It’s no secret that used-car prices have gone through the roof, which means you have to work harder these days to find a good buy on a safe, reliable used car. But affordable pre-owned cars still exist and can fit into your budget. To help you in your search, we poured over Cars.com’s listings to find a selection of solid vehicles for around $15,000. Tap the links below to see our picks if you’re on a $10,000 or $20,000 budget.
We included a variety of vehicles that accommodate different needs and tastes — be it a car, SUV or minivan. Vehicles older than the 2012 model year are excluded, as such examples are likely to have higher mileage and more mechanical problems. Some of our candidates offer sportier driving, more tech or a fancier interior, but all meet specific criteria to qualify for our list. First, Cars.com editors have judged them to be good vehicles for the years in question. They also all have respectable reliability scores in U.S. Vehicle Dependability studies by analytics company J.D. Power. Finally, none of the vehicles below have raised any red flags in crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
While the federal government’s inflation report in February showed used-car prices have fallen nearly 12% over the last 12 months, they remain well above the levels seen prior to the inventory shortage. Cars.com analyzed thousands of used-car listings as of February to identify vehicles that meet the criteria and have a median price range between $12,500 and $17,000. Median prices indicate that half of all examples are priced above the mark and half below — so you should be able to get one for around $15,000.
Unless noted otherwise, the listings below include all body styles and powertrains offered in those years. If you tap the link to each vehicle’s model years, details and reviews, you’ll see complete data on trim levels and features you might find while shopping.
Here are our safe and reliable used-car choices for around $15,000, listed by type. Of note, our listed EPA mileage comes after revisions the agency issued in early 2016 that may affect stated mileage as far back as 2011. As such, figures on certain older cars below may not align with the original window-sticker mileage.