Here is my fully subjective list of used cars under $10,000. If you’re looking for a daily commuter or a first car, there are bargains to be had for $10,000 or less.
On to the list in no particular order:
2008 Mazda3: This is a perennial favorite. Mazda makes a helluva car, and the 3 is a popular choice for a stylish, fuel-efficient daily driver. It has enough safety features to make it a good choice for a first car, too. Look for one that has been well-maintained with low miles, and you’ll have a great car for years to come. Available as a sedan or hatchback.
MPG: 24/32 Drive train: 2.4 liter 4 cylinder, 5-speed manual, available 4-speed automatic
2003-2011 Ford Crown Victoria: OK, so this boat-like sedan isn’t exactly fuel-efficient, but it’s spacious, reliable, and comes equipped with a 4.6 liter V8 mated to a 4-speed automatic. No wonder law enforcement folk love these cars. Add a vertical bars to the front grille and scare the hell out of people as you pull up behind them. MPG: 16/23
2006-2006 Infiniti G35: This is a winner if you have more refined taste. These cars come equipped with Bluetooth, leather upholstery, navigation system, keyless ignition and a host of other treats. A great way to indulge your champagne taste while honoring your beer budget. The 3.5L V6 offers more sass than other cars at this price point, and you have your choice of a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. MPG: 17/24
2007-2012 Nissan Versa: This one leaves me completely underwhelmed, but it’s a good point A to point B car. If bare bones practicality is your selling point, the Versa is for you. I’ve driven one on several occasions and the seats have all the comfort of a bus stop bench. Just warning you. The Versa is available as either a sedan or hatchback with either a 1.6L CVT automatic or a 6-speed manual. MPG: 30/38
2001-2005 Honda Civic: What is a cheapie car list without the Civic? Available in DX, LX, EX, and Si trim lines, the Civic offers a lot of features for the money. Great MPG, Honda reliability, and simple architecture/layout make this a favorite. Make sure the timing belt was changed at the proper interval and beware of transmission issues. The Civic is available as a sedan, coupe, or hatchback. Comes with your choice of a gas or hybrid engine. MPG: 27/34
Budget cars can be great cars
Despite what your well-heeled friends may have told you, budget cars don’t have to suck. By doing your research, exercising caution (the seller is full of BS until proven otherwise), and getting a look at maintenance records, you can snag a great deal.
As with any used car purchase, have an automotive tech familiar with the brand perform a pre-sale inspection.
Buying used also means cheaper insurance, less sales tax, and lower registration fees. If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced ride, one of these cars could be your ticket out of public transit or bumming rides from friends.
Wednesday: Part 2 of 10 under $10,000.