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Oliver Walker
Oliver Walker

Top 10 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 10 used cars to buy

"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."

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.

Due to the nature of the vehicles they sell, car sites that sell classic cars or cars from certain eras charge more, typically around $89 and higher. Auction sites will also take a commission fee which can start at 4.5% of the sales price.

A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.

On average, the price of a new vehicle hovers around $35,000 but you can get a high-quality used vehicle for much less. According to Kelley Blue Book, you can snag a 2016 Honda Accord for less than $20,000 and the car will depreciate slower than the competition.

When it comes to subcompact cars, the Honda Fit is a standout, according to Consumer Reports. The 2013 model is not only fuel-efficient, it has a flexible interior which makes it a solid, practical choice.

Looking for a smaller vehicle with manual transmission? CarMax ranks the Mini Cooper as one of the best used cars in the category for stick-shift drivers. You can easily find a used model for less than $14,000.

Whatever your reason for choosing used rather than new, we have the best advice for you. First off, read on for our pick of the best used cars available now. We cover everything from sensible secondhand family cars to exciting modern classics.

The Skoda Yeti was the perfect family SUV long before they became as popular as they are today. It may have been off-sale now for some time now, but the continued popularity of these excellent ruggedised family cars proves that they were really on to something with this one.

The Niro is good news for buyers looking to go green, too, as there are both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions to go for. This, allied with the excellent fuel consumption and low running costs, make the Niro a very sensible and satidsfying used car choice.

Parkers is dedicated to helping you find the best cars at the best prices, no matter how old they are. We're obsessed with finding the best deals on second hand cars - and our Parkers Best Used Cars articles and reviews are designed to highlight the most suitable cars in each class.

At CARFAX, we collect events from the lives of millions of used cars from 20 European countries, as well as the USA and Canada. We can then create a vehicle history for every car in our database and make it available to you.The information helps you to check sales data, avoid expensive follow-up costs and negotiate a fair purchase price.

The all-wheel-drive Outback is a rugged, high-mileage workhorse of a car that can be relied on to continue to provide a low-maintenance, low-cost of ownership experience even when buying a used model from upwards of a dozen years ago. Subarus are often considered good values both used and new.

Thanks to a generous five-year, 60,000-mile warranty, many used Hyundais may still be covered when they hit the used car market. Add to that the extra benefit of a used sticker price about $10,000 less than the original cost for a three-year-old Sonata and you have one of the best used car deals available. You may need an affordable used car in a hurry if you see one of these 14 signs that your car is about to die.

They are almost too cute and have European style to spare, but the reliability of Mini models pretty much across the board, from the Roadster to the Clubman and including the classic Mini Cooper itself, drags down their value in the used car market. You will end up paying too much at the repair shop for this one.

Quite literally a light car, with a kerb weight that sits below 900kg, the Mirage has long been able to make do with small and very economical engines that would struggle to get heavier cars up a hill.

It is also clear that no car that could be this popular for this long is going to carry a reputation as being unreliable, because that would kill sales. The Mazda3 is pretty much a rock-solid option as a used-car buy.

Honda has also just become less visible as a brand in this country, a move that you can track by thinking about a car like the Honda Accord, which also used to be very common and is now far more rarely seen. The Civic lives on, although more modern versions can be a little bit challenging on the eye, so going for a good, well looked after older model could be a wise choice.

In the case of cars like the Outback, they can also be surprisingly rugged, their all-wheel-drive set-up makes them feel planted and safe on unsealed roads, and provides excellent grip in the wet, even on sealed surfaces. The one letdown of Subarus, of course, is that they tend to look about as attractive as someone who cares not one jot what other people think about them.

Our recommendations include two tiers of used vehicles, Best Choices and slightly more affordable Good Choices. Starting prices for recommended used models range from about $6,000 to nearly $20,000. A separate list of new vehicles for teens offers an even higher level of safety. 041b061a72


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