If you are on a budget (who isn’t these days?), finding a solid used car can be difficult. We ran the numbers and decided that $10,000 is a great cut-off point for an inexpensive used vehicle. While some of the vehicles on our best cars under 10000 list can be purchased for well under our $10,000 limit, the majority of them are going to be on the upper edge of that budget. So why get trapped in a difficult monthly payment scheme for a new car, when you could grab one of these great deal vehicles in good condition for an affordable price instead?
We tried to mix it up so there is a little bit of everything. Regardless of whether you are looking for a sedan, SUV, compact car, or even a hybrid, we have you covered. You won’t find any sports cars though – but if you’re interested in a budget sports car, we’ve compiled a list about that elsewhere. In the meantime, keep reading to find the best cars under $10,000.
Looking For Used Cars Under $10,000? Try One Of These!
2012 Chevrolet Malibu
You’re not going to turn a lot of heads with this car but it’s reliable, safe, and affordable. As long as you stick with a four-cylinder version it should be pretty easy to stay under 10K. Acceleration is not going to blow you out of your seat but the interior is well laid out, outfitted with quality materials and the Malibu comes with plenty of standard features.
A six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and OnStar are all standard. Optional equipment includes Bluetooth, heated leather seats, automatic climate control and a high-end Bose stereo. The Malibu was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and awarded a 4-Star (out of 5) overall rating from the NHTSA.
Expect to pay between $7,000 and $10,000 depending on the trim level and condition.
2007 Honda Accord
The Honda Accord has been one of the best-selling cars for decades. They are considered extremely reliable, well built and of good value. The 2007 Accord was awarded a 4.5 out of 5 predicted reliability score from J.D. Power and Associates.
Like the Malibu, sticking with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine will help keep the cost affordable, but if you want a bit more power, go for the 3.0 V-6 that puts out 244 hp. The 2007 Accord was available in eight trim levels as a sedan and five as a coupe, so you should be able to find one that includes all of the features you need.
Prices can range between $6,000 and $9,000 depending on condition, trim, and mileage.
2010 Toyota Rav 4
If you are looking for an SUV under $10,000 the 2010 Rav 4 is a great choice. While this may push the top end of the budget, it’s an excellent vehicle all the way around. You will need to stay with the 4-cylinder to keep your budget intact but the base model comes standard with a limited-slip differential, air-conditioning, power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry and a six-speaker stereo with CD player.
The Rav 4 earned excellent safety ratings, but not a perfect score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it their top rating of “Good” in the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests but an “Acceptable” rating when it came to roof strength.
You can haul plenty of gear with its 73 cubic feet of cargo space. Prices will run very close to the $10,000 limit and even over that if it’s a low mileage car.
2007 Audi A3
If luxury is on your wish list, this compact Audi hatchback should fit the bill. Again, you may be towards the top of the budget but the A3 is a fun driving car and loaded with luxury. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine puts out plenty of performance with 200 hp. The A3 comes with leather seats, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry as well as a 10-speaker audio system. It also has 19.5 cubic feet of cargo space to haul all of your gear and luggage.
When it comes to safety features the A3 offers front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and stability control all as standard equipment.
Depending on the trim level you choose and mileage prices will range from $7,000 to well over $10,000.
2009 Toyota Prius
Our list of best-used cars under $10,000 would not be complete without a hybrid. The 2009 Prius manages 48 mpg in the city so you won’t be wasting a ton of money on gas. While high-octane performance is not its main strength, the gas engine puts out a meager 76 horsepower. The Prius is reliable, easy to drive and very affordable to operate.
The base model offers keyless entry, power accessories, a touchscreen and a hybrid system display. Audio is handled by a six-speaker stereo with a CD player. There are a number of trims and packages available that up the luxury and technology factors.
The interior is nicely laid out and while there are some cheap plastics, the Prius feels fairly futuristic. Prices vary between $7,000 for a high mileage version and closer to our $10,000 limit for a higher trim.
2009 Honda CR-V
The CR-V is an excellent choice for our best cars under $10,000 list. It is a super reliable vehicle that gets great safety ratings and can haul all of your gear and family. While the CR-V isn’t going to set any land speed records since the only engine available is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 166 horsepower, it’s a fun driving vehicle that will get you where you need to go safely.
The 2009 CR-V was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS and comes standard with anti-lock brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, and electronic stability control. If you move up to the EX-L trim, a backup camera and navigation are available.
The base model is well-equipped with cruise control, keyless entry, power accessories, and a four-speaker stereo system. Three trim levels are available and moving up the to top EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, a power driver seat, front-seat heaters, and dual-zone automatic climate control to the list of standard features.
Expect to spend at least $7,000 and if you are looking for an EX-L trim, the price may go over our $10,000 limit.
2006 Hyundai Sonata
This is the bargain basement choice for our best cars under $10,000 list. You can pick up one of these beauties for as low as $4,000 although it may be a high mileage unit at that price. The Sonata was completely redesigned for the 2006 model year so it is more spacious and higher quality materials are used in the interior when compared to earlier models.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 162 hp is standard but in most cases, you can upgrade to the 3.3-liter V6 and still easily stay under our $10,000 limit. The Sonata takes safety seriously with traction control, electronic stability control, ABS and active head restraints coming as standard equipment across all trims. It’s not a Hyundai Elantra, but it will do you just fine.
2009 Subaru Outback
If you are looking for a wagon that can go just about anywhere, the Outback is the best car answer. At this price point, you will more than likely have to stick with the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder but it has plenty of power and the Outback’s 8.4 inches of ground clearance let it get off road with ease. Not to mention the awesome all-wheel drive.
The interior is well laid out and tastefully appointed with aluminum accents and faux wood trim. While the Outback lacks a third row, it does offer 66 cubic feet of cargo space. Standard safety features include antilock brakes, stability control, and anti-whiplash front head restraints. The Outback tested well and received 5-stars in most categories according to the NHTSA.
Outbacks, like most of the Subaru lineup, tend to hold their value very well, so expect to pay close to the $10,000 limit or even over it for a low mileage unit. If you don’t mind driving a higher mileage vehicle, expect to pay around $8,000.
So there you have it, some of the best used cars under $10,000 currently on the market. There’s a good blend of options in there from a diverse range of manufacturers, but there are also plenty of cars not on this list that are worthy too. Take the Ford Fusion, Honda Civic, Kia Soul, Nissan Versa, or Toyota Corolla for example. All great cars that can be found at a fair price that won’t break the bank.
If we left out one of your favorites, let us know in the comments below!