Best Used Cars and SUVs for Under $10,000 That You Can Buy Right Now

If your new or used car purchase was sidelined by rising prices from the global chip shortage, these low-cost models are reliable options

Toyota Prius C 2011-2012
2012 Toyota Prius C

Buying a used car is a great way to save money, even with the recent increase in prices. That’s because the fundamentals remain the same: New cars depreciate quickly during the first three to four years of ownership. This makes used cars a great value.

Used-car prices have been pushed up this year with increased demand as some new cars are delayed from a global shortage of chips needed for car safety and infotainment systems. If your plans for a new- or used-car purchase have been disrupted, moving into a lower price range might be a good option. There are many older used cars available for less than $10,000 that include desirable amenities and safety equipment.

Our list below is based on two factors: how well the models performed in our tests when new, and the results of our Annual Auto Surveys of CR members. Each year they report back to us on the reliability of their own vehicles. We have data that go back 20 years on many models, so we can also tell you which will be dependable and which could end up being expensive to maintain.


Almost every model listed below came with standard electronic stability control (ESC), a safety system that’s proved to save lives and is now required on all new cars. We note in the text whether ESC was optional only during some years.

Some of these models also have our new Green Choice designation, which highlights the vehicles with the cleanest emissions. You can read more about Green Choice here.

These are all good vehicles. But remember, every car has a different history. It’s important to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic who can look for potential trouble spots.

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access the list and all of our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

CR members can search our Used Car Marketplace for vehicles for sale in their area, sorting by the factors that matter most. The listings include CR reliability and owner satisfaction ratings, and most vehicles include a free Carfax report.

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