Used car prices fell in March, but demand remains high for affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles

(iSeeCars) – Used car prices are up 30.4 percent over last year as the microchip shortage continues to impact the automotive industry, according to’s latest analysis of 1.8 million used car sales in March. This is down from a 35.0 percent increase in February.

“After coming down for the second consecutive month, used car prices remain elevated due to lingering supply constraints, and could rise again due to geopolitical factors as Russia is a key supplier of materials used to make car parts and microchips,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “We are also seeing a significant increase in demand for used hybrid and electric vehicles as a result of high gas prices, with the cost of hybrids increasing by 40.5 percent and electric cars increasing by 36.3 percent compared to last year.” 

Although the average used car has significantly increased in price, iSeeCars’s analysis also found some vehicles have lower-than-average increases, making them smarter buys for consumers in the market for a used car. “While these used models are still more expensive than last year, they haven’t been as drastically impacted by price hikes,” said Brauer.

Top 10 Used Cars With the Greatest Price Increases 

The top ten vehicles with the greatest price increases have price changes from 1.4 to 2.1 times the average vehicle’s price increase and are primarily small, relatively affordable cars and alternative-fuel vehicles. “Small cars have become the only affordable used car option for a growing segment of the population, and their price increases reflect the high demand these otherwise low-demand vehicles have experienced in recent years,” said Brauer. 

Top 10 Cars with the Greatest Price Increases (YoY) – iSeeCars March 2022 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
1 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid $25,620 $9,991 63.9%
2 Kia Rio $17,970 $5,942 49.4%
3 Nissan LEAF $25,123 $8,288 49.2%
4 Chevrolet Spark $17,039 $5,526 48.0%
5 Mercedes-Benz G-Class $220,846 $71,586 48.0%
6 Toyota Prius $26,606 $8,269 45.1%
7 Kia Forte $20,010 $6,193 44.8%
8 Kia Soul $20,169 $6,107 43.4%
9 Tesla Model S $75,475 $22,612 42.8%
10 Mitsubishi Mirage $14,838 $4,431 42.6%
Average Across All Cars $34,429 $8,032 30.4%

The vehicle with the largest price increase is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which had a price increase of 63.9 percent over March 2021. It’s joined by an additional hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, which saw a 45.2 percent price increase. “Hybrid vehicles are in high demand due to soaring gas prices, with the hybrid category as a whole increasing in price by 40.5 percent,” said Brauer. “Affordable transportation has seen a surge in demand in the wake of heightened used car prices, and these hybrid cars are less expensive than the average used car.”

Five small gasoline cars make the list including the Kia Rio subcompact car, the Chevrolet Spark subcompact car, the Kia Forte compact car, the Kia Soul subcompact wagon, and the Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact car. “The Kia Rio, Chevrolet Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage subcompact cars are among the lowest-cost vehicles on the market, while the Kia Forte and Kia Soul are among the lowest-priced options in their respective vehicle classes,” said Brauer. “These vehicles, priced at $20,000 and below, are attainable for new drivers and those looking for affordable transportation, even after their large increase in price over the past year.”

Two electric cars make the list, including the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model S. “The Nissan LEAF’s price increase is likely due to the surge in gas prices as well as the heightened desirability for the redesigned 2018 model, which benefited from increased range and is now coming off lease to enter the used car market,” said Brauer. “Meanwhile, demand for used versions of the Model S waned in recent months as consumers embraced the more affordable Model 3 and the Model X SUV. But with the recent upgrades to the Model S, plus the new ‘Plaid’ model and higher fuel prices, demand has increased for the Model S.”

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class rounds out the list. “The wait time for a new version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is over a year, so buyers who want this opulent off-roader are turning to the used car marketplace,” said Brauer.

Top 10 Used Cars With the Smallest Price Changes 

The top ten vehicles with the smallest price differences have increased 1.8 to 3.4 times less than the average vehicle and are mainly luxury and sports cars. 

Top 10 Cars with the Smallest Price Increases (YoY) – iSeeCars March 2022 Study
Rank Used Vehicle Average Used Car Price (March 2022) $ Price Change from March 2021  % Price Change from March 2021 
1 Maserati Levante $59,975 $4,945 9.0%
2 Nissan Titan XD $41,382 $4,626 12.6%
3 Chevrolet Camaro $33,414 $4,012 13.6%
4 Jaguar F-Pace $45,390 $5,555 13.9%
5 Land Rover Discovery $51,581 $6,395 14.2%
6 Porsche Macan $57,305 $7,140 14.2%
7 Honda Ridgeline $36,079 $4,523 14.3%
8 Nissan Titan $38,715 $5,101 15.2%
9 Mazda MX-5 Miata rf $31,066 $4,262 15.9%
10 Ford Mustang $31,694 $4,587 16.9%
Average Across All Cars $34,429 $8,032 30.4%

The list includes four luxury crossover SUVs, including the first-ranked Maserati Levante, the fourth-ranked Jaguar F-Pace, the fifth-ranked Land Rover Discovery, and the six-ranked Porsche Macan. “These luxury SUVs are among the most expensive vehicles in their class, which could explain why their price increases are lower than competitive models,” said Brauer. 

Three pickup trucks make the list including the second-ranked Nissan Titan XD, the seventh-ranked Honda Ridgeline, and the eighth-ranked Nissan Titan. “The Nissan Titan and its XD heavy-duty-ish model are the slowest-selling trucks in the full-size segment, and the Honda Ridgeline is among the slowest-selling in the compact segment, reflecting low demand in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. 

Three sports cars round out the list including the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, and the Ford Mustang. “Sports cars were among the vehicle segments that saw the earliest price increases during the pandemic, so their year-over-year price increases aren’t as dramatic as other vehicle segments because prices were already high in March 2021.”

Bottom Line:

“While consumers were previously advised to wait to purchase a used car if they were able to do so, new geopolitical factors are expected to exacerbate and prolong the present used car price increases,” said Brauer. “The best way for American consumers to avoid significantly higher prices while car shopping for the foreseeable future is to either maintain their current vehicle or purchase a used vehicle that isn’t in high demand, and to be as flexible as possible with factors such as color and trim.”

Methodology analyzed over 1.8 million 1-5-year-old used car sales in March 2021 and 2022. The average listing prices of each car model were compared between the two time periods, and the differences were expressed as both a percentage difference from the 2021 price as well as a dollar difference. Heavy-duty vehicles, low-volume vehicles, vehicles discontinued as of the 2022 model year, and vehicles with fewer than 4 of the 5 model years for each period were excluded from further analysis.

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This article, Used Car Prices Fell in March, Demand Remains High for Affordable and Fuel-Efficient Vehicles, originally appeared on