#best used cars
Fifteen Best Used Car Choices for Smart Buyers
By Keith Griffin. Used Cars Expert
Keith Griffin has been an automotive journalist and new car reviewer for more than 13 years. His experience as a journalist dates back 35 years. He is currently immediate president of the New England Motor Press Association.
One person s best used car is another person s nightmare but this list of the 15 best used cars by segment manages to hit the mark in many ways.
This list was compiled by Edmunds.com. which I consistently rank as the best online source for automotive information. Its pricing on used cars favors the consumer and its research is always in-depth and thorough. I would rank it second only to Consumer Reports as a valuable resource for used car buyers.
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The Edmunds.com list of best used cars isn t ranked in order but I m going to take the liberty of doing that for you. I am customizing the list to make it a true ranking of the best used cars. However, because it is based on segment, there will be better used cars out there than some listed here.
Best Used Cars for 2012
Compact Sedan: 2005-2010 Hyundai Elantra – This would have to rank as the best overall basic transportation on the list. It s not going to win a lot of style awards but it is going to be dependable.
Midsize Sedan: 2005-2010 Nissan Altima – frankly I have always wondered how this car is not the best-selling car in America. Used Altimas are going to become great values thanks to the introduction of the new model.
Wagon: 2005-2010 Pontiac Vibe – Kudos to Edmunds.com for including a discontinued model. A used Pontiac is going to be just fine and the fact that is basically a Toyota Matrix make it an ever better value.
Coupe: 2005-2010 BMW 3 Series – Edmunds really should have made a category called premium coupe and include the 3 series there.
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This was the first generation, in my opinion, that the 3 series became a great car.
Compact SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Honda CR-V – There s nary a complaint one can make about the CR-V. It s a solid vehicle that might sell at a good price as this is being written in June 2012 because the compact market is cooling off as gas prices drop.
Large Sedan: 2006-2010 Hyundai Azera – Talk about a car that gets little respect and the Azera comes to mind. It s a premium sedan at a domestic price. It s a used car you will never regret buying, especially when making monthly payments.
Minivan/Van: 2005-2010 Honda Odyssey – Yada, yada, yada the Odyssey wins more accolades, but there s a reason: it s a much better minivan for everyday use than the Sienna, which dads may not like driving.
Luxury: 2005-2010 Infiniti G35/G37 – Owning a used Infiniti G37 may not mean lots of heads turning your way as you drive by for the average person but people in the know will respect your wisdom and good taste. One caveat, though, would be the convertible model. I drove a 2010 Infiniti G37 convertible that had a small leak during heavy rains.
Hybrid: 2005-2010 Toyota Prius – There are other hybrids out there, but nobody is doing it as well as Toyota for the last 10 years. About.com has a great video on buying a used hybrid that should be helpful.
Sport Compact: 2005-2010 Subaru Impreza WRX – This is really a great sports car dollar for dollar but, please, don t buy one for a teenage driver. It s a vehicle best left to mature drivers.
Convertible: 2005-2010 Mazda Miata – The Miata, also known as the Miata MX-5, is the perfect used car for a midlife crisis. It puts a smile on your face when you drive it and isn t going to get you in trouble like a used Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro might.
Midsize SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Ford Explorer – No list is perfect and I would include this as Exhibit A. Hyundai, Kia and Toyota make better crossovers than the Explorer in this generation and I m going to say the same thing about the current generation, too.
Large SUV/Crossover: 2005-2010 Chevrolet Tahoe – Is bland better? Again, there is nothing wrong with the Tahoe, but I consider it uninspired. The Asians do this category better.
Compact Truck: 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma – No arguments from me mostly because I don t consider myself much of an expert on pickups. By the way, About s truck expert Dale Wickell offers good advice on how to buy a used pickup .
Large Truck: 2005-2010 Ford F-150 – Again, no arguments from me. Plus, I don t want to anger the Chevy and Dodge pickup owners out there with strong opinions.
For those of you keeping track at home, here is how the list of the best used cars was compiled. A team of Edmunds.com editors assembled the list, which emphasizes the most important criteria to consider when researching and deciding on a used vehicle: reliability, safety, value and availability. Eligibility was limited to vehicles ranging from two to seven years old.