A. It depends. "Used compact cars in really good shape - like three-year-old Honda Civics - are commanding 70% to 90% of their original MSRP because demand is so high," says Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Consulting.
Adds John Wolkonowicz, senior automotive analyst for Global Insight: "Buying a used Camry or Accord isn't a great move - they hold value too well."
Your best deal: a car that isn't in great demand but gets good reliability ratings from J.D. Power & Associates, such as a 2005 Ford Focus (24 mpg city, 33 mpg highway) or Hyundai Elantra (25 mpg, 33 mpg).
Both sell for less than 60% of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), which seems an underestimation of their real value, considering their J.D. Power ratings.
NEXT: Function over form