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Used cars under $10,000

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If your budget is tight, finding a good used car that's also inexpensive is no easy task. Here are 10 used cars that Consumer Reports recommends for less than $10,000:

For small cars:

  • 2008 Mazda3 is fuel-efficient, fun to drive, and unlikely to wind up in the shop.
  • 2005-2008 Pontiac Vibe is a roomy yet compact hatchback that's reliable.
  • 2007-2009 Volkswagen Rabbit gives you a sporty European driving experience with nice interior materials for the price.

For sedans:

  • 2005 Acura TL
  • 2005 Acura TSX
  • 2005 Toyota Avalon
  • 2006-2008 Hyundai Sonata and 2007-2008 Kia Optima 4-cylinders. They're basically the same car.

SUVs:

  • 2005 Honda CR-V
  • 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2005 Honda Pilot. It seats eight and handles well.

Before you buy any car, Consumer Reports recommends hiring a mechanic to do an inspection. A thorough diagnosis should cost about $100, but check the price in advance. And before you take the car to a mechanic, do an initial inspection yourself. Here's a step by step guide from Consumer Reports.