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Used car buying article highlights:

  • Toyota, Lexus, and Acura have the highest used car reliability ratings.
  • Jeep, Ram, and GMC have some of the lowest reliability ratings within the last five years. 
  • The 2017 Subaru Legacy, 2017 Buick LaCrosse, 2017 Infiniti Q50, and the 2017 Mazda3 are all commendable based on reliability and road testing.

Buying a vehicle after it has depreciated can be a tremendous bargain. With the rising costs and supply issues associated with purchasing a new vehicle, used car ownership is a prudent option. Further, if you shop smart and pay attention to reliable preowned vehicles, you can find a great deal on a cheap, high-quality used vehicle. The following vehicles are some of the cheapest and most reliable used car bargains under five years old. 

2017 Subaru Legacy is a smooth-driving midsized sedan and an excellent option for used car shoppers

The 2017 Subaru Legacy packs standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a generously spacious cabin. The 2017 model had optional forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), and blind-spot warning (BSW). All these features and sure-footed AWD didn’t compromise fuel economy, though. The Legacy achieved a commendable 26 mpg overall. That is impressive, given the size and AWD application of the car. Shoppers can buy a 2022 Subaru Legacy from around $23,495 to $36,695.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is a large, plush sedan with above-average reliability that consumers can buy for as cheap as $18,295

Used, cheap, and reliable cars like the Buick LaCrosse: how to get the best used car at the best price
A Buick LaCrosse at an auto show | Justin L. Stewart, Getty Images

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is a true cruiser with unexpected luxury, given that it doesn’t bear a Cadillac or Lincoln badge. The 2017 model featured a more economical 8-speed automatic transmission and a powerful V6 engine. Furthermore, savvy shoppers could snag an AWD example and rest easier in inclement weather. Consumer Reports (CR) found the Buick LaCrosse to have above-average reliability as well. Finally, with 24 mpg overall and optional FCW, AEB, and BSW, the LaCrosse is a fine prospect for used car shoppers. 

Used, reliable, cheap cars an Infiniti Q50: how to get the best used car at the best price
A red Infiniti Q50 | Bilgin S. Sasmaz, Getty Images

For used car shoppers with performance on the brain, the Infiniti Q50 is a solid option. The 2017 Q50 packs a 300-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine and optional AWD. Additionally, the Infiniti Q50 has optional FCW, AEB, and BSW. Finally, although 22 mpg overall might not seem impressive, given the performance credentials of the Q50, it is entirely tolerable. 

The 2017 Mazda3 is a cheap, efficient, reliable, compact used car that shoppers can buy for as little as $16,500 

Mazda’s flagship compact car is quite an animal. It is an unorthodox combination of fun, nimble,  economical, and with a choice of hatchback or car, practical. Although CR indicates that the Mazda3 has less than spectacular owner satisfaction ratings, the Mazda does have above-average reliability scores. To add to the element of fun, used car shoppers can find a six-speed manual example and rev up the little Mazda. Also, owners reported getting 30 mpg out of the Mazda model. 

Any one of these cars could be an excellent option for used car shoppers

Consumer Reports compiled a list of some of the best used cars and SUVs based on fuel economy, owner satisfaction, safety, and reliability. The 2017 Subaru Legacy, 2017 Buick LaCrosse, 2017 Infiniti Q50, and the 2017 Mazda3 all performed admirably and have a CR recommendation. Furthermore, several of these vehicles have recommended model years between 2012 and 2016. Scroll down to read more about tips for buying used cars. 


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