheap interior trim pieces.
The new car prices are insanely expensive and new cars are very quickly becoming the most expensive ‘disposable’ consumer commodity in the U.S. market. For over 2 decades the American public has realized the depreciation of a new car is not worth that “new car smell”. Many have wisely opted for ‘pre-owned’.
Consider the 2012 and 2013 Acura TL units as two of the best used car values for the money: The 2012 Acura TL with technology package had an original sticker price of around $40,000. These units are very well equipped, easy to maintain and inexpensive to keep serviced. The quality is very good and the design (exterior lines) will not become outdated in a few years. These TL units were heavily leased and many of these units are coming off lease in ‘boxcar loads’. The best used car values come from a saturated market . Anytime there is a high volume of lease turn-ins the price of those units will weaken (between $1200 and $1800) for a short time. Currently the NADA retail value of a 2012 Acura TL base model with less than 40,000 miles is under 60% of it’s original new car sticker price, with several months of full factory warranty remaining. The TL with technology is also one of the best used car values at about 60% of its original new car price.
The only thing that makes the 2012 Acura TL a better use car value for the money is when it has been used for business. If used to promote a professional image the vehicle had to be maintained and it will reflect the care required. Usually the ‘company car’ will have higher than normal mileage but the savings can be substantial. The difference between a 3 year old Acura with 60,000 miles on it and a 3 year old Acura with 105,000 miles can be around $7000!