Buying a used car doesn’t mean settling for whatever car your local dealer has on the lot. Instead, when shopping for your next used car, you should look at the most satisfying vehicles in your price range. Whether considering a midsize car or a large car, this list of five-year-old models will provide a baseline to begin your search.
Consumer Reports (CR) uses customer satisfaction surveys to determine owner satisfaction with “data on more than 300,000 vehicles” to draw on. The CR team then uses the data to determine trends for particular cars or, in this case, the most satisfying five-year-old vehicles in a specific class.
The most satisfying five-year-old midsize cars
A used 2017 Mazda6 falls in the $17,550 to $24,275 price range and gets around 30 mpg in real-world driving. The Mazda6, with its “Zoom-Zoom” tagline, is a sporty midsize sedan that’s fun to drive, delivers solid fuel economy, and comes wrapped in an attractive package.
The only engine available for the 2017 Mazda6 is a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 185 lb-ft of torque. In addition, buyers choosing a used 2017 Mazda6 with the Touring trim will get Mazda’s active driver assist safety features; this includes a blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning and forward collision mitigation.
Is the 2017 Toyota Camry a good, reliable car?
The 2017 Toyota Camry gets fuel economy at 28 mpg and costs range from $18,825 to $23,075. However, the 2017 Toyota Camry delivers a roomy, comfortable, and quiet ride along with Toyota’s well-known reputation for reliability. There are three powertrain choices, starting with the base 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder; it delivers 178 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. In addition, some 2017 Camry’s will have the optional 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque.
Buyers hoping to stretch their fuel dollar should look for a 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Camry Hybrid uses the same 178-hp four-cylinder found in base model Camrys paired with regenerative braking, a Nickel Metal Hydride battery, and an electric motor; this generates 200 horsepower total while delivering up to 40 mpg in the city. Some 2017 Camrys will carry Toyota’s optional active safety features, including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
2017 Honda Accord: reliable midsize car
Similar to the Camry, the 2017 Honda Accord gets about 28 mpg and costs somewhere between $18,550 and $25,850. And there’s also Honda’s reputation for reliability. Consumer Reports calls the Accord “comfortable, reliable, fuel-efficient, and even a little bit sporty.” Those buyers looking for the best fuel economy may like the 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder backed by either a six-speed manual or an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
More sport-minded drivers will enjoy the Accord’s optional 3.5-liter V6 with its 278 horsepower paired with a six-speed manual in the coupe or a six-speed automatic in the sedan. The Accord EX delivers the most safety and comfort with an available sunroof and power seats. It also includes advanced safety features like front collision warning and automatic emergency braking, according to CR.
2017 Volkswagen Passat: a satisfying midsize sedan
Like the Mazda6, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat falls at the lower end of our list’s price range at $17,375 to $22,175. It bumps the fuel economy back to 30 mpg thanks to its turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (170 hp, 184 lb-ft of torque).
For less economy but more power, look for a Passat with a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 2017 Passat, large for a midsize sedan, features a spacious rear seat and good cargo capacity. Look for optional features like front collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
2017 Subaru Legacy: a worthy addition
With mid-pack pricing at $18,375 to $23,175 and lower fuel economy (27 mpg) than the other midsize cars on our list, the 2017 Subaru Legacy is still a good choice. This is thanks to its all-wheel-drive (AWD), precise handling, and smooth ride. Engine choices include the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (175 horsepower). The other option is the upgraded 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (256 horsepower) available in the Legacy 3.6R Limited.
Additionally, look for models with optional safety features like front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Most satisfying five-year-old large car
The only large car on the Consumer Reports list is the 2017 Toyota Avalon. As a larger car, it carries a higher price range than the midsize group at $21,725 to $27,325; it averages around 25 mpg. The 2017 Avalon features a “spacious interior, comfortable ride, and good reliability,” according to Consumer Reports.
The standard 2017 Avalon features a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower. For more fuel efficiency, choose the Avalon Hybrid. It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (156 hp, 156 lb-ft of torque); it is paired with a 140-hp electric drive motor with an additional 199 lb-ft of torque for up to 40 mpg. In addition, the 2017 Avalon features standard active safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.