Buying a Car

8 of the Best Cars under $10,000

June 15, 2017 / Ryan Hanley
Family sitting in the back of their car

If you are shopping for a car and need to spend less than $10,000, a new car is not an option for you. Currently, the least expensive new car on the market is the Nissan Versa, which starts at about $12,000. This does not mean, however, that you can't find yourself behind the wheel of a great car. When you buy a used car, you can often find a very well-equipped vehicle at a very affordable price.

We have compiled a list of eight of the best used cars you might be able to find for under $10,000, according to industry experts. Of course, used car prices can vary based on the number of miles on the vehicle, the condition of its body, where you purchase the car and a number of other factors. There are hundreds of different used cars available for under $10,000, so there should be several other great cars that may have not made our list.

How We Compiled Our List

The number of reliable and high-performing used cars you can buy for under $10,000 is high, and the list of the best will vary from one industry expert to the next. We looked at the cars that appeared most frequently on the different lists and then reviewed actual customer ratings of the vehicles to come up with a final list of what we feel are the top 8 used cars you can get for less than 10 grand.

The 8 Most Frequently Recommended Used Cars under $10,000

  • 2008 Toyota Corolla: What the Corolla lacks in personality, it makes up for in reliability. It is the recipient of the Polk Award for Best Resale Value. Polk estimates that 80% of all Corollas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road today, which is remarkable. AutoTrader writes that used car shoppers are “looking for reliability, a miserly engine and lots of equipment," and the Corolla can boast all three.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 83 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 9.1 out of 10, with 1,404 reviews
  • 2005 Honda Civic: This is the car most frequently recommended by industry experts and appears in their Top 10 lists. Kelley Blue Book describes it as a “bulletproof used car” because of its overall build quality and reliability. This fuel-efficient sedan offers enough passenger space to comfortably seat four adults, and many owners find it fun to drive.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.6 stars out of 5, with 389 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 8.8 out of 10, with 1,885 reviews
  • 2007 Chevy Silverado. This hard-working pickup truck features a V6 engine and seating for four. Replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to come by, and it has a proven record of reliability. According to AutoTrader, “the Silverado is the king of the hill when it comes to pickup trucks under $10,000.”
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.5 stars out of 5, with 164 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 8.7 out of 10, with 1,298 reviews
  • 2004 Toyota Sienna: Minivans are a more fuel-efficient alternative to SUVs when you need a lot of passenger space. This 7-passenger minivan with eight different seating configurations has what Edmunds calls “all the right stuff to take on the toughest minivan competitors.” And Stephen Edelstein at DigitalTrends says that its “cockroach-like staying power” will keep it on the road for years to come.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.6 stars out of 5, with 741 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 8.9 out of 10, with 705 reviews
  • 2009 Pontiac Vibe: This car rated very well with Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, and Greg Macke, a professional car buyer and consumer advocate at Your Car Angel. Macke writes, “The Pontiac Vibe is the identical twin of the 2009 Toyota Matrix… same engine, same powertrain, same Toyota quality.” Because this car has the Pontiac name on it, it comes at a much lower price than the high-quality Matrix, which makes the Vibe very affordable.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.6 out of 5 stars, with 146 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 9.0 out of 10, with 100 reviews
  • 2009 Toyota Prius: The 2009 Prius is a highly praised hybrid that recently fell into the under $10,000 territory, so if you have always wanted a hybrid, this is your car. In 2009, the Prius was ranked #1 in hybrid cars by U.S. News & World Report. The interior is outfitted with upscale materials and its 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space give you plenty of room for gear or luggage. The Prius gets 45 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 64 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 9.2 out of 10, with 882 reviews 
  • 2003 Infiniti G35: This affordable luxury car is nearly always fully equipped. Expect to find leather seats, alloy wheels and other high-end upgrades. A well-maintained G35 that is in good shape should prove to be very reliable. Edmunds calls the Infiniti G35 a “very capable sedan and coupe that offers a high level of both sport and luxury.”
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.7 out of 5 stars, with 857 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 9.2 out of 10, with 870 reviews
  • 2004 Toyota RAV4: Edmunds likes the RAV4 because it steers and handles like a car and has a well-thought-out cabin design and great overall quality. AutoTrader also highly praises this SUV for its compact design, excellent gas mileage and powerful, smooth-running engine. Customers who own the RAV4 tend to agree, giving it overwhelmingly high ratings in just about every category.
    • Customer rating at Edmunds: 4.8 out of 5, with 163 reviews
    • Customer rating at Kelley Blue Book: 9.2 out of 10, with 412 reviews

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