Best Cars Under $10,000

Toyota Corolla
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9 Cars That Give You a Lot for a Little

You don't have to spend a fortune to get a great ride. Plenty of great used cars from 2009 to 2011 can cost less than $10,000 and still give you all the room, reliability, fuel economy, and driving fun you want, while saving you thousands over a newer car.

In fact, reliability was so good in cars of this era that the ratings organizations each had to widen their scales repeatedly to show the tiny differences between models. Since then, complaints have shot up, although mostly having to do with computerized electronic entertainment systems. Those problems can be annoying, but they're not very likely to leave you stranded by the side of the road.

For some of the cars on our list, the older models are more fun to drive and have simpler, less-distracting controls than the cars that replaced them. Many have better driver visibility, and some have more room inside. Though their components will have some wear on them and may require more frequent and costly repairs than a new car that is still under factory warranty, some maintenance may be cheaper than it would be on an equivalent new model. Just because they’re used cars doesn't mean they should soak you for maintenance while you're trying to save money.

One caveat: Older cars don't offer many of the latest safety advances, such as crash structures designed to perform well on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new small-offset front crash tests, and technology to help you avoid crashes in the first place. Sub-$10,000 used cars probably won’t be equipped with forward collision warning or blind-spot monitoring, either.

Still, among the cars on this list, most have plenty of space, several are fun to drive, and you can even get all-wheel drive, if you’re looking for that. No matter which one you choose, these used models can satisfy your everyday needs and save you a big pile of cash compared with the nearly $34,000 out-the-door price of an average new car. 

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