Sedans have lost market share to SUVs over the past 20 years, but they remain an important component in the used and new car marketplace. Used car shoppers seeking a compelling mix of style, practicality, comfort, fuel efficiency, and even sporty handling, can find it in modern sedans. Additional features, including all-wheel drive (AWD), turbo powertrains, advanced infotainment systems, and driver-assist tech like adaptive cruise control are also available for sedan shoppers with higher budgets.
But even today’s least-expensive subcompact used sedans and hatchbacks, such as the Kia Rio, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Nissan Versa, provide a solid set of basic safety features, impressive reliability, and good fuel economy, making them excellent commuter cars for buyers seeking dependable transportation at a reasonable price. Moving up from the base trim levels to the premium versions will add features like keyless entry and start, premium sound systems, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, depending on which model year is being considered.
The compact sedan category adds interior space and comfort that subcompact cars can’t offer. This segment includes well-known models like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, The Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf and Jetta also reside in the compact category, with all of these vehicles having a reputation for durability and quality. A combination of engaging dynamics, relatively high horsepower four-cylinder engines, and impressive mpg figures allows compact sedans to balance fun and functionality in a reasonably-priced package, particularly when equipped with a manual transmission.
Buyers seeking still more space should consider a midsize sedan, with segment stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry being excellent choices. While those two have an established reputation for value and reliability, newer entrants like the Hyundai Sonata and Mazda6 are also worth considering, and will likely be available at a lower price while still offering strong quality and attractive designs. American brands have largely abandoned the midsize car segment, but if you like to support the home team you can find two of America’s discontinued models, the Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion, on the used market and available at a reasonable cost.
Climbing the price ladder above midsize cars leads to luxury nameplates like Acura, Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. Unlike American car companies, these import brands continue to offer new sedans, along with certified pre-owned (CPO) programs that let you buy their used models with new-car-like warranty coverage and piece-of-mind. Ask your dealership about CPO options if this option appeals to you.
Finally, if saving money and the planet are important to you, consider a used electric car like a Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or Tesla Model 3. You’ll pay more for an EV compared to a similarly-sized and equipped gasoline model, but you can also save money on lower energy and servicing costs. Electric cars have fewer parts, which means fewer dealership visits and lower maintenance, though you have to consider your driving habits and whether an electric car’s range and charge times will satisfy your needs.
We’ve listed the best used cars below across a wide spectrum of price points. You can browse each segment and see the cars ranked by their iSeeCars quality score, a reflection of a model’s reliability, value, and safety scores.