Best Used Cars for 2023
These are the best used cars by price and budget based on a data-driven analysis of each vehicle's reliability, resale value and safety.
Buying the best used car means understanding your needs and matching them to your budget. Everything from passenger capacity and cargo space to horsepower, fuel efficiency and safety features must be taken into account during the car buying process. And while used car prices will be lower than an equivalent new car, reduced warranty coverage means traits like quality and dependability are even more important when buying used.
iSeeCars has identified the best used cars to buy across every vehicle category and ranked them below. The rankings are based on a car’s combination of reliability, value retention, and safety, making it easy for used car shoppers to identify which models perform the best in all three areas.
Buyers seeking basic transportation at the lowest possible price can find it in modern hatchbacks and subcompact cars like the Kia Rio, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Nissan Versa. These cars offer a surprising level of standard features, utility, fuel economy, and comfort given their pricing, making them effective commuter cars for single adults or couples.
Family shoppers will need to step up to a compact car like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla or equivalent model to get sufficient space and utility. Compact cars also offer increased safety features, and models like the Subaru Impreza come with all-wheel drive, meaning additional sacurity and confidence when driving in inclement weather.
Compact SUVs and crossover have become popular choices in recent years because they offer both all-wheel drive and increased space for people and cargo. Every automaker now offers one, but the most popular models are the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4. Unfortunately, the popularity of compact SUVs has made them costly, even in the used market. Consider shopping older model years instead of newer models if your budget is tight.
Shoppers with a larger budget will likely want to move up the used car price and size spectrum, where midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry come into play, two popular models with excellent reputations for reliability and comfort. Hybrid models such as the Toyota Prius, featuring powertrains that combine engines and electric motors, are also worth considering for used car shoppers seeking the highest possible mpg ratings. Avoiding fuel costs completely is possible for electric car buyers, with Tesla dominating the used EV market.
At the high end of the used car price range are luxury coupes and convertibles, full-size SUVs, and pickup trucks. Import brands like Acura, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz are known for their premium three-row SUVs, while American brands like Chevrolet, Ford and Ram have a long history of selling capable trucks. When shopping at this level consider a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) model, which will cost a bit more but include a warranty much like a new car. The extra cost for a CPO car can be a wise investment when spending this much money on a used vehicle.
As is always the case when buying a used car, a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) by an independent mechanic is prudent. If a dealership is unwilling to let you get a PPI consider a different dealer. You should also run a vehicle history report on any vehicle you’re seriously considering, which will help spot issues like theft, salvage titles, and flood damage. A comprehensive guide on How to Buy a Used Car will walk you through the process.
Listed below are the best used cars at every major price point, from as low as $10,000 to as high as $50,000 and beyond. We’ve also broken out the best used cars in every major vehicle category and size, including SUVs, trucks, sedans, luxury cars and luxury SUVs.
How We Rank These Cars
iSeeCars Best Used Car Rankings are calculated based on the latest research by our data science team and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
We analyze data from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with the NHTSA's Safety Ratings to give you an unbiased guide to the best vehicles in each segment.
After being evaluated, vehicles with the highest average scores earn a spot in the iSeeCars Best Car Rankings. (No final score is given to vehicles missing a score in any of the categories, but scores for other categories are still shown.)
Vehicles are scored in three categories:
Reliability | 33.3%
The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.
Value Retention | 33.3%
The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.
Safety | 33.3%
The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).