Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A white 2019 Chevy Tahoe RST is shown from the front driving on an empty road.

Buying a Used Car Is an Intelligent Choice

Have you checked out the prices of new cars lately? If you have, then you know that they are higher than ever, and this trend is sure to continue, at least for the foreseeable future. Since owning a car is more or less a necessity, many people are looking into buying a used vehicle. Not only is purchasing a vehicle from a used car dealer a great way to save money, but it is also an excellent way to get the car that you really want.

If you have always had your eye on a luxury sedan or capable SUV, buying it used is the way to make that dream come true. Maybe you have purchased a used car in the past, and it didn’t work out, so you are hesitant about trying it again. We get that, but things have changed over the years, and used cars are now more dependable and reliable than ever. Of course, there are still good used car buys and bad used car choices, so it pays to do your homework and discover the intelligent choices.

Proven Reliability

A large segment of the population tends to believe that a new car will be more reliable than a used one; in some cases, this might be true. But the fact is not all new cars are more reliable than used vehicles, and there are studies that back it up. For example, many new cars, especially when they are in their first production year, can have problems and may suffer several recalls. This is also the case when an established model enters a new generation. In these cases, a used car just might be more reliable than a new model.

Buying a used car means that any recalls or problems that it might have had have already been resolved. For example, that 2018 Camry you test-drove might have had a recall or two, but those problems have been taken care of by the previous owner or the dealership. As a result, it is now a reliable choice as well as a great deal that will save you money.

What to Look for in a Used Car

There is no need to make shopping for a used car more difficult than shopping for a new model; you simply mark off many of the same squares on the checklist. Whether shopping for a new or used model, you will inspect the interior, take it for a test drive, and probably slam the doors and kick the tires a couple of times for good measure.

Buying a used car means you can get the features and options that you couldn’t afford with a new model. So this is your opportunity to get a sedan with leather seats and a heated steering wheel. It is also an excellent opportunity to get an SUV with a quality infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other great tech features to look for in a used car include remote start, premium audio systems, and parking assist.

Perhaps safety is a big concern for you, so you look for a used model with the safety features that are important to you. This means you will be on the lookout for a used model with a backup camera, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot detection. The number of safety features available to auto buyers has increased dramatically over the last several years, so you can bet that even older used cars will have many of these features and options.

A red 2018 Mazda3 Sedan is shown driving past a shop after leaving a used car dealer.

Best Used Car Choices

There is an awful lot of hype on the internet about the Mazda 3, and for some very compelling reasons. It seems as though the model years 2014 through 2018 are very good choices for those searching for a great used compact car. In addition to its good looks and style, the Mazda 3 offers plenty of tech features, including an impressive infotainment system. The Mazda 3 easily zips through town in one of two available four-cylinder engines. And for those who want to enjoy their commute, there is an available manual transmission.

The Honda Civic has always been a good choice when it comes to buying a used car, and the best bets are the models from 2016 to 2018. There are several reasons to at least look into buying a used Civic, they are dependable and roomy, even for a compact car, and they are totally fun to drive. Just as important are the features you will enjoy with your used Civic, including adaptive cruise control and a 7-inch infotainment system screen. In addition, the 1.5-liter engine enjoys a sprite 158 horsepower, so you enjoy performance as well as fuel economy.

For those seeking a full-size sedan with a roomy interior and trunk space for storage, the Chevy Impala is a nice fit. However, if the four-cylinder doesn’t command the power you desire, there are Impalas out there with the more powerful V6 under the hood. The reliability rating for the Impala is high as well, so you won’t have to worry about breaking down at the worst possible time. The Impala is also a good choice if you prefer a comfortable, smooth ride in a peaceful cabin.

No list of best used cars is complete unless it includes the Toyota Camry. When it comes to a reliable car that will get you safely to your destination year in and year out, the Camry is perpetually at the top of the list. Should you choose a 2017 Camry, the blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning are just a couple of the safety features that catapults the Camry to the top in safety scores. In addition, if you decide to get one of the higher trim Camry choices, you will definitely appreciate the premium JBL audio system.

If you are looking for a used SUV with the room you need for passengers and cargo, look no further than the Chevy Tahoe. The three-row 2019 Tahoe enjoys spacious seating and ample cargo space. Yet, even for such a big SUV, the Tahoe handles surprisingly well. In addition to a quality ride, the Tahoe offers a luxurious interior with all of the cool tech features for you to enjoy, including a modern infotainment system with crystal clear sound. The Tahoe also includes plenty of impressive safety features, including rear cross-traffic alert and an amazing feature called the safety-Alert Driver’s Seat that gives the driver tactile feedback with audible warnings and vibrations when an impact is impending.

For those in the market for an exceptional used pickup truck, you might want to do a little research on the 2018 Nissan Titan. The Titan has everything you could ever want in a pickup truck; it enjoys a powerful V8 engine, excellent towing capacity, and it is a monster in off-road conditions. In addition, Nissan gave the Titan a sweet interior that screams upscale, with a design that is sure to catch your fancy. Finally, if you are into off-road driving, look for the Pro-4X trim, which is equipped with skid plates and tow hooks but also offers tech upgrades, including a premium audio system.

A red 2018 Nissan Titan is shown driving in the mountains.

Buying Used Is a Smart Choice

In addition to saving you a lot of money, buying a used car offers other benefits. For the money, you get to drive a better car than you are otherwise unable to afford. You will also enjoy lower insurance rates driving a used model. It’s time to get that picture of a 1970s Buick Regal with missing hubcaps and rust around the bottom of the door out of your head when thinking about buying a used car. Modern vehicles are as reliable and tech-savvy, and safe as ever, and owning a used car is an intelligent choice.