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The Best Used Cars to Buy for Value

Updated on May 11, 2012
Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4
Honda CRV
Honda CRV
Acura RSX
Acura RSX
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Highlander

I know, everyone will have their spin and opinion and reason for what they think is the best used car. However, a recent study on used cars that are 10 years old (2002 models) reveals what models are your best deals, not necessarily the most popular, but ones that have not lost their value much since 2002 (which is very important in resale) foremost, then styling and popularity, a second distant third reason. The following list is sequential from best value. But to be honest, all on the list are good considerations when buying a used car.

  1. Toyota RAV 4 - although 10 years old, the car still retails for around $8K, RAV's are popular, small SUV's. They easily carry five and have good cargo space. The MPG is still okay at around 24.
  2. VW GL TDI - Like the #1, VW's diesel still, 10 years later, beats most 2012 models with its phenomenal 30\45 MPG. There is ample space for passengers and cargo. The car still sells for around $7-8K. If you commute, this is what you want. The 2006 models still sell for $13K even with 150K on them. Diesel engines tend to last to 250-300K.
  3. Honda CRV - the #1 car and this car often are confused with one another. They look kinda similar. They act and drive the same, both are reliable and get the same MPG.
  4. Mini Cooper - Yes, they are small but they get decent MPG, They do have more limited cargo space but their value still has them selling at $6K.
  5. Toyota Highlander SUV - This is a much larger SUB than the RAV. The 02 models were well built and now you have a ton of cargo space and room for six+ people. The MPG is lower 20s. They still sell for 9K.
  6. Acura RSX - Well, the large rear spoiler should tell you something about this puppy. Yes, most teens or 20-somethings would gravitate to this because of its hot, sporty style. Decent student car, MPG, and limited cargo for only 6K. I think many would buy this rather than #2 because of difficulty in finding parts and servicing. Sells for $5-6K.
  7. Subaru Forester\Outback Wagon - built with heavier metal, they dent less easily and with all wheel drive, have the guts to go where others don't. Both carry decent amounts of cargo, like a Timex watch, they keep on ticking after taking a licking. I know, I have owed three of them. The downside is MPG, usually 20-23. Their engines are second to VW's diesels with basic maintenance-to 200K miles. Sells for 6K.
  8. Honda Accord LX\EX - They remain popular, nothing extraordinary but they make a good second car, gets 24 MPG, nice looking, sells for $5-6K.

As I said, all are 2002 models. Prices will vary depending condition and miles. But, because you just know fuel costs will only level out or go up, think about this. For me, the overriding issues are MPG, so if I were to buy one, only #2 works. Now, if I needed more cargo area than what the VW offers (note: I own a 2006 model and the trunk space is very large-the word, astonishing, comes to mind. When the rear seats are down, it could be used to sleep in or to load a ladder, surfboard, snowboards) than your choices are SUV types.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      well, until very recently VW was made in mexico, still is. car salesmen are all reptilians in all color.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      GM made a deal with the reptilians and they helped build better cars. I don't want to support them, but if you can get a better car, go for it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Always look for the gay salesmen or the hispanic salesmen. They'll always give you a better deal.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, yes, they make perfectly good first cars.

    • Angelo52 profile image


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Lots of good information on which used cars may be a good choice for a second car or even first car - depends on circumstances. Voted up +

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Yes. seems so. I bought #2, a 2006 model.

    • bankscottage profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great Hub. The last few cars I have bought have been used. Searching on line and using CarFax, I can find good cars in my area and get the sellers to compete for my business. I got a great used 2004 Honda CRV this way.

      New or used car, I look for dependability, low maintenance cost, low need for repairs, and good gas mileage. The CRV fit this. We had bought a new 2006 Civic that gets up to 40 MPG on the highway.

      The way cars are built now, they can last a long time making 'buy new and keep' or 'buy used and save' great options.

      I also have a 2003 Mini Cooper that I bought new and it has held its value well.

      Based on your list, in retrospect, I may have made some good choices.

      Voted up, useful and shared.


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