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Emmanuel Sitnikov
Emmanuel Sitnikov

Top 20 Used Cars To Buy

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, a recent iSeeCars study analyzed more than 2 million cars to see which used models are priced the lowest and offer the longest remaining lifespan.

top 20 used cars to buy

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"Don't be afraid of the 100,000-mileage marker on your odometer," Drury said. "100,000 is not the mileage threshold it used to be," he added. "Vehicle durability has improved dramatically over the last decade."

When you have to stick to a budget, buying a used car is the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck. Used cars can give you many of the same features that are available on newer models, but at a far lower price.

Small CarsMazda3 2020Toyota Corolla Hybrid 2020The 3 is the sportier choice among compact cars, but also has an elegant and quiet interior, along with a refined ride. Corolla Hybrid returned an impressive 48 mpg overall. Ride comfort is commendable, and FCW and AEB are standard, a rarity in the class.

There are a lot of things you need to check when shopping for a used car. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Keith Barry explains how to evaluate a pre-owned vehicle and negotiate with the dealership to get the best possible deal.

Happily, the skyward rush of used car prices spurred by the pandemic has finally started to ease. In November, ADESA auctions chief economist Tom Kontos noted that used-vehicle wholesale prices had fallen by 17.5% from their seasonal peak in May and that they had fallen year-over-year for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. This month, used-vehicle retailer CoPilot noted that retail prices of 4- to 7-year old cars are down 13% from January 2022, and cars 8 to 13 years old are down a similar amount from April.

To meet our criteria, cars had to be newer than the 2008 model year and commonly available nationwide for under $15,000. We prioritized newer cars, reliability scores, low costs of ownership and the likelihood of being able to find a vehicle with a meaningful warranty. We also balanced these priorities against available safety and convenience features, style and performance.

Why we picked it: For $15,000 you can find even better deals on the 2011 to 2015 ninth-generation Civic, featured on our $10,000 used car list, but you can also buy clean examples of the much-improved tenth-generation model, introduced in 2016. A return to form for the Civic, the tenth-gen is peppy, fun to drive and reliable as ever, but not offered as a Hybrid.

Though 2018 and newer models, and Type R and Si models, will cost more than $15,000 in good condition, the earlier Civic sedan, hatch and coupe from this generation are excellent used car buys. Some models can also be found with 7-inch infotainment screens and safety systems like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings and forward automatic emergency braking. Most of these affordable Civics are powered by a 158-horsepower 1.5-liter engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, but a few have manuals.

The iA/Yaris is powered by a 106-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and comes in automatic or manual-transmission form. A 7-inch infotainment screen and low-speed automatic emergency braking come standard. Many clean examples, including CPO cars, can be found for $15,000.

Most versions came with a 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine, mated to either a manual or automatic transmission, though the higher-performance GTI is out of this price range. The e-Golf came only as a five-door hatch, but offers both good reliability and performance if you can live within its 83-mile range. A variety of active safety features were optional, though they may raise the price of used units.

To determine our list of the best vehicles under $15,000, we cross-referenced a broad range of reliability and quality scores, evaluations by vehicle testers, thousands of long-term reports and reviews from owners and factored in our own long-term experiences with these vehicles as new and used cars. In addition to these criteria, the vehicle had to have average transaction prices under or near $15,000, be manufactured after 2008, and be easy for shoppers to find irrespective of their region or city.

Many of the models featured in our list of the best $10,000 used cars are available in even better condition for $15,000, and the Honda Fit, Toyota Avalon, and 2010 to 2014 Honda Insight nearly reappeared on this list. We recommend looking at those entries for shoppers on a budget.

We focused specifically on providing maximum value and reliability for the price, prioritizing models which are known for durability and low cost of operation, but also tried hard to provide a variety of models to suit different tastes.

New cars do come with comprehensive warranties, but they lose 10% of their value in the first month of ownership, and up to 60% of their purchase price within five years of ownership, Covid-19-distorted used car values notwithstanding. By opting to buy used you trade the security of a warranty for more car and skip the worst parts of that depreciation cycle. The effects of Covid-19 have put used car values out of whack, but for cars more than three or four years old, depreciation is still a major factor.

The good news is that cars are more reliable than ever, and have warranties longer than ever, so even some four or five-year-old vehicles may still have some factory warranty left or qualify for extensions.

Both matter, but how a vehicle has been maintained matters more. For cars only three to five years old, mileage is more of a factor, but we recommend avoiding cars with unnaturally high mileages, such as a 150,000-mile 2019 model.

Buying a used car is a terrific way to save money. It makes it a lot easier to get the right car for you and your family while working within a budget. Which cars, trucks and SUVs stand the test of time? Which vehicles offer the best value for the money? We have done the research and have gathered lists of the used vehicles that are easy to recommend. If you want to see our recommendations for new cars, check out our collection of the best new cars.

The days of strictly local car-buying seem as distant as $2-a-gallon gas. Today, used-car buyers can easily access millions of vehicles from Maine to California. All of which are a few clicks away on the Internet or a phone call away from a pre-sale inspection and a hauler that will bring that dream car right to your door. But some areas of the country are better than others at offering used cars that are worth the effort to go out of state.

Lakeland, in particular, used to be my favorite place to buy four-wheel-drive vehicles that could be sold for more money up north in the New York area. Although used rental cars are always in Orlando thanks to tourism, garaged, retiree-owned vehicles make Florida a great place to shop for a modern classic. Many online sellers specializing in older, low-mileage cars and trucks intentionally make Florida their home, too.

For used-car buyers, though, there's still hope. It's often in their best interest to find a car they can depend on. In most cases, they may not even have the best options. Maybe a lot of the cars posted for sale have 100,000 miles or more. In reality, there are plenty of cars with those many miles that owners can trust. Some will even give them another 100,000 miles on top of what they already have before they finally call it quits. The following cars not only have a reputation for going the distance but have what it takes to give owners security with their purchase.

For those perusing the used SUVs who want something that'll last long, they're safe checking out the RX 350s. Even more, this crossover comes loaded with plenty of comfortable options, depending on what's available.

Standing out from the rest is the fact that recent generations can do 52 mpg, according to Consumer Reports. For those looking at used ones of older models, they can still expect an impressive 44 mpg. Although it's not the most comfortable ride around, it's sure to save owners on gas expenses for many years to come.

The Japanese automaker has a reputation for building durable cars that last long. The Honda Accord is a midsize sedan that supports the company's commonly held opinion about the brand. It's worth mentioning, as Autobytel notes, there's also a coupe edition available as well. With a six-speed transmission option, it even appeals to those who want more power.

When it comes to sports cars, there are few as long-lasting as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This may come as something of a contradiction, considering plenty of owners are likely to drive recklessly behind the wheel of one of these, though for those who take extra care and perform regular maintenance, it wouldn't be surprising to find it still running with few issues.

As Carfax reports, used models are also affordable, which makes it tempting even for those with 100,000 miles already. Also in owners' favor is the fact that parts come easy at an affordable price, making it easier to maintain throughout the years.

Nissan may not have a history of making reliable cars, but consider the Nissan Maxima an exception to the rule. According to U.S. News, in the category of reliability, it nearly received a "Better Than Most" rating. Not only does it last owners a long time, but it's also a nice-looking car.

When compared with some of its competitors, like the Ford Explorer and the Hyundai Santa Fe, there are differences regarding performance and aesthetics. Though in the realm of reliability, it's head and shoulders above many other SUVs out there. It's also worth noting that NHTSA bestowed it with five stars for safety, which makes it more appealing, even for a used vehicle.

The CR-V is not only one of Honda's best-selling cars but also a bestseller in the U.S., period. It's also got some decent power thanks to its 2.4-liter engine that can deliver a worthy 184 hp, according to Consumer Reports. Not only can it appeal to aspiring speed freaks, but it also runs quietly, which is a welcome feature. 041b061a72


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