As we step into 2024, the used car market continues to be a dynamic landscape, offering a plethora of options for buyers with varying budgets and preferences. Whether you're a first-time car buyer, looking to upgrade, or seeking a reliable second vehicle, the used car market provides an array of choices.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore some of the top used cars to buy in 2024, considering different budgets and preferences. Before making a purchase, it's crucial to research thoroughly, consider the vehicle's history, and, if possible, have a trusted mechanic inspect the car.
Options for Budget Under $20K
Start with a small budget first. There are several options for this budget. Let’s find out!
Best Years: 2012-2017
The 2012-2019 Toyota Camry is an excellent used car option for those working with a $20k budget. As with most Camry models, this midsize sedan delivers ample space, comfort, reliability, and fuel efficiency in one package.
With a $20k budget, you'll have no problem finding a well-maintained Camry from the early years of this generation (2012-2017). Some may even find slightly newer models from 2015-2019 with under 50,000 miles.
Best Years: 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2021
While the 2012-2019 Toyota Camry is renowned for fuel efficiency and bulletproof dependability, drivers seeking a bit more fun should also consider the 2014-2017 Volkswagen Golf.
Though not quite as proven long-term as the Camry, Golf models from this period can still be found within a $20k budget with lower miles. Those willing to take a small gamble on reliability can enjoy sharper handling and a more engaging drive in the compact hatchback.
Let’s see what we have with a bit larger budget - $30K:
2012-2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a solid option for drivers with $30k to spend. Known for excellent safety, build quality and a luxurious driving experience, the E-Class continues to be a ubiquitous choice.
While maintenance for Mercedes models tends to be pricier than other brands, depreciation means this generation can be found in good condition within budget.
The 2012-2018 Mercedes E-Class isn't the only luxury sedan that can be found in good condition for under $30k. Lexus' IS model from the same era also strikes an excellent balance of performance, comfort, and reliability.
Much like the E-Class, well-maintained Lexus IS 200t, 250, and 350 variants from this generation commonly appear on the used market within budget.
Though less ubiquitous, the IS provides a worthy alternative for seeking sedan gratification without risking heavy maintenance bills later on. Either choice offers a smooth ride fitting of luxury brands within a $30k ceiling.
Which Options for Used Cars with Budget under $40K?
Let’s extend the budget to see more options. For top performance under $40K, there are several great options to consider.
Looking for dynamism and luxury without breaking the bank? Consider the Audi S3. As a certified pre-owned model within your $40K budget, this German hot hatch delivers serious performance at a reasonable price.
The Boxster has a devoted following, and for good reason. While most Porsche 911s in this price range show their years, $40K can secure a very clean mid-engine Boxster from around 2012-2016. An iconic roadster, some argue its playful size and "subdued" yet impressive flat-six make it highly enjoyable on varied public roads.
Comparing the asking price to industry standards helps ensure you get a fair deal on a used vehicle. Doing diligence on valuation tools can pay off.
Check valuation tools: It's a good idea to research how much a used car is typically worth by make, model, mileage, and condition. You can use a car valuation platform to compare valuations from top car buyers and sell your vehicle to understand the fair market value. Compare listing prices to these valuations.
Get the vehicle history report: Use services like AutoCheck or CarFax to see the car's ownership history and known issues.
Ask for service records: Look for documentation showing the car was regularly maintained at a dealership or reputable shop.
Consider the mileage: Higher mileage cars need closer inspection but can still be valuable if properly maintained.
In conclusion, there should be no shortage of great used car options for buyers in 2024 across various budgets and vehicle types. Compare and make your own choice!