How To Shrink An SUV
Just use it. Resale values for big SUVs are shriveling, while pre-owned compacts (yes, compacts) are up.
By Lawrence Ulrich

(MONEY Magazine) – Soaring gas prices and a glut of hulking models have hammered the market for full-size SUVs--new and old. But while resale prices for these SUVs have tanked, prices of used compacts have gone up. During 2004, the average wholesale price for three-year-old compacts jumped nearly 16%, while prices for full-size SUVs of the same vintage fell 9%. Industry analysts use three-year-old rides as a benchmark for the whole used-car market. Early in 2004, a typical 2001 model Honda Civic fetched $8,000; today a three-year-old Civic (a 2002 model) brings closer to $9,200. Ditto the Toyota Corolla, whose trade-in value after three years jumped from $6,650 to $7,200.

The price surge for used small cars should continue as high-status models from BMW and Audi debut and eventually hit the resale market. Buyers aren't sick of all SUVs, however. They've cooled on truck-based bruisers like the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition, but crossovers (car-based SUVs, especially imports like the BMW X5 and Honda Pilot) have been hot sellers. --LAWRENCE ULRICH


Used-car buyers are digging on compacts. SUVs ? Eh, not so much.


-9% SUVs

NOTE: Average price change for three-year-old models in 2004. SOURCE: