Best Used Cars: Kiplinger’s Top Picks

by The Smarter Wallet on June 16, 2010

Planning to buy a used car? Try out a model from Kiplinger’s list.

Buying a new car in this economy is simply not a practical undertaking. Most of us simply cannot afford to shell out $20,000 or more all at once, and very few of us can afford another payment. So, what do you do when you find yourself in the market for another vehicle? You buy used. Gently used cars are a great way to put yourself into a reliable vehicle for thousands less than you can buy new. Here are a few of Kiplinger’s picks for the best used vehicles.

Best Used Cars: Kiplinger’s Top Picks

2005 Honda Civic EX Sedan
The number one best pick is the 2005 Honda Civic EX Sedan. This little number ranks high on the list for its exceptional reliability, outstanding gas mileage, and high resell value. If classy economy is what you are looking for, try one of these on for size. This one comes in at around $12,000 on the lot and $11,500 if you buy from a private party.

2007 Ford Five Hundred SEL
Next comes the 2007 Ford Five Hundred SEL. This car is quite a bit larger and somewhat more luxurious than the Honda, which comes with a price bump, that believe it or not, is not that much. This car gets around 25 miles per gallon average (21 local/29 highway), which is about 10 miles per gallon less than the Honda, but the increased cabin space can more than make up for the difference. You can pick this one up on a lot for around $13,900 or from an individual for about $12,800.

2006 Infinity G35 Sedan
For all of you luxury car lovers, take a gander at Kiplinger’s next pick. The 2006 Infinity G35 Sedan will give you the luxury you want on the road without breaking the budget. The 6 cylinder motor produces an impressive 280 horsepower, giving this car plenty of get up and go without sacrificing gas efficiency. This car is priced to sell at $19,250 at a lot and $18,200 privately.

Tip: If you’re thinking of buying a car, first get your financing or finances, in order.

2005 Lexus LS 430
Another luxury sedan entry on this list is the 2005 Lexus LS 430. This car tops many Kiplinger’s lists including Best New Car in 2007. This car gives its drivers pure driving pleasure and buying used allows you to save up to half of the original sticker price, coming in at $26,200 on a lot or $24,000 privately.

2005 Toyota RAV4
One of the only SUVs to make this list is the 2005 Toyota RAV 4. This perky little crossover pre-dates all of Toyota’s current design woes and this car actually won Best Small SUV when it was new. Gas mileage is also comparable to many standard family sedans coming in at 24 mpg residential and 29 mpg highway. Average used car price for the RAV4 is $13,000 on a lot and $12,000 privately.

2007 Honda Pilot
The 2007 Honda Pilot LX is the other SUV entry on this list. Slightly more expensive than the RAV4 but it doesn’t have the Toyota baggage. It also adds plenty of extra cargo space making this vehicle the ultimate weekend warrior. You can pick this nugget up for around $17,000 on a lot and $16,200 from an individual.

Tip: Want to know how to keep your car costs low? Here’s how to own a car for less.

2006 Volkswagen Golf GL
The 2006 Volkswagen Golf GL is an odd looking, incredibly safe and economical car that you can park in any parking lot with ease. You can be the soccer mom without investing in a minivan; you can also fit the groceries in the car without it having to be a station wagon. And the best part is that it’s the cheapest entry on the list, coming in at $11,000 retail and $10,200 privately.

2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS
The 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS is a stylish, economical and practical family sedan that offers drivers a great way to get the same caliber car as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord without the sticker shock. This car has won the Kiplinger’s Best in Class award two years running, making this car a real value. You can pick up this car for $11,500 on the lot or $10,800 from an individual.

2006 Acura TL
If sporty is what you seek, check out the 2006 Acura TL. This car combines the safety and reliability of the Honda brand and adds luxury that is almost unparalleled. This car gets high marks for safety, reliability and high resell values, making it a great car for the money. You can pick this one up for around $21,000 retail and $19,800 privately.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gold bug June 17, 2010 at 11:06 am

I would definitely recommend the 4Runner over the Pilot. The 4runner costs a little more but is a real truck and will hold up better in the long run. I’ve had both and that is my opinion.

2 CreditShout June 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Thanks for the hints. These would all be wise decisions.

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