A hand is holding car keys to a used car while giving the thumbs up.

Finding the Best Used Cars in Your Area


Before the internet, buying a pre-owned vehicle was a scary process. To find a selection of used cars near you, you’d have to either comb through the classified ads in the Sunday newspaper or drive around from dealership to dealership and get heckled by pushy salesmen. Nowadays, finding a pre-owned car is easier than ever before. All you have to do is search online for exactly what you want. You can find the most highly rated used car options that are currently available in your area.

Gone are the days of used cars being 12-year-old lemons that break down one week after you seal the deal. In today’s market, you can find a Certified Pre-Owned car that may not even be a year old yet. The options are endless, so we came up with a list of the best used cars to look for during your search.

2018 Nissan Altima

As an affordable, mid-size sedan, a used 2018 Nissan Altima is a great entry-level choice. It’s not old, so you will get the added benefit of advanced tech features depending on which trim you happen to come across. Powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the 2019 Altima generates179 horsepower and 177 pound-foot of torque. It also comes with FWD and a CVT, which means that the fuel economy is rated at 27 city / 38 highway.

A birds eye view of a red 2018 Nissan Altima that's parked in an empty outdoor parking garage is shown.

For this model year, there are four trim levels that you may come across during your search. The base is called the S, and it includes safety features such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. That’s pretty significant as many base-level sedans don’t come with any high-tech safety features. Rolling on 16-inch steel wheels, this model also includes a rearview camera displayed on a 5-inch monitor and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling. You can listen to music through the 6-speaker stereo and charge your mobile device via the USB port.

The SR trim rides on larger 18-inch alloy wheels and includes foglights, daytime running lights, a sport-tuned suspension, and a spoiler for a sporty look. Inside the cabin, the upgraded leather-wrapped steering wheel features paddle shifters for a racecar vibe. Next is the SV, which gets 17-inch alloy wheels, remote engine start, and a slew of added safety features such as blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Dual-zone climate control has also been added for comfort.

Finally, the top-tier SL model receives LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and heated leather seats. For entertainment purposes, the stereo has also been upgraded to a 9-speaker Bose sound system. That’s pretty impressive for a pre-owned car.

2018 Chevrolet Malibu

If you happen to come across a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu, snag it! This sharply styled car offers advanced tech features and plenty of room. The first three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that pushes out 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, it gets about 27 city / 36 highway. The top-of-the-line Premier model gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission, this version has a fuel economy set at 22 city / 32 highway.

A white 2018 Chevy Malibu, which is a popular model among used cars near me, is driving past an outdoor restaurant.

If you happen to come across a 2018 Chevy Malibu, it will be one of four trim levels. The first is known as the L. It’s the base model that is ideal for commuters. Riding on 16-inch steel wheels, it offers Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and a 6-speaker stereo system for listening to your favorite songs. Cruise control is also included, which is a nice feature on a base level trim. Next is the LS, which adds the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system that is displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen. This upgraded system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless audio streaming. Laminated side windows help to reduce cabin noise, and a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot is also included to keep you connected everywhere you go. Stepping up the 1LT will add heated exterior side mirrors, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, satellite radio, and back seat air vents. The top-tier model is called the Premier. It includes added comforts such as heated/cooled leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. It may also have advanced safety features via the Driver Confidence package. This will include a forward collision avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and emergency braking.

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu also comes in a Hybrid model. If you find one on a used dealership lot, it will be powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated with a battery-fed electric motor to produce 182 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Its features are the same as the 1LT model.

2016 Honda Accord

If you are looking for a used car that is family-friendly and loaded with cool features, you should keep your eyes peeled for a 2016 Honda Accord. Most models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a CVT, this motor has a fuel economy set at 31 mpg combined (27 city / 37 highway). The Sport trim level adds dual exhaust, which pushes the performance up to 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque. The trade-off is a slightly lower fuel economy set at 30 mpg combined (26 city / 35 highway). You might also find one with a robust 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the V6 gets about 22 mpg combined (18 city / 28 highway).

A blue 2016 Honda Accord Coupe is parked on pavement with mountains in the distance.

The 4-cylinder sedans are available in four different trims. The first is the LX, which is generously equipped with advanced features like a rearview camera, cruise control, and an infotainment interface that operates with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. A USB port is also provided as well as an auxiliary jack. Next is the Sport, which adds mostly exterior upgrades such as larger 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and LED lighting. The EX model offers heated exterior side mirrors and a sunroof. It also has a 7-speaker sound system for listening to your favorite music. Finally, the EX-L heated leather seats, power-folding side mirrors, and driver memory settings.

The V6 models are available in two trims. The EX-L adds steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a sportier feel and the previously mentioned dual exhaust for more power. The Touring model adds LED headlights with automatic high beam control, rain-sensing wipers, front and back parking sensors, and a rear decklid spoiler. The cabin also gets a few upgrades with the addition of a navigation system and heated back seats.

You should also note that any of the 2016 Honda Accord models could also be equipped with the Honda Sensing safety package. That includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic braking.

Choosing the Right Used Car

No matter which used car you have your eye on, you need to be sure to ask for a vehicle history report before you commit to a purchase. Many dealerships that offer used cars provide one for you. Finding the right car is only half the battle, you also need to find a reputable dealership you can trust. If you find one of these great used cars available near you, and the dealership is highly rated, go in for a test drive before it’s too late!