Best Reliable Used Cars To Buy
Here are our safe and reliable used-car choices for around $15,000, listed by type. Of note, our listed EPA mileage comes after revisions the agency issued in early 2016 that may affect stated mileage as far back as 2011. As such, figures on certain older cars below may not align with the original window-sticker mileage.
best reliable used cars to buy
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.
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.
There are many decisions that go into the purchase of a used car. It needs to fit your needs, budget and style, while being affordable to insure. You also want a ride that's reliable, so you can enjoy years of trouble-free service and not get stranded alongside the road.
An excellent way to compare the dependability of used cars is with our predicted reliability scores, which are based on research from our partners at J.D. Power. On the following pages, we show 19 of the most reliable cars you can buy, based on those marks. Ties are broken by a vehicle's U.S. News overall score, which is formed by the consensus opinion of the country's top automotive journalists, blended with quantitative data about each car's safety, reliability and cost of ownership.
The 2020 BMW X6 has a great predicted reliability score of 90 out of 100, placing it among the most reliable used vehicles you can buy. That means it's less likely than most peers to need expensive repairs as it ages.
Searching for the best used cars can be difficult because there is such a wide range of options available to you and you never know what you are going to run into. While things like maintenance, mileage, and weather can play a big part in the condition of a car, reliability is an incredibly important consideration.
When thinking about reliable used cars, the Toyota Camry is most likely the first car that comes to mind. With an available 2.5-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V-6 engine that can be all-gas or hybridized, you have so many options when choosing your particular configuration for this family sedan.
Honda is another automaker that is well-known for making some of the best cars on the market when it comes to reliability. The Honda Civic is offered as a coupe, sedan, and hatchback and has a wide variety of engine options. All of them, though, are known for being fuel-efficient and practical.
With a sporty look and a tuned suspension, it offers the best of all worlds. The 2017 Altima is one of the most reliable model years for this car with an above-average rating of 3.5 out of 5. If you need a sporty feel without the lack of space that comes with convertibles or luxury cars, it could be a great option.
While the word reliability usually brings about images of practical economy cars, there is still some room for fun in the world of dependability. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a fantastic example. This sporty convertible has been an affordable, practical car for people who like a little bit of excitement with their reliable automobile.
The Toyota Corolla has been an affordable, reliable vehicle in the United States since 1968. In the years that followed, it has become the best-selling car of all time, due in no small part to its high MPG, surprisingly roomy cabin, and dependability. The vehicle history of the Corolla is packed with reliable model years but 2019 was a particularly well-made time for this economy sedan.
The 2016 Toyota Prius is one of the most reliable hybrids of all time with a J.D. Power reliability rating of five out of five. With this kind of quality, you can be sure that your hybrid will give you years of money-saving service without the problems you might expect from other economy cars.
Buying a used car can be difficult since the market is so oversaturated and you never know what kind of problems you are going to run into. Knowing how used cars score on reliability ratings is a great place to start since you can find out what kind of service you can expect and how long a vehicle will potentially last once you purchase it. By understanding what some of the most reliable used cars on the market have to offer, you can drive away with the confidence you need.
In 2022, however, there may not be many "cheap" cars to speak of. As of this writing, we're facing a shortage of used cars, which has caused their market value to spike to record highs. This makes choosing the right used-car retailer even more critical, as a mistake has never been costlier. You may also need to expand your search further to find a car online or at a brick-and-mortar car dealer.
Remember that you may find used cars for sale that are under recall and not yet repaired: It's not illegal for sellers to offer such cars. Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recall site so you'll know whether you're about to buy a car that you'll then need to take in for the free recall repair.
Use this list as a quick reference guide to point you toward the best place to buy a used car. Each used-car retailer has advantages and disadvantages, so depending on your priority (price? selection? warranty?), several outlets may fit your needs.
Buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) car is a convenient way to find a used car, SUV or truck in excellent condition. CPO vehicles, which are sold from dealerships of the same brand, go through extensive inspections and are reconditioned with factory parts. They also come with the best warranties. General Motors, for example, offers a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on all of its CPO cars. Our certified program comparison tool can help you see the differences in coverage. But just because they come with warranties doesn't mean they are exactly like new cars. Read "Certified Pre-Owned Cars: A Reality Check" to see what expectations you should have for a CPO car.
The coverage and convenience of a CPO car come at a price. CPO cars are typically the most expensive used-car option. Edmunds data indicates that consumers will pay on average a 6% to 8% premium for a 3-year-old CPO vehicle. One alternative might be to find a car from a private seller that is new enough to still be under warranty.
The remaining used-car inventory falls under this category. These cars don't typically get the same attention that a CPO car would receive but are still given a reasonable inspection. Any major issues are usually fixed before the car is put up for sale. Since dealerships accept trade-ins on a daily basis, you'll have an easy time finding these used cars at a dealer. Most dealership websites should include a link to a free Carfax or AutoCheck report, so make sure to take advantage of that and learn about the vehicle's history.
Some independent used-car lots may specialize in a certain type of car, which can make your selection process easier if you have that type in mind. For example, one place might focus on European luxury makes, while another might specialize in classic cars.
CarMax is technically an independent used-car dealer. But with upwards of 200 stores nationwide, it is the largest used-car seller in the country. You'll find a wide array of late-model cars in a variety of body styles.
Shopping for a car in the private-party market offers a varied selection and a potential opportunity to get the best price, though you sacrifice the convenience of seeing many cars side by side, as you do at dealer lots. Negotiating with a private-party seller is usually much easier than negotiating with a salesperson at a dealership since most car owners haven't received formal sales training. There are many ways to find private-party vehicles. Some of the more popular places to go on the web are Autotrader, Craigslist, CarGurus and eBay Motors.
There may be good used-car candidates on these sites, but you'll have to sift through a number of listings to find one. This is where you'll likely find the lowest prices, but the condition levels of the cars can vary wildly. Many of the car photos you'll see are just plain bad. Some listings have no photos at all. Information on the cars tends to be limited, and you may have to contact the seller to get a VIN, which is what you need to run a vehicle history report. It's not uncommon to encounter cars that have salvage titles, meaning they've likely been in a serious accident. You'll sometimes run across unlicensed car salespeople pretending to be everyday owners. And then there are ads placed by scammers for cars that don't actually exist.
With the correct amount of regular maintenance, a Honda engine can run for a minimum of 300,000 miles. This is obviously a massive factor for Accord owners who want their car for the long haul, but what else makes the 2015 model one of the most reliable used sedans?
When it comes to dependability, this Camry comes out swinging with a J.D Power reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5. The 2018 model delivers a reworked suspension system and souped-up engine making for a smoother and safer ride. The safety features of this vehicle are impressive. Smart Stop Technology, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, and Toyota Safety Sense top the list. The latter boasts features that alert the driver before a possible collision and when they drift into another lane. The combination of power (3.5L V6 on higher trim levels) and safety make this Camry a versatile choice and one of the most reliable used sedans available.
We looked into price, reliability, features, and more to create this list of the best used SUVs under $10k on the market today. Take a look - some of the best used SUVs have gone mostly overlooked or forgotten.
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