Buyers Guide

The Best Used SUVs, Sedans, and Small Cars to Buy


Buying a used car opens up new realms of possibilities. New cars that were out of range are now within reach. Young drivers that need practice can find something cheap that can serve them well for a few years. And, car enthusiasts can get second or third vehicles to tinker with. Let’s take a look at the best used cars across categories and budgets.

Under $10,000

For very little money, you can get an agile, fun to drive Mazda3 (2011-2014). This model even has ESC as standard. Or you could look at the Nissan Leaf EV (2011-2013, 2015) that offers a range of 75 miles on a full charge. Other cars in the same budget include the Honda Fit (2011-2013), Toyota Prius C (2012-2014), Toyota Corolla (2010-2014), and the sporty and reliable Mazda 6 (2010). You can even find 2010 or 2011 luxury cars like Acura TL and TSX or Lexus CT200h or ES. The large Toyota Venza or the small RAV4, both from 2010 or 2011, also fall within this range. You may even find a Mazda MX-5 Miata (2011-2012).

$10,000 – $15,000

This budget opens up some newer models for consideration. There’s the subcompact efficient and reliable Honda Fit (2016-2017), the compact and dependable Toyota Corolla (2015-2017), and three to four-year-old models of the Mazda 3, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius. Newer versions of the cars listed above are also available. Other good examples are the Toyota Camry, Volvo XC70 (2013), Mazda CX5 (2013-2015), and Lexus RX (2010-2011).

$15,000 – $20,000

In addition to newer versions of the cars already listed above, you can find the smart BMW i3 (2017), Lexus GS (2013), Lexus IS (2014), and Lexus LS (2012). The Toyota Prius V (2016), Volvo XC70 (2015), Nissan Rogue Sport (2017-2019), can also be found along with the big Toyota 4Runner SUV (2010-2012) and Lexus RX (2012-2014).

$20,000 – $25,000

As always, you can get newer versions of cars from the above budget ranges. Additionally, you can find the Toyota Prius Prime (2017-2018), Toyota Avalon (2017-2019), and the flagship Lexus LS (2013).

$25,000 – $30,000

New additions include the Audi Q3 (2017-2018) and Lexus RX (2016).

Step-By-Step Used Car Buyer’s Guide

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