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The Best Used Cars Under $10,000

February 2, 2012

Buying a used car is the smartest way to save money. And now is a great time to buy a used car while prices are still low - they will steadily increase towards summer and peak in August.

Consumer Reports has compiled their list of the best used cars for under $10,000. These vehicles have scored well in road tests, most have the latest safety equipment, and all have proven reliability.

All of the models listed are for the 2006 model year - this is a sweet spot because most of the depreciation has been absorbed by the original owner. All vehicles are assumed to have 75,000 miles, and the price is what you can expect to pay at a dealer.

To save even more, look for these cars through private party listings on Craigslist or Carsabi.

Make & model MSRP (new)

Dealer Price (avg)

Drop in Price vs. MSRP
2006 Ford Fusion $17,145 $8,625 50%
2006 Mitsubishi Outlander 20,099 9,000 55%
2006 Pontiac Vibe 16,430 9,050 45%
2006 Toyota Corolla 14,905 9,100 39%
2006 Hyundai Tucson 18,745 9,325 50%
2006 Honda Civic
15,360 9,325 39%
2006 Kia Sportage 18,395 9,475 48%
2006 Mazda3 13,710 9,550 30%
2006 Mercury Milan
18,345 9,600 48%
2006 Scion xB 14,830 9,800 34%
2006 Nissan Altima 17,750 9,900 44%
2006 Toyota Matrix 16,060 9,900 38%

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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