After seeing innumerable glitzy concept cars flanked by gorgeous models at the Detroit auto show, it’s reasonable to wonder what people on a budget of $15,000 or less can find on the used auto market these days. The cars under consideration here are in “good” condition from model year 2011, with approximately 45,000 miles on the speedometer and original dealer sticker prices in the mid-$20K range and above.
To focus on automobiles that deliver value for a not-insignificant used price, this list includes only cars deemed reliable by recent Consumer Reports tests and priced using Edmunds’ appraisal system when actual listings weren’t available. Here are seven great used vehicles from 2011 that won’t cost over $15K.
1. 2011 Kia Optima Sedan
A 2014 Kia (KIMTF.PK) Optima will run car buyers over $25k once the sedan is set for delivery. However, picking up a 2011 four-cylinder model will run consumers around $14,000 for dealer-certified models and even less in a private sale. Consumer Reports named the 2011 Optima among the most reliable 2011 used cars now on the road.
2. 2011 Mazda6
The latest Mazda (MAZDF.PK) lineup is winning rave reviews, but that’s nothing new for the automaker. Consumer Reports listed the 2011 Mazda6 as one of the best affordable used cars according to its reliability ratings. Setting the cost of a new Mazda6 (approximately $25K) aside, used buyers can pick up a dealer-certified Mazda6 with less than 50,000 miles for around $14K.
3. 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The 2011 Ford Fusion might not have the Aston Martin-esque grille of the new redesigned model, but there are few complaints about the performance and fuel economy of the hybrid model of just a few years back. Opting for a 2011 hybrid with just over 50,000 miles, used car shoppers can land a reliable Ford capable of hitting 40 mpg for less than $15K.
4. 2011 Honda Accord Sedan
It won’t surprise many auto consumers to learn Consumer Reports holds the Honda Accord in high esteem. This perennial best-seller delivers exceptional value to consumers in models as recent as 2011. Buyers can pick up a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder EX four-door Accord sedan for under $15K.
5. 2011 Nissan Rogue
The popular Nissan (NSANY.PK) Rogue is listed by Consumer Reports among the most reliable used vehicles of recent years, making it an automobile worthy of shoppers’ consideration. The Edmunds value estimate engine places a 2011 Rogue with 2.5-liter, four-cylinder model after 45,000 miles near $14,000 at dealerships.
6. 2011 Toyota Camry LE V6
Used car shoppers on the hunt for a reliable vehicle are bound to come across countless Camry models. The best-selling car in America received high marks in reliability for 2011 from Consumer Reports. In fact, the 3.5-liter LE V6 model can be had for under $15K in a private sale, according to the Edmunds value estimation tool, which means solid horsepower comes along with the value.
7. 2011 Chevy Malibu
One of the top Consumer Reports performers in reliability under the GM banner is the 2011 Chevy Malibu. Deals for the Malibu LT1 start below $14,000 for a used model with 40,000 miles under its belt. This deal is from available listings rather than any value estimate.