10 cars that cost more to buy used than new

Craig Duff

Posted September 21, 2022

Buying a used car used to be a way of avoiding some of the cost of taking possession of a new vehicle. These days, there are plenty of examples where that’s not the case.

For most of those in the market, buying a car is hard work right now. Popular new cars, particularly SUVs, have huge waiting lists potentially pushing delivery back into late 2023.

Many buyers aren’t prepared to wait that long and are turning to used cars to satisfy their desire for a vehicle.

That has seen prices soar. In many cases, car classified websites are advertising models for far more than what the same model brand new is worth.

In short, the days of grabbing a near-new car to avoid the depreciation that traditionally hit a new vehicle as it was driven out of a dealership are over... for now at least.

Small passenger cars a big deal

Toyota Corollas are the ubiquitous small hatch. A top-spec ZR hybrid will cost $40,500 out of the dealership door.

Expect to pay around $5,000 more if you aren’t prepared to wait up to nine months for one.

A used car with around 10,000km is typically going for $45,000, which indicates both the popularity and supply constraints surrounding the vehicle. Some are even more expensive (and for older, model year 2021 vehicles), so take your time to look around online before committing.

A red Toyota Corolla.

The Toyota Corolla's popularity means you can wait up to nine months for a new one, making used versions a viable option.

Compact SUVs costing more

A Hyundai Kona is one of the most coveted cars in the small SUV segment. With good reason.

The Kona Highlander with optional prestige paint costs around $42,600 on the road, according to the Hyundai website.

That’s not cheap by any means, but it is cheaper than the prices being asked for used variants.

Used and dealer demo versions in Victoria are selling for up to $45,000. The benefit is you don’t have to wait up to four months for delivery.

Medium SUVs on the rise

The Toyota RAV4 heads the mid-sized SUV class. The wildly popular vehicle is in demand no matter what its age. Early 2000s models with more than 200,000 kilometres on the odometer are selling for around $5,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, current models with low kilometres are being offered for sale well over the price of a new car. Two-wheel-drive RAV4 Cruisers are going for up to $70,000, compared to a driveaway price of about $50,600 for a new car (with a 10-month waiting period).

More availability means the MG HS isn’t copping quite the same amount of pressure. Prices for near-new cars are still trending above what a new one will cost, though.

A 2021 MG HS Essence X all-wheel drive with 1500km on the clock is on sale for $48,000. Walk into an MG dealership and the same car can be had for $44,000 driveaway, though the odds are you won’t be picking up the keys on the day you order it.

Mazda’s CX-5 is in a similar position. A dealer demonstrator with more than 2000km under its tyres can be yours for $57,888 driveaway - the same price as fresh-off-the-boat example. The difference is, you’ll be waiting around two months for the new one.


A blue Hyundai Kona on the beach.

A used Hyundai Kona may cost more than a new one ... but you don't have to wait.

Four-door utes in demand

Fancy a new Ford Ranger Raptor? So do a lot of people, which is why prices have skyrocketed.

The latest Raptor uses a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine. It was launched in September of 2022, so you won’t (yet) find one on the car-selling websites.

The previous version had a 2.0-litre four-cylinder biturbo diesel, which was better for long-haul duties but lacked the outright performance of the petrol engine.

Logic would suggest many buyers would wait to get their hands on the new unit. Logic obviously doesn’t apply in the used car market.

Raptors sold in 2021 were sold with a driveaway price of around $86,000. Low-km examples of that vehicle are now online with six-figure price-tags.

The Toyota HiLux is also off the charts in terms of used car prices.

A new Toyota HiLux SR5 Double has a driveaway price of around $65,900 in Melbourne. Second hand and dealer demo versions are now selling for around $90,000. Uless you are willing to fork out close to an additional $25,000, expect a five-month wait on a car ordered today.

Mitsubishi is also seeing second-hand Triton prices peak. A new four-door, four-wheel drive top-spec GSR ute has a driveaway price of around $64,500 in Victoria. That involves a delay of up to six months.

Buyers who aren’t prepared to sit back and wait for their vehicle to be assembled and shipped are paying a $5,000 premium used vehicles with around 10,000km on the odometer.


A red Mazda CX-5 driving at night.

Demonstrator versions of the Mazda CX-5 are selling for the same price as new vehicles.

Price shock for used large SUVs

The Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series is the poster child for inflated used prices for large family SUVs as a result of almost 12 months' delays in delivery of a new car.

The LandCruiser GT Sport costs around $150,000 driveaway, while the Sahara ZX variant is just over $151,000. There are dozens of ads for used examples of these vehicles priced around the $170,000 mark.

Nissan’s Patrol isn’t immune from the price surge, either.

The Patrol is sold in two trims: the Ti, priced at $89,600 driveaway, and the Ti-L, which is a $103,200 proposition in your garage.

Both vehicles are powered by a thirsty but powerful 5.6-litre V8 combined with a seven-speed automatic.

The average delivery time is almost four months (depending on colour and options).

Want one now? Expect to pay north of $115,000 for a used vehicle with relatively low kilometres.

It pays to do your homework

If you aren’t looking for the most popular cars in your segment, there are still bargains to be had. As always, it pays to shop around, be that online or by visiting a used car lot.

Ask questions, have an idea of what you want from the vehicle and take it for a test drive before you sign up or part with your cash or apply for a car loan.

The advantage of buying from a dealer is cars under 10 years old and with less than 160,000km on the odometer will come with a warranty.

Cars bought privately typically sell for less, but the onus is on you as the buyer to ensure they’re not stolen, re-birthed written-off wrecks and don’t have outstanding finance attached.

Check out these valuable tips to help you out in either case.

It is also worth remembering that, while used cars can be cheaper options to new vehicles, it is generally the case that the older the car you buy, the fewer safety features are standard in it.

Make sure to check out the 2021 Edition of the Used Car Safety Ratings by Monash University’s Accident Research Centre.


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