Lots of choices for best used cars under $10000 – USA TODAY

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cash-strapped buyers used to have choices in new cars for $10,000. No longer. But cheap cars are no longer as cheap, with the average new car now around $30,000 according to CNW Marketing Research.

Meanwhile, the average used car sold in early January 2014 for $10,843 at franchised dealerships (e.g., Bob’s Honda) and $9,513 at independent dealerships (e.g., Bob’s Used Cars), according to CNW.

So what are the best used-car values for that $10,000 average?

Cars.com waded into the statistics and looked at models based on crash tests, safety, reliability, practicality and driveability.

Two aspects that clearly weren’t considered were looks and excitement, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a duller bunch of cars. One exception: the original Scion xB, which remains as much fun today as it did in the day.

From a list of 60 nominees and based on listing priced on the shopping site, here’s the Top 10 best-buy list that Cars.com came up with (in alphabetical order):

•2009 Ford Focus: Its nimble handling and smooth-revving four-cylinder are still appealing. The 2009 Focus is also offered as both a sedan and coupe.

•2008 Ford Fusion: The first-generation Fusion sedan still hits a sweet spot between ride quality and handling, and family shoppers will appreciate its roomy trunk.

•2008 Ford Taurus: The renamed Ford 500 is in many ways a better car than today’s Taurus, thanks to its mammoth backseat and trunk, excellent visibility and spot-on ride/handling balance.

•2007 Honda Civic: It set the standard for commuter compacts, though not for looks. Nimble handling, impressive cabin materials and good fuel efficiency make this Honda an excellent choice for compact-car shoppers.

•2009 Hyundai Sonata: With a host of cabin and drivetrain updates for 2009, it remains a sound choice for first-time drivers and family-car shoppers alike thanks to its roomy cabin and long list of standard safety features.

•2008 Kia Sportage: A small crossover whose new-car pricing translates to used-car affordability. The Sportage delivers better highway composure than its small size suggests.

•2008 Mazda6: The first-gen Mazda6 remains a compelling choice for family-sedan shoppers who can sacrifice a little cabin room for sportiness. Sharp steering and handling distinguish the car among other sedans.

•2007 Nissan Altima: Lead-footed sedan shoppers have their chariot in the Altima, particularly the V-6 version. Nissan even matched strong power with unexpected fuel efficiency in this model.

•2008 Scion xB: There’s a lot to love about Scion’s boxy xB, whose current generation dates to ’08. Safety features included six airbags and an electronic stability system, which makes the xB a natural choice for first-time drivers.

•2007 Toyota Prius: Even by today’s standards, Toyota’s iconic second-gen Prius still gets excellent mileage (46 mpg) and given its efficiency, its driveability is impressive.

Full details for the cars on the list are available here at Cars.com, along with — should you be interested in one of them — shopping notes on styles, features and options to look for, particularly safety systems such as anti-lock brakes and stability control that were not standard in most of the above years.


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