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The Best Used Cars to Buy Right Now

It's that time of year again, when Edmunds.com trots out its annual Used Car Best Bet Awards.

Criteria for voting: reliability, safety and availability.

Only used cars originally sold from 2004 to 2009 are eligible for these awards. Older vehicles usually have logged too many miles, and newer ones haven't yet felt the large depreciation that makes a low mileage 2- or 3-year-old car the best value.

Editors looked first at consumer ratings, as well as personal experience and judgment.

Second, they considered how these vehicles performed in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests.

Third, they looked at availability; the bigger the model year spread the better.

The following vehicles won for 2011:

Vehicle ClassWinner
Compact Sedan2004-2009 Hyundai Elantra
Midsize Sedan2004-2009 Nissan Altima
Large Sedan2006-2009 Hyundai Azera
Coupe2004-2009 BMW 3 Series
Convertible2004-2009 Mazda Miata
Wagon2004-2009 Pontiac Vibe
Compact SUV/Crossover2004-2009 Honda CR-V
Midsize SUV/Crossover2004-2009 Ford Explorer
Large SUV/Crossover2004-2009 Chevrolet Tahoe
Minivan/Van2004-2009 Honda Odyssey
Compact Truck2004-2009 Toyota Tacoma
Large Truck2004-2009 Ford F-150
Luxury2004-2009 Infiniti G35/G37
Hybrid2004-2009 Toyota Prius
Sport Compact2004-2009 Subaru Impreza WRX






3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

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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September 2022

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