San Diego, California - With prices at historic highs – even for models with high mileage and seemingly excessive wear – and with so many vehicles from which to choose, shopping for a used car can be a challenge. To help Americans choose the best used car for their money, Consumer Reports compiled a Best & Worst Used Cars list for model years 2004 through 2013.
The full report is available in Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue, which is on newsstands now, and at the 2014 Autos Spotlight page on ConsumerReports.org. Highlighted are the best small cars, sedans, and SUVs available in four price ranges: from $10,000 or less up to $25,000. Each performed well in CR’s testing when new and had above-average reliability for the model years shown, based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey. And all models came standard with electronic stability control (ESC).
“When shopping for a used car, it’s really important to find a car that drives well and will hold up down the road. Our guide makes it easy for shoppers to choose a great used car by highlighting the best small cars, sedans, and SUVs in four different price ranges,” said Rik Paul, auto editor, Consumer Reports.
In the $15,000-$20,000 price range the following cars made Consumer Reports’ list of best used cars:
SMALL CARS: 2012-13 Hyundai Elantra and 2011-13 Subaru Impreza
These are as roomy and as comfortable as larger, more expensive cars. The Elantra combines nimble and secure handling with a fairly comfortable ride. The Impreza sedan and hatchback both offer standard all-wheel drive along with sporty handling and a great ride.
SEDANS: 2011-12 Toyota Camry, 2010-11 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and 2008 Acura TL
Both the four- and six-cylinder Camry deliver impressive fuel economy along with a comfortable ride, a roomy cabin, and superb reliability. For even better gas mileage, the Camry Hybrid gets 34 mpg overall and 41 on the highway. A sportier alternative is the Acura TL, which has long been one of our favorite sedans to drive.
SUVs: 2006-07 Lexus RX and 2009-10 Subaru Forester (nonturbo)
The Lexus RX is comfortable, nicely finished, and extremely reliable. The hybrid version gets good fuel economy. The Forester is more utilitarian but handles well and has an excellent ride. Access is easy, and the view out is the best among SUVs.
The Consumer Reports used cars to avoid list includes 2004 to 2013 models that have had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to CR’s Annual Auto Survey. Among the more than twenty models that made the list are the BMW X5 (6-cyl.), Chrysler Town & Country, Ford Fiesta, and Volkswagen Beetle.
For more information on used cars pick up a copy of Consumer Reports’ April Annual Auto Issue, which is available on newsstands now wherever magazines are sold, or visit the 2014 Autos Spotlight page on ConsumerReports.org.
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.