sale sign on car windshield.

Best Used Cars You Can Buy Under $10,000

Are you in need of a vehicle but don’t have a large budget? I have always been an advocate of buying a used car over a new one to get more “bells-and-whistles” for your money.

The main reason is, a new car will depreciate about 27 percent of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in the first year. Once the vehicle is three years old it becomes only worth about half of the sticker price, if you’re lucky. When someone else buys a vehicle new, they take the initial depreciation hit and allows you to benefit when buying it used.

There are many vehicles out there that have proven they’re worth over the years under $10,000. However, it can be hard to find a safe reliable vehicle with so many bad used cars out there. You will also want to avoid any vehicles that have been in a natural disaster or accident. The whole process of shopping for a used car can be frustrating and very time consuming.

I’ve made it easier for you, with the help of Consumer Reports, I’ve posted this list of the most reliable and dependable cars and SUVs under $10,000. These vehicles will meet your driving needs without costing you a small fortune and costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in future repair bills.

The vehicles named on the list came standard with ESC (electronic stability control) and had above-average reliability for the model years shown based on their Annual Auto Survey.

If you’re in the market for a great used car under $10,000, consider these used cars and the vehicles I’d recommend to my friends or family.

Best Used Cars Under $10,000

Year RangeVehicleBody Style
2008Mazda3 sSmall Car
2005 – 2008Pontiac VibeSmall Car
2007 – 2009Volkswagen RabbitSmall Car
2005Acura TLSedan
2005Acura TSXSedan
2005Toyota AvalonSedan
2006 – 2008Hyundai Sonata 4-cyl.Sedan
2007 – 2008Kia Optima 4-cyl.Sedan
2005Honda CR-VSUV
2007Mitsubishi OutlanderSUV
2005Honda PilotSUV

Keep in mind when buying a used car you must do two things, the first thing is to check the used car’s title history using a service such as AutoCheck to make sure the vehicle has not been in a severe accident or has a branded title. If the title shows to be clean, the second thing is always have the vehicle inspected by an independent certified mechanic before signing on the dotted line. This will greatly reduce the chances of you buying someone else’s problems.

If you’re considering the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle for your teen driver, I recommend using a free online referral services such as Ryde Shopper and Motor Trend. These services will tell you what others are paying for the vehicle you’re considering in your local area and which dealers give the greatest discounts.