Car shopping has changed over the last two years. As a result of the pandemic and tight inventory, buyers and sellers have harnessed the power of the internet to make the process more convenient.
It wasn’t too long ago that buying a car without a test drive was unthinkable. But thanks to technology and service-focused dealers, online buyers go along for a virtual test drive, explore the close-up interior and exterior images, and learn a vehicle’s history. These are all measures that improve buyer confidence and save time. Even customers who live close to a favored dealer take advantage of online services. Nothing beats shopping from the couch and having your new car delivered right to the driveway!
No matter if you’re searching KBB or Craigslist for cars for sale, let’s check out some options to consider.
There can’t be a listing of used hybrids to buy and not include the Prius. It was the first mass-produced hybrid car when it hit the market in the late 1990s. You’ll want to focus on the third generation (2009-2015) or the fourth generation (2016-current) Prius on the used car scene.
The third-gen includes Toyota’s first plug-in offering; its 11-mile electric-only range wasn’t much, but it’s ideal for around-town use or short commutes. You can also choose from the Prius C, a smaller hatchback, or the Prius V, essentially a wagon.
The current Prius offers fuel economy of up to an EPA-rated 56 mpg, and Prius Prime (the plug-in version) has an all-electric range of 25 miles. Beginning in 2019, the Prius is available with an all-wheel drive.
The Insight often gets overlooked in favor of the Prius. It’s not unusual as the first Insight appeared at the turn of the century as an odd-looking hatchback. A decade later, the second generation arrives with very Prius-like vibes. Why buy a copy when you can get the original? A common sentiment among hybrid shoppers.
But, things change as Honda introduces an all-new Insight for the 2019 model year. It easily could be wearing a Civic Hybrid label, but the unique sheet metal is worthy of a standalone nameplate. With mileage up to 55 mpg, this sedan is excellent for gas-conscious drivers. Initially available in LX and EX trims, it’s now EX or top-tier Touring. Underneath it all is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine connected to an Atkinson-cycle hybrid system with a 96 kW electric motor.
The Korean automaker uses the Ioniq name to signify its non-traditionally powered offerings. The first Ioniq Electric appeared almost a decade ago, and now the Ioniq 5 is the brand’s first purpose-built EV, but we’ll focus our attention on the Ioniq Hybrid.
First appearing in 2017, the Ioniq Hybrid is a five-door hatchback that bears some visual similarities to the second-generation Insight. But, through clever engineering and lightweight materials like high-strength steel and aluminum, Hyundai wrests the mileage championship crown from the Prius. The Ioniq Hybrid uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and 78 kW motor pairing. Since its introduction, the model has stayed at the top of the government’s fuel economy charts, and the hyper-efficient Blue trim bests even what the Prius has to offer. The newest version promises 59 mpg around town and 60 mpg on the open road.
Ford’s first hybrid was the 2005 Escape crossover, a breakthrough vehicle that demonstrated hybrid technology wasn’t just for passenger cars. Continuing into the early part of the next decade, the second-generation Escape Hybrid offered mileage approaching 30 mpg. While Ford axed the hybrid for the third-generation Escape, the debut of the latest Escape included a hybrid powertrain. While up to 44 mpg in the city doesn’t come close to the Prius or Ioniq, this fuel economy is a tradeoff for a crossover’s extra space and versatility.
The 3 Series has long bridged the divide between luxury and performance. And while base models may not offer peak straight-line thrills, precise handling and exceptional road manners go a long way in creating an enjoyable ride. And while 3 Series vehicles have been on the road for almost 50 years, the sixth-generation (F30) is the sweet spot for used cars near you for sale.
Built from 2012 to 2019, the F30 offers modernity and value, essential characteristics for a used car. As is typical for most Bimmers, the sixth-gen 3 Series comes in various configurations; sedan, wagon, convertible, or five-door hatchback. Every engine is turbocharged, and the steering switches from a hydraulic system to an electronic one.
While many vehicles come to mind when talking about large luxury sedans (Audi A6, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS 460, for example), the Mercedes-Benz S-Class arguably is the most prominent. With sleek, imposing looks backed up by sophisticated engineering and performance, few cars tell the world you’ve arrived like the S-Class. It’s been an indisputable status symbol for 50 years.
At the same time, significant depreciation makes this flagship Mercedes sedan a bargain for used car shoppers. Look for the fifth (2007-2013) or sixth (2014-2020) generation models. The fifth-gen is one of the first vehicles to offer advanced safety tech like automatic emergency braking. For over-to-the-top performance, search for the S 65 AMG with 604 horsepower. The sixth-generation S-Class introduces numerous innovations like being the first car with all-LED lighting (inside and out) and an adaptive suspension that scans the road surface.
Not everyone wants a 3 Series; the truth is these BMWs are everywhere. And for almost three decades, the Audi A4 has provided a credible alternative to shoppers wanting a European compact luxury ride. Available as either a sedan, wagon (Allroad), or convertible (select years), the A4 offers German engineering without a blue and white roundel.
Beginning with the fourth generation (B8: 2009-2016), the A4 offered more cabin space than its 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class competitors. This difference carves out a practical reason to choose an Audi over its Teutonic rivals. Depending on budget, adding a fifth-generation (B9: 2017-present) A4 to the research can open access to a car that Audi says is 90 percent newer than its predecessor.
Large SUVs have been around for decades, but models like the Lincoln Navigator helped launch a new category; the modern luxury utility. The Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lexus LX, and others owe a debt of gratitude to the pioneering Navigator. It’s no secret that this jumbo Lincoln shared components with the Ford Expedition SUV and F-150, but new packaging can make all the difference.
While Navigators have been on the road for 25 years, searching for a used one is best focused on the third generation (2007-2017). These models provide a good balance between budget and age. The third-generation Navigator started out with a trusty Triton 5.4-liter V-8, but the 2015 refresh included a switch out to a twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 with 380 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque as the sole power plant.
Let’s be honest, sometimes there’s a need for cheap transportation; cash cars for sale near you. Whether it’s a first vehicle, an around-town errand machine, or a short-term driver, picking among cheap used cars for sale near you takes some work. We’ll break down (by budget) options to consider. Most of these vehicles will be passenger cars (sedans, hatchbacks, etc.) as in-demand SUVs fetch higher prices.
It’s predictable to have a Camry on a list of used cars for sale near you. But, Camrys are predictably reliable, arguably the most essential quality of a cheap vehicle. Of course, spending more than ten grand on a used Camry is easy. But, to stay under this amount, keep an eye on examples from 2008-2012 with 100,000-125,000 miles.
Go for a Chevy Equinox if you prefer an SUV body style. As one of the most popular vehicles for almost two decades, the second-hand marketplace is awash with Equinox models. That helps keep pricing down, and parts are readily accessible if the need arises. Focus on 2010-2012 examples with 125,000 miles to stay within budget.
The Kia Soul has many labels: hatchback, wagon, and crossover. But whatever you call it, you’ll have little trouble finding a 10- to 12-year-old example with 100,000 miles and not completely empty the wallet. With some luck and diligent searching, you can likely come across a Soul well under the 100K mark.
Check Out: The Best Used Trucks Under $10,000
Every dollar counts when it comes to a tight used car budget, so maximize your value with a Malibu. There’s not much demand for a decade-old domestic sedan, but this is something to use to your advantage. You might have to search 2008-2012 models, but you’ll end up with something under 150,000 miles and decent cabin space for five.
Yes, the TL is a fancy Honda Accord, but most cheap car buyers won’t mind some creature comforts like leather seating and an upscale cabin. Not to mention, this is a luxury car with reliable Honda DNA. You may encounter a reduced selection, so expand your search requirements to include the 2004-2012 model years. Focus on TLs with less than 150,000 miles.
A Yaris from 2007 to 2009 won’t stir the soul, but it won’t empty the wallet either. Slotted below the Corolla in the Toyota pecking order, the Yaris is available as either a four-door sedan or three-door hatchback these years. Some extra looking and good fortune may reveal an example with less than 100,000 miles, but expect higher mileage for this price.
The Grand Marquis is a rolling time machine from when V-8s and rear-wheel drive were the rules, not the exception. Sharing a platform and most parts with the Ford Crown Victoria (another model to include in the search), these Mercs and Fords have a reputation for running forever. No wonder Crown Vics were the backbone of taxi and police fleets. 2002 to 2007 are good target model years; keep your fingers crossed, and you might find something with low miles.
Don’t expect much from the Versa as far as features and road manners, but it gets the job done without excess or fuss. It’s a basic econobox, and $5,000 or less will get you a sedan or five-door hatchback (Note). Model years to look for include 2009-2014 examples. Depending on the market, you can likely find one without six digits on the odometer.
If a big V-8 Ford (Grand Marquis/Crown Vic) isn’t your cup of tea, then consider a big GM sedan. Specifically, the Buick LaCrosse; it’s got a stalwart 3.8-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive. There’s plenty of cabin room, and the trunk can easily swallow groceries. Scope out examples from 2005-2007; mileage will be 150,000 miles or less. In CXL trim, the LaCrosse has leather upholstery and other upscale touches.
Learn More: Top 12 Best Used Cars Under $5,000
Trust Auto is a car dealership near you with used cars for sale in Sykesville, Maryland. We’re also a car dealer with all-online shopping services. So, no matter your location, we’ll help you find the right car at the right price. Explore our inventory of high-quality cars, SUVs, and trucks, and contact us to arrange an in-person or virtual test drive.
Be sure to visit our blog for more helpful stories, like the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars of 2022 and The Ultimate Pickup Truck Buyer’s Guide.
Posted Monday, March 28, 2022