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Driving the Decision: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing to Purchase Between a Brand-New or Pre-Owned Toyota

Toyota is one of the most popular and best-selling auto brands worldwide. Toyota sold over 10.5 million vehicles globally in 2021 alone. With so many drivers opting for a Toyota, you likely want to know if you should buy a new or used Toyota for your next purchase. This guide will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the key factors to consider when deciding between a new and pre-owned Toyota. We’ll compare the pros and cons of both options, look at Toyota’s reputation for reliability and safety, examine maintenance and financing considerations, and outline the steps to make the right choice for your needs and budget. Whether you’re seeking luxury, efficiency, adventure, or simply a dependable daily driver, read on to drive yourself to the best new or used Toyota buying decision.

New Toyota Benefits

One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a brand new Toyota is getting the latest model year with the newest features and options. Here are some of the key benefits of buying new:

  • Latest Model Year—Buying a new Toyota means getting the most current model year, which allows you to have the newest body style and design.
  • Full Warranty Coverage – New Toyotas come with a comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty. This typically covers the vehicle for 3 years or 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 5 years or 60,000 miles for the powertrain. This provides peace of mind and protects against expensive repairs during the warranty period.
  • Newest Tech & Safety Features—Toyota adds the latest technology and safety equipment with each model year update. Buying new gives you access to modern tech like touchscreens, WiFi hotspots, and driver assistance like collision prevention and lane-keeping assistance.
  • Customizable Options – Purchasing a new Toyota lets you get the exact color, trim package, accessories, and options you want. You can build and customize your new Toyota to your personal preferences.

Buying a new Toyota assures you of getting the latest model with no previous wear and a full warranty. A new Toyota has compelling benefits for those wanting the most modern amenities and tech.

New Toyota Drawbacks

Buying a brand-new Toyota comes with some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher Sticker Price: Brand-new Toyotas typically have a higher sticker price than an equivalent used model. You’ll be paying the full original MSRP, which can be a significant amount, depending on the model.
  • Higher Insurance Rates: Insuring a new vehicle is generally more expensive than insuring a used vehicle of the same make and model. Insurance companies calculate rates based on the vehicle’s current value, so premiums will be highest when the car is brand new.
  • Depreciation When Driven Off the Lot: A new car can depreciate dramatically once you drive it off the lot. Some estimates suggest a new car can lose 10-30% of its value within the first 12 months of ownership. With a used Toyota, the worst of the depreciation has already occurred.

Buying new certainly has its appeal and advantages. But these financial factors are worth considering if you’re concerned about getting the most value for your money. Carefully consider what’s most important for your needs and budget.

Used Toyota Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a used Toyota is the lower purchase price than buying a new one, and you can check Toyota bid history to be aware of prices. Since new vehicles depreciate significantly in the first few years, you can often find used Toyotas that are only 2-3 years old and are selling for thousands less than the original MSRP. This allows you to get a lightly used Toyota that still feels new but avoids that initial big hit of depreciation that new car buyers take.


Many used Toyotas will also still be covered under the original factory warranty. Toyota offers a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. If you purchase a 1-2-year-old used Toyota, chances are it still has factory warranty coverage remaining. This gives you peace of mind without having to buy an extended warranty.

Finally, when you buy used, you let the first owner take the depreciation hit. New vehicles depreciate the most in the first 12-24 months of ownership. But by purchasing used, you skip over this period of rapid depreciation. The first owner absorbs that loss instead. So you get a great deal and more value for your money.

Used Toyota Drawbacks

Buying a used Toyota has some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited tech/safety features – Used Toyotas, especially older models, often lack some of the latest technology and safety features found in new vehicles. This may include advanced driver assistance systems like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, etc. Older used Toyotas also will have a different infotainment system. To be aware of it, check the free Toyota decoder VIN to ensure you’re informed about the specific features present in a particular Toyota vehicle.
  • Higher mileage—A used Toyota is likely to have significantly more miles on it than a brand-new one. Higher mileage leads to an increased likelihood of repairs and maintenance needs. Make sure to know the vehicle’s service history.
  • Unknown maintenance history – When you buy a used Toyota from a private seller, you sometimes have full transparency into how well it was maintained. Unlike newer Toyotas under factory warranty, you can’t assume all scheduled maintenance was performed. Carefully review maintenance records if possible.

Buying used requires more research and inspection upfront. While Toyotas are known for reliability, it’s still important to fully evaluate the vehicle’s condition and history before purchasing. Consider having a mechanic inspect any used Toyota you’re serious about buying.

Toyota Reliability

Toyota has built an outstanding reputation for reliability over decades of manufacturing. Their commitment to quality shows in the long lifespans of both new and used Toyota models.


New Toyotas come with comprehensive factory warranties to cover any potential issues in the first few years. Used Toyotas do not have original warranties, but Consumer Reports’ reliability data shows that a properly maintained used Toyota can easily exceed 150,000 miles.

Certain Toyota models are particularly known for their longevity. The Toyota Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Tacoma, and others consistently rank at or near the top of reliability surveys. These models have proven to last well over 200,000 miles when properly maintained.

While a new Toyota offers the assurance of a factory warranty, a used Toyota benefits from a track record of reliability. Provided prior owners did proper maintenance, a used Toyota should deliver many more years and miles of solid performance. For budget-minded buyers, opting for a well-cared-for used Toyota is a smart way to get decades of use at a lower upfront cost.