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Is Buying A New Honda Odyssey Cheaper Than Buying Used?

The first car I ever bought myself was a brand new car.

At the time, the car industry was having a rough time and offering substantial discounts on new cars.

Recent model used cars were difficult to find. Even when you did find them, they were barely cheaper than a new car.

I figured this was a fluke and bought a brand new car for what I thought would be the only time in my life.

I was wrong.

Why We’re Shopping For A New Car

My wife’s car is 10 years old and still has plenty of life left in it, but we recently added a new family member which has made us rethink our current vehicles. While both of our cars work great for quick trips around town, we no longer have a great car for road trips.

We could all fit, but it’d be a tight squeeze with all of the baby gear we have to take with us on vacations. If we wanted to bring the dog, we wouldn’t have enough room in our car.

Ultimately, we decided it’s probably time to purchase a minivan. After all, cars are for utility, not for looking cool.

Used Honda Odysseys Are More Expensive Than New Honda Odysseys

Fast forward to today and I’ve come across a very similar issue where new cars are cheaper. While we haven’t pulled the trigger on a car yet, we’re strongly considering the Honda Odyssey.

Based on the preliminary research we’ve done, buying a used Honda Odyssey would actually be more expensive in the long run than buying a brand new Honda Odyssey. Here’s how I calculated the numbers that led me to my conclusion.

How To See If A New Or Used Car Is Cheaper

Assuming you’re calculating the costs of buying a new vs used car of the same exact make and model car, here is an easy way to calculate which is cheaper.

First, find the total cost of buying the new car and the total cost of buying the used car.

Make sure to include all fees, taxes, charges and interest if you’re financing. Next, determine the total expected life of the car for your situation in both years and mileage. Now that you have this information, you can run the numbers.

To calculate the total cost of the new car, take the total new car price and subtract the expected value at the end of the vehicle’s life. In our example, the out the door cost of a 2016 Honda Odyssey EX-L was roughly $35,000.

To get the cost of the vehicle at the end of its life, go to and pick your car but subtract the number of years you expect to own it.

For instance, we expect to own a new van for 9 years and 150,000 miles, so we quoted a 2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L with 150,000 miles which sells for $4,826 as a private seller. Then take the new price and subtract the end of life sale price to get the total cost.

The total cost of the new vehicle itself would be $30,174 in this case.

For the used vehicle, I found a 2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L for sale for roughly $29,500 out the door with 35,508 miles. The expected value at the end of life was calculated at $3,814. The total cost of the used vehicle itself would be $25,686 in this case.

Total Dollar Cost Isn’t The Number You Should Use

Clearly, in total cost, the used car is cheaper. However, when you consider the true determining factor, cost per mile, things may be different.

In this instance, we’d get 150,000 miles of life out of the new car for a total cost of 20.116 cents per mile. We’d only get 114,492 miles of life out of the used car for a total cost per mile of 22.434 cents per mile. In this case, the used car is more expensive.

Yes, there are other costs to consider such as fuel mileage, maintenance costs, insurance costs, etc. The list could go on for quite a while. However, in the big scheme of things it seems like buying a new car still might be cheaper in the long term over buying a used car.

Did you think a new car could be cheaper than a used car? Have you ever run the numbers and come to a similar conclusion?



Thursday 19th of April 2018

I've been crunching the same numbers and came to the same conclusion, however it feels quite strange to buy new when historically I've always been told used is the way to go.

Lance Cothern

Thursday 19th of April 2018

I feel your pain. It's hard for me to believe but if you buy new and use it for a long time it seems to make sense to me.

Money Beagle

Thursday 9th of February 2017

I wanted a pickup truck. I was looking and buying a used one would cost me pretty big money. They are in pretty high demand. It ended up being cheapest to lease one versus either buying a new one or buying used.

Lance Cothern

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

As long as you have a plan for what you'll do after the lease is up :) I just can't get over not owning the car after the lease period expires.


Thursday 9th of February 2017

You mentioned in your last paragraph the fuel mileage and maintenance which I was going to write about. Many new cars have better gas mileage than the old ones, especially with constantly changing government regulations. Also, when a car is under warranty for 3-4 years (or longer on some makes) which saves a lot of money is you end up with a costly repair during that time. A used vehicle is instantly out of warranty making any repairs all your responsibility to pay for. In our married life we only bought one used car which was from a family member so we knew the history of the vehicle.

Lance Cothern

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Some used vehicles have transferable warranties if the mileage is low enough, but I agree with your reasoning as long as the numbers make sense :)

Anthony DeCristofaro

Thursday 9th of February 2017

Sound figuring. The same thing happened to me when considering a used (2-3 year old) Camry. The car holds its value so there is not much discount. Used cars carry higher interest rates. Used cars do not have all the latest safety engineering so insurance costs are higher. So I bought a new Camry via CarMax for very low price, low financing rates and no haggle pricing. (Ten years and 95,510 miles later, the car is still parked in front of my house.)

Lance Cothern

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

I didn't know CarMax sold new cars. Learn something new every day :)