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Used Small Cars To Buy Under $10,000 According to Consumer Reports

Buying a new-to-you car can be a significant financial investment. It can take weeks of research, searching, and test driving just to find the vehicle you want. Expanding that search to the used car market, and the options are endless. No matter how much money you are looking to spend, the last thing you want to do is buy a car that ends up being unreliable and needing expensive repairs. According to Consumer Reports, these are the best cars you can buy for $10,000 or under and feel confident in.

Buying an inexpensive used car

Buying a car for less than $10,000 doesn’t have to mean you are sacrificing your safety. Having a reliable vehicle doesn’t always mean you are purchasing the latest and greatest thing to hit the dealership lot, and there are a lot of affordable options that are modestly priced simply because they have been walloped by depreciation. The critical thing to keep in mind is not just how cheap a car is to purchase, but also how affordable it is to maintain.

2007 Toyota Corolla driving at night in the city
2007 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

There are a lot of great options on the used car market, and typically the older the car is, the cheaper they will be to buy. There are a handful of luxury cars that become affordable once they’ve depreciated, but even though they are affordable, they are typically unreliable, or expensive to maintain. The goal is to buy a vehicle that is affordable all around, and according to Consumer Reports, these are our best options.

Toyota takes the cake

Scrolling through the list there was one very evident pattern among all of the compact cars: most of them were Toyotas. The 2010 Toyota Corolla wasn’t really a surprise, as the Corolla makes a lot of lists for being a reliable used car almost regardless of the year. What was more surprising is that one of the brand’s most hated cars also made the list with two different versions. You probably guessed it already, it’s the Toyota Prius.

A Honda 'Fit' (L) is driven down a road in Tokyo on February 4, 2011. In January the Honda 'Fit' replaced Toyota's popular hybrid 'Prius' model as Japan's top selling car, a title that the Toyota model had held since May 2009, the Japan Automobile Dealers' Association said in a monthly report. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)
A Honda ‘Fit’ (L) is driven down a road in Tokyo | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP

RELATED: The 2009 Honda Fit is the Cheap Used Car You Need to Drive

The 2010 Toyota Prius offers a lot of modern safety features, they are relatively comfortable, and you’ll save quite a bit of money on gas as well. Along with that was the 2012 Toyota Prius C, which is a newer model that is even more compact than your standard Prius. Owners complain of a harsh driving experience, but for a daily driver that offers decent fuel economy and you won’t feel too bad about beating up it is still a great car.

More options still

If you aren’t a big fan of Toyota or you are simple looking for other options, there were still a few small cars on the list from other car manufacturers. The 2011 Mazda3 is a sportier and still spacious option that many owners love to brag about. You can find these for as low as $6,000 in good condition and they offer a surprisingly comfortable and supportive ride.

A blue Honda Fit on display at an auto show
A group of people checking out a Honda Fit | Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Less sporty but just as comfortable is the 2011 Honda Fit. These compact sedans offer a surprising amount of space inside, with plenty of trunk room for groceries or other cargo. It isn’t the most luxurious or well-optioned car on the market, but they are known for being inexpensive to maintain and repair and can last well over 200,000 miles.