Buying a new car has plenty of perks, but depreciation is an undeniable factor. That’s not ideal if you plan to sell within the first three years of ownership, but it can be a huge opportunity if you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle that’s been well maintained by the dealership.
Many recently redesigned and newly introduced vehicles are now off-lease and are being sold as used or certified pre-owned. That means you can enjoy modern designs and recent technology for far less than the original price. Here are 10 of our top picks across several different segments.
BEST SUV: HONDA CR-V
Believe it or not, the Honda CR-V is now the brand’s best-selling vehicle. It has outpaced both the Honda Civic and Honda Accord, reflecting the consistent and growing demand for SUVs. With the Honda CR-V, you get a modern design, an available turbocharged engine, and the bulletproof reliability Honda is known for. We recommend the EX trim, which features a driver-assistive technology package. All that can be had for less than $20,000 used.
BEST LUXURY SUV: CADILLAC XT5
Looking for a Cadillac that isn’t a full-size SUV? Check out the recently introduced Cadillac XT-5. This crossover replaced the Cadillac SRX and competes with established names such as the Lexus RX and BMW X5. You get plenty of luxurious amenities, although you’ll have to step up to the Cadillac XT5 Luxury for a leather upholstered interior. However, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration standard. A great deal for under $30,000 used.
BEST THREE-ROW LUXURY SUV: ACURA MDX
The Acura MDX is a three-row SUV that shares a platform with the Honda Pilot. It also helped steer the brand back toward its performance roots. Highlights include a sporty design, a V6 engine, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. You can find the Acura MDX for under $30,000 used, but stretch your budget and you may be able to spring for the MDX Sport Hybrid—featuring a three-motor hybrid system inspired by the latest Acura NSX.
BEST ELECTRIC CAR: CHEVROLET BOLT EV
The Chevy Bolt signaled the arrival of affordable, yet practical, electric cars with a respectable driving range. This first model year received an EPA rating of 238 miles. That’s more than enough for the average commute or errand, and more than some new electric cars being sold today. We’re excited to report that you can bring home a used Chevy Bolt for less than $20,000—a bargain for anyone looking to adopt an electrified lifestyle.
BEST HYBRID: HYUNDAI IONIQ
If fuel efficiency is the name of the game, the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid stays winning. This 2017 model received an impressive 55 mpg combined rating, edging out the Toyota Prius from the same model year. Plus, every Hyundai includes a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. That makes the Hyundai Ioniq one of the more confidence-inspiring options on our list. Used low-mileage examples are available for well under $20,000.
BEST HYBRID SUV: KIA NIRO
Most hybrids look like hybrids, but we appreciate that the Kia Niro blends in nicely with other compact SUVs on the road. Fuel economy is rated up to 52 mpg city and 49 mpg highway. That’s more than respectable, especially for a crossover. And just like Hyundai, Kia offers a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty on every vehicle. The Kia Niro is an undeniable value, and you can find one for much less than $20,000 used.
BEST LUXURY SPORT SEDAN: ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
Introduced to relaunch the brand in the United States, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a fresh take on the popular formula popularized by the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But this isn’t just another compact luxury sedan with rear-wheel drive. The Alfa Romeo Giulia does it all with a striking, elegant design that’s anything but expected. The price of admission isn’t bad, either. You can find a low-mileage Giulia today for less than $25,000.
BEST LUXURY MID-SIZE SEDAN: VOLVO S90
As the logically named successor to the Volvo S80, the Volvo S90 is loaded with luxurious touches you’d expect from a flagship sedan. True to the automaker’s reputation, it performed admirably during crash tests, earning several safety top ratings. You also get plenty of driver-assistive technology as standard equipment. And while the Volvo S90 isn’t as commonly available as our other picks, it’s a strong value for under $30,000 used.
BEST LUXURY FULL-SIZE SEDAN: GENESIS G90
Brought to you by Hyundai’s luxury marque, the Genesis G90 is a luxury full-size sedan made to take on the Mercedes S-Class. It makes a compelling case, offering plenty of first-class comfort and performance per dollar. Enthusiasts will enjoy the available naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine, which has since been discontinued. If you can budget up to $40,000, you won’t have much trouble finding a used Genesis G90 to call your own.
BEST SPORTS CAR: MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF
Even after four generations, the Mazda MX-5 Miata stays true to its original design philosophy: lightweight, balanced, and fun. The latest evolution of this legendary roadster is now offered with a special RF model, featuring a retractable fastback roof. The result is stunning, adding minimal weight while maintaining a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a low-volume model, but can be found used for under $25,000.
This content was developed in partnership with TrueCar. Pricing in this article is based on research conducted during the time of writing on 7/27/2020. Due to differences in condition, mileage, options, inventory, and location, vehicle pricing may vary.