Cars can be enormously expensive to buy new. The average price for a new car is $25,000 – or about half of the yearly income of average earners in the US. As a result, more and more people go to the used market to find the best deals. Unfortunately, the used market is rife with problems, most notably the asymmetric information between buyers and sellers. Buyers don’t know whether or not the car is a lemon, and so they often end up paying more than they should on the second-hand car market.
Fortunately, people have been doing their research, and they’ve discovered that not all used cars are created equal: some are better than others. Here’s a rundown.
#1: Kia Sportage
Kia made a name for themselves about a decade ago by offering customers an unprecedented seven-year warranty on their cars. That legacy has continued to the present and means that the Korean car company offers some of the best second-hand cars on the market. The bottom line is that Kia’s cars are meant to last, and everything from the clutch to the interior is designed to that end.
Prices for used Kia Sportage Mk3s start at about $10,000. That might sound like a lot of money, but when you think about the car’s longevity, it’s actually a good deal. You’ll often find Sportages with a lot of miles on the clock, but unlike older cars, it’s unlikely that this means that a breakdown is imminent.
It’s worth checking current auto loan rates on used cars. Sometimes the cost of a loan can vary dramatically from one lender to another. But either way, it should be a good investment if you spend the money on a Sportage. The car regularly features in the top ten according to driver-reported reliability.
#2: Skoda Citigo
But what if you don’t want a big SUV/crossover? What if you want a reliable, second-hand city car? If that’s what you want, then the Skoda Citigo might be just the car for you. Skoda used to have a bit of a PR problem. When the company was under Soviet control, quality wasn’t high. In fact, Skodas were one of the least reliable cars on the market. But since the brand was taken over by Western car makers, there have been many improvements. To fight back against all the negative PR, Skoda has vowed to make the most reliable cars in the industry.
With the Citigo, it gets some of the way to achieving that. What’s more, you can pick up one of these cute little cars for less than $5,000. Not only is it cheap to insure, but it’s also cheap to run, thanks to its excellent fuel economy.
#3: Ford Fiesta Mk6
Finally, if you’re looking for something a little more glamorous than the Skoda, you can’t go wrong with the Ford Fiesta. Thanks to their universal appeal, Fiestas are usually very good at retaining their value. What’s more, they come equipped with industry-leading efficient engines, which means that you’ll save money at the pump.