From worry-free to problem-plagued, the best and worst used cars


You’ve been here before. The old ride needs to be put out of its misery and the budget for a new car is pathetically small. So what used cars, trucks and SUVs can you trust, and which should be avoided at all costs?

Consumer Reports thinks it has the answers in a new analysis. The best of the best list is dominated by Toyota and Honda, but U.S. cars make a pretty good showing on Consumer Reports’ “reliable cars by price range” list.

U.S. vehicles dominate the “worst of the worst” list, which is reserved for models that have “multiple years of much-worse-than-average reliability among 2002 to 2011 models.”


Here are the best of the best:

For under $10,000, it’s the 2006 Hyundai Sonata with the four-cylinder engine and the 2004-2005 Scion xB.

A redesign for the Sonata that year “gave it refinement and standard curtain air bags” and made it “a great choice for teen drivers,” Consumer Reports said. The Scion was lauded as “an extremely roomy and practical small wagon.”

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For $10,000 to $15,000, the 2003-2004 Infiniti G35 was praised as a car that provides “agile handling, and its ESC keeps it in check at its limits. The ride is well controlled, and the cabin is quiet.”

In the same price range, the 2004-2005 Toyota Highlander was “quiet, comfortable, and refined.”

For $15,000 to $20,000, the 2006-2007 Acura TL was “a near ideal blend of comfort, convenience, and sportiness.” The 2008-2010 Toyota RAV4 had “nimble handling, good fuel economy, and a versatile, easy-to-access cabin.”


For $20,000 to $25,000, the 2006-2007 Infiniti M35 “provides a good blend of sportiness and luxury.” The 2006 Acura MDX was “a well-rounded, family-friendly SUV.”

On the worst of the worst list from model years 2002 to 2011: Audi Q5 (V6), Ford Thunderbird, BMW 535i, GMC Acadia, Jaguar S-Type XF, Cadillac STS, Kia Sedona, Chevrolet Aveo, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Chevrolet Blazer, Mini Cooper Clubman S, Chevrolet Uplander, Mini Cooper Hatchback S, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Pontiac Montana, Montana SV6, Chrysler Town & Country, Saturn Outlook, Chrysler PT Cruiser (turbo), Saturn Relay, Dodge Caravan, Volkswagen New Beetle convertible, Dodge Grand Caravan.


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