The Best Used Cars to Buy Right Now
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:
|Compact Sedan||2004-2009 Hyundai Elantra|
|Midsize Sedan||2004-2009 Nissan Altima|
|Large Sedan||2006-2009 Hyundai Azera|
|Coupe||2004-2009 BMW 3 Series|
|Convertible||2004-2009 Mazda Miata|
|Wagon||2004-2009 Pontiac Vibe|
|Compact SUV/Crossover||2004-2009 Honda CR-V|
|Midsize SUV/Crossover||2004-2009 Ford Explorer|
|Large SUV/Crossover||2004-2009 Chevrolet Tahoe|
|Minivan/Van||2004-2009 Honda Odyssey|
|Compact Truck||2004-2009 Toyota Tacoma|
|Large Truck||2004-2009 Ford F-150|
|Luxury||2004-2009 Infiniti G35/G37|
|Hybrid||2004-2009 Toyota Prius|
|Sport Compact||2004-2009 Subaru Impreza WRX|
3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum MoneyThe 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 NetworkSelect 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).
Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirectTrueCar, 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 ChecklistFollow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid