New cars are going for far more than the MSRP these days due to a multitude of factors. If you are in the market to buy a car, used cars make much more sense right now. Another advantage of going for used cars instead of new ones is that these have a reputation in the market and you know what you are buying.
However, that is not to say that you should buy any used car-- here's some advice on the best used cars, trucks, and SUVs on the market.
If you are in the market for something that is a bit different from the usual mid-size crossover formula, the Terrain has something for you. The truck-like appearance of this SUV will help you stand out in a crowd of CR-Vs and RAV4s.
You can get your hands on one of these crossovers for between $20,000 and $30,000. The AWD version costs more, but if your use case includes going off the road, go for that one.
There's no way we could make a list of good used cars without including the Honda Civic. This one goes without saying. It is reliable as a Honda, as fuel-efficient as cars can get, and quite affordable.
You can get this car for $20,000 to $30,000 and it will make a great daily driver. The turbocharged 4-cylinder is a great engine, the seats are comfy, the trunk is large, and you can drive it for a couple hundred-thousand miles without needing any major repair.
Audi has made a reputation for making cars that outperform the competition by quite a margin. If you are looking for an entry-level luxury car with a budget of $25,000 to $40,000, 2017 to 2020 Audi A4 is the best option.
It comes with a choice of two engines, a 190-hp or a 252-hp 4-cylinder. The interior has all the small bits and pieces of comfort you'd expect from a luxury car and unlike other luxury cars, it's low-maintenance too.
There's no doubt that the crossover section is the most competitive portion of the automotive market in the US. The RAV4 holds the position of the best-selling crossover in the US, that too by a sufficient margin.
Powered by a 203-hp 2.5-L I4, and available as FWD or AWD, this Japanese crossover will cost you between $20,000 and $30,000. It is one of the most practical and affordable daily drivers on the market that you can use reliably every day.
The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US for a long time now. Yes, Ford sells more of these full-size trucks than any other crossover, SUV, sedan, or hatchback on the market.
You can get this truck with a diesel V6, a gas V6, or a gas V8. The F-150 is also very affordable. You can find a reasonable unit for just $25,000 and a very good one will still cost you under $50,000.
Honda Civic TypeR
For the ones who are looking to have some fun with their hatchback, there's no better option than the Civic TypeR, a.k.a the fastest front-wheel-drive vehicle around the Nurburgring. This 306-hp car does 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds.
To get that kind of performance, you'll have to spend between $40,000 and $50,000 for a well-kept unit of the TypeR but your money will be worth it. In addition to being fast and performance-oriented, the Civic still has usable rear seats, a large trunk, and Honda-grade reliability.
It's sleek, agile, powerful, refined, upscale, and faster than a Porsche Boxster S. The Z4 is an excellent choice if you want a car that can drive daily and hit the track on the weekends.
This German piece of automotive art will cost you between $20,000 and $60,000 depending on the model year and the miles the car has on it. The 2017 to 2020 models are the best ones in terms of reliability and maintenance costs.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
It's said that the Miata is always the answer. It is a rear-wheel-drive convertible with a rev-happy engine and no complications of any kind. All that and you just have to pay $20,000 to $25,000 for this gem of a car.
The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder has ample power to move this small car with thrilling acceleration and the manual transmission in this little sports car is one of the best ones on the market. The only thing lacking here is a limited-slip differential but you can't complain at this price point.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
There are hybrids and then there are reliable mid-size cars, the Camry provides the best of both worlds. It combines the fuel efficiency of a hybrid, the comfort and utility of a mid-size sedan with the reliability of Toyota.
You can get one of these for $20,000 to $30,000. The combination of a 4-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors makes for a quick and responsive drivetrain that also delivers a fuel economy of up to 45 mpg.
We'd forgive you for mistaking this car for a Civic because it looks a great deal like one. While many hybrids use bold exterior styling to tell they are working hard to save the planet, this one disguises a hybrid powertrain in a conventionally styled body.
The Insight will cost you between $10,000 and $25,000 for a nice used unit. The 151-hp powertrain is responsive and delivers excellent performance for this class of cars.
If lots of power and driving fun is what you look for in a car, the Challenger is the best option for you. These cars are made for one thing - speed. The good part about this car is you can get a more powerful one if you are willing to spend more.
Depending on the model year and the engine option, a used Dodge Challenger will set you back anywhere between $15,000 and $60,000.
Toyota Land Cruiser
It's reliable, it's sturdy, it's capable, and it has seven seats. The Land Cruiser has always been among the most complete SUVs available anywhere in the world. This is the kind of car that you can drive indefinitely with minimal maintenance.
Even though you can find the older models for as low as $15,000, they lack the comforts and modern technologies we are used to in cars. Expect to pay between $40,000 and $60,000 for a nice unit.
The folks who want the capabilities of a full-size truck in a mid-size package have to look no further than the Canyon. The combination of sturdy body-on-frame construction, a potent V6 powerplant, and 31-inch wheels with all-terrain tires make it a formidable truck that looks classy and mature.
You can find older models of the Canyon going for as low as $5,000 but if you want a tension-free ride for the next decade, expect to pay in the range of $30,000 for a well-kept low-mileage unit.
The Mazda 3 is available as a sedan as well as a hatchback option. This nicely aging Mazda offers reliable daily driving with a bit of fun, a little bit. The base model comes with a 155-hp engine but a 184-hp option is also available.
The Mazda 3 is quite affordable too. You can easily find a good unit for sale at just $15,000 while newer ones go for as high as $25,000.
The Gladiator might be new to the already saturated world of pickup trucks, but it did succeed to make a place and name for itself in the market. This rugged and boxy truck comes with a gas or diesel V6 motor and is available with manual as well as automatic transmission.
As the Gladiator is not very old, you won't find a very cheap one on the used car market. These things cost in the range of $40,000 to $50,000.
Ford Mustang Convertible
The Mustang has always been one of America's favorite sports cars since it came out in 1964. If you are looking for a fun-to-drive car that doesn't burn a hole in the bank, the Mustang convertible is a nice option.
You can get your hands on one of these for between $15,000 and $35,000 depending on the model year and the condition of the car. The Mustang is available with a V-8, with a maximum of 480 horsepower.
This compact crossover from Ford is not very spacious, fuel-efficient, or cargo-friendly, but there's one thing about it that makes it shine bright in the endless list of compact crossovers available in the market; it is fun to drive.
The small form factor of the Escape makes it easy to pilot on narrow roads and the combination of lightweight construction and capable engines makes it agile off the road. It ain't expensive either. You can find an acceptable unit for as low as $10,000 and well-kept ones cost just under $25,000.
An affordable EV with a good driving range, acceptable acceleration, and spacious cabin, the Bolt EV is a great choice for anyone looking for an eco-friendly mode of transportation. It has plenty of power and nimble handling, to top that all off, you'll no longer have to pay for gas.
These things go for roughly $20,000 to $30,000 for well-kept units depending on the model year. Do not expect an upscale cabin at this price point from this car.
There are not many cars that have such a perfect balance of composed driving, adequate power, and practicality while still being a sports car. The Camaro has always been regarded as a budget luxury sports car.
Costing between $20,000 and $40,000, this American tarmac shredder comes with an optional 6.2L V8 good for 455 hp, without having to have any forced induction, so no more turbo lag. The rest of the car also has a track-focused design but with due consideration to practicality and comfort.
The BRZ delivers sports car driving dynamics and agility with the practicality of a daily driver in an affordable package. However, if you are looking for crazy performance numbers or exclusivity, look elsewhere!
A well-kept BRZ would set you back in the range of $20,000 to $30,000. What you get for that money is a 228-hp rear-wheel-drive car with an LSD and 4 seats. It is basically the same car as the Toyota 86 as the two are co-developed by Toyota and Subaru.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
This German Convertible looks way more expensive than the $30,000 to $45,000 price tag for a reasonably used unit. It is one of the few convertibles in the market that has 4 usable seats. That makes this car viable for family commute while still being a convertible, luxurious one.
The performance is not undermined either. The turbocharged 6-cylinder motor produces 362 horsepower and this car is available with RWD or Mercedes' state-of-the-art 4MATIC AWD.
Audi A5 Cabriolet
Audi 5 series offers two cabriolet options, derived from the Audi A5 coupe. The cheaper, A5 Cabriolet, comes with a turbo 4-cylinder good for 190 horsepower, while the more expensive S5 has a turbo V6 with 354 horsepower. Both have a pinned-down chassis and room for 4, not much luggage though.
Talking of the price, you can get an A5 cabriolet for as low as $14,000, but a car in reasonable shape will come at around $30,000. The S5 comes at a much higher price of at least $20,000 for an old model year and newer ones bringing as much as $60,000.
This is the definition of an affordable sports car. It has 228 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated flat-4, rear-wheel-drive, and a limited-slip differential, all while having four seats. The rear seats are not usable by any adult of reasonable size though.
You can get one of these for just under $30,000. The car you'll get for that price is said to have the most well-tuned chassis of any sports car on the market by many automotive journalists.
The Colorado is an attractive mid-size truck option if you want to buy American. This truck is available with a 200 hp 4-cylinder or a 308 V6. The latter gives it enough power to tow up to 7,700 lbs and be unstoppable off-road. The interior is also quite welcoming and comfortable.
If you are in the market for this impressive Chevy Truck, be prepared to pay between $15,000 to $35,000 for one.
There is no shortage of options in the mid-size truck category but the Tacoma comes with Toyota's heritage and is built on the lessons learned from the Land Cruiser, Hilux, and Highlander.
The base model 2.7L 4-Cylinder Tacoma might not be very exciting but the V-6 powered one with 4WD is an immensely capable off-road truck. You can buy a single-cab Tacoma with the base engine for as low as $18,000, but a fully-loaded double-cab will cost around $35,000.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
The 2017 to 2020 VW Golf GTI is one of the best cars if you are looking to buy a used one. You can get a good one for anywhere between $18,000 and $40,000.
It comes with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, that is not very fun to drive, strictly speaking, but delivers ample power for everyday driving, anywhere in the rev range. The Golf GTI is reliable, affordable to maintain, and an overall good car for day-to-day driving.
An inexpensive project car for the people who like getting a little greasy to shape their own speed machine, this highly customizable Japanese dart of a car has become a cultural icon in the car community.
Even if you don't want to customize it, this Z comes with a 350 hp V6 and RWD. Don't expect GT-R level performance from this $18,000 to $35,000 car. It also has two seats so if your family is more than two, it can't be your primary daily driver.
The CR-V might be small but it offers a great combination of impressive fuel consumption, high-tech equipment, and spacious cargo hold. It comes with a small but powerful 1.5L inter-cooled turbo 4-cylinder with 190 hp. That, coupled with a CVT, makes this car highly fuel-efficient, a bit sluggish though.
This mild off-road capable family hauler from Japan will cost you between $20,000 and $35,000 depending on the condition of the unit you are buying.
The Swedish automaker Volvo has earned itself a reputation as an affordable luxury car company. The S60 is a mid-size luxury car that offers attractive styling, engaging driving response, and high-tech features. If the base 250-hp family sedan doesn't excite you, a 415-hp option is also on the table.
Talking of the price, the S60 costs between $15,000 to $40,000. The best option, if you want to buy this car, are the 2017 to 2018 model year ones.
If you are in the market for the most affordable car that can take you from point A to point B without any problem, look no further. The Yaris can be yours for anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
Don't expect crazy tire-smoking performance from the 106-hp 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, but the suspension is soft, the interior is surprisingly nice, and the small size makes this car quite easy to drive in city traffic. As it is a Toyota, reliability is not an issue and maintenance is affordable.
The Ford Fusion is a lot of things in one package. It can fill the roles of a budget family car, a disguised sports sedan, an entry-level executive salon, and an efficient hybrid daily driver. It is available with a 175-hp, a 181-hp, or a 325-hp powertrain.
You can find a Fusion for as low as $15,000 but the higher-end models with low mileage can cost as much as $25,000. Considering the specification and performance of this car, that's a great price.
The Hyundai Veloster is a hot-hatch that provides a practical way of transportation to enthusiasts. Its base model comes with a 136-hp gas motor, while a 201-hp option is also available. Though it is an FWD car, it doesn't let you feel that because of its excellently balanced chassis.
This inexpensive Korean hot-hatch can be yours for as low as $12,000 for a good unit. The top-of-the-line version is also quite affordable, going for around $25,000.
Hyundai's luxury division has made the G70 to target two groups of very keen car buyers, luxury aficionados, and driving enthusiasts. Surprisingly, this sporty executive car delivers well on both fronts. An option of a 252 or a 365 hp engine and an upscale interior help the car shine.
Those qualities don't come cheap though. This mid-level luxury car will cost you in the range of $30,000 to $45,000 for a well-kept unit.
If you want the features and styling of the Stinger sedan from Kia, but on a limited budget, the Forte with a price range of $12,000 to $25,000 is a nice option. However, that price won't get you the performance the Stinger sedan is known for.
The base model Forte is motivated by a 147-hp 4-cylinder while a more powerful 201-hp GT trim is also available. The standard transmission on this car is a CVT but a manual is also available with the more powerful engine.
Who doesn't like a Prius? Maybe drag racers. If you want a car that can take you anywhere with a paved road with the lowest expenditure, this hybrid from Toyota is the best option.
The combination of three motors and a 4-cylinder gas engine make up for up to 58 mpg fuel economy. The interior is cozy and welcoming, and it comes with a 10-year battery warranty which will give you peace of mind if you buy this car. You can buy one of these for $17,000 to $35,000.
The Sonata comes with impressive styling, the latest tech features, and a choice of three different powertrains. You can go with a gas-only, a hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid. Its driving is not really engaging, but the Sonata makes a good family car for a comfortable commute.
This Korean car can be found for sale for $10,000 for older models, while a newer model year can cost up to $30,000. The models from 2018 onwards are the best in terms of reliability.
The Optima is an affordable option that comes with a handsome exterior, a choice of four powertrains, the latest active safety features, and a comfortable ride. The base model Optima comes with a 171-hp engine but you do have the option to upgrade to a 185-hp or a 245-hp option.
The selling point of the Optima is its price. This Korean compact car will cost you between just $15,000 and $20,000 for a reasonable unit.
Even though the Stinger costs between $24,000 to $40,000, it is a reasonable price given the sporty driving dynamics, roomy interior, large cargo hold, and high-tech features of this car. This entry-level luxury performance sedan rivals the likes of BMW 3-series and Audi A5.
The base model has a 255-hp 4-cylinder that powers the rear wheels, while the top-of-the-line GTS AWD comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.3L V6. Both engines are coupled to a very well-managed eight-speed automatic transmission.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
The Giulia, with its well-tuned chassis, potent turbocharged engine, adaptive suspension, responsive steering, and excellent brakes is a joy to drive. That all comes with a lot of luxury features, because it's an Alfa Romeo, after all.
The turbo 4-cylinder doesn't only make 280-hp but also sounds great while it's at it. The automatic transmission in this car is tuned to provide accurate shifts, especially in aggressive driving. Used units of this car will cost you between $20,000 and $35,000.
Tesla Model 3
No one knows how to make electric cars better than Tesla. The Model 3 might not be the most powerful or the fastest Tesla out there but it is still a very good car. In the words of Elon Musk, "they don't make slow cars at Tesla."
Build quality isn't great, as with most Tesla models, but the Model 3 is a super-stylish EV with sufficient range for reasonable day-to-day use and absolutely minimum carbon footprint.