The Surprising List of Best Used Cars under $10K

There’s no question that buying a used car can be tricky.

If you’re looking for technical information about a used car, just use Kelley Blue Book, or But what about reliability and finding a vehicle that holds value well?

Problem solved. Consumers Reports has released their list of best used cars, and the cars that made the list – and didn’t make the list – might surprise you. For example, Honda’s popular Accord or the compact Civic were not on the list, despite having excellent reputations for reliability and value.

The list is compiled from the Consumers Union Annual Auto Survey, with data collected from vehicle users all over the United States.

With used car prices only just now declining from historic highs, shopping can still be tough. So we’re going to cover the list of the best used cars for under $10,000.

In the “Small Car” category, the vehicles that raced across the figurative finish line were:

  • Toyota Prius, 2004-2007. The Prius, a mainstay of hybrid car enthusiasts, shines at fuel efficiency, and is the most efficient five-passenger vehicle available, having an overall mpg of 44. The report described the Prius as roomy and comfortable.
  • Scion xB, 2004-2006. The Scion xB performs well and meets the specific needs of city drivers, marrying a compact and manageable size with the accessibility of four doors and a full-size rear hatch.
  • Pontiac Vibe, 2005-2008. With high marks for styling, handling and accessibility, the Vibe has a highway mpg of 33 and performance to make a driver take notice.
  • Toyota Matrix, 2005-2007. The noteworthy performance and good highway mileage (36 mpg) of the Matrix is challenged only if and when the car is filled with adult passengers, but it is otherwise a great small car.

In the “Sedan” category, which would include both mid-size and full-size cars, the vehicles that made the grade are:

  • Hyundai Sonata, 2007-2008. The Sonata made the list, with solid performance and a comfortable ride.
  • Acura TSX, 2004. This sporty sedan has responsive acceleration, a quiet cabin and the styling and appointments you would expect from an Acura.

And the “SUV” category showed true versatility with its offerings of:

  • Toyota Highlander V6, 2004. Though a full-size SUV, the Highlander showed grace in its interior styling, and the V6 engine performed powerfully.
  • Mitsubishi Outlander, 2007. A compact SUV built on the Lancer sedan platform, it offers a nimbler ride and optional third-row seat.

When you’re ready to shop, visit to get used-car bad credit financing that works for your budget.*


* “Bad” or “Poor” credit generally is considered a FICO score around 600 and below by sources including the Consumer Federation of America and National Credit Reporting Association (reported by the Associated Press),,, Investopedia, and others. The Congressional Budget Office identifies a FICO score of 620 as the “cutoff” for prime loans. FICO scores are not the sole factor in lending decisions by and Santander Consumer USA.

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