25 Best Used Cars Under $10,000 – Updated 2019

As you probably already know, $10,000 can be a really low budget for a new vehicle. While you would have a few options, they would probably involve quite a compromise.

In fact, unless you have a budget of well over $15,000, your options may really be limited when shopping for a new car. If you can relate to this, we also have a list of the best used cars under $15,000 as well.

However, if 10 grand is all you have for a vehicle, finding something decent on your own may be quite a task. You may even find yourself doing weeks, or sometimes months, of research.

With that said, if you managed to stumble upon this place, you’re saved the trouble. This is because we have put together a pretty comprehensive list, reviewing what we think are the 25 best used cars under $10,000.

But before we walk you through all these great options, let us tell you that the price factor may vary quite a bit from one place to another. The other factors, however, usually won’t, so there’s nothing really worrying about it.

Mazda Mazda3 (2009)

Starting at $5,500

Mazda Mazda3 (2008): One of The Best Used Cars Under $10,000

The 2009 Mazda 3 is one of the most reliable used cars under $10,000. However, something that makes it stand out from other similar used cars is that the reliability it offers isn’t coupled with boring looks or a lackluster drive quality.

It looks great for a cheap and reliable used car, and its peppy engine ensures that the fun of driving is there. Apart from that, the 2009 Mazda 3 also doesn’t fail to impress when it comes to the fuel economy or safety features. Finally, as it was one of the few low-priced cars released back in the day that did well in pretty much all aspects, the Mazda 3 is also very popular.

The style of the Mazda3 was changed up quite a bit from 2010 onward. The 2009 model should be your starting point, as it falls in the middle of the $10K budget, but feel free to look at newer model years as well if you have the money to spend. You can probably go up to 2013 or 2014 and barely stay under $10,000.

Pontiac Vibe (2010)

Starting at $6,500

When Pontiac and Toyota had joint hands to work on a project together, the Pontiac Vibe was born. It’s fairly similar to the Corolla in terms of mechanics and design, which adds to its reliability.

The unique design it sports makes it something between a hatchback and a wagon. However, it’s one of the few used cars you would find that comes with plenty of practical features.

That being said, its power output isn’t something spectacular, but for a price of about $6,500 it seems to be a great option for the right buyers. Although they haven’t been manufactured in almost 10 years, the build quality of the Vibe is superb and the cost for repairs is very low.

Acura TL (2010)

Starting at $9,000

 

When you dream of a luxury car for as little as under $10,000, you have no option but to go back nearly a decade and take a look at a 2010 Acura TL.

However, a decade old model doesn’t mean having to compromise on the reliability. Used Acura’s have a reputation of being reliable, so this shouldn’t really be a concern.

If you manage to find one that has its routine maintenance taken good care of, you may certainly end up pleased with the purchase.

Honda Pilot (2008)

Starting at $8,000

When you compare the Honda Pilot to some of the other, more well-designed SUVs, you will likely be turned off by its uninspiring footprint. But if you’re someone who likes to look beyond the outside and discover what the “inside” offers, you may be pleasantly surprised with the huge amount of interior space.

That, coupled with solid reliability and massive cargo storage, makes the 2008 Pilot a perfect option for big families.

Nissan Versa (2015)

Starting at $8,000

 

The Nissan Versa is another basic vehicle that serves its purpose well. It’s a compact car that’s available both as a sedan and a hatchback. This means you get to go for a lot of extra cargo space if you want.

Apart from that, a 2015 Versa is going to please you with its affordability and efficiency. Besides a decent fuel mileage, it’s also available with a manual transmission.

The Versa doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, but the simplistic design is what keeps it affordable. A 2019 model fresh off the lot with only run you about $13K, meaning everything from 2015 and below will fall well under the $10,000 threshold. You may even be able to find a used 2016 model under budget, but you’ll have to do some serious digging.

Saab 9-2X Aero Wagon (2006)

Starting at $5,600

The Saab 92-X is one of the few vehicles on this list you would have trouble finding as a used vehicle. It’s primarily because it’s from a brand that has gone defunct.

The reason you still see it on this list is that it boasts some impressive and innovative engineering. While it sports a Swedish exterior given to it by Saab, its reliability and sportiness is inspired by Japanese sport compact vehicles.

This is definitely more of a niche pick compared to other vehicles on the list. It stands out in the crowd and yields good performance, especially for the price. You should only be considering this vehicle if you can find one in really good condition. Seeing as how production was shut down in 2006, the majority of 9-2Xs will have quite a bit of miles on them. If this doesn’t suit you or you would rather not spend a lot of time looking for a pristine Saab near you, just keep scrolling.

Ford Mustang (2008)

Starting at $8,000

 

Now’s the time to tell you about a vehicle you surely didn’t expect for the kind of budget you have: the Ford Mustang, a true sports car. However, if you’re imagining it to be an old and outdated 1970 model, your imagination cannot be any further than what it actually is.

With great performance and devilish good look, the Mustang is one of the most easily recognizable vehicles around. While Mustangs have been created in all different styles throughout the years, we’re choosing to start off around 2008.

Newer models have a lot of price fluctuation depending on what you’re looking for, but if you decide to browse through the 08’s, you’ll be able to get a base coupe, a convertible, or even a GT all while staying under budget. Once you know what you’re looking for, do a bit more research on pricing in your area and find the right model year for you.

Toyota Highlander (2007)

Starting at $7,500

We have another one of the best used SUVs under $10,000. Some of the things that makes it stand out as an SUV is its solid reliability and great safety features. Apart from that, it offers a tempting combination of SUV versatility and car-like handling and drive quality, something you usually won’t find in this price range, especially when going for an SUV.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder isn’t the strongest out there among SUVs, but it’s efficient. However, if the power factor is something that attracts you towards SUVs, you can opt for the optional V6.

The 2007 model will open up some additional doors for you and allow you to do some exploration once you’ve narrowed in on what you’re looking for. There are five different trims, two of which are hybrids, and all five of them will keep you under budget. The least expensive starts around $7,500 and as you move up the chain, the top trim will likely end at around $9,000.

#18 Toyota Prius (2010)

Starting at $9,500

The Toyota Prius is a stylish, classy sedan that apparently offers a bit more than you would expect for under $10,000.  This is especially true when it comes to the looks, as finding anything decent without going back a decade or more is certainly a challenge.

But our praise for the Prius doesn’t end here. It surprises us with its fuel economy, spaciousness and a well-laid-out interior, as well as a lot of cargo space. However, all is not perfect with the Prius.

The safety scores it got are lower than other, similar vehicles, the driver seat is not very comfortable for tall drivers, and the rear visibility leaves quite a bit to be desired as well. That being said, assuming you can’t get everything for less than $9,000, which is the price point at which you can find a well-maintained 2009 Prius, it’s probably still a pretty decent deal.

Ford Fusion (2012)

Starting at $7,500

The Ford Fusion is one of the safest and most reliable options on this list. As you move forward through the model years, you’ll see significant improvements in nearly all aspects of the vehicle.

A brand-new Ford Fusion starts off at a little over $20K, but the older models weren’t as expensive when they first came off the lot, as the Fusion started to become much more popular in recent years. A 2012 model will run you about $7,500 for the base trim, but you can bump yourself up to a hybrid for around $8,700.

The top trim of the vehicle will give you the best performance, as well as plenty of added features. If you want to get everything you can out of the Fusion, you’ll be able to move on up to the 2012 Ford Fusion Sport for just under $10,000.

Suzuki SX4 (2013)

Starting at $8,100

The Suzuki SX4 is not a good option for you if you’re looking for either of power or a good fuel economy. It’s almost disappointing on both these fronts.

However, it’s certainly going to please you if you’re after an attractive exterior. In fact, the many model options the SX4 offers is primarily the reason for its popularity.

However, it also does come with a good few standard features, though they may or may not seem “standard” now that they have been around for so many years. The headroom and reliability, though, are certainly nothing to be worried about with the 2013 SX4.

Mazda MX-5 Miata (2008)

Starting at $7,600

To your surprise, we have another sports car here that you can grab for well under $10,000. However, you don’t get any bells and whistles with this one. Although, it’s a sports car that’s nothing less than what it’s actually supposed to be.

While the lack of ample space and a small trunk are some of the features that aren’t going to please you, it’s a lot of fun to drive around, just as a sports car is expected to be.

Aside from issues with space, the Miata has a design makes people lean in extremely different directions. While some people fall in love with the round-bodied convertibles exterior, there are also plenty of people who would never be caught dead in a Miata. It really all comes down to preference, but a convertible is your only option with this vehicle. The top trim still comes in under budget for the 2008 model, so if you’re going to commit to a Miata, commit hard.

Honda Accord LX (2011)

Starting at $8,900

 

The Honda Accord is a well-known, reliable sedan that you’ve probably seen on the road in the past 24 hours. Its extreme popularity shows that the vehicle is well-equipped to handle the difficulties of daily driving. This popularity also means that there’s probably a lot of them for sale near you as well.

The Accord has a comfortable interior, spacious seats, and a solid fuel economy, making this one of the most practical vehicles on the list. While I wouldn’t recommend you take the vehicle off-roading, it can certainly handle the majority of lifestyles with ease so long as you take good care of it.

Rest assured, if you ever have any problems with your Accord, repairs are very cheap and the majority of auto shops in town will have all the parts you need in storage to get it fixed up quickly.

Scion xB (2013)

Starting at $8,900

Another niche pick on the list, the 2013 Scion xB is a vehicle that will turn heads. While the boxy design has become more popular these days as more and more automakers try to create a stand-out vehicle of their own, the xB exterior won’t be for everybody.

Inside the vehicle, you’ll get a decent amount of space for passengers, as well as many standard features that you might not find on other used vehicles. Safety scores are pretty good for the 2013 model, and it comes with decent reliability as well.

Unfortunately for the xB, cargo space is lacking quite a bit for a vehicle of this size. If you’re looking for a car to vacation with, you’d be better off looking elsewhere on this list.

Lexus RX 350 (2007)

Starting at $9,000

Shopping with a tight budget doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself a little bit. The Lexus name has gained popularity because of their reliable, well-made vehicles, and the RX 350 certainly holds up to their standards.

The roomy interior will provide a smooth and comfortable ride for up to five passengers. If you find yourself going on trips often, or you just want some extra storage for transporting goods or hauling groceries, this has you covered.

A hybrid model of the vehicle is also available for less than the 350. If you’re in the market for a hybrid, you’ll be wanting to look at the Lexus RX 400H, which will run you about $8,500 for the 2007 model. You can bump the hybrid model up to 2008 and barely get it to squeak under the $10K limit, but the RX 350 is only available sub-$10,000 if you go with the 2007 model.

Nissan Leaf (2013)

Starting at $7,000

The Nissan Leaf is a great car, but it’s designed to fill a role that only suits certain people. If you do a lot of traveling, whether it’s for vacations or for work, you’re going to want to pass on the Leaf. It has a 75-mile range, which is great for driving around town, but it won’t be useful for much else.

If you already own a car dedicated to trips and long drives, then the Leaf would be a great purchase for a second vehicle. You’ll never have to stop at a gas station, you’ll be able to run plenty of errands, and electric vehicles have little resale value, so it won’t put a hole through your wallet. You should be able to pick one up well within your price range and use it to drive around town for many years to come.

Dodge Grand Caravan (2011)

Starting at $7,500

Minivans certainly aren’t the most desired vehicles on the planet, but they serve a key purpose in the automotive world. While they’re typically considered to be filled with screaming children on their way to a soccer game, the 2011 Grand Caravan goes well beyond that.

For starters, this vehicle will offer one of the easiest traveling experiences of your life. If you’re traveling around with a bunch of people, pile them in. If you need more cargo space, fold the seats down into the floor and stack some suitcases. If you’re planning on relaxing during an event, you can pull out the rear bench and have a good time. The possibilities are truly endless, and this definitely isn’t the same minivan that your parents used to drive back in the day.

Subaru Impreza (2012)

Starting at $9,000

If you’re looking for a well-rounded vehicle that can fill any role in the driveway, look no further than the 2012 Subaru Impreza. Offered as a sedan or wagon, the Impreza can be made into a practical choice for both a daily driver or a quality second vehicle, depending on what you’re looking for.

It’s extremely reliable with low costs for repairs, and it comes with all-wheel drive standard. The Subaru Impreza is a great car for drivers who experience a lot of rain or snow in their area, but even if it’s dry and sunny all year round, don’t cross this off your list just yet. The vehicle is practical in any environment and there are plenty of upgrade options you can think about down the line, if that’s your thing.

Subaru Outback (2012)

Starting at $9,500

Sticking with Subaru for just a moment, the Outback is another great choice. Unlike the Impreza, the Outback in only available as a wagon unless you go back to older model years. For the Outback in particular, the wagon has always been much better than the sedan, which is why they scrapped it in the first place. The added space that you get with the wagon is one of the key features of the Outback, aside from the all-wheel drive.

While the Outback isn’t the flashiest vehicle around, you have plenty of trim options to look through. Luckily, you should be able to find something stylish, luxurious, and practical, all while staying under your budget.

Ford Crown Victoria (2011)

Starting at $7,000

We all know you’ve seen this car before. The Crown Victoria has been a long-time favorite of taxi drivers and police, and there’s a reason for that. This car gives you exactly what you’re looking for.

The Crown Vic is a car that was designed to be repeatedly driven hard, meaning that it’s one of the most reliable vehicles around. When you’re talking about a car that was used by nearly every police force in America, you know it needs to be good. It has great handling, great speed, plenty of space for passengers, and a deep trunk. If you don’t care about flashiness and just want a quality sedan, you’ve found it.

Since these are popular with the police, make sure you compare mileage before making your purchase. These vehicles are on the streets for most of the day, so take your time and browse around before settling.

Toyota Corolla (2012)

Starting at $8,500

The Corolla screams reliability, and it’s a great vehicle for people who are looking for your standard sedan. It’s extremely popular, very easy to find, and has become nearly perfected over the years. The design is nice, the interior is comfortable, and it’s very easy to create a long list about what this car does right. The prices tend to bounce around quite a bit, so make sure to keep an eye open and you might be able to grab a newer model.

With great safety and reliability scores, low costs of ownership and a great fuel economy, the Corolla makes a great addition to any driveway and is one of the best daily drivers around.

Honda Civic (2011)

Starting at $8,000

Much like the Corolla, the Honda Civic is nearly perfect after years and years of production. It’s just as easy to find, if not easier, and its reliability is through the roof. While it’s available as both a coupe and a sedan, you’re going to get the most out of your money if you go with the four-door option.

The fuel economy on the Civic is great, making this another perfect option for a daily driver. You can get plenty of added features, and depending on your area, you may even be able to grab something newer than 2011. If you’re interested in a Civic and haven’t found exactly what you’re looking for, be patient and don’t settle. Used Civics are popping up constantly and your dream car will show up someday soon.

Toyota Camry (2011)

Starting at $8,800

There’s really not too much that needs to be said about the Toyota Camry. This has been one of the top-dog sedans for well over a decade and comes with customization options to fit the needs of every driver. If the base four-cylinder model fits you perfectly, you can run with that. For a bit more power, you can bump yourself up to the SE trim and get some extra performance. If you decide you actually want some better gas mileage, you can go check out the hybrid model. The possibilities with this sedan are seemingly endless.

If you’re looking to stand out in the crowd a little bit with your vehicle, skip the Camry and go for another sedan on this list. The Camry is owned by more people than you could count, but if you don’t care about blending in with the millions of other Camrys on the road and just want a midsize sedan that has proven to be reliable, safe and efficient, you’ve found it.

Subaru Legacy (2012)

Starting at $8,500

Unveiled as a concept car back in 2009, the fifth generation of the Subaru Legacy certainly doesn’t disappoint. After three years of fifth gen production, the 2012 Subaru Legacy is a well-refined vehicle and serves as a great alternative to other popular sedans. After the redesign, sales began to rapidly increase as more buyers recognized the Legacy as an efficient and affordable vehicle. It comes with good fuel economy, standard all-wheel drive, and amazing safety ratings.

If you’re looking for a Legacy, but you need a little bit more space, the Subaru Outback shares a lot of similarities while offering a hatchback style instead of a sedan. That being said, the Legacy certainly isn’t a small vehicle. With plenty of truck space and a roomy interior, this car will get the job done for the majority of drivers.

Kia Soul (2013)

Starting at $7,500

While it’s very easy to judge the Kia Soul by its appearance and write it off almost immediately, this is a car that’s worth researching. The boxy style certainly isn’t for everyone, but it served an important role in Kia’s massive success over the last decade, and for good reason. The 2013 Kia Soul is a reliable, low-cost alternative to hatchbacks and economy vehicles, all while standing out in the crowd and making a statement.

Boasting a multitude of flashy colors, plenty of great features, good fuel economy, and a spacious interior, the Kia Soul beats out competitors like the Nissan Cube and Scion xB. Although one may assume the vehicle has a lot in common with SUVs, it’s much more comparable to a sedan. It only comes with front-wheel drive and definitely isn’t suited for any form of off-roading, so if you’re considering picking one up, don’t expect to be purchasing an off-brand Ford Escape.

 

There you have it! 25 vehicles that will cost you less than $10,000 and get the job done well. There are plenty of options to consider, and while the starting prices here are pretty accurate, the market moves around pretty quickly. Make sure to do your research and check out everything available in your area. Trim options are available for all of these cars as well, so check to see just how much you can get for your budget. There’s no reason to settle!

Article Updated: April 6, 2019