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30 Best Used Cars for Under $30,000

These cars, SUVs, and trucks performed well when new and have above-average reliability records

Buying a preowned car is more than just a great way to save money—it could get you into a model that has safety and luxury features you couldn’t afford in a new car.

We dug through years of test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses to find the 30 best used cars for under $30,000. We’ve made it easy for you to find a solid choice: Just determine your budget and choose a vehicle from the list below. Each one performed well in our road tests when it was new and has above-average reliability for the model years shown. In addition, each vehicle has electronic stability control as a standard or optional feature—indicated in the charts under "ESC Opt. From" and "ESC Std. From."

A few years ago, some of these models from a showroom may have set you back $50,000, but depreciation has made them more attainable. When it comes to savings, used cars not only are less expensive from the get-go but can also cost less in taxes. And surveys show that these models have many years of reliable service still ahead.

Of course, even for used cars we recommend, there can be outliers—maybe a former owner didn’t care much for car maintenance, or there was a problem at the factory the week the car rolled off the line. Before you buy, make sure to pay for a thorough inspection by a certified mechanic so there are no surprises down the road.

The charts below highlight the model years that fall within the various price categories. For space, these are abbreviated, such as "07-11" at $5-$10k.

Click on the model names in the charts to learn more.  

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.

Best Used Subcompact Cars