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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The new Si gets many improvements over the standard Civic.

Honda

The 2022 Civic and Civic Hatchback are just starting to hit our streets, but Honda's already moved on to higher performance versions of the car. The automaker just announced the Civic Si, which lands between the standard cars and the red-hot Type R in the Civic lineup.

2022 Honda Civic Si The Si's manual transmission gets rev-matching from the Civic Type R.Honda

The 2022 Civic Si gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The VTEC unit has been updated with broader power curves and better output at the top of the rev range. It's paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that features the handy rev-matching feature from the Civic Type R. The system can detect downshifts and blips the throttle to perfectly align engine revs with the shift.

Honda tightened up the new Si's body with an 8 percent bump in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity over the previous model. The 2022 Civic Si also rides on a longer wheelbase and has a wider rear track for better stability. Honda says that at 107.7 inches, the Si has the longest wheelbase in its class, which should give the car a stable and comfortable ride.

2022 Honda Civic Si The 2022 Civic Si's interior is clean and sporty. Honda

The Si's cabin borrows heavily from the standard Civic, but the sporty car gets more aggressive front sport seats with stronger bolstering and better thigh and shoulder supports. Honda raised the seats' bottom cushion by half an inch at the front for better thigh support. A 9-inch touchscreen display is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12-speaker Bose stereo with Centerpoint 2 tech and SurroundStage digital signal processing are also standard.

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The Passport was lightly modified for competition.

Honda

Honda recently announced a line of off-road-oriented trims and packages for its vehicles. Called TrailSport, the trim brings rugged appearance upgrades to the Honda Passport and will eventually offer more performance upgrades for other vehicles in the automaker's catalog. To further prove its mettle in the off-road space, Honda built a 2022 Passport rally truck to compete in the American Rally Association race series. The truck debuted over the weekend in Michigan and had a reasonably successful run for its first time out.

2022 Honda Passport Two Honda engineers handled driving duties.Honda

Importantly, the Passport's drivetrain and suspension were left untouched for the rally. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and suspension in the rally vehicle are the same components that you or I would see if we bought a new Passport today. Honda did add a transmission fluid cooler, but even then, it's the unit that everyday buyers can get with the available towing package. The SUV's interior was stripped and modified for safety and performance.

2022 Honda Passport Honda is pushing deeper into the off-road with its TrailSport trims.Honda

Honda did upgrade the Passport's wheels and tires for the event by fitting 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels and Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires. The automaker also made modifications to the SUV's underside with custom 1/8-inch thick aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates. High-density panels protect the fuel tank and other sensitive components, while Carbontech XP12 brake pads and high-temp racing brake fluid slow things down.

2022 Honda Passport The Passport's interior had to be stripped and modified for the event.Honda

The ARA National and Regional Championship Series events feature modified street vehicles that travel at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. The courses include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow, and cover hundreds of miles. The Honda Passport rally vehicle was first driven by two Honda engineers and ran in the top ten out of 42 teams. Honda says that a tire de-bead eventually slowed the team, leading to a delayed finish.

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