8 of the Best Cars under $10,000

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Written by Ashley Surinak
Written by Ashley Surinak

Insurance doesn’t have to be boring. That’s why we hired Ashley Surinak to be our BA insurance writer. Ashley specializes in making mundane subjects hella-entertaining.

Woman and dog sit together in car trunk in autumn

If you're shopping for a car and need to spend less than $10,000, you're going to buy it used. And used is sometimes the better way to go: You avoid artificial price mark-ups, all while enjoying more features on a car you couldn't afford otherwise.

Below is a list of the 8 best used cars that industry experts say you'll find for under $10,000. Of course, used car prices will differ based on the: 

  • Number of miles 
  • Body condition 
  • Where you purchase the car 

However, all of the cars on our list fall well within the $10,000 range, giving you a simple place to get started. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable car insurance policy.

How We Compiled Our List

There are a lot of reliable, high-performing used cars you can buy for under $10,000. No industry experts will agree on what's "best," either. So we looked at the cars that appeared most frequently on the different lists,  reviewed actual customer ratings of the vehicles, and consulted our own experts to put together the list below.

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

1. 2008 Toyota Corolla

What the Corolla lacks in personality, it makes up for in reliability. It's the recipient of the Polk Award for Best Resale Value. In fact, Polk estimates that 80% of all Corollas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road today. With a Corolla, buyers get reliability and lots of equipment.

2. 2005 Honda Civic

The Civic tops industry expert lists and appears in other top publications, too. 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. 

3. 2007 Chevy Silverado

This hard-working pickup 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. The Silverado is a steal when you're looking for versatility and power for under $10,000.


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4. 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, plus the Toyota name and quality, makes it a winner.

Like all other Toyotas, the Sienna has serious staying power that will keep it on the road for years to come.

5. 2009 Toyota Prius

The 2009 Prius is a highly praised hybrid that recently fell into under $10,000 territory. So if you've 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.

6. 2009 Audi A3

This affordable luxury car is nearly always fully equipped. Expect to find leather seats and optional all-wheel drive on some of the used cars you find. It's compact, and, while almost a decade old, has some of the same modern equipment you'd want in any car today.

7. 2004 Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 steers and handles like a car, and has a well-thought-out cabin design and great overall quality. For under $10,000, it's also praised 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.

8. 2010 Ford Fusion

The Fusion is a reliable sedan that has ample room for passengers and responsive handling. The 2010 model got an engine revamp. More importantly, with great reliability and safety scores, the 2010 Fusion is everything you need in a dependable used car.

Looking To Protect Your Vehicle?  

When you need to get a car insured, there's one way to make sure you're getting the best value: comparison shopping. 

Independent insurance agents make comparison shopping easy because they work with many insurance companies and can get you several quotes to review at once. Our agents are ready to help you get the auto coverage you need at a price you can afford.

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