Best used car deals this summer on family sedans and save money

New car sales may be soaring, but here’s the smart way to save money on your next car

Published: August 05, 2013 01:00 PM

Photo: toyota

As summer winds down, many families fill August with vacation getaways, drives to college, and back-to-school preparations. But clearly, many people are finding time to buy new cars, as sales are soaring. And that means it is a great time to buy a used car. The new-car sales push has brought used car prices down and the momentum ensures a steady supply of trade-in cars.

Our latest used-car pricing analysis found that there are plenty of deals on used cars, particularly in the family sedans category. These vehicles have good fuel economy, are sized for families and their cargo, and are comfortable for either a long road trip or for chauffeuring kids around town. A used sedan allows you to reap these benefits for less money than buying new.

Buying a used car has many benefits. Most important is that the original owner takes the initial depreciation hit, as new cars lose much more value in the first and second years than those that follow. Also, most recent sedans have the latest safety equipment (such as curtain air bags and stability control) and are still affordable.

To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we have identified some of the best used deals on family sedans on the market, as highlighted in the chart below.

When shopping, look for cars that scored well in Consumer Reports’ tests when new, have proven reliability, and perform well in government and insurance industry crash tests. Before handing over the cash, have the vehicle inspected by a trained and trusted mechanic to make sure there are no hidden problems.

Check out our top deals for recommended used sedans from the 2009-2011 model years. We placed the vehicles in order of the cheapest price you might be able to get when buying from the dealer. The models listed below are 17 to 54 percent less than the retail price when the vehicle was new. Plus, all of the models have at least average reliability according to our latest subscriber survey.

See our complete list of used-car deals across a variety of vehicle categories.

Make & model Average buying from dealer price Average drop in retail value vs. MSRP Used-car pricing
2009 Ford Fusion
$11,854 47% View detailed pricing
2010 Ford Fusion $16,007 36% View detailed pricing
2011 Ford Fusion $17,504 31% View detailed pricing
2009 Honda Accord $15,598 39% View detailed pricing
2010 Honda Accord
$17,488 32% View detailed pricing
2011 Honda Accord $18,932 26% View detailed pricing
2009 Mazda6 $11,438 49% View detailed pricing
2010 Mazda6 $13,700 41% View detailed pricing
2011 Mazda6 $15,929 36% View detailed pricing
2009 Mercury Milan $11,058 54% View detailed pricing
2010 Mercury Milan $14,469 43% View detailed pricing
2011 Mercury Milan $16,038 38% View detailed pricing
2009 Nissan Altima
$14,525 40% View detailed pricing
2010 Nissan Altima $16,125 32% View detailed pricing
2011 Nissan Altima $17,532 27% View detailed pricing
2009 Toyota Camry $14,894 39% View detailed pricing
2010 Toyota Camry $16,859 31% View detailed pricing
2011 Toyota Camry $18,800 25% View detailed pricing
2009 Toyota Prius $15,125 35% View detailed pricing
2010 Toyota Prius
$18,850 17% View detailed pricing

—Liza Barth

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