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Luxury cars are excellent vehicles that perform well in many areas. Of course, they aren’t cheap, but pre-owned models cost less. Here are four used small luxury cars that are reliable finds on a $10,000 budget.

Note: Regardless of a used car’s reliability score, obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location. 

1. The 2012 BMW 3 Series is an iconic sports car

J.D. Power gave the 2012 BMW 3 Series an overall score of 81 out of 100, primarily because of its outstanding driving experience. The car earned an 89 in that category. It also received an 81 in reliability. However, its 71 resale value score dragged down its overall rating. Used car shoppers pay an average of $7,800 to $14,000 for this model year.

Like most other Bimmers, the 2012 3 Series garners praise for its driving experience and luxurious interior. However, the second-row seats aren’t spacious, and neither is the trunk. Owners also criticize the car’s navigation system.

2. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is highly reliable

Like the 2012 3 Series, the 2011 C-Class received an overall 81 from J.D. Power. However, its resale value is 74, and its driving experience is 79. Both scores are average in their categories, but the area where the Benz performs well is reliability — scoring a “great” 85. Generally, used car shoppers pay $7,000 to $15,000 for this C-Class model year.

The areas owners like most involve this luxury car’s interior. Drivers like the amount of trunk space and quiet cabin. The vehicle also provides good forward visibility. However, owners think the seat comfort and acceleration could be better. Also, owners dislike the navigation system in the 2011 C-Class.

3. The 2012 Audi A3 is a solid used luxury car

Like the used BMW and Mercedes luxury cars, the 2012 Audi A3 also got an overall 81. It earned an 81 in reliability, 82 in driving experience, and 79 in resale value. Shoppers are paying about $8,000 to $11,500 for this model year. 

Owners like this small luxury car’s forward visibility, stability on the road, and ease of loading and unloading the trunk. However, the A3’s acceleration and relatively noisy cabin aren’t impressive. Drivers also cited the car’s audio system as an area they don’t particularly like.

4. The 2010 Lexus IS is an excellent used luxury car

2010 Lexus IS: Used luxury cars under $10,000
2010 Lexus IS 220 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

This Lexus sedan has the highest overall J.D. Power score on our list. It earned an 85 out of 100. It received similar scores in the three categories, notching an 85 in reliability, 84 in driving experience, and 86 in resale value. That’s unsurprising because Lexus cars typically have excellent resale value. On average, shoppers pay between $9,000 and $10,000 for a 2010 Lexus IS.

Owners particularly like the smooth ride and quiet cabin. They also like the car’s navigation system. However, they dislike the acceleration. Furthermore, they don’t like the cramped second row and small trunk, but those are typical gripes about a small car.


1 Cheap Used Luxury Car Has a Surprisingly High Reliability Rating