Most Reliable Used Cars 2019

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Image 1 of 15 Buying a used luxury car or high-end SUV or pickup can still break your budget even after you figure in depreciation. Here are the 10 best deals nationally on cars priced on average below $20,000 after three years of light use. less Buying a used luxury car or high-end SUV or pickup can still break your budget even after you figure in depreciation. Here are the 10 best deals nationally on cars priced on average below $20,000 after three ... more Photo: General Motors Media The best bargains under $20,000 for lightly used cars 1  /  15 Back to Gallery

The growing popularity of automobile leases is creating a buying opportunity for people who would rather own their car than lease it, according to a new study.

After scrutinizing 4.8 million car sales, the automotive analysis firm and car search engine iSeeCars.com found that on average, lightly used cars depreciated 38.2 percent after three years.

But for some cars, mostly luxury models, the discount was much deeper — as much as 55.8 percent.

Because automobile leases are at record highs, when they come off lease after three years the market is glutted with cars still in their prime. Add lagging demand to a saturated market and you have the recipe for a good bargain.

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In the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose region, the best deals were all for luxury rides, the brand most often leased. At the top of the list was the Lincoln MKZ, sporting a 3-year-old price of $19,855, 55.6 percent less than its list price new.

"The Lincoln MKZ and its hybrid variant are reliable vehicles that provide shoppers with standard features such as a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and a built-in garage door opener at a savings of over $20,000 when purchased lightly used," said said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly.

Rounding out the best deals in the Bay Area were:

No. 2 — Jaguar XF with a 3-year-old price of $28,003 (57.1 percent depreciation).

No. 3 — Mercedes-Benz E-Class with a 3-year-old price of $29,898 (56.6 percent depreciation).

No. 4 — Cadillac XTS with a 3-year-old price of $25,017 (55.2 percent depreciation).

No. 5 — Volvo V60 with a 3-year-old price of $22,083 (55 percent depreciation).

But let's say you don't have 22 grand or more to drop on a 3-year-old vehicle. What are the best deals on more affordable rides?

Check out the gallery for the top 10 bargains on 3-year-old cars priced at under $20,000.

If you have your heart set on slightly used but reliable SUV, and prefer a luxury model, you might also consider a Lincoln. Lincolns dominate the national list of SUVs that depreciate the most after three years — they're not as popular as their more luxurious competitors.

MORE: The cars most likely to cause buyer's remorse in San Francisco 

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