The old days of auto shopping with a visit to the car lot to see what’s in stock is long gone. Today’s used car buyers begin online with searches like “cheap used cars for sale near me” or “used cars cheap.” What’s more, vehicle shopping doesn’t even have to involve a trip to a dealer. Many auto retailers offer 100% virtual shopping, including delivery to a buyer’s home.
The pandemic brought on a whole new world of car shopping. And even with things gradually returning to normal, people have discovered the convenience and time savings of online car shopping.
The almost limitless availability of online cars to check out can be overwhelming. So, before you start searching for “cash cars for sale near me,” try to set some parameters in advance.
Vehicle Type: You may already have a preference for a particular type of car, but otherwise, narrow down what matches your needs and wants.
Powertrain: The powertrain primarily consists of the engine and transmission: basically, it’s what moves the car and manages the engine or motor.
Drivetrain: The drivetrain is the component or system that delivers power to the wheels.
Brand/Make: Whether you prefer a particular automaker or are looking for a vehicle within a category (economy, mainstream, or luxury), having a pick can streamline the shopping process. Are you a Toyota person or have BMW dreams? It’s up to you. Consider premium choices when searching for used luxury cars for sale near me.
Budget: Of course, the size of your wallet is the greatest determinant of what car you can shop for. Visions of a Porsche may be fantastic, but reality may mean that you should focus on Fords and Hondas. Later on, we’ll look at some suggestions for budget-friendly cars to consider.
Fuel Economy: Tied into the budget is fuel economy. Think about how much you regularly drive. Is it 5,000 or 10,000 miles a year? Perhaps you’re behind the wheel for 15,000 miles over 12 months. Do some basic math to see how much it will cost to drive a particular vehicle. Let’s say you drive 12,000 miles a year and are considering a car that averages 25 miles per gallon. This works out to 480 gallons of fuel a year. At $4 a gallon, you’ll spend $1,920 a year (or $160 per month) at the gas station.
Seating Capacity: While that two-seat sports car may match up perfectly with the budget, it’s likely a non-starter if there’s more than one person among your regular driving companions. In other words, consider who you need to bring along in the car. This includes taking into account any potential future family members.
Cargo Needs: Similarly, you’ll need to pass on that sweet convertible if regularly driving includes hauling stuff from the home improvement store or a team’s load of sports gear.
Insurance: Talk with your insurance company (or shop for a new one) about how a prospective car may impact premiums. One particular model or type may help or hurt your bottom line. Check out: 12 Tips How To Save On Car Insurance.
It’s no secret that used car prices have increased significantly since the full effects of the pandemic impacted the car industry. But, some careful research can yield options even with less than ten grand to spend.
You’ll need to concentrate the search on examples with about a decade’s worth of ownership and about 100,000 miles. 2013 and newer Escapes benefit from the third-generation design with sleeker looks and an upgraded interior. Look for a model with the XLT or better trim. If you’re not a Blue Oval fan, check out a similarly aged Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain.
If you don’t need to drive long distances and want something cheap to operate, consider a Nissan Leaf EV. You’ll have no trouble finding a clean example from 2012 or 2013 with less than 50,000 miles. It’s an ideal car for average daily commutes, first-car duties, or just local errands. Plus, you’ll have money left over. Also, consider an all-electric 2012 Ford Focus as an alternative.
There are a lot of other ten-year-old Chevy sedans (Sonic, Cruise, and Malibu) that fall within a $10,000 budget, but we suggest concentrating on the Impala. It’s spacious, safe, and has a reputation for reliability. In other words, it’s a lot of money. Sure, a first-time driver may not get excited about this four-door Chevy, but that’s the point. Any Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys in this price range will likely have 150,000 miles or more.
Choices will narrow with a slimmer $6,000 budget, but you’ll still be able to find something.
You’ll need to toss a coin in choosing an older (2010-2012) Sentra with less than 100,000 miles or a somewhat newer (2012-2013) example with higher mileage. Regardless, you’ll get a compact but capable sedan that sips fuel. Also, consider its smaller Versa stablemate, which comes in sedan or hatchback form.
The Focus could easily fall under the economy car label. However, its competent road manners and good handling seem to be a cut above the usual econobox. But, this isn’t to say the Focus is a sports car. Available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, “focus” on examples from 2012 or newer, so you’ll be shopping for a third-generation model. With some digging, you’ll come across choices under 150,000 miles and within budget.
Search out a 2011-2012 Sonata to take advantage of streamlined six-generation styling and a more refined interior. Expect the odometer to read somewhere around the 150,000-mile range, but you’ll still get a decently equipped midsize sedan for less than $6,000.
Let’s be honest. These days $5,000 isn’t a lot to spend on a car, but there are options out there.
An SUV for less than five grand? Yes, and it’s the compact Jeep Liberty, the brand’s forgotten stepchild that got replaced by the Cherokee. You’ll need to scope out models from 2005 to 2010, but mileage won’t be too bad (under 150,000). These Jeeps are robust and cheap to work on. And despite the age, a Liberty still looks reasonably contemporary.
People aren’t beating a path to track down used Buick sedans, but this creates a buying opportunity for a budget-minded shopper. You’ll have to settle for something that’s 15 years old or so and with at least 100,000 miles on the clock. But, with some luck, you might come across a LaCrosse CXL with an upscale leather interior. Plus, this Buick offers a spacious, family-friendly cabin. For more similarly priced options, check out other Buick sedans—Lucerne and Le Sabre.
Whether you need to haul people or cargo, sometimes there’s no substitute for a minivan. A $5,000 budget is tight but not impossible. With the idea of skipping high-mileage examples (that means no Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna), zero in on 2005 to 2007 Dodge Caravans. Repairs, if needed, aren’t too pricey, and parts are plentiful. Be sure to put the Caravan’s corporate twin, the Chrysler Town & Country, on the shopping list, too.
Your search for used cars for sale online near me in Maryland should include Trust Auto. Our conveniently located dealership in Sykesville hosts one of the area’s best selections of high-quality pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs. Best of all, you can search our entire inventory online and complete the whole process from the convenience of home. Be sure to ask about our virtual test drives!
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2022