Used cars are the way to go for most American buyers.
Around 40 million a year, in fact, considerably more than twice the number of new cars sold each year.
But picking out a good used vehicle is never easy if you want to buy one that’s reliable, affordable and equipped with up-to-date electronic and safety features. There are hundreds of models from which to choose each year. Go back 10 years and we’re talking about several thousand.
Add in your likely desire to avoid cars, trucks and SUVs that have been damaged in accidents or natural disasters and the process can feel overwhelming.
To help make your life (and shopping) a little easier, Consumer Reports (CR) has named 30 vehicles in nine categories – from subcompact to midsize/large cars costing less than $10,000 to sports cars, SUVs, wagons and pickups up to $30,000 – as its best used cars to buy in 2017.
“Buying a preowned car is more than just a great way to save money,” suggests CR’s Jon Linkov, “it could get you into a model that has safety and luxury features you couldn’t afford in a new car.”
The list of 30 is dominated by Toyota Motor Corp. products (Toyota and Lexus) with 17 vehicles among the 30 best used cars to buy, followed by Honda Motor Co. (Honda and Acura) with six vehicles. Other brands represented on the list and the number of vehicles CR ranked among the best used cars to buy are Buick and Subaru, two each, and Infiniti, Mazda and Pontiac, one each.
“These cars, SUVs and trucks performed well when new and have above-average reliability records,” said Linkov’s article 30 best used cars for under $30,000 online.
Following are the best used vehicles to buy according to category:
Subcompact cars – Honda Fit
Compact cars – Toyota Corolla, Matrix and Prius, and Pontiac Vibe
Large and midsized cars – Toyota Camry and Avalon, and Honda Accord
Luxury cars – Lexus CT, ES, GS, IS and LS; Acura TL and TSX, Buick Verano and Infiniti M
Sports cars – Mazda MX-5 Miata
Wagons – Toyota Prius V and Venza
Small SUVs – Subaru Forester and XV/Crosstrek, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Buick Encore
Midsize SUVs – Toyota Highlander and 4Runner, and Lexus RX
Pickup trucks – Toyota Tundra and Honda Ridgeline
CR rated used vehicles going back to 2007, when electronic stability control was available on all models, based on “years of test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses.”
Ten vehicles on CR’s list are available in broader price and model-year ranges than others.
While no vehicle qualified in all five price categories ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 in $5,000 increments, several made the cut in four of five: Toyota Prius and Camry, and Honda Accord, all available for under $10,000 to under $25,000, and Toyota Avalon, RAV4 and Highlander; Lexus ES and RX; Acura TL, and Honda CR-V, all available between $10,000 and $30,000.
Toyota’s Prius and Camry and Honda’s Accord and CR-V were the only models making CR’s best-used-cars list that were available in every year from 2007-2016.
Among the thousands of used-car choices, something here just may be in your car-buying sweet spot.