Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Making the Most of a Used Car Buy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Making the Most of a Used Car Buy

Article excerpt

Need new wheels but have a tight budget? Consumer Reports has long advocated buying used as a way to get the biggest bang for your buck. It's simple math: After one year, a new car has depreciated 27 percent of its sticker price; after three years, it's worth barely half of its sticker. When someone else takes the depreciation hit on the car, you benefit.

But picking out a good used car from a sea of bad ones has never been easy. You want to buy one that's reliable, affordable and equipped with modern safety features. Add in the desire to avoid a car that has been damaged in an accident or a natural disaster, and the process can feel overwhelming.

It doesn't have to be. Consumer Reports created this handy guide to help you find the small cars, sedans and SUVs that are most likely to fulfill your needs without breaking down and soaking you in repair bills.

Every vehicle on this list performed well in its tests when it was new and has had above-average reliability for the model years shown, based on Consumer Reports' latest Annual Auto Survey. Each also came standard with electronic stability control, unless otherwise noted.

Here are some of the used cars Consumer Reports would recommend to family and friends.

Less Than $10,000

Small Cars (with available ESC): Mazda3 s (2008); Pontiac Vibe (2005-08)

Sedans: Acura TL (2005); Hyundai Sonata 4-cylinder (2006-08)

SUVs: Honda CR-V (2005); Mitsubishi Outlander (2007)

$10,000 to $15,000

Small Cars: Subaru Impreza (2010); Kia Soul (2010-12)

Sedans: Infiniti G35 (2006-07); Acura RL (2005-06)

SUVs: Acura MDX (2005-06); Toyota Highlander V-6 (2005-07)

$15,000 to $20,000

Small Cars: Toyota Prius (2010-13); Hyundai Elantra (2013-14)

Sedans: Honda Accord (2008-12); Toyota Camry (2010-12)

SUVs: Lexus RX (2006-08); Toyota RAV4 (2009-11)

$20,000 to $25,000

Sedans: Toyota Camry Hybrid (2012-13); Infiniti M (2009)

SUVs: Lexus GX (2006-07); Nissan Murano (2011-12)

Used-car Disasters

It's every used-car buyer's nightmare: Getting a rebuilt wreck despite doing extensive research. …

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