How Much Does a Used Car Cost in Canada?

Car prices hit record highs in Canada in 2021. Many Canadians have rushed to buy new cars only to find there are very few available. Meanwhile, used cars have gone up in price. So when you are looking for a used car in Canada, what should you expect to pay?

In 2021 the average used car price in Canada was CAD$33,240. This is a 35% increase over the previous year. Prices are expected to go down gradually, but inventory continues to be an issue. It’s cheaper to buy a used car than a new car, and the most popular car choice in Canada is the Honda Civic.

If you are searching for a used car in Canada, you will likely wonder what you should expect to pay for a vehicle. This article will explain that the price of a used vehicle in Canada depends on several factors, including where you buy it, when you buy it, and the type of car you buy. 

Used car prices in Canada in 2021

2021 saw the biggest one-year price increase in Canada’s history. By the end of 2021, the average price for a used automobile in Canada was CAD$33,240. That means a car that cost CAD$33,000 in 2021 would have been close to CAD$24,000 just one year earlier.

Canada saw a 34.5% increase in used vehicles in 2021. The highest growth market was SUVs, as many potential buyers were interested in upgrading to a larger vehicle. 

Canada saw a 12.7% increase in new vehicles in 2021, which is high but far less than half the tremendous increase in the used vehicles market. Now a new car costs CAD$50,758 on average.

The main reasons for this increase in used car prices in Canada involve the pandemic. These reasons include how the pandemic has affected Canada, its economy, its people and also the world market in general. 

The pandemic inspired many to buy larger vehicles and forced many to stop relying on public transportation. Many Canadians also found themselves with extra savings, and many of these spent those savings on a new vehicle. Even with a shortage of cars, car sales increased by 7% in Canada in 2021.

Even with the shortage of vehicles and the steep price increase, Canada saw a rise in used car sales of 5% in 2021. So not only were vehicles significantly more expensive, but they were also more competitive than the previous year.

Average price of a used car in Canada in 2021

The average price of a used car overall in Canada was CAD$33,240. This number is the national average but varies throughout provinces. In Quebec, for example, the average used car cost CAD$29,434 in 2021. This is mainly because fewer people in Quebec purchased used SUVs, while more bought used sedans.

Used SUV sales increased significantly in 2021, and the price also skyrocketed. Take the Toyota RAV4, for example. The average price for a 2017 RAV4 was around CAD$23,000 in 2020. In 2021, that same car would cost at least CAD$30,000 and up to CAD$32,000.

Manitoba often has the lowest prices on used cars, while Prince Edward Island has the lowest rates to insure the vehicle. The prices of an average used car vary based on the area and the time of the month.

It’s wise to buy a used car at the end of the month if possible. Car dealerships are often striving to meet certain quotas each month. When these goals are met, the dealers get large incentives. This means that if your end-of-the-month purchase helps them reach that goal, they may be more willing to sweeten the deal.

Keep in mind buying a car from a dealership is almost always more expensive than buying from a private owner in Canada. However, you may receive certifications, limited warranties, and quality financing through a dealership, and you will not get that from a private seller.

Is it cheaper to buy a used or new car in Canada?

While there was a significant increase in the price of used vehicles, it is still cheaper to buy a used vehicle than the new equivalent. One big problem many people are having is finding the right used car for the right price. 

Typically, one of the biggest benefits of buying a used car is being able to get significantly more bells and whistles, or a higher tier car, for the price of a cheaper new one. In today’s market, you can save a bit on the sticker price, but the savings will not stretch very far.

It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of a new versus a used car as well. The most important factor you should consider when car prices are this high is the length and quality of the car’s warranty. 

You will find that buying a used car from a private seller is often the cheapest option. For this, however, you will need the money upfront. You will also likely not have many reassurances or legal causes of action. 

If you buy from a used dealership, you will pay more, but if you are trading in a car, you may get more than you think. Since there is a shortage of vehicles, many dealerships are willing to pay much more than they used to in years prior. This means your new used car purchase may cost you less.

Best cars for newcomers in Canada 

Honda Civic

Those who are moving to Canada and looking to blend in with the average Canadian, look no further than the Honda Civic. 2020 marked the 23rd consecutive year that Honda Civic was the top-selling new car in Canada. They are reliable, trusted, and great cards on gas.

Honda Civics are known to “last forever.” Not only can their engine easily surpass 200,000 miles, but being Honda’s, their replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to come by. 

While upkeep and maintenance are cheap for these cars, the sticker price is a bit high. This reliable sadden has a high resale value. This means you will pay more for a Honda Civic than for a similar style sedan by a different manufacturer. But it should last you many years.

Honda CRV

The Honda CRV was the most ordered new vehicle in Canada last year. The Honda CRV is a great used car option for those looking for a bit more storage space and something a bit more sporty for the Canadian wilderness. Like the Civic, the CRV has excellent gas mileage and is known for its long-lasting dependability.

The Honda CRV is a small SUV, meaning you can load up its ample storage space, and it is lifted higher than a sedan. Unlike many SUVs, it still gets great gas mileage, making it a great reliable used SUV for someone on a long-term budget.

Dodge Grand Caravan

Minivans aren’t only great family vehicles, but they have become very popular cars for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you have several children or are looking for a car that you can occasionally turn into a wilderness camping refuge, The Dodge Grand Caravan is the answer.

While Dodge will no longer be making the Grand Caravan moving forward, it was Canada’s top-selling minivan in 2020. Additionally, they are very popular with car rental companies. This means inevitably, there is a huge inventory of these minivans on the market, which drives down the price.

Dodge Ram 1500

If you want to fit in driving in Canada, nothing will make you cooler than driving a solid pickup truck. Trucks are popular and often practical in Canada. With winter roads being rather treacherous, a truck with the ability to blow, town, and use four wheel drive is always helpful.

Dodge Ram 1500 is a top-rated truck in Canada, especially in the used market. In fact, in 2021, one in four automobile purchases was a truck. The reason for this is that they are much less expensive than new in addition to being solid-built machines. Usually, there is a large inventory of this popular machine in Canada’s used car market.


Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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