Bargains in used cars are increasingly harder to find. Fewer new-car sales over the past couple of years meant fewer trade-ins and vehicles coming off lease.
Plus, in the wake of the recession, buyers turned to used cars in a big way, tightening supply even more.
We picked ten vehicles -- seven sedans, two SUVs and one convertible -- that received top scores in Kiplinger's rankings for performance, value and safety, get high marks for reliability, and won’t drain your wallet at the gas pump.
Dealer and private-party prices are based on actual transactions reported by Edmunds.com for previously owned vehicles considered to be in "clean" condition and driven an average of 12,000 miles a year. We also include the certified used price of each vehicle, based on actual sales. Certified vehicles pass a rigorous inspection and include a warranty that goes beyond the car's original warranty.
Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $16,438
Private-party price: $15,359
Certified used price: $17,556
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27
Known for reliability, Honda's CR-V has always scored well on the Kiplinger value scale. The 2008 model won Best in Class Small Crossover for its spacious interior, loads of cargo room and great fuel economy. A 2008 LX now costs $4,900 less, on average, at dealers than the original sticker price.
Price when new: $21,775
Dealer used price: $16,055
Private-party price: $14,352
Certified used price: $16,843
MPG (city/hwy): 20/28
Redesigned for 2009, the Fusion earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety when equipped with optional stability control. The family-friendly sedan has six airbags, plenty of legroom and a spacious trunk for road trips. It also handles well around town.
Price when new: $33,135 (base model)
Dealer used price: $20,553
Private-party price: $19,059
Certified used price: $22,371
MPG (city/hwy): 28/25
Introduced for the 2006 model year, the Highlander Hybrid hit its stride for reliability a year later. With the optional third row of seats, it accommodates seven. It boasts top-notch safety with standard stability and traction control, plus it gets nearly 65% better city mileage than the gas-engine Highlander V6.
Price when new: $31,580
Dealer used price: $15,051
Private-party price: $13,550
Certified used price: $17,243
MPG (city/hwy): 19/28
With a 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine, the S60 puts out 208 horsepower but still gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. Even better, the 2007 model has stellar reliability ratings, the safety that's synonymous with Volvo -- and a steep markdown from the original sticker price.
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