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Best and worst used cars

Published: Tuesday, March 03, 2015 @ 3:07 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 03, 2015 @ 3:07 PM
By: Clark Howard

So much has been written about how to buy a new car. But truth be told, far more people buy used than they do new. 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 recently started running a new feature called 'The Worst of the Worst Used Cars.'

These are used cars that are so bad, they make a hall of shame of cars you should not consider buying used! Here is a very partial and selective list of the used cars to avoid, in alphabetical order.

  • BMW 330i ’06; and 335Ci ’07-09
  • Buick Enclave ’08-11; and Terraza ’05-07
  • Chevy Cruze (1.4T) ’11-14; Cruze (1.8L) ’11-13; Uplander ’06-08; and Venture ’05
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser ’05-08
  • Dodge Grand Caravan ’05-12
  • Ford F-250 and F-350 (diesel) ’05-08, ’10-11, ’13; and Fiesta ’11-14
  • Jeep Wrangler (4-door) ’07-09, ’11-13
  • Mini Cooper S ’05-12
  • Saturn Outlook ’07-09; and Relay ’05-07
  • VW GTI ’07; and Tiguan ’09-11

For the complete list, you can either buy one-time access to Consumer Reports at or check out the latest issue from your local library. 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, divided by price category. Here's a partial overview:

  • Mazda3 s (2008)
  • Pontiac Vibe (2005-08)
  • Volkswagen Rabbit (2007-09)
  • Acura MDX (2005-06)
  • Toyota Highlander V6 (2005-07)
  • Honda Accord (2008-12)
  • Toyota Camry (2010-12)
  • Lexus ES (2007-08)

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!