Best used cars for $10,000 or less in 2024

Best used cars for $10,000 or less in 2024

Looking for a great used car but have a limited budget? You're not alone. Cars and trucks are getting pricier with every passing year, and a limited inventory following the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hasn't helped. If you can manage to stretch your budget to $10,000, there are some solid options to choose from in the used marketplace.

We challenged the Autoblog editors to find a great, versatile used car — note, this list is specifically for cars, not trucks or SUVs, which we cover in a separate list — for $10,000 or less, and this is what we came up with. When there are specific models or options to look for, we'll try to explain why it matters. Each entry includes a link to our classified ads, where you can narrow down your choices using your location and sliders for price and mileage. Pay attention to the deal rating to make sure you're getting the best price possible.

If your tastes run closer to the fringe of the automotive segment, take a look at our Future Classic series where we highlight interesting and sometimes forgotten cars from the past. For the rest of us who prefer to stay closer to the mainstream, the options below all boast at least average expected reliability scores (in most cases better-than-average) and were sold in enough numbers that there should be several options near you.

Best used cars for $10,000 or less

2009-2014 Acura TSX

We're kicking the list off with the 2009-2014 Acura TSX simply because we figured alphabetic order is as good as anything else. Our recommendation would be to stick with a four-cylinder engine to maximize practicality and reliability. Honda, which is Acura's parent company, makes excellent four-cylinder engines, and the K24Z3-coded powerplant in the TSX is no exception. The 2.4-liter spins out 201 horsepower and revs very freely, delivering more driving engagement than many of its competitors. It's available with a sweet-shifting manual transmission or, much more commonly, a five-speed automatic.


Find an Acura TSX for sale near you


2006-2011 BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series enjoys a well-earned reputation as the class leader in the small sporty luxury car segment. It's important to be aware that repair and maintenance costs will be higher for a BMW than less premium brands, and it's likely that lower-end models without some desirable bells and whistles may offer a bit more long-term reliability than the higher-end versions. BMW started selling this generation of the 3 Series, internally known as the E90, in 2006 here in the States. Many were sold in sedan and coupe styles along with a smaller number of wagons, and all versions are desirable. A nicely maintained model with BMW's lauded naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) inline-six engines should fall into the sweet spot.

Find a BMW 3 Series for sale near you


2014-2015 Chevy Volt

There are a lot of solid practical reasons to consider a used Chevy Volt. First and foremost, it's economical to operate. Drivers who can keep their lead feet in check can expect to get between 25 and 50 miles of all-electric range from GM's Voltec drivetrain, which pairs a gasoline-fueled engine with a powerful electric motor and a battery pack that runs down the center of the vehicle. The EPA rates this version of the Volt at 38 miles of EV driving, and we've managed to beat that figure numerous times. The Volt is quiet and comfortable for four passengers, and there's a decent amount of cargo space behind the back seats. On the downside, while Volt batteries have generally proven quite durable over the years, if one module does go bad, replacement costs can be very expensive.

Find a Chevrolet Volt for sale near you


2013-2016 Ford Fusion

Sedans have fallen out of favor with American buyers as crossovers and SUVs gain popularity. This is reflected in Ford's lineup of vehicles in its home market — sedans and hatchbacks like the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion are no longer offered. Still, Ford sold hundreds of thousands of these attractive midsize sedans over the course of a couple of decades, and their low purchase prices mean they make desirable used vehicles. The second-generation model seen above went on sale for the 2013 model year and ran until production ended in 2020. The Titanium trim level offers pretty much all the goodies a modern driver will expect, and the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine's 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque makes it feel reasonably fun and peppy to drive. The Fusion has average expected reliability, but repair costs should be reasonable for the American automaker.

Find a Ford Fusion for sale near you