Find the best used cars for all budgets: Consumer Reports

BY GERRY MILES

The people’s public opinion provider, Consumer Reports, has found a way for the public to help locate the best used cars – sedans, SUVs, and small cars from $10,000 or less and up to $25,000 on a budget in its Annual Auto Issue that’s available now.

Consumer Reports compiled a Best & Worst Used Cars list for model years 2003 – 2012.

Each vehicle had above average CR reliability scores and all came with electronic stability control as standard equipment.

“With so many choices, shopping for a used car can be overwhelming. Our report provides a much-needed cheat sheet that Americans can refer to for help getting the best and most reliable used car that fits their budget,” said Rik Paul, auto editor, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports worst used cars list includes 2003 to 2012 models that have had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to CR’s Annual Auto Survey. Among the twenty models that made the list are the BMW 7 Series, the Ford Explorer (V6, 4WD), the Kia Sorento (V-6), and the Mini Cooper S.

Most gas/electric hybrid cars have shown superior reliability in the past decade. However, the Honda Civic Hybrid is an exception, according to Consumer Reports’ latest Annual Auto Survey. Almost one in five owners of the 2009 model year Civic Hybrid needed a replacement battery in CR’s 12-month survey period.

In the $15,000-$20,000 price range the following cars made Consumer Reports’ list of best used cars:

SMALL CARS: 2010-11 Toyota Prius and 2011-12 Hyundai Elantra (sedan)
At 44 mpg overall, the Prius delivers the best gas mileage of any non-plug-in, five-passenger vehicle. The 2010 redesign brought more room, better   brakes,  and sound but not agile handling.  For a more enjoyable driving experience, look for a Hyundai Elantra sedan.

SEDANS: 2011-12 Toyota Camry (4-cyl.) and 2006-07 Infiniti M
Expect impressive 26 to 27 mpg overall with the four-cylinder Camry in addition to a roomy cabin and superb reliability. If a powerful engine and luxurious interior are your passion, opt for the Infiniti M with the V-6.

SUVs: 2007-08 Honda Pilot and 2009 Mazda CX-9
The Pilot combines a roomy cabin, good driving dynamics, seating for eight, and respectable fuel    economy in a package that isn’t too big to fit in your garage. But road noise is a bit pronounced. The Mazda CX-9 is a more agile alternative with an even roomier third-row seat.

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