Consumer Reports Names the Best Cars for Any Budget

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Used car standouts from $10,000 or less up to $25,000; Plus, the Worst of the Worst Used Cars

CR April 2015 Issue

There are so many safe and reliable used cars for buyers to choose from no matter what they plan on spending. We’ve made it easy for shoppers to narrow down their search of which models to consider.

Consumer Reports has long advocated buying used as a way for consumers to get the biggest bang for their buck – but picking out a good used car from a sea of bad ones has never been easy. Consumer Reports has compiled a handy list of reliable, affordable, and safe used cars for model years 2005 through 2014 to help consumers find the best small car, sedan, or SUV.

The full report is available in Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue, on newsstands now, and at the 2015 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) unless otherwise noted.

“There are so many safe and reliable used cars for buyers to choose from no matter what they plan on spending,” said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports’ Cars Content Development Team Leader. “We’ve made it easy for shoppers to narrow down their search of which models to consider.”

Used Cars for Every Budget

Here are some of models that earned a spot on Consumer Reports’ 2015 list of the best used cars:

LESS THAN $10,000

SMALL CAR: The Mazda3 s (2008) with available ESC, has everything most want in a small car: reliability, fuel efficiency, a fun-to-drive attitude, and an interior that feels upscale for the price.

SEDAN: The slick-handling Acura TL (2005) allows buyers to stick to their budget and still get a reliable luxury car.

SUV: The Honda Pilot (2005) provides room for eight passengers, has smooth V6 acceleration and carlike handling.

$10,000 - $15,000

SMALL CAR: The boxy, yet stylish Kia Soul (2010-12) has tons of features for a small car and an expansive cargo space, making it a smart choice for recent grads.

SEDAN: The Infiniti G35 (2006-07) blends sporty handling with interior refinement.

SUV: The Toyota Highlander V6 (2005-07) has rock-solid reliability and a family-friendly, seven-passenger interior, in a parking lot friendly size.

$15,000 - $20,000

SMALL CAR: The Toyota Prius (2010-13) has always proved that consumers don’t have to give up space or ride comfort to get stellar gas mileage, and the 2010 model brought a quieter engine and standard electronic stability control.

SEDAN: The Honda Accord (2008-12) is a perennial crowd pleaser with a cavernous backseat, responsive reflexes, and 23 mpg (25 mpg in 2011-12) from its four-cylinder engine.

SUV: The Lexus RX (2006-08) is the go-to upscale SUV for used-car buyers, with its reliability, plush seats, and luxury ride. The hybrid version offers that plus 23 mpg overall.

$20,000 - $25,000

SEDAN: The Toyota Camry Hybrid (2012-13) has a composed ride, responsive handling, and a class-leading 38 mpg.

SUV: The Nissan Murano (2011-12) has long been one of CR’s favorite SUVs with secure handling and a rich interior.

The Worst of the Worst Used Cars

The Consumer Reports “Worst of the Worst” used cars list includes 2005 to 2014 models that have had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to CR’s Annual Auto Survey. Twenty-four cars from the following automakers made this year’s list: BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Saturn, and Volkswagen. Among the models included are the BMW 330i & 335i, Buick Enclave, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 (diesel), Ford Fiesta, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

For more information on used cars pick up a copy of Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue, which is available on newsstands now wherever magazines are sold, or visit the 2015 Autos Spotlight page on ConsumerReports.org.

Connect with us for live coverage of the Autos Spotlight, on Facebook.com/ConsumerReports, and on Twitter: @ConsumerReports and @CRCars #CRcarFest. Full coverage of the 2015 Autos Spotlight is at http://www.ConsumerReports.org/AutosSpotlight.

About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization working to improve the lives of consumers by driving marketplace change. Founded in 1936 Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other issues. The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in food. Consumer Reports tests and rates thousands of products and services in its 50 plus labs, state-of-the-art auto test center and consumer research center. Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, works for pro-consumer laws and regulations in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. With more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications, Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, payment or other support from the companies whose products it evaluates.

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C. Matt Fields

Melissa Valentino