This absolutely bonkers car market has brought on almost comical markups on all kinds of new and used cars. Here’s a particularly egregious one: CarMax wants to sell you a used 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer ES for $29,998 — or $8,188 more than what this 31,000-mile car stickered for when it was brand-new.
Our friends over at The Drive found this bewildering listing and I’m still in shock. My colleagues in Slack have called it one of the worst car deals in the world. And CarMax will probably get that price, too.
Mitsubishi ended production of the Lancer in August 2017. The humble sedan reached the end of the road for the same reason so many others did: dwindling interest in sedans. Mitsubishi North America executive Don Swearingen told the media at the time that the Lancer had to go because the company had to focus on profitable vehicles.
Even though the Lancer is gone it remains a decent option on the used market for people looking for a basic sedan. Many enthusiasts will remember the Lancer Evolution X with its incredible rally-inspired performance, but the regular Lancer is worth considering. This is a sedan rated at up to 34 mpg highway, and it was available with all-wheel-drive, a rarity in its segment. Even in today’s nutty market, you can find examples with less than 100,000 miles for under $10,000.
That’s what makes this CarMax listing so stunning. And The Drive confirmed with CarMax that the price wasn’t a typo. CarMax wants $29,998 for this. So, what does this price get you?
The ES is the base-model Lancer; when new, in 2017, it had a starting price of $17,795. That got you a 148 hp 2.0-liter inline-four driving the front wheels. There wasn’t a whole ton in the way of features: a back-up camera, automatic climate control, and power windows were the top-line items.
This particular Lancer does have a couple of neat options. Under the hood is the larger 2.4-liter four making 168 hp. This one also has Mitsubishi’s All Wheel Control AWD system. Weirdly, CarMax’s listing for this car erroneously says that it has the 2.0-liter engine, but that engine was never offered with all-wheel drive.
Here’s the absurd part: The Drive dug up the actual Monroney sticker from when this exact car was new, and in 2017, this car’s MSRP was just $21,810. Via a title search, The Drive found out that the original buyer paid roughly $24,000 for this car. Factoring in tax, title, registration and other fees, the first owner seems to have paid close to sticker.
But now, after five years and 31,000 miles, this base-trim car has somehow appreciated in value. And just to throw another curveball at you, CarMax currently has a bunch of other Lancers for sale, many of them with similar equipment and mileage around 30,000. All of them are priced far cheaper than this one.
As always, it pays to shop around. One thing’s for sure: You can definitely find a better deal than this CarMax listing if you’re desperate to buy a 5-year-old Lancer.