Looking For A Cheap, Reliable Used Car In Harlem And Beyond? Here Are Some Options

February 1, 2024

By Mark Huffman

Finding a good used car isn’t as easy as it once was. Inventory levels are down and prices are up whether you are in Harlem or Hollywood.

Dealers are getting top dollar for newer, popular models so, if you want to buy a car on a budget, you may have to settle for an older, less popular model. So where do you start?

If you are willing to drive a car that’s at least 10 years old, there are several options. When buying a car that old, personal finance expert Rachael Cruze suggests choosing a brand known for quality and reliability.

“… choosing a brand known for quality and reliability.”

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Her top choices are the 2012 Toyota Camry, 2011 Honda Accord and 2013 Honda Civic. The newest of those three, the 2013 Honda Civic, offers Bluetooth connectivity on the EX and LX models.

If your budget allows for something a little newer, the experts at iSeeCars.com suggest looking at the 2019 Chevrolet Trax, calling it the best 5-year-old used car for the money. It has an average price of $17,274 and 120,000 miles of average remaining lifespan.

Low price, more remaining miles

“With the spike in used vehicle pricing over the past five years, buyers are seeking the best value for their used-car dollars,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “We’ve identified the models with the lowest purchase price and the longest remaining lifespan, providing shoppers with a list of used cars they can purchase and rely on for many years.”

A nice compromise between old and newer models might be the 2017 model year. J.D. Power picks the Buick Encore and Kia Niro as among the most reliable cars among 2017 models.

Automotive blogger Erin Marquis, who writes Japopnik, says people with a very small budget might consider the Pontiac G6, a brand that hasn’t produced a car in 13 years. 

“They’re zombies from a forgotten automaker wandering the streets delivering Uber Eats and rushing to make the next shift,” Marquis writes. “Nothing so fancy and complicated as the Pontiac G8 but with slightly better build quality than the G5, the Pontiac G6 is a legend to those short on cash but in need of transit.”

In fact, just because a car is old doesn’t mean it can’t be solid and reliable. Tim, of Guntersville, Ala., recently traded in his 2021 Toyota Corolla for a 2023 model and sort of wishes he hadn’t.

“Road noise is much louder than my 2021,” Tim wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “Almost sounds as if a window is not fully closed however they are closed. The 2.0 engine has significantly better acceleration although It does seem to stutter, jerk or hesitate intermittently at lower speed. Don’t remember this issue on my 2021 LE with a smaller engine, and I put 60,000 miles on it.”

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