13 Used Cars For Today’s Drivers

When looking for used cars, drivers have to be conscious of the drastic changes facing the used car market. While many of these are driven by the continued evolution of eCommerce platforms intended for the buying and selling of cars, some of the primary influences might be things that you’ve given fairly little thought to.

For example, take the after-effects of 2009’s global financial crisis. In the years since, automotive sales have experienced a staggering increase, somewhere in the 70% range. And despite many car owners holding onto vehicles longer, these vehicles will eventually be introduced into previously-owned inventories.

Further saturation of dealer lots is expected as a result of the growing popularity of lease programs, as well. It is currently estimated that approximately 1/3 of new vehicles are leased (as opposed to bought or financed). The marked uptick since 2014, combined with the average 36-month lease terms, means that a heavier influx of leased vehicles could hit dealer lots in the coming years.

While these are merely influences, it could certainly result in an increased variety and selection of used cars. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular vehicles of the last few years, with the expectation that they will be among the projected influx of pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUV’s.

In no particular order…

The Toyota Prius is just the first among a number of Toyota offerings included in this list. And why not? Toyota has received numerous accolades, from ‘Most Trusted Import’ to ‘Longest-Lasting’ and ‘Most Fuel Efficient’ full-line automotive manufacturer. As a pioneering commercial hybrid, the Prius is immediately linked to sustainability within our cultural mindset. Maybe this is why it reigns as the ‘Best-Selling’ and ‘Most Popular’ hybrid in America. With 90% of Prius (sold within the last 10 years) still on the road, it makes for an ideal pre-owned vehicle. Add in safety awards from IIHS and NHTSA, and it just makes good sense.

First up for Chevrolet is the Chevy Malibu, named ‘Best Midsize Car for Families’ by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, its hybrid variant received the same recognition against other sustainable offerings. An IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Malibu only becomes safer when equipped with Chevy’s ‘Driver Confidence Package’. So if you’re in the market for a safety-focused sedan offering, the Malibu may be perfect.

Whether you’re in the market for a sedan, coupe or hatchback the Honda Civic has you covered. A perennial favorite among the top picks, the Civic sits confidently atop Kelley Blue Book’s ‘Best Buy’ list as the ‘Overall Winner’. Receiving safety nods from both NHTSA and IIHS, it’s no wonder that the ever-sporty Civic remains so popular.

As a ‘Car and Drivers: Editor’s Choice’ the Mazda CX-5 is a fitting inclusion in the Mazda stable Named ‘Best Car Brand’ by U.S News and ‘Most Fuel Efficient Manufacturer’ Mazda offerings have never been more worthy of attention. The CX-5 is no exception, named a ‘Top-Rated SUV’ by edmunds.com, and an IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick’ with ‘Superior Front Crash Rating’.

Named J.D. Power and Associates’ ‘Most Dependable Vehicle’ the Toyota Camry has been named the ‘Best-Selling Car in America for Over a Decade’. More specifically, it has been the Best-Selling Car in America for 19 out of the last 20 years. As expected, safety-awards are numerous and the Camry joins the Prius in boasting that 90% of Camry’s (bought within that last 10 years) are still on the road.

Coming to the middle of the list, it becomes easy to see a continuing pattern of safety recognition. This is important in terms of shopping for used cars since more recent model years have enjoyed significant increases in safety features. It may mean the difference between model years, but be sure that you understand the available safety technologies. And with that in mind, a few more offerings you might want to consider are the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Escape, and Nissan Altima…all IIHS Top Safety Picks.

Another recurring favorite is the Honda CR-V, named among Car and Driver’s ‘10Best Trucks and SUVs’. KBB.com seems to agree, awarding it as one of their ’12 Best Family Cars’ and U.S News considers it a ‘Best Car for the Money’.

With an 8.1 overall rating from Kelley Blue Book, the Toyota Corolla is yet another option worth considering, served up by Toyota. Having received KBB’s ‘5-Year Cost to Own’ award for this model year, the Corolla also enjoys recognition for its strong safety ratings.

The Chevy Impala pairs sophisticated design with easily-recognizable value. Named ‘Best Car for the Money’ by U.S. News & World Report, the Impala has also been recognized by Kelley Blue Book. Named among the ’10 Most Comfortable Cars Under $30K’ and a ‘5 Year Cost-to-Own’ it’s a winning choice in the full-size sedan game.

Last among Honda offerings but (certainly) not least, is the Honda Accord. Earning a Car and Driver ‘10Best’ rating for an unprecedented 31 times, its popularity speaks for itself.

Wrapping up Toyota offerings is the Toyota Highlander named ‘Best Overall Value of the Year (for the Last 6 Years in a Row)’ by IntelliChoice. As is now expected of Toyota’s offerings, the Highlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and received a 5-Star Rating from the NHTSA. And if you have an eye to sustainability, the Highlander’s hybrid variant has been named by U.S News & World Report as the ‘Best Hybrid SUV for Families’.


Final Thoughts

While these offerings may not encompass the full range of choices, the patterns remain the same. If you expect to be in the market for a used car anytime within the coming years, keep your eyes open. You might just find that perfect vehicle, freshly rolled onto a dealer lot.