What Is the Best Used Car for the Money?

Buying a brand new vehicle is not always a good investment, especially since it’s much cheaper to get a pre-owned one instead. With that in mind, what is the best used car for the money?

The 2019 Toyota Corolla is easily the best used car for the money, and the model’s incredible features make it one of the most popular four-wheelers in the entire country. Other good options include the 2016 Ford Focus, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, and 2018 Kia Soul.

A woman holding car keys while sitting in the driver's seat

If you want to know what is the most reliable car for the money, you’ll find all the answers you need in this blog. Carefully consider all the options and make a decision based on your needs, preferences, and budget.

Toyota Corolla Is Easily the Best Used Car for Your Money

When it comes to buying a used car, it’s easy to see why Toyota’s Corolla is a top pick for your money. While there have been many iterations over the years, the 2019 Toyota Corolla easily takes the top spot as the best pre-owned car on the market.

Although most of the American market has shifted to SUVs, this compact model continues to be one of the most popular cars in the country due to its excellent features, such as:

  • Safety and driver-assist features,
  • Good fuel economy of up to 40 mpg,
  • Proven reliability and low maintenance costs,
  • Excellent resale value.b

With all the features we just mentioned and a manufacturer-suggested retail price (MSRP) of about $19,600, getting a pre-owned 2019 Corolla is undoubtedly going to be a worthwhile investment.

A Toyota Corolla car

The 2016 Ford Focus Is Another Excellent Compact Car You Should Consider

The 2016 Ford Focus is another great vehicle that is well worth your money. This compact car has a good range of tech features like an 8-inch touch screen and blind-spot monitoring, which certainly helps the interior give off an upscale look and feel.

Many user reviews talk about the car’s reliability, which is always welcomed when buying pre-owned vehicles. It’s also incredibly comfortable to drive, making it an excellent choice for anyone.

Although Ford’s North American branch recently discontinued production of compact vehicles, several Ford Focus iterations are still some of the company’s most successful cars in the country. With an MSRP of just over $18,000, you certainly can’t go wrong with getting a pre-owned 2016 Ford Focus.

Try the Eco-Friendly 2016 Ford Focus Electric

Those looking for an affordable eco-friendly car will be glad to hear that this 2016 Ford Focus also has an electric version. The only downside is that the batteries of these vehicles have a maximum range of about 100 miles, which limits their usage to shorter trips only.

Like many other eco-friendly things, the 2016 Ford Focus Electric is more expensive, with a brand-new car costing around $30,000. Thankfully, you should be able to find pre-owned vehicles for about $13,000-$14,000. You’ll just have to search and shop around for a bit.

A Ford Focus car

Subaru Crosstrek Is One of the Better Subcompact SUVs on the Market

If you’re looking for a bigger vehicle, the 2022 Subaru Crosstrek is undoubtedly one of the better subcompact SUVs you can buy. Although the model doesn’t add anything new, it still has all the incredible features from last year’s iteration. The car’s easy-to-use tech and incredibly comfortable seats make for a blissful safe ride that everyone can appreciate.

More importantly, you won’t have to spend a ton of money for this incredible package, as the car’s MSRP of $22,500 is still relatively cheap. If that’s too much for you, consider getting an older version. After all, you can easily find a 2016 Crosstrek for around $16,600.

A Subaru Crosstrek car

Kia Soul Is Also an Affordable and Reliable Option

The 2018 Kia Soul is another great pre-owned car well worth your money. While you won’t be blown away by the performance, this subcompact crossover SUV still has a lot to offer.

Its interior design is spacious and very comfortable, and the car itself is very safe and reliable, making it an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t change vehicles very often. Although older iterations are also viable, the wear and tear on these four-wheelers will certainly be more apparent.

When it comes to pricing, the 2018 Kia Soul Base model goes for about $17,000, but you might be better off getting the Soul Plus, which starts around $21,200. However, three-year-old pre-owned vehicles typically cost much less on average, or about $12,000, which easily makes it one of the cheapest choices we mentioned here.

A Kia Soul car

Consider Which Car Model Would Suit You and Your Budget Before Making a Decision

Like purchasing a home, buying a car is a very big deal. That’s why it’s crucial to consider all your options carefully before making a decision. Your choice should be based on several factors, including the budget, needs, and the car’s quality and reliability.

Considering everyone has different preferences, there’s a good chance some of the options I mentioned won’t even be on your radar. However, they should still give you an idea of what you can expect to get for the money.

Make a Price Comparison Between All the Best Used Cars You Are Interested In

If fitting within a specific budget is your primary concern, the quickest way to see which vehicle is worth the money is to compare each vehicle’s retail prices. For example, take a look at how all the cars we mentioned here differ in terms of price and model type.

Car Model2019 Toyota Corolla2016 Ford Focus2022 Subaru Crosstrek2018 Kia Soul Base 
(Kia Soul Plus)
Vehicle Size ClassCompactCompactSubcompact SUVSubcompact Crossover SUV
Manufacturer Suggested Retail$19,600$18,000$22,500$17,000 ($21,200)

Since you’re planning to buy a pre-owned car, be aware that it will likely have a much lower value than what we mentioned here. Although depreciation varies between models, vehicles that are sturdy, reliable, and have lower mileage will typically lose their value much more slowly than a sports car.

Be Patient and Negotiate During the Sale

Considering the slowed production of cars due to the global shortage of chips, many pre-owned automobiles have been selling out much faster than usual. While there are still plenty of vehicles to go around, you will probably have to wait a bit longer for the prices to drop to the level you expected. Be patient, thoroughly inspect the vehicle, and you’ll certainly be able to negotiate the price.