3 Best Used Cars Under $10,000 Will Save You Money, Says Consumer Reports

You might cringe at the thought of a buying a cheap car for fear of getting a lemon. Don’t fret; many used cars at that starting point are reliable and punch above their weight. For instance, these three small cars, like the 2014 Hyundai Elantra, can potentially exceed your expectations without smashing your cash stores. Check out a few of the picks for the best used cars under $10,000, like the 2013 and 2015 Nissan LEAF. 

Some of the best used cars under $10,000 are sensible and environmentally friendly

According to Consumer Reports, these three small used cars are some of the best options under that magic $10,000 point: 

  • 2013, 2015 Nissan LEAF
  • 2014 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2013 Kia Soul
A used white 2015 Nissan LEAF shows off its similar styling to the 2013 model while it parks next to a home.
Nissan LEAF | Nissan

That’s right; the 2013 and 2015 Nissan LEAF earned a top spot among its conventional counterparts on the list of the best used cars. It makes sense for urban commuters, though. The LEAF’s range isn’t prohibitive if owners use it for daily undertakings rather than ambitious out-of-town adventures. However, if you’re not seeking membership in the fully-electric club, the 2014 Hyundai Elantra and 2013 Kia Soul are solid options with conventional four-cylinder gas engines.  

How many miles can a 2015 Nissan LEAF go on a charge?

A 2015 Nissan LEAF has a single-charge electric range of 84 miles. Moreover, with zero tailpipe emissions and up to 126 MPGe in the city, the LEAF is a solid short-distance commuter EV. 

While that might seem anemic compared to the latest 2023 Nissan LEAF’s long-legged 226-mile range, it’s enough for short-distance drivers. Additionally, a new LEAF starts at around $29,135, nearly $20,000 more than the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) fair value of a 2015 LEAF. In addition to the 2015 model year, the 2013 Nissan LEAF packs practicality on a budget, albeit with a shorter range of around 75 miles. 

How long should a 2014 Hyundai Elantra last?

A 2014 Hyundai Elantra should last more than 150,000 miles with proper care and maintenance. Moreover, the used Hyundai model has a KBB fair value of around $8,246 for the SE trim. As a result, the Elantra is a solid prospect for one of the best cheap, dependable used cars. 

A used 2014 or 2015 Hyundai Elantra car shows off its silver paintwork.
A used Hyundai Elantra | Hyundai

While the 2014 Hyundai Elantra isn’t an EV like the Nissan LEAF, its fuel economy figures are still commendable. For instance, the 2014 Elantra SE, with its 1.8L inline four-cylinder engine, got around 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway at the time of its release. 

How is the 2013 Kia Soul one of the best used cars under $10,000?

The 2013 Kia Soul, the fourth model year of the Soul, is a stylish hatchback that charmed many fans upon its release. However, 10 years after the 2013 model year hit the streets, the little Kia hatchback is a bargain at around $6,364 with average mileage, per KBB. 

While the base-model Soul is the cheapest model on the shortlist, it’s also the least efficient. TrueCar said the base-model Soul got around 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway when it first rolled out. It’s not muscle car-thirsty, but it won’t save you money at the pump quite like the used 2014 Hyundai Elantra. 


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How do you decide which of the best used cars is right for you? 

You should consider your expectations, needs, and budget when shopping for the best used car for you. For instance, if you have a long commute, a 2015 Nissan LEAF and its 84-mile range might be wrong for you. Moreover, if you want a gas-powered car with money-saving fuel economy, consider the 2014 Hyundai Elantra over the 2013 Kia Soul.