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The Best Used Cars For Your Price Range


You don’t purchase brand new cars do you? I understand that purchasing a brand new car is quite exciting and there are no immediate issues (you hope) that need repair, but is it really worth the cost?

According to Consumer Reports, a new car loses 47% of its value in the first 3 years! So, if you buy a new car for $20,000 today, in 3 years, it’s only going to be worth about $10,000. That’s not going to be real good on your pocket book…

But Used Cars Break Down

If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, it’s often much better to buy a used vehicle than a new one (plus, you could most likely pay for the used car with cash!). You might make the argument that a used car will cost more money in repairs, but have you ever had a repair that cost $10,000? I have had my transmission go out on my last car, and it was only $2,500 to repair. This is far less money than the depreciation on a new vehicle.

But New Cars Make Me More Confident

Some people believe that a new car will boost their self-esteem, which will positively impact their job performance, they’ll get promoted more quickly, and they’ll ultimately be on the fast track to success! Yeah….I don’t know about that. I’ve been working at my job for about 5 months now, and I think there’s only one person that knows what kind of car I drive! Unless your car is falling apart in the parking lot, most people won’t even notice it.

Also, if you’re borrowing money from the bank to buy a car, chances are you aren’t gaining any confidence whatsoever. Since you realize that you have debts to pay, you’ll most likely be more timid at your job (so you won’t get fired), which will ultimately hold you back. It will have the exact opposite effect of what you were going for. If you don’t understand this, you will when you’re debt free and have other avenues of income. There’s definitely less fear when you’re at the office, and you’ll make sure that your good idea will be heard. This is how confidence is built.

Are You Ready to Explore the Best Used Cars?

For those of you that believe in purchasing new cars, I hope that I’ve debunked a few of your reasons for doing so. Assuming I’ve been successful in my efforts to make you wealthy, let’s explore the cars that might be a little more suited for your budget. Plus, they have engines that are built to last.

The Best Used Vehicles On The Market Today (compliments of Consumer Reports)

Small Cars

  1. Honda Fit
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Scion xB
  4. Pontiac Vibe
  5. Toyota Corolla
  6. Mazda3
  7. Volkswagen Rabbit

Family Cars

  1. Toyota Prius
  2. Ford Fusion (FWD)
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Nissan Altima

Upscale Cars

  1. Lexus ES
  2. Toyota Avalon
  3. Acura TL
  4. Infiniti G35, G37
  5. Volvo S60

Luxury Cars

  1. Acura RL
  2. Lexus LS
  3. Infiniti M35
  4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Sports Cars

  1. Mazda MX-5 Miata
  2. Honda S2000
  3. Lexus SC
  4. Ford Mustang
  5. BMW Z3, Z4
  6. Toyota Celica
  7. Porsche Boxster
  8. Volvo C70
  9. Mercedes-Benz SLK

Small SUVs

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Acura RDX
  3. Toyota RAV4
  4. Kia Sportage (’05-’09)
  5. Subaru Forester
  6. Nissan Rogue

Mid-Size/Large SUVs

  1. Toyota Highlander
  2. Honda Pilot
  3. Lexus RX
  4. Acura MDX
  5. Mazda CX-9


  1. Toyota Sienna (FWD)

Pick-Up Trucks

  1. Honda Ridgeline
  2. Toyota Tundra (V8, 4WD)
  3. Toyota Tacoma (V6, 4WD ’05-’10)

Cheaper Options

Some of the above options are still quite expensive (better than they were brand new, but would still hurt your balance), so here are some other dependable, but cheaper options.

  1. 2005 Hyundai Accent
  2. 2005 Honda Element
  3. 2005 Monte Carlo



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Great post! I’ve always bought used cars. It does require a bit more time and research but you can literally save thousands of dollars. If you aren’t comfortable with buying from individuals, then consider a certified pre-owned car from a dealer, it’ll cost a bit more but still thousands cheaper than buying new.

    • Thanks, Simply Investing. I’ve always bought used cars too, and I wish that I would have consulted a list like this before a few of my purchases. In doing the research for this article, I found out that one of my cars was on the “do not buy” list. They were right…

  2. A great way to check out used cars is to use the JD Power used car ratings. This will give you an idea of the car’s reliability.

    You can also use the carfax used car safety ratings, which provides results from a variety of crash test and other safety ratings.

  3. Great list Derek. It really is a shame that there are not more domestic brands that break into this list. I think the current batch of new vehicles is competitive with imports, but it just takes time for this to follow through to the secondary market. I’m a car guy, so I soak this stuff up like a sponge. Appreciate the article.

    • I know! The domestic brands were mostly vacant from the entire list! I do agree with you that they are improving, but their used cars just currently aren’t recommended.

  4. Great list – I find it funny that they have some pick ups on there. When I was looking for mine in 2009, I bought brand new because the used ones (3 yrs old) were more expensive! Pick ups really hold their value for a long time.

    • I owned a couple of pick-ups in my day, and I kind of miss them. I can’t say they were more expensive than the new model though, that’s crazy! You know what doesn’t hold their value? Minivans…. You can pick one of those up for practically nothing when it’s only 4 years old!

  5. Driving a car off the car lot, you can look back and wave saying goodbye money… lol…. more so to new cars than used. Nice post. I definitely agree to the used car aspect.

    • A 3-4 year old car will limit the depreciation, and you still get a great looking car! If you ever see me driving a brand new car, I must be extremely wealthy! 😉

  6. A cars depreciation is also based upon the condition upon purchase. If the used cars is slightly used its value will not depreciate that much. And for buying a used car you need to bring an expert mechanics to size up the condition of the car.

    • Kamille, if the car’s condition is only slightly used, wouldn’t that make it nearly new with a large depreciation in its future? You are right about the mechanic though. It’s always a good idea to get the car looked at before you buy it!

  7. I don’t remember exactly where, but I recently read somewhere that used cars right now are worth a lot more than normal. To follow up on it, I looked around. After searching for a few minutes, I found that most brand new 2012 models are CHEAPER than 1-3 year old models of the same car with anywhere from 1,000-15,000 miles. I know everyone says “buy a used car, new cars depreciate, blah blah blah,” but I don’t understand why I would pay more money to purchase an older car with 10,000 or more miles on it when I could buy a brand new one for less money (substantially less in some cases), with 0 miles, and a factory warranty (which are becoming better and better – have you seen KIA’s?).

    And I don’t think anyone would ever become timid at work due to the fact that they owe money on a car. That’s like saying I’m scared to meet girls at the bar and take them home because I owe some money on my credit card. Or I’m embarrassed to go to my parent’s house because I still owe on my student loans. There is no correlation.

  8. Sounds like you’re doing it right Lucas! Plus, how do you ever know if you’re buying a lemon? Buy a car new and it could be the worst car you’ve ever had.

  9. Hi, Great tips! I totally agree with your advice. I am on board to buy used cars and great luck for me to have this post before! I was thinking to a long time to buy a new car. now it’s much easier to search handful cars with a lot of features and the understanding of a price to make a good deal! Thanks for sharing, I am so happy to read your article.

    • Awesome!! Glad you stumbled across that article and that you’re now going to save a bunch of money with a used car!

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