As new car prices continue to surge, more people are looking at used cars to meet their needs. Also, the demand for new and used SUVs is greater than ever, leaving a class of undervalued 10-year-old midsize sedans and large cars. But how do you pick the most satisfying cars in each segment?
The most satisfying midsize sedans
Consumer Reports (CR) published a list of the most satisfying 10-year-old midsize sedans and large cars based on input from actual vehicle owners. They included the 2012 Toyota Camry on the list due to its highly rated reliability, its performance on the road, and 27 mpg fuel economy. In addition, a 2012 Camry falls in the $10,850 to $13,050 price range.
The next entrant to the list is the 2012 Mazda6. With a price range of $7,550 to $11,300, it’s the least expensive, and its 25 mpg fuel economy is about average among its peers. The Mazda 6 is reliable, and CR reviewers enjoyed its “snappy acceleration and nimble handling.” On the larger side of the midsize class, the Mazda6 features more passenger room and trunk space than many of its rivals.
The 2012 Lexus ES falls slightly lower on the fuel economy scale with 23 mpg, but it is attractively priced at around $13,950. The Lexus ES received high praise in the road test, reliability, and owner satisfaction, with perfect scores in every category overall. In addition, the ES provides a “big luxury car feel” with its “polished wood surfaces and soft leather” upholstery. In an accident, the ES offers extra protection with airbags at the knees and seat belt pretensioners designed to “pull occupants into their seats” and reduce impact trauma.
These used midsize cars also made the list
Another of the larger midsize sedans on the list is the 2012 Acura TL, with a price range between $11,525 and $14,050 and fuel economy reported at 23 mpg.
While the Acura TL did not perform as well in the road test and had a lower owner satisfaction rating than some of the other midsize sedans on our list, its high-reliability rating received notice by the CR team. Inside the Acura TL, front seat occupants will find comfortable seating and “an upscale interior.”
One of the more luxurious and expensive midsize sedans on our list is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with prices ranging from $12,525 to $27,375. The E-Class received top marks on CR’s road test, reliability, and owner satisfaction scales. The E-Class isn’t necessarily sporty, but it is quick for a larger-than-average luxury midsize sedan and exhibits agile handling.
The average reported fuel economy is 24 mpg, but versions equipped with the available diesel engine do better than that. In addition, look for an E-Class with active safety features like front collision warning, automatic braking, driver attention monitoring, and seat belt pretensioners.
On the smaller side of the midsize sedan scale, the 2012 Subaru Legacy has an average price between $8,750 and $14,775 and 27 mpg reported fuel economy. The Legacy did well on CR’s road test but falters somewhat on reliability and owner satisfaction. The most significant advantage of the Legacy is its standard all-wheel drive.
In addition, consumer Reports reviewers enjoyed the Legacy’s “roomy interior, comfortable seats, a smooth ride, and responsive handling.” Buyers seeking a more upscale interior can find leather upholstery in some higher trimmed models.
The most satisfying large cars
Say you don’t want a midsize sedan. You would prefer a large car instead. The 2012 Honda Accord is on the smaller side of the large car segment, and with prices ranging from $10,900 to $12,500 and 26 mpg reported fuel economy, it’s the cheapest-to-own large car on Consumer Reports’ list. The Accord received average scores for the road test and owner satisfaction categories, but its reliability score is top-ranked. The Consumer Reports review mentions the 2012 Accord’s “roomy interior, comfortable seats, smooth ride, and strong reliability,” along with praising its handling and “simple controls.”
Toyota’s entry in the large car segment is the 2012 Toyota Avalon. Priced between $12,625 and $13,525, the 2012 Toyota Avalon gets a reported 25 mpg and received high marks in Consumer Reports’ road test, reliability, and owner satisfaction ratings. While the Avalon is not technically a luxury car, it is “loaded with standard comfort and convenience features,” making it feel more expensive than it is.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse only managed average ratings in the road test, reliability, and owner satisfaction categories, but its athleticism earned it a spot on the Consumer Reports’ list. With prices ranging from $11,250 to $12,675 and a reported fuel economy of 23 mpg, the 2012 LaCrosse provides a “smooth-riding, comfortable, and luxurious” package. In addition, some models will have optional safety features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Which 10-year-old used midsize sedan or large car is right for me?
With prices under $14,000 and decent fuel economy, the midsize 2012 Lexus ES and the larger 2012 Toyota Avalon rank high for drivability, comfort, reliability, and owner satisfaction. While other models on this list are sure to meet the needs of specific individuals, either of these two highly rated vehicles will offer a safe, comfortable drive for thousands of miles into the future.