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Finding the best inexpensive used cars can save you thousands of dollars—upfront and over time. Just buying a used car instead of a new one can save you big money. The second you drive a new car off the dealer’s lot, on average, depreciation alone drops the value of the car by 27%. Within three years the value is about half of the sticker price.

When you buy a used car someone else absorbs the depreciation in those first few years. Purchasing the best affordable car, make or model with good predicted reliability, can help owners realize cost savings. The key is selecting a quality used car, which can be a little tricky. You want the car you choose to be reliable, affordable, with all the modern features.  To be sure, finding that good deal on a pre-owned car may take a little work. You want to save as much money as you can while limiting and minimizing your risk over time.

Determining the Best Option
One of the first steps is actually selecting the type of car you need versus the type of car you want. In other words, a two-door sports car is not that functional if you’re transporting the kids and their friends to school, band practice, or football games. In other words, before you start shopping, do an honest evaluation of what you need the car for. Ask yourself questions like, “How much do you drive? Where are you driving to and from? How many passengers will be driving with you? Think in terms of fuel economy—how long is your commute to work or the grocery store? Or safety—does the car have enough safety features?

Once you’ve decided on a particular sized car that fits your needs, you can narrow down your search options by viewing car rankings and reviews on any number of websites like Kelly Blue Book, Edmund’s, US News, and so on. Those sites offer consensus opinion by automotive experts on every kind of used car. In fact, looking for the best inexpensive used car on the market is at your fingertips.

In addition to expert analysis, the reviews offer quantifiable data ranking of features like fuel economy, safety, performance, reliability, and long-term cost of ownership. Vehicles are generally scored over a ten year period. You can use these scores to compare vehicles in their respective classes as you shop or even find features like improved fuel efficiency for a particular make from one year to another.

Best Compact Used Cars

With that consideration in mind, here is a shortlist of some of the best inexpensive used cars in compact and midsize sedans and SUVs. The selections are based on several factors like sticker price, availability, cost of maintenance, reliability and longevity beginning with compact sedans.

Toyota Corolla (2012-2018) – One of the most popular compact sedans for both reliability and good value.

Chevrolet Cruze (2014-2018) – Plenty of space and offers excellent fuel economy.

Hyundai Elantra (2013-2016) – Another good compact, offering good cargo space, a lower cost of ownership than most of its rivals, and high fuel economy.

Honda Civic (2011-2015) – Retains its value as well and enjoys a positive reputation for reliability.

Best Mid-Sized Used Cars

Toyota Camry (2012-2017) – Retains its value, is known for its reliability, and is one of the more widely available used cars on the market.

Ford Fusion (2012-2017) – Very good fuel economy, handling and a smooth ride, with plenty of cabin space across two rows of comfortable seats.

Nissan Altima (2013-2018) – Offers used car buyers a compelling combination of cargo space and fuel efficiency.

Dodge Charger (2011-2018) – well-known for its performance.

Best Used SUVs

Honda CR-V (2010-2018) – Ranks among the top in terms of comfort, room, safety and fuel economy.

Hyundai Tucson (2013-2017) – Offers very good performance, a roomy interior, many advanced safety features, and excellent reliability and fuel economy.

Toyota RAV4 (2012-2017) – Another compact SUV that ranks near the top for good handling, roomy interior, smooth ride, and solid reliability.

With a little work, finding the best inexpensive used cars has its rewards. Whether you need a car to drive to work or bring the kids to school, you will find the car you need for the best price, and one that is reliable, with low maintenance costs, to get you where you are going. If you’re looking for reliable used cars at competitive prices check out our extensive inventory today!