Consumer Reports Reveals Best Used Cars For Under $20K

Consumer Reports recently revealed the best automotive brands and models for 2018 but buyers with limited budgets don’t have to spend big to get a reliable car.

After complaining test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses, the publication came up with the best used car picks for shoppers with a budget of $20,000 or less. The vehicles are from the 2008-2017 model years and have “much-better-than-average reliability.”

The small car category was dominated by imports including the Honda Fit, Kia Soul and Mazda3. Other good options include the Scion xB, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Prius. The only domestic car to make the cut was the Pontiac Vibe which is essentially a badge-engineered Toyota Matrix which also made the list.

Shoppers looking for a midsize sedan only have a few recommended choices such as the Honda Accord and Mazda6. Two Toyota models also made the list and they are the Avalon and Camry.

Buyers looking for a cut-rate luxury car are advised to check out the Acura TL and TSX as well as the Infiniti G and M sedans. On the Lexus side, there are four recommended models including the CT, ES, GS and LS. The only German car to make the cut was the 2010-2011 Mercedes E-Class.

Wagons and sports cars might not have much in common but the recommended choices come from Subaru, Scion and Toyota. On the sports car side, there’s the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S. Likewise, the best wagons are the Toyota Prius V and Venza.

The recommended list of crossovers and SUVs all come from Japanese automakers. They include the Acura RDX, Honda CR-V, Lexus RX and Mazda CX-5. Toyota also took four spots thanks to the 4Runner, Highlander, RAV4 and Sequoia.

While the truck market is dominated by Ford and General Motors, neither of their pickups made the recommended list. Instead, the publication steers people to the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra.

You can see which specific model years are recommended by Consumer Reports after the jump.

VIDEO

 

Consumer Reports’ Recommended Used Car Models

 

Small Cars

Honda Fit ’09-13
Kia Soul ’10-16
Mazda3 ’09-17
Pontiac Vibe ’08-10
Scion xB ’08-12, ’15
Toyota Corolla ’08-17
Toyota Matrix ’08-10
Toyota Prius ’08-15

Midsized & Large Cars

Honda Accord ’08-15
Mazda6 ’09-15
Toyota Avalon ’08-13
Toyota Camry ’08-15

Luxury Cars

Acura TL ’08-10, ’13
Acura TSX ’08-14
Infiniti G ’08-11, ’13
Infiniti M ’08, ’11
Lexus CT 200h ’11-13
Lexus ES ’08-12
Lexus GS ’08, ’10-11
Lexus LS ’08
Mercedes-Benz E-Class ’10-11

Sports Car

Scion FR-S ’14-15
Subaru BRZ ’14

Wagons

Toyota Prius V ’12-14
Toyota Venza ’09-12

SUVs

Acura RDX ’09-10, ’12
Honda CR-V ’08-14
Lexus RX ’08-10
Mazda CX-5 ’13-15
Toyota 4Runner ’08-09
Toyota Highlander ’08-10
Toyota RAV4 ’08-13
Toyota Sequoia ’08

Pickup Trucks

Honda Ridgeline ’08-10
Toyota Tundra ’08

  • John

    more like best japanese car under $20k
    how did that Pontiac Vibe made it there.. lol

    • SgtBeavis

      Because it’s a rebadged Toyota.

  • eye.surgeon

    Wow. Completely import cars except a Pontiac that doesn’t exist any more. Sad.

  • brn

    On average, domestic vehicles have a lower resale value. This makes them better used buys. CR didn’t seem to take this into account.

    In general, declaring “best buys” on used cars is a pretty tricky topic. Such lists should be avoided.

  • Nick099

    I have been following CR and their reports for a long time.

    I have bought cars that they claimed were “worse than average” expected reliability…and they returned much, much better than expected reliability.

    The point? I am not so sure they are so correct in their conclusions.

  • dumblikeyou2

    The red-headed stepchild isn’t the Pontiac Vibe, it’s the Mercedes E-class. Good luck with that one……

  • dumblikeyou2

    For a Mazda CX-5, I guess

  • Toronado_II

    Reliable but so boring overall !

The Tragedy of Le Mans 1955 Animated In Artful Style

The 15-minute animated short aims to resolve one of the worst tragedies in motor racing history.

Suzuki Hustler Gets A Little Tougher, Wilder

Suzuki’s latest Hustler looks ready to take on the Mini Countryman and Fiat 500X.

Watch The Nio EP9 Set A New Goodwood Record For the Fastest Production EV

At just over 44 seconds, the Nio EP9 became the fastest production EV at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year.

Car Flies Through Median Strip, Rolls Over In Front Of Dashcam Car

This was a very close call and it was fortuitous that the out of control car didn’t hit anyone else.

BMW X2 M35i Sounds Fittingly Angry During Nurburgring Testing

BMW X2 buyers will soon have more options as a 300 HP version will join the range.

McLaren 600LT Puts On A Flame-Spitting Show At Goodwood

McLaren’s latest sports series model doesn’t need an aftermarket exhaust system to put on a fiery show.

Dodge Demon, Viper GTS And Corvette C6 ZR1 Go To Battle In Forza 7

If you can’t have a drag race in real life, the next best thing is to see what they’ll do on a driving simulator.

Customized Nissan GT-R Gets Adjustable Suspension, Bronze Rims

Thankfully, the ride height can be jacked up, or else it would scrape the underside in even the tiniest imperfection.

Aston Martin Volante Vision Concept Is Yet Another Flying Vehicle You Can’t Buy

Don’t get a loan just yet the Aston Martin Volante Vision is very much a concept.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus’ 006 Combines Classic Ferrari Looks With A 650 HP Engine

The SCG 006 appears to draw inspiration from the Shelby Daytona and Ferrari 275 GTB.