Now is a great time to shop for a used car, according to Consumer Reports. Interest rates are down and prices are at their lowest level since 1995. But trying to figure out if you’ve found an overlooked gem or someone else’s headache can be daunting. Consumer Reports’ Used Car Buying Guide can help steer you to some excellent choices for under $18,000.
If you’re looking for a used car, Consumer Reports says it’s a buyers’ market. Many cars coming off lease are flooding the market as zero percent financing lures shoppers into buying new ones.
Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, David Champion, says buying used can get you more for your money.
“In the first couple of years of a car’s life it looses up to 30 percent of its value. So, used cars are much cheaper than new cars. Plus, insurance is cheaper and if you pick a reliable car there are many more miles left in it.”
Some well-maintained reliable vehicles can go for as many as 200,000 miles. Some to consider…
…the Toyota Camry. It’s one of your best choices if you’re shopping for a mid-sized family sedan. Testers have found it has a smooth quiet ride, predictable handling and excellent reliability.
The Honda Odyssey minivan is good if you’re looking for more passenger and cargo space. Consumer Reports says it has a smooth, powerful engine and lots of room.
If you’re looking for a sedan that’s a bit more sporty, the Mazda Millenia is a good bet that's often overlooked.
“Very nice, luxury car, but nobody really knew about it, depreciation is very high, but reliability is excellent. So, in the used car market, it's cheap to buy, reliable and very nice to drive.”
If you just have to have a cute little sports car, the Toyota Celica is a good contender. It has enjoyable handling and excellent overall quality.
And, finally, any of these newer used vehicles come with standard safety features – like side airbags and anti-lock brakes – making them an even better buy.
Consumer Reports says before you purchase a used car always have it looked at by a professional mechanic. Ask for a written report of any repairs that may be needed and what they may cost. Then use that to negotiate with the seller.