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Consumer Reports Best Used SUVs, Sedans, Small Cars, and Trucks Guide for Shoppers

Consumer Reports lists the top used car and truck models over the past 10 years ranging in price from below $10,000 up to $40,000 that includes the recommended model years you should be looking at.

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Saving Money by Buying Used

The best way to save money when buying a car is to forget about worrying how you are going to pay off today’s average price tag of $48,000 for a new car and start focusing on significantly less expensive used car models that have proven reliability over the past 10 years.

How much savings? A recent Consumer Reports newsletter alerts car shoppers to the fact that you can still buy a good used car for under $10,000 that is no older than a 2014 model.

Better yet, however, depending on your budget and your needs, that range in price and model year is much broader with their recently recommended listing of models they found remarkably reliable---as long as they have been reasonably maintained---that span from 2014 to 2023 and ranges in price from less than $10,000 up to $40,000.

About Their New Used Car Guide

In their new guide to help shoppers find a good used car, CR analysts delved into their customer survey data and found a number of makes and models that, “…performed well in CR’s road tests when they were new and had consistent above-average reliability for multiple years, according to our surveys of CR members. Even among the used cars we recommend, there can be stinkers because of a bad day at the factory or a neglectful owner who didn’t keep up with the required maintenance. Make sure to have the car you’re considering thoroughly inspected by a certified mechanic before you sign on the dotted line.”

By limiting their selections to no earlier than 2014, all of the models come standard with electronic stability control (ESC)---a key safety feature. Furthermore, many of the models were available with safety features that includes:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW)
  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
  • Blind spot warning (BSW)
  • Lane departure warning (LDW), and/or lane keeping assistance (LKA).

Best Used SUVs, Sedans, and Small Cars

The point to remember is that all models were consistently above average for reliability, which is why this listing is so important because it identifies the years that their reliability proved to be exceptional over other makes and models during the past 10 years.

That said, here is a summarized listing ranging pricewise from under $10,000 to $25,000 and subcategorized by vehicle type and model years within that price range.

Under $10,000

Small Cars: 2014 Mazda3 and 2015 Nissan Leaf

Luxury Cars: 2014 Buick Verano

 

$10,000-$15,000

Small Cars: 2015-2016 Ford C-Max and 2014-2015 Toyota Prius C

Other Small Car Good Choices:

  • Honda Fit 2016-2018
  • Mazda3 2016-2017
  • Toyota Corolla 2014-2017
  • Toyota Prius 2014-2016
  • Toyota Prius V 2014-2015

Midsized and Large Cars: 2015-2017 Mazda6 and 2014-2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Other Midsized and Large Car Good Choices:

  • Honda Accord 2015-2016
  • Honda Accord Hybrid 2014-2015
  • Toyota Avalon 2014-2015
  • Toyota Camry 2014-2016

Luxury Cars: 2015 Acura TLX and 2014 Lexus ES
 

Wagons and Minivans: 2014-2015 Toyota Venza

Small SUVs: 2016 Mazda CX-5 and 2014-2015 Toyota RAV4
 

Other Small SUV Good Choices: 2016 BMW X3 and 2014-2015 Honda CR-V
 

$15,000-$20,000

Small Cars: 2016-2017 Toyota Prius V

Other Small Car Good Choices:

  • Honda Fit 2020
  • Mazda3 2021
  • Toyota Corolla 2018-2020
  • Toyota Corolla Hybrid 2020-2021
  • Toyota Prius 2016-2018

Midsized and Large Cars: 2017 Honda Accord

Other Midsized and Large Cars Good Choices:

Honda Accord Hybrid 2017
Toyota Avalon 2016-2017
Toyota Avalon Hybrid 2014-2016
Toyota Camry 2017-2018
Toyota Camry Hybrid 2016-2017

Luxury Cars: 2016 Acura TLX and 2015-2016 Lexus ES

Other Luxury Car Good Choices:

  • Lexus ES Hybrid 2014-2015
  • Lexus GS 2015

Sports Cars/Convertibles: 2016-2017 Mazda MX5 Miata
 

Wagons and Minivans: 2016 Toyota Sienna
 

Small SUVs: 2017-2019 Honda HR-V

Other Small SUV Good Choices:

  • Acura RDX 2016
  • Buick Envision 2017
  • Honda CR-V 2016
  • Kia Sportage 2020
  • Lexus NX 2015
  • Toyota RAV4 2016-2018
  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016-2017

Midsized and Large SUVs: 2014-2016 Toyota Highlander

Other Midsized and Large SUV Good Choices:

  • Lexus RX 2014-2015
  • Mazda CX-9 2018

Pickup Trucks: 2014-2016 Toyota Tacoma and 2014 Toyota Tundra
 

$20,000-$25,000

Small Cars: 2022 Mazda3 and 2022-2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Other Small Car Good Choices:

  • Toyota Corolla 2021-2022
  • Toyota Prius 2020-2021
  • Toyota Prius Prime 2018-2020

Midsized and Large Cars: 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Other Midsized and Large Car Good Choices:

  • Honda Accord 2020
  • Toyota Avalon 2018
  • Toyota Camry 2019-2021
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid 2018-2019

Luxury Cars

  • Acura TLX 2018-2019
  • Lexus ES 2017-2018
  • Lexus ES Hybrid 2016
  • Lexus GS 2016
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2017

Sports Cars/Convertibles: 2019-2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Wagons and Minivans: 2018 Toyota Sienna
 

Small SUVs: 2019-2021 Subaru Crosstrek
 

Other Small SUV Good Choices:

  • Acura RDX 2016-2018
  • BMW X3 2018
  • Buick Envision 2019-2020
  • Cadillac XT5 2019
  • Honda CR-V 2019-2020
  • Honda CR-V 2020
  • Honda HR-V 2021-2022
  • Kia Sportage 2021-2022
  • Lexus NX 2016-2017
  • Lexus NX 2019
  • Mazda CX-30 2022-2023
  • Mazda CX-5 2021-2022
  • Toyota RAV4 2020
  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2018
  • Volvo XC40 2019-2020

Midsized and Large SUVs: 2015-2016 Lexus RX Hybrid and 2014-2015 Toyota 4Runner
 

Other Midsized and Large SUV Good Choices:

  • Lexus RX 2016
  • Mazda CX9 2020
  • Toyota Highlander 2017-2019

Pickup Trucks: 2017 Toyota Tacoma and 2016-2017 Toyota Tundra
 

For more makes and models that made the list by CR analysts in their new guide, it is recommended to consider investing in a CR membership---the potential savings make it negligible in comparison when looking for the latest information to aid your car buying research.

For additional articles related to Consumer Reports recommendations, here are a few for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on  “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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