The used car market appeals to a vast swath of car buyers owing to the affordable price point. More often than not, buyers have to settle for trade offs due to the reduced sticker price. You shouldn't compromise on reliability when buying a used car. After all, no one wants to get stranded by the roadside for settling on a dodgy second-hand car. Research is paramount before buying a used car. But do you have to test drive every used car at the lot? We have handpicked the 20 most reliable used cars money can buy.
20. Honda Civic
Excellent crash test results by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) speak to the Honda Civic's reliability. A 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine, paired with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, powers the base Civic. However, as Quora attests, many buyers will likely encounter the Hybrid. For good reasons, the Hybrid is ideal. It delivers 44 MPG. The styling remains anonymous, with hard plastics in the interior. It is a decent car if you replace the battery pack every five years.
19. BMW 2 Series
The BMW 2 Series is a thrilling coupe that provides entry-level luxury. The best iterations of the 2 series in the used car segment are the 2018 and 2019 models. The 2019 model is surprisingly quick, especially when you drive the 230i's 248-hp turbocharged four-cylinder version. The other trim is a quicker turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six making 335 hp and hitting 0-60 in 4.3 seconds. The interior feels everything like a BMW, from the straightforward gauges to the well-positioned dials and knobs. Driver assistance features are standard, including lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking.
18. Toyota Avalon
If you are looking for a car that will cause very little problems with respectable fuel economy, you need to check out the Toyota Avalon. Avalon’s preceding 2006 had oil bleeding issues that Toyota corrected on the successive iterations. The 2015 Avalon derives power from DOHC 24-valve 3.5-liter V-6 engine issuing 268 hp. The hybrid variant combines a 6-valve 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 with an AC motor to make 200hp. The Avalon is available with a CVT and a six-speed automatic with manual shifting mode. The interior feels like a Lexus. The hunkered-down handling and its sleek body make the 2015 Toyota Avalon a compelling alternative to the Lexus ES 350 that we also review in this write-up.
17. Toyota Prius
The Prius is a budget-friendly hybrid that offers average driving. However, it is one of the cars with a dependable powertrain. It offers little in the way of driving performance. Its lethargic acceleration backs its MPG. The higher trims like the Eco achieve a combined MPG of 57, which is above average compared to the 2020 Prius competitors like the hybrid Hyundai Elantra. Despite the unattractive styling and quirky interior, the Prius saves you lots of bucks at the pump and overall maintenance. If you are looking for a used car plus 100,000 mileage, consider the Prius.
16. Ford Mustang
Among muscle cars, the Ford Mustang trounces the Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger on all fronts. Reliability is unquestionable, especially if you get the used 2017 and 2018 models. Power comes from a selection of three engines. The 3.7-liter V-6 makes 300 horsepower, with the other option being a 310-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four. The GT trim steps up power via a 5.0-liter V-8 that issues 435 horsepower. A 4.2-inch display is standard, while an 8.0-inch touchscreen is optional. Recaro seats are also optional, with added perks like heating and cooling. The Mustang combines athleticism and civility with superb handling. You can get the used models in the $20,000 region.
15. Mazda MX-5 Miata
According to Parkers, few affordable convertible roadsters are as fun to drive as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The 2019 Miata stands out due to its sub $20,000 price tag. This Miata has a four-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower. Six-speed manual transmission offers all the thrills of a sports car. The cargo space is not desirable, but we don't see why you will be stocking suitcases in a roadster. The infotainment system has Bluetooth compatibility as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as optional in the 2019 model. Being a Car and Driver gem, you will be tempted to ride off into the sunset inside the Miata.
14. Lexus ES
Toyota and Lexus snag up most spots in any reliable used car list. The auto manufacturers pay special attention to the powertrain, performance, and ignition. Usually, you will expect a cheaply priced car to offer a less comfortable ride. However, the Lexus ES debunks the notion with elegant styling and a smooth ride. The quicker ES 350 with its 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The other ES is the ES 300 hybrid which is two seconds slower to hit 0-60 mph than the ES 350. It has a 2.5-liter inline-four and electric motor delivering a combined 200 horsepower.
The Hybrid makes a respectable 40 MPG. The Lexus ES interior beats competitors like the Toyota Avalon despite using Avalon's platform. Front row seats feature 10-way power front seats, automatic climate control, NuLuxe perforated upholstery, piano black trim, remote-linked power windows, moonroof, and Lexus Personalized Settings memory feature. Stepping onto the higher trims, you will receive leather upholstery. A standard 8.0-inch touchscreen controls the infotainment system and hosts active driver assistance features like emergency braking.
13. Mazda 3
The Mazda 3, available in hatchback and sedan, share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Updates to the 2018 model include an upscale cabin that becomes purely luxurious in the range-topping GT Touring trim. Many drivers love the six-speed manual transmission, although the automatic one is available. A 7.0-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth compatibility is some of the standard features in the Mazda 3. This car dives decently and won’t cause you problems other than the claustrophobic back seats.
12. Porsche 911
When you buy a sports car, you want one that doesn’t dry your coffers but doesn’t compromise on sportscar attributes. The Porsche 911, available in four trims, introduces us to illegal speeds via the flat-six engines, making 370, 420, and 450 hp as you scale up the trims. The 7.0-inch touchscreen blends well with the cabin as Porsche allows buyers to customize the interior with desired accents. The front seats are comfortable, and the interior is luxurious, as you would expect from Porsche. The 2018 911's reliability beats the 2019 model, which means for about $80,000, you will be getting an incredible sports car.
11. Chevrolet Tahoe
If you desire an SUV with pickup towing capabilities, you will find the Chevrolet Tahoe up your street. The Chevrolet Tahoe is motivated by 2 V-8 powertrains. The 2019 iteration is the pick of the bunch regarding reliability and driving performance. In the 2019 model, you get a standard 355-hp 5.3-liter engine and six-speed automatic or the gustier 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission, making 420-hp. In terms of towing capacity, the rear-drive 5.3-liter version can tow up to 8600 pounds, with the all-wheel drive option towing 200 pounds less than the former. The Chevrolet Tahoe is a spacious SUV, but the Chevy Suburban has more leg and headroom.
10. Genesis G80
Genesis broke off from Hyundai, as Forbes points out to establish a luxury sedan business. The Genesis G80 succeeded the Genesis G70, and according to owners, it still retains Hyundai's dependability despite being a luxury sedan. The G80's base engine is a naturally aspirated V-6 that is underwhelming. However, the twin V-6 is sportier, while the V-8 provides more power and punchier acceleration. Adaptive suspension in the G80 ensures a comfortable ride. Genesis G80 is intuitive, as seen on the 8.0-inch or 9.2-inch touchscreen in the higher trims.
9. Honda Fit
When a car beats the Yaris (used in rally racing) in terms of reliability, you must consider it when shopping for used cars. The 2017 Honda Fit has a 130-hp 1.5-liter single overhead cam inline-four that performs efficiently regarding speed and fuel economy. It doesn’t have the best picking in its class. The cabin is decent for a car whose original MSRP was $16,980. A 7.0-inch touchscreen controls the infotainment but is unavailable on the LX trim. The 2017 Honda Fit is an ideal car for city driving. It is available with CVT and manual transmission. A used Fit will serve you for years as long as you give it occasional service.
8. Nissan Maxima
The Nissan Maxima is in the quick full-size sedan segment owing to its sonorous V-6, which kicks out 300 horses. With 20 MPG in the city and 30 on the highway, it is a fuel-efficient car for its speedy acceleration. The only tradeoff is that it doesn't have as much cargo space as the Toyota Avalon.
7. Audi Q3
With a five out of five rating from J.D Power for reliability, the Audi Q3 is one of the best-used crossovers. The Audi Q3 comes with a 200-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The interior is plush with nice Audi trimmings. The five-seater has a panoramic moonroof, leather upholstery, and power-adjustable front seats.
6. Lexus GS
Combining sports, off-road ability, and adept driving in a sedan body is extremely hard. The Lexus GS expertly delivers on all fronts and backs it with Toyota's reliability. The best years for the used car are 2019-2020.
5. KIA Sorento
You have the four-cylinder and the V-6 option for the Sorento's engine choices. The recommended engine is the V-6 to power this mid-size SUV. Safety features are mostly limited to the upper trims; however, the base trim has a 7.0-inch touchscreen that you can switch to 8.0-inch on the higher trims. The 2020 Sorento is an ideal used SUV with practicality near the school bus and Mazda CX-9 driving. The KIA Sorento is geared for off-road driving.
4. Buick LaCrosse
Buick made a car that is so luxurious it rivals the Lexus. The Buick LaCrosse has excellent dependability ratings with well-spaced seats and extra support. A four-cylinder engine powers the 2011 Buick LaCrosse, but many used models have the V-6 due to its sheer power and acceleration. This sedan is available in all-wheel and rear-wheel drive.
3. Honda Accord
2017 may have been Honda’s best year for used cars. The Honda Accord resolved the airbag issue from the 2013 model and updated the styling and powertrain. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 185 horsepower in the LX trim, and 189 in the Sports trim. The hybrid powertrain has a revamped battery pack that coordinates with the gasoline engine to make a fuel-efficient car. For the 2017 Accord, a manual transmission is standard, with the CVT being optional on the gas-powered model.
2. Chevrolet Equinox
The Chevrolet Equinox is the second-best selling Chevy for good reasons other than its stylish design. The 2016 Equinox is available in a 2.4-liter direct-injection inline-4, making 182 hp and achieving 32 MPG on the highway. You can choose the 301 horsepower V-6 variant for better accelerations. The Equinox has earned a good rep for safety, with four- and five-star federal ratings plus top "Good" ratings from the IIHS, which means you won’t be spending much time in the garage because of buying a used Equinox.
1. Toyota Camry
Reliability awards have traditionally gone to Toyota and Honda. The 2017 Toyota Camry may be the cream of the crop for all Camrys. The Camry has all the bells and whistles for any driver seeking comfort and reliability wrapped up in a car with above-average performance. Under the hood, the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 178 horsepower, or an optional 3.5-liter V-6 makes 268 horsepower. It is a no-brainer that the four-cylinder engine won't shove you in the seat while you accelerate, but it makes up for it with fairly decent fuel economy.
The more pump cautious drivers pick up the hybrid models. All the Camry trims have a front-wheel drive powertrain teamed with a six-speed automatic. The interior on the higher trims feels like overkill for a sedan. The leather-trimmed seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel characterize the superior trim. Seating space is decent for front and rear passengers, but we’d appreciate more headroom. You can find a used Camry below the $15,000 mark at select dealerships.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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