Why Are Used Cadillacs So Cheap? – Here’s the top 4 reasons


If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle on the cheap, you’ll often hear people recommend that you choose a Cadillac. Could it just be that so many people are Caddy fans or is there something more to this? Why are used Cadillacs cheap?

The top 4 reasons Cadillacs are inexpensive:

  1. New Caddy technology makes old tech obsolete
  2. Reduced perception of status symbol with age
  3. Reputation for heavy maintenance
  4. Natural depreciation

The cheap used Cadillac trend seems to be in play whether you’re looking at a used Caddy that’s five years old or 15 years old. In this article, we’ll talk further about the price of used Cadillacs, why they’re so low-cost, and if they’re the right car for you. 

How Much Does a Used Cadillac Cost?

Cadillac on street

Before we delve deeper into the prices of used Cadillacs, we want to make clear that used car prices vary by several factors. These include location, vehicle age, vehicle condition, and of course, the seller’s own perceived value of their vehicle.

Keeping that in mind, we browsed Carfax and CarMax for some used Caddies for sale. Here’s what we came up with.

• 2019 Cadillac XT5 Base – $27,955

• 2017 Cadillac XT5 Base – $26,929

• 2016 Cadillac ATS – $24,998

• 2015 Cadillac ATS Performance – $25,998

• 2012 Cadillac CTS Performance – $17,998

According to CNET, in June 2021, the average price of a new car is over $40,000. The 2022 Cadillac XT5 starts at $43,995, which is almost $4,000 over the average car price. 

Even a used 2019 Caddy is $16,000 less than what you’d pay for a 2022 Cadillac. That’s a huge savings!

Why Are Used Cadillacs So Inexpensive? 4 Reasons Why

You’re one of those people who believes that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. You can’t help but wonder why someone would sell a Cadillac from only two years ago for $16k less than you can buy the same model for today.

Per the intro, here are four reasons used Caddies are inexpensive.

1 New Technology Makes the Old Tech Obsolete

Caddy xt5

Technology never sleeps. Year after year, the tech that surrounds us in our daily lives continues to evolve. So sure, back in 2019, it was cool that your Cadillac XTS four-door sedan had keyless entry and keyless start. You loved the rear parking aid and the automatic parking.

Fast-forward to this year. That tech hasn’t gone away, but it’s not enough. Car technology needs to keep moving forward, and move forward. That’s why the 2022 Cadillac XT5 includes drive-select modes and Amazon Alexa built right in. 

When the 2023 Cadillac XT5 comes out next year, it will have features that will make the 2022 XT5 obsolete. 

You see this in everything tech, from smartphones to televisions and computers. The latest model has all the newest and best features for only a very limited time. Then it’s replaced by the next best model and is literally yesterday’s news. 

2 Age Tarnishes the Caddy’s Reputation as a Status Symbol

Besides making Caddy’s tech obsolete, time also degrades how people perceive your vehicle. 

Cadillacs, along with many other brands, are luxury vehicles. Part of the reason that car prices have become so high, says CNET, is that luxury vehicles have permeated the mass market to such a degree that more people are buying them.

It’s hard to resist a luxury vehicle. Although they’re very costly, the money you drop on a Cadillac or a BMW tells the world about you. The vehicle says that you have money. You live a grand lifestyle. 

As a status symbol, your Caddy can attract a lot of attention. Yet for every year that new Cadillac models are introduced, your vehicle’s status degrades little by little. Within three years, driving your Caddy doesn’t garner the same kind of attention that it used to. 

Everyone is too busy fawning over the other newer luxury cars, be those from Cadillac or other brands. If you’re someone who’s obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses (and let’s be honest, a lot of us are!), then you’ll want to keep turning heads with your car. 

That means trading in or selling your old Cadillac, even if it’s only lightly used and several years old. 

3 Caddies Are Known to Need a Lot of Maintenance

Cadillac’s reputation isn’t spotless. Among those who shell out the money to own and drive one of these vehicles, the prevailing opinion is that Caddies require lots of maintenance, which can drain your wallet in a jiffy.

The complex parts of a Cadillac mean that you have to take your vehicle to a specialist if something goes wrong. Some of the parts, like head bolts, are known to strip, and Caddy owners have complained of their black boxes failing or malfunctioning often.

These drivers could get so frustrated that they decide that, rather than put another cent into their Caddy, they’d rather save their money and use it to buy another car. That’s why their Cadillacs go up for sale. 

4 Cars Always Depreciate in Value 

Then there’s the unavoidable fact that no matter the car, from a Porsche to a Hyundai, its value depreciates. According to Experian, within the first year of owning a new car, its value decreases by 20 percent. For each year you own the car after that, depreciation continues at a rate of 10 percent per year. 

This doesn’t occur forever though. By five years, the depreciation is still progressing but has slowed. If you still have your Cadillac 10 years later, it’s fully depreciated. 

Is a Used Cadillac a Good Car?

Caddy car lot

This article might have inspired you to start browsing local used Cadillac listings. Before you see the car in person or take a test drive, there’s something you have to know. Is a used Caddy a good car?

It certainly can be, yes! Of course, that depends on how used we’re talking here. If your Cadillac is more than 20 years old, we wouldn’t recommend it. If it’s 10+ years old, you need to inspect it inside and out and take multiple test drives before signing on the dotted line.

Even if it’s a newer used Cadillac you’re after, what about the maintenance? It seems like such a pain! 

Every car needs maintenance, and that alone doesn’t mean the vehicle is unreliable. It could be that some Caddy owners aren’t taking good enough care of the car, so the parts begin to break down. That can happen to any car, luxury or otherwise.

We’re not saying to discount the complaints from Caddy owners about maintenance, but it goes both ways. If you take care of your car, a used Cadillac could be good for you in return for many years to come! 

But before buying a used Caddy or any car, run a VIN check for Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuild, Title washing, and Vin cloning. There are plenty in the business, it only costs a few dollars but could save you thousands. I’ve used VinAudit (links to VinAudit.com) several times and found them reliable and fast.

Conclusion 

Buying a used Cadillac is very tempting since these cars and SUVs are usually so cheap. The reason has to do with more than regular car depreciation. Time and age make Caddy tech obsolete and reduce the vehicle’s status.

A Cadillac owner’s loss could be your gain. If you’re willing to commit to regular maintenance to keep your Caddy running well, this could be a wonderful choice for your next used car. Good luck!  

You may also find the following posts useful:

Worth buying a 10 year old Mercedes?

Are Mercedes good cars?

Are BMW expensive to maintain?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of classic car ownership, from tires to roof aerials and everything in between.

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