Buying a used car can be tough, especially if you are not an automotive enthusiast who knows all the latest news and technical specifications of every car on the market. It's important to find a used car to fit your needs that has a good record of safety, reliability, and value. Cars on this list received a high rating on consumer information sites such as Buying Advice, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger, and Kelley Blue Book.
1. Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla is a top choice and comes in at number one on Buying Advice's list of best used small cars. The Corolla has a history of reliability with no known major mechanical issues other than typical wear and tear of any used car. They are also very fuel efficient, which makes the Corolla a good choice if you tend to commute long miles to work each day. They also are known to maintain their value well which makes buying one a smart financial decision.
2. Mazda 6
If you're looking for a sedan, Consumer Reports gives the Mazda 6 the top position on its list. This sporty sedan has a good history of reliability and safety, and it tests well in side, front and rollover crash tests. Newer models have made the Car and Driver top 10 lists, and the vehicle holds up well. It's also fuel efficient with an average EPA city/highway of 25 to 28/37 to 40 mpg.
3. Audi A6 Avant Wagon
U.S. News & World Report chooses the Audi A6 Avant Wagon as a great used car value in the wagon category. The vehicle has lots of space, which makes it a perfect used car for a family or someone who just needs a lot of cargo room without wanting to get a larger vehicle like a truck or SUV. It also has high safety ratings, which is an additional plus if you're looking for a car to transport the kids.
4. Toyota Prius
The best used hybrid vehicle choice according to Kiplinger is the Toyota Prius. The car has excellent gas mileage at city/highway 51/48. It's noted in the rating that the fears about hybrid batteries not lasting and needing expensive replacements are no longer valid after the many years of cars now on the market, and a used hybrid is now a wise economical choice.
5. Honda Fit
A list wouldn't be complete without a choice for a hatchback. The subcompact Honda Fit is an excellent choice and you can find a used model for $5,000 or less. Aside from strong reliability ratings, the interior set-up allows for more cargo space with a back seat that folds up.
6. Pontiac Vibe
Consumer Reports agrees a compact hatchback option you can't go wrong with is the Pontiac Vibe, which is also the "corporate twin" of the Toyota Matrix. The Pontiac is no longer in production, but used versions have good fuel economy and are reliable vehicles.
7. Honda CR-V
The number one small SUV for Buying Advice is the Honda CR-V. It has a history of reliability although some buyers have noticed a tendency for door locks to malfunction over time and a noisy ride. For a small SUV, there is a lot of interior space and the styling appears more akin to a large sporty car than a truck.
8. Lexus LX
If you prefer a larger size SUV, consider the Lexus LX recommended by U.S. News and Buying Advice. This luxury SUV has a stylish, upscale interior yet functions as a heavy-duty vehicle capable of off-roading with comparable lower-end SUVs.
9. Ford Mustang
Sports car buyers will like the Ford Mustang, U.S. News' choice for top used sports car under $20,000. The vehicle performs well in safety tests, and people like the roomy trunk space although the smaller back seat area may not be your speed if you need a roomy four-seater car.
10. Toyota Tundra
Consumer Reports and Buying Advice both highlight the Toyota Tundra in their lists of used pickup truck choices. In addition to having Toyota's overall reputation for reliability, the Tundra has a strong V8 engine and a comfortable in-cabin design for drivers and passengers.