Here are the best and worst used cars you can buy right now

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So much has been written about how to buy a new car. But truth be told, far more people buy used cars than they do new.

One of the reasons for that is that shoppers can save significantly on used cars over new vehicles.

A 3-year-old vehicle generally has 80 to 85% of its remaining useful life — for half the new price. That’s why 3-year-old vehicles, just as 3-year-old horses running the Kentucky Derby, are the thoroughbreds of used vehicles.

So here’s some guidance to help you get the best used car for your dollar!

Steer away from this list of the worst used cars

Consumer Reports is my favorite source of info on buying cars. They’ve updated an occasional feature of theirs called “Worst Used Cars.” The data is pulled from subscriber responses to Consumer Reports’ annual auto survey.

These are used cars that are so bad, they make a hall of shame of cars you should not consider buying used!

Based on reliability over the long term and separated by American or foreign, here is a very partial and selective list of the used cars to avoid, in alphabetical order by make.

Here are some of the worst used American cars you can buy

Make Model(s) Year(s) to avoid
Buick Enclave 2008-2011
Cadillac Escalade 2014-2015
Cadillac CTS 2008, 2014-15
Chevy Cruz 2011-12, 2014, 2017
Chrysler 300 2013-2014
Dodge Durango 2011-2013, 2016
Ford Explorer 2012, 2016
Ford Fiesta 2011-16
GMC Acadia 2008-11, 2013-14, 2017
Tesla Model X 2016-2017

Here are some of the worst used foreign cars you can buy

Make Model(s) Year(s) to avoid
Acura ILX, MDX 2016
Audi A4 2009-2011
BMW 1 Series 2009, 2011, 2013
Hyundai Tucson 2016
Mazda MX-Miata 2009, 2015-2016
Infinity QX60 2014-2015
Jaguar F-Pace 2017
Kia Sportage 2013
Lexus GX 2016
Nissan Pathfinder 2013-1014

Check out the complete list here. And if you’re driving around in one of these vehicles, don’t shoot the messenger. This is not my list. It’s the Consumer Reports list!

Consider buying from this list of the best used cars

At the other extreme, Consumer Reports also has a list of vehicles that they’ve deemed the best used cars, mixed together between American and foreign-made. Here’s a partial overview:

Make Model Year(s) to buy
Mazda 3 2009-2017
Pontiac Vibe 2008-2010
Kia Soul 2010-2016
Acura TSX 2008-2014
Toyota Highlander 2008-2010
Honda Accord 2008-2015
Toyota Camry 2008-2015
Lexus ES 2008-2012
Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2010-2011
Infiniti G 2008-2011, 2013

When you’re looking for a used car, you want reliable, dependable, affordable transportation. So let this list be your guide — and don’t forget to read this important info from me before you buy used!


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