Buying Advice

Ranked: Best used cars under $15,000

Honda, Toyota, Mazda, and Chevrolet models all made this list.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

It's not just new cars that people are after. The used car market is full of good cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that are available at prices far lower than a brand new car.

iSeeCars, a car search engine, analyzed over 6.1 million cars from model years 2011 and newer to determine the used cars that demonstrated long-term reliability and have an average safety rating of at least 4 stars out of 5 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Shoppers with a budget of $15,000 can purchase the following reliable cars that are less than 10 years old.

2015 Mazda Mazda6

2014 Mazda Mazda6

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Average Used Price: $12,969
The 2015 Mazda Mazda6 is basically the same car as the 2014 model. Both are good bets. Compared to other models of its time, the Mazda6 has a refined powertrain, sporty handling, and a premium interior in top-tier models.

2014 Nissan Maxima

2014 Nissan Maxima

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Average Used Price: $13,190
Nissan redesigned the Maxima in 2015. But the 2014 model is no slouch. The company added a standard rearview camera, USB port, and 7-inch display in SV models. It continued to be nicely appointed.

2015 Honda Civic Sedan & Coupe

2015 Honda Civic Sedan & Coupe

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Sedan Average Used Price: $13,432
Coupe Average Used Price: $13,759

The 2015 Civic is as good as the 2014, it's just newer. In fact, they're virtually the same model. The car delivers good fuel economy, accurate steering, and a high-quality interior. However, its trunk is small.

2014 Honda Accord

2014 Honda Accord

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Average Used Price: $13,484
For the 2014 model year, Honda introduced hybrid models of the Accord. The model continued to be fuel efficient with agile handling and more room in the rear than the Honda Civic.

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $13,849
Upgraded models of the 2014 Camry Hybrid got a new navigation system for the 2014 model year. Other than that, there weren't many updates to the model. It continued to be fuel efficient, reliable, and deliver a comfortable drive and ride experience.

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Average Used Price: $13,859
The Dodge Grand Caravan is much the same for the 2016 model year as it is today. The 2017 model would have an infotainment touch screen standard but the 2016 has simpler technology. When it was new, buyers could opt for the Stow 'n Go seating and storage option, which is convenient for families.

2017 Toyota Corolla

2017 Toyota Corolla

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $14,186
The Toyota Corolla got a pretty good upgrade for the 2017 model year. It now had a long list of standard advanced safety features. Other highlights include its upscale cabin and high reliability.

2015 Toyota Camry

2015 Toyota Camry

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $14,221
The reliable and spacious Toyota Camry presented a good value when it was new in 2015. It still does today. Its electronics are easy to use and the materials in the cabin are of high quality.

2013 Toyota Avalon

2013 Toyota Avalon

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $14,508
Toyota completely redesigned the Avalon for the 2013 model year. It remains fuel efficient, reliable, and spacious. Top-tier models are well-appointed with premium materials.

2016 Chevrolet Impala

2016 Chevrolet Impala

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Average Used Price: $14,703
The spacious Chevrolet Impala is good competition for the Toyota Avalon. Both have upscale interiors in their top trim levels and ride smoothly. The Impala had available Apple CarPlay and wireless charging for the 2016 model year.

2015 Toyota Prius

2015 Toyota Prius

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Average Used Price: $14,911
Toyota gave the Prius a standard rearview camera for the 2015 model year but kept the model pretty much the same otherwise. When it was new, the Prius was one of the most fuel-efficient cars that could be purchased.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Alfa Romeo and the Italian police have a 70-year history, which includes this model, the Giulietta.

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

In the fifth episode of "Storie Alda Romeo", the company reveals how, for over 70 years, police officers in Italy have used the company's cars to perform essential job functions. Starting in the 1950s, Alfas were used as call-out vehicles, patrol models in U.S. terms, and became known as the "volanti".

Cars used by the State Police were nicknamed "Panthers" and those of the Carabinieri (military police) earned the nickname "Gazelles". Both terms were flattering and served as metaphors for the vehicles' power and agility.

The first Panther

1900, Police

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

Built in 1952, the first Panther was an Alfa Romeo 1900. The Gazelles began production a few years later.

The Alfa Romeo 1900 marked a lot of firsts for its maker. It was the first Alfa to have a self-supporting body and the first left-hand drive model. The car came with a four-cylinder engine, abandoning the six- and eight-cylinder power plants that had proved popular with buyers. The engine was powered by a single carburetor and delivered 80 horsepower (that was a good amount back then).

The 1900 was the first Alfa to be produced on an assembly line, which dropped the production time of one vehicle from 240 hours to 100. Many modern factories have been able to cut this time down to 48 to 72 hours.

It was agile and fast. The car was launched to the public with the slogan "The family car that wins races". It proved popular with buyers. Alfa sold more 1900s alone than the total number of Alfa Romeos it had sold up until the 1900 was produced.

Success in variety

Portello factory, 1900 production

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo attributes much of the 1900's success to product cycle management that is replicated time and time again in the modern market by companies worldwide. Alfa introduced several high-performance variants of the 1900 including the 1900 TI, 1900 C Sprint and Super Sprint, and the 1900 Super, winning important international competitions within their category.

Continued coachbuilder collaboration

BAT  Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

Even as the 1900 grew in popularity with the average buyer, the Alfa Romeo continued working with coach builders to launch concept cars, like the Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica (BAT) on 1900 mechanics. The BAT was created by Bertone and designed by Franco Scaglione.

The Matta

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

The same engine as the one used in the 1900 was also adopted by the Alfa Romeo 1900 M, which is better known as the "Matta". Alfa made two different versions of the Matta from 1951 to 1954, one for civilians and one for military personnel.

It was a 4x4 that achieved 64 horsepower from its four-cylinder engine, which was paired with a four-speed manual gearbox.

In a similar vein as the Willys-Overland MB cum CJ-2A, several variants were produced for the agriculture, firefighting, and road maintenance industries.

The first Gazelle

Giulietta ti, Police

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was the first Gazelle, which was designed as a patrol vehicle. It came equipped with a radio system so officers could stay in touch with headquarters. Even in most modern police vehicles, radios are a aftermarket accessory.

The Giulietta was shorter, narrower, and lighter than the 1900 and offered buyers a modern exterior that gave owners high levels of comfortability in the cabin. Its aluminum engine delivered 65 horsepower and the car had a maximum speed of 102.5 mph.

The car was a near instant success. It became known as "Italy's sweetheart" and sold over 177,000 units.

At the 1954 Turin Motorshow, a coupe version of the Giulietta debuted. Called the Giulietta Sprint, the model was designed by Bertone to be a low-lying, compact, agile car.

Enter: Giulia

Giulia, Police

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

As popular as Giulietta was, the Giulia was even more so.

The reasons for its popularity started at the front and rear, where, instead of beg but for style, they were designed to be shock-absorbent. This combined with a rigid passenger compartment to give drivers the comfort of knowing that they were in a safe (for its time) car. Many of these innovations were not yet compulsory.

Under the car's hood was a 1.6-litre twin cam engine. It had one one of the lowest coefficients of drag of its time, only 0.34. Alfa Romeo's marketing department capitalized on this, promoting the car as being "designed by the wind".

Sales of the vehicle were beyond expetation. The company sold over 570,000 sales, more than triple those of Giulietta.

Famous police cars

Giulia, "Carabinieri"

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Super was one of the most popular Alfas ever produced and one of the most famous Italian police cars ever produced. Other police cars from the Alfa lineup include the Alfasud, Alfa 75, and Alfetta Alfasud, Alfa 75156. Today, first responders drive the modern Giulia.

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Yamaha Grand National Cross Country University gives drivers the opportunity to hone their skills.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

Registration for the Yamaha Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) University is now open. The unique school allows off-road racers and riders to hone their skills with some of the best off-road racers of all time. Each master class highlights off-road racing fundamentals including sportsmanship, training, proper nutrition, and race preparation, along with hands-on technical riding instruction.

The event will return to Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia and be followed by a full weekend of racing. Dates for the event are September 23-25, 2020. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis with 80 openings evenly split between ATV and motorcycle disciplines.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

"Racing is back, Yamaha GNCC University registration is open, and the resilience of the Powersports industry was on display this past weekend as many appreciated the opportunity to get back outdoors and enjoy the sport we love while still respecting the space and wishes of fellow race fans," said Steve Nessl, Yamaha's Motorsports group marketing manager. "We celebrate podiums and championships at the end of a race day, but it is the time spent at the races on the whole that we take away as precious memories. That's why Yamaha GNCC University is such a special event, as it offers the next-generation of racers the opportunity to build not only memories, but also their race skill-set alongside past champions and legends of the sport."

ATV Classes will be led by:

  • Johnny Gallagher, XC1 Pro ATV rider celebrating 26 years racing at a pro-level.
  • Walker Fowler, five-time GNCC XC1 Pro ATV champion, and current undefeated series leader.
  • Traci Pickens, 12-time WXC ATV champion.
  • Mark Notman, retired Pro ATV racer and elite Walker Fowler Racing mechanic.
  • Josh Merritt, XC1 Pro ATV racer.

Motorcycle classes will be led by:

  • Randy Hawkins, seven-time AMA National Enduro champion and AmPro Yamaha Racing team owner.
  • Jason Raines, five-time AMA National Hare Scramble champion.
  • Layne Michael, XC1 Open Pro motorcycle rider.
  • Michael Witkowski, XC2 250 Pro motorcycle rider.
  • Becca Sheets, WXC motorcycle and undefeated class leader.
  • Rachael Archer, WXC motorcycle rider.

Rider can register by calling the resort at 877-441-4386 or find more information online at GNCCRacing.com.

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