Here are the Best Used Cars Under $10,000 According to Consumer Reports

Buying a used car has always been a great way to save money as opposed to buying a new one. Even with the recent spike in used car pricing this year, the fact remains the same; a new car will depreciate quickly within the first few years of ownership. That being the case, buying a used car is still a good way to go, especially if you can find one under $10,000. In order to help you out, Consumer Reports put together a list of the best used cars under $10,000.

You can find safety and sportiness in a 2012 Mazda3

The new Mazda 3 is unveiled during the Los Angeles Auto show, November 19, 2008, in Los Angeles, California.
The new Mazda 3 is unveiled during the Los Angeles Auto show, November 19, 2008, in Los Angeles, California. | GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

If you don’t mind buying a car that’s almost a decade old, then you can find some good deals when searching for a 2012 Mazda3. The Mazda3 has been one of Consumer Reports’ top-scoring cars and if you have the chance to drive one, you’ll see why. The 2012 model came with an updated engine that can achieve up to 32 mpg on the highway, a six-speed automatic transmission, and an available blind-spot monitoring system. In addition to these updates, the Mazda3’s agile handling and well-appointed interior make it an exceptional purchase for anyone looking for a compact sedan or hatchback.

The 2012 Mazda6 offers sporty fun in a mid-size sedan

A detailed view of the Mazda6 at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.
A detailed view of the Mazda6 at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. | Victor Decolongon/Getty Images for Mazda Motor Co

Those looking for a mid-size sedan that can fit the whole family while providing a dash of sportiness will find that the Mazda6 fits their needs. Consumer Reports picked the 2012 model for its high-quality interior, roomy rear seat area, and overall sportiness. That sportiness is attributed to tight handling characteristics and a choice between a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and a high-performing six-cylinder engine.

The 2013 Nissan Leaf is affordable and has adequate range

The Nissan Leaf prototype electric car was on display during the press preview for the world automotive media North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center on January 12, 2010, in Detroit, Michigan.
The Nissan Leaf prototype electric car was on display during the press preview for the world automotive media North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center on January 12, 2010, in Detroit, Michigan. | Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images

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Yes, you can buy an electric car for under $10,000 if you don’t mind a shorter driving range. That is the case for the 2013 Nissan Leaf, which Consumer Reports lauded for its ultra-quiet operation and roomy interior. As far as its driving range, you can expect a total range of around 75 miles and a charge time of around 6 hours using a 120-volt charge. While this generation of the Nissan Leaf won’t give you Tesla-like range or performance, it can get you to work and back perfectly fine. As long as your commute is no longer than 75 miles.

You can’t go wrong with a 2012 Toyota Corolla

Brand new Toyota Corollas are displayed on the Toyota of Marin sales lot on January 21, 2010 in San Rafael, California.
Brand new Toyota Corollas are displayed on the Toyota of Marin sales lot on January 21, 2010 in San Rafael, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s hard to go wrong with a Toyota Corolla and considering you can now find a 2012 model for under $10,000, it’s basically a win-win situation. This generation of the Corolla features a quieter and more efficient 1.8-liter engine, side curtain airbags, and a respectable 32 mpg highway rating. Couple all of those attributes with a relatively spacious cabin and you have yourself a winning combination in a compact sedan.

2012 Toyota Prius C is a pint-sized hybrid car

Toyota Prius C is on display at the 108th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on February 19, 2016.
Toyota Prius C is on display at the 108th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on February 19, 2016. | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

You may not remember the Toyota Prius C, but just know that it was a smaller hatchback style of the larger, normal-sized Prius. It can achieve up to 37 mpg in the city and 43 mpg overall, which is good news. However, its cramped cabin and cheap interior materials may be a turn-off to some buyers. Nonetheless, if you need a small hybrid car that can take you from point A to B multiple times without needing a fill-up, the Prius C is a good choice.

How did Consumer Reports pick these cars?

The folks at Consumer Reports based the list of cars on two different factors: how well the cars performed when they were new, and according to the results of the Annual Auto Surveys from CR members. Just note that the pricing and availability of any of the aforementioned cars can vary depending on the car’s condition and location. If you need help finding a used car, check out the Consumer Reports Marketplace.  

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