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not to buy new
11/10/2006 6:55:43 AM

New: $21,670 MSRP for a 2007 model
Resale: $18,165 for a 2005 model in excellent condition, you'll save 16%

You may love that new car smell -- but you also pay for it, big time. Although the actual hit varies by make, model and options, on average your car loses about 20% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot, says Joni Gray, consumer advice editor for Kelley Blue Book. Save yourself that initial hit by buying a used car from a recent model year. "The best used cars are at most five years old," says Gray. Many of these cars will still be under warranty.

Worried that you'll get stuck with a lemon? Consider a certified preowned car from the manufacturer, Gray suggests. These vehicles have been inspected and refurbished so that they are often quite literally as good as new. (Not all programs are created equal, however. Here's more info on how to get a good deal.)



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