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Finding good, cheap cars in 2023 is much like hunting for bigfoot. Just when you think you’ve found it, it turns out to be a hoax. But there is one way to find that perfect fit. And the best used car under $10,000 today isn’t a depreciated luxury car or unkillable Camry. It’s the last gasp of the now-defunct Suzuki.

Surprising cabin quality in the Suzuki Kizashi

The Suzuki Kizashi, among the best used cars under $10,000
2011 Suzuki Kizashi | Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

What makes a used Suzuki Kizashi the best used car under $10,000 isn’t its style, or tech, or reliability. It’s the inherent luxury you get for the price. Even base models come with dual-zone automatic climate control and an auxiliary audio hookup. And with upper trim Kizashi models, you can find premium Rockford Fosgate audio, leather seats, and Bluetooth.

Even better, the Kizashi was originally offered with all-wheel drive. So in many cases, you’ll have a capable winter cruiser with more comfort than the four-figure price tag that’s attached to it. It’s a winter beater you won’t mind driving all year. And thanks to power-adjustable seats, a sliding sunroof, and heated seats, it’s a more enjoyable driving experience than a brand-new, $18,000 Mitsubishi Mirage at one-third the price.

The best used car under $10,000 averages $7,500

Even better, the used Suzuki Kizashi isn’t just the best used car under $10,000, but it averages $2,500 less than that. The highest-quality examples sit just above $9,000. And if you’re willing to bet on a model with higher mileage, you can get a used Suzuki Kizashi for under $6,000. Overall, the average price is roughly $7,500 nationwide, and you get a lot of car for that cash.

In addition to the luxury touches and all-wheel drive, the Kizashi is also available with a manual transmission for those who like to row their own gears.

The Kizashi also gets a more than respectable 180 horsepower from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The 170 pound-feet of naturally aspirated torque means plenty of throttle response, especially with the manual gearbox. And because it’s a fairly light 3,200 pounds, it feels nimbler on its feet than the swaths of leather would imply.

Is the Suzuki Kizashi reliable?

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In addition to its long list of attributes, the Suzuki Kizashi is largely loved by its owners. owner reviews reflect a 90% satisfaction rating and 4.6 out of 5 starts in total. The CVT automatic transmission is the most common problem, making manual Kizashi models the most reliable option.

The CVT was originally a “sealed for life” unit, but a technical service bulletin from Suzuki indicated problems when operating in hot weather. As such, GM dealers offer transmission fluid changes every 50,000 miles. In certain conditions, the transmission could act erratically, causing engine stalls and hesitation, which could cause crashes.

Pick up this forgotten gem

There aren’t many 10-year-old used cars that combine reliability, comfort, and respectable performance. But somehow, the Suzuki Kizashi checks all three boxes and yet remains relatively unnoticed. But that’s exactly what makes it the best used car under $10,000.