Consumer Alert: New and used car prices have spiked in Rochester; Here’s how to save

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Looking for an affordable new car? Good luck with that. I’ve been investigating car prices in Rochester and across the country. And it’s tough to find a car for less than $20,000. According to data from Kelly Blue Book, there’s only one new car that was selling for less than $20,000 in July, the Mitsubishi Mirage. Just five years ago there were a dozen cars you could get for less than $20K.

Take a look at data from a recent study of Rochester’s car market published by The following illustrates the used cars in our market with the highest increase in the average sales price.

Popular Cars With the Greatest Price Increases in Rochester, NY: 2019 vs. 2023 – iSeeCars Study
RankModelAvg. Price 2019Avg. Price 2023% Change in Price
1Toyota Camry$16,647$25,43852.8%
2Toyota Corolla$14,339$21,32648.7%
3Honda Accord$18,074$26,40246.1%
4Honda Civic$16,505$23,98045.3%
5Hyundai Elantra$13,124$18,31539.6%
Rochester, NY Average$22,072$31,29141.8%

And the study found the new car market is no better here in Rochester.  The average new car price is 7.6 percent above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.  The following is a list of cars priced the highest above MSRP in Rochester.  

New Cars Priced the Highest Above MSRP in Rochester, NY 
RankVehicle% Above MSRP$ Above MSRP 
1MINI Hardtop 2 Door29.3%$8,426
2Jeep Wrangler19.9%$8,504
3Nissan Frontier17.2%$6,513
4Chevrolet Colorado16.7%$5,879
5Ford Mustang Mach-E16.5%$8,946
Rochester, NY Average7.6%$2,909

If you need a new car right now, Karl Brauer, executive analyst for has some advice.

 “Be flexible. Flexibility and knowledge are your two assets when you’re trying to research your next car purchase,” said Brauer. “Be flexible in which cars and which areas you’re willing to go and get the car and be knowledgeable about what the price of those vehicles are before you ever leave your home. So when you go to the dealership, you don’t ever walk in not knowing what you should pay. You should know exactly what to pay before you get there.” 

Here’s Deanna’s Do List when buying your next car.

  • Use an auto loan calculator and work backward.  These calculators let you plug in the monthly payment you want to pay, length of the loan and interest rate.  That will give you a much better estimate of the price you need to stick to stay in budget. 
  • Search online outside our local market.
  • Get approved for financing before you hit the lot.

CNBC suggests that if you have a car in mind, ask the dealer to put the price in writing before you hit the door.  Refusal to do so is a red flag.  But the experts say if you can wait six months to a year, car prices and interest rates will likely come down and you can find a better deal.