Consumer Reports names its used car picks from $10,000 to $25,000

(February 26, 2015) YONKERS, N.Y. — Consumer Reports has long advocated buying used as a way for consumers to get the biggest bang for their buck — but picking out a good used car from a sea of bad ones has never been easy. Consumer Reports has compiled a handy list of reliable, affordable, and safe used cars for model years 2005 through 2014 to help consumers find the best small car, sedan, or SUV.

Highlighted are the best small cars, sedans, and SUVs available in four price ranges: from $10,000 or less up to $25,000. Each performed well in CR’s  testing  when  new  and  had  above-average reliability for the model years shown, based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey. And all models came standard with electronic stability control (ESC) unless otherwise noted.

“There are so many safe and reliable used cars for buyers to choose from no matter what they plan on spending,” said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports’ Cars Content Development Team Leader.  “We’ve made it easy for shoppers to narrow down their search of which models to consider.”

Here are some of models that earned a spot on Consumer Reports’ 2015 list of the best used cars:

LESS THAN $10,000

SMALL CAR: The Mazda3 s (2008) with available ESC, has everything most want in a small car: reliability, fuel efficiency, a fun-to-drive attitude, and an interior that feels upscale for the price.

SEDAN: The slick-handling Acura TL (2005) allows buyers to stick to their budget and still get a reliable luxury car.

SUV: The Honda Pilot (2005) provides room for eight passengers, has smooth V6 acceleration and carlike handling.

$10,000 - $15,000

SMALL CAR: The boxy, yet stylish Kia Soul (2010-12) has tons of features for a small car and an expansive cargo space, making it a smart choice for recent grads.

SEDAN: The Infiniti G35 (2006-07) blends sporty handling with interior refinement.

SUV:  The Toyota Highlander V6 (2005-07) has rock-solid reliability and a family-friendly, seven-passenger interior, in a parking lot friendly size.

$15,000 - $20,000

SMALL CAR: The Toyota Prius (2010-13) has always proved that consumers don’t have to give up space or ride comfort to get stellar gas mileage, and the 2010 model brought a quieter engine and standard electronic stability control.

SEDAN:  The Honda Accord (2008-12) is a perennial crowd pleaser with a cavernous backseat, responsive reflexes, and 23 mpg (25 mpg in 2011-12) from its four-cylinder engine.

SUV: The Lexus RX (2006-08) is the go-to upscale SUV for used-car buyers, with its reliability, plush seats, and luxury ride.  The hybrid version offers that plus 23 mpg overall.

$20,000 - $25,000

SEDAN: The Toyota Camry Hybrid (2012-13) has a composed ride, responsive handling, and a class-leading 38 mpg.

SUV: The Nissan Murano (2011-12) has long been one of CR’s favorite SUVs with secure handling and a rich interior.

The full report is available in Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue, on newsstands now, and at the 2015 Autos Spotlight page on