A used car is a common purchase for many of us with bad credit. But if the new car market is complicated, the used car market can be even more confusing. Still, there are excellent cars on the market, if you know where to look.
General Buying Advice
When looking for a late model used car, focus on the 2005 to 2010 model years. Those will offer the best value for the price. Similarly, the more popular a model of car is, the more likely it is to be available at a good price, as there’s a larger supply. Also look for a car that’s reliable even after a few years of use and likely to hold its value over time. Remember, eventually you’ll need to turn in your used car to buy another car, so it’s best to have a good trade-in when you do. So what cars best fit that criteria?
Yes, the Prius is a good used car. In fact, they’re extremely popular on the used market right now because they are, of course, incredibly fuel-efficient, and Toyota is a fairly reliable manufacturer. Especially helpful is that there are several versions of the Prius, so for most shoppers, it’s likely going to be the best deal.
If you need less seating space and you need more space to pack your tools, consider another Toyota, the Tacoma. The Tacoma is an incredibly popular light truck, and for excellent reason; it’s durable, it’s cheap, and it’ll fit the bill for most people looking for a work vehicle. True, it might be difficult to find one with plenty of seating space, but if you need a truck for light work, or for your weekend hobbies, it’ll likely be your best bet.
If you need a roomy sedan, the Altima will likely fit the bill. 2005 to 2010 encompasses two different “generations” of the vehicle, but they’re fairly consistent in fuel mileage and roominess. If you need a lot of passenger space, preferably in a car that doesn’t burn a lot of gas, the Altima will likely be your best bet.
The single most popular consumer vehicle in the world, the Ford F-150 makes the list simply because there are so many of them on the market, and they’re so reliable, that prices stay low even as the car holds its value. Ford trucks are famous for being able to endure a surprising amount of punishment, so if you need a heavy-duty pickup for a good price, a used F-150 will fit the bill.
Finally, there’s the minivan, much beloved and much scorned in equal measure. But if you’ve got a lot of kids, or you need to haul a lot of groceries, there’s no car better for the job. And there’s no car better or more reliable at said job than the Honda Odyssey, easily one of the more popular minivans on the road.
Remember, buying used is often just as effective as buying new, but always do your homework. That’ll be the best way to ensure any used car you get is a car worth owning.