3 Year Old Cars That Are Affordable and Reliable

Buying a brand new car can mean losing a lot of money in depreciation, and paying a premium to be the official first owner. You can get all of the new stylings and update safety features of most cars without the high price tag by buying a car that is a few years old, and 3 – 5 years just seems to be the sweet spot for used cars. Cars that are only 3 years old are new enough to look modern while not costing as much as the newest model year. Buying a 3-year-old used car doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing reliability either because these cars seem to have it all.

2017 Toyota Prius

Wait! Before you click off after reading the title, hear me out. I know that the Prius is a car that people love to hate. In fact, I would say that people hate the Prius as much as they hate the Ford Mustang, even if it isn’t really justifiable. Whether you like the Prius or not, you can’t deny that they are reliable and affordable cars, and the 2017 model year might actually surprise you with it’s innovative styling inside and out.

Workers prepare a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show on September 12, 2017
The Toyota Prius | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

RELATED: As A Hybrid, Is The Toyota Prius More Expensive To Maintain?

2017 Lexus ES

A nice luxury sedan — now that’s probably more along the lines of what you were looking for. Lexus is known for its reliable cars — well, for the most part — and the 2017 model of the ES offers practicality, luxury, and a pleasant driving experience. You can even buy the hybrid version to get an impressive 36mpg average, and you’ll be spending less than $25,000 for a car you wouldn’t realize isn’t brand new anyways.

Lexus ES Interior | Lexus

RELATED: Lexus Continues to Be the Most Reliable Luxury Brand

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Then, of course, there is the fan-favorite Mazda MX-5 Miata, which is as enjoyable to drive as it is to look at. Like most every car Mazda has produced in the past few years the Miata is reliable, relatively fuel-efficient, and praised highly by current owners. If you’re looking for a sporty two-seater that doubles as a great daily driver, the MX-5 Miata might be it.

Mazda celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Miata with the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Mazda MX-5 Miata | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

RELATED: The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Is the Most Affordable Sports Car Around

These cars are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking at a reliable, 3-year-old car. Some are sporty, and some are spacious, but whatever you are looking for, you don’t have to spend new-car money to get it.