Car Buyer Labs

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The Ten Best Features to Look for in Used Cars for Sale

When you find yourself in the market for a used cars, you’ll be greeted with an abundance of options. Whether you want a practical 2010 Honda Civic or more of a statement vehicle like a 2017 Chevy Camaro, you’ll most likely be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. But once you decide on that 2017 Chevy Camaro, you’ll find numerous options available. So, how do you choose which vehicle to purchase? In this article, we’ll cover those must-have features to help you distinguish which used cars for sale are the best fit for you.


An Overview

When you begin your search for used cars for sale, there are a few major factors you’ll want to look for. While our top ten list of features will be getting down to more specific features, here is an overview of some of the most important things to check off during your search for a used vehicle:

  • Higher Trim Level
  • Low Mileage
  • Clean Vehicle History Report
  • Fair Price

Okay! Now that we’ve got those down, we can get into the more fun features. Without further ado, here are the top ten features to look for during your search for a used car for sale!


#1. Infotainment System

When it comes to must-have features, entertainment is at the top of our list (and probably yours too!). With all of the time you’ll be spending inside your next vehicle, it’s important to have all of the entertainment features you need to keep you and any passengers occupied. In the last decade, onboard infotainment systems have become increasingly advanced. Here are a few infotainment system features you can expect to find when looking for used cars for sale:

  • Touchscreen Display
  • Bluetooth
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Navigation
  • SiriusXM Radio

Important Note: When choosing your next vehicle, make sure the infotainment system onboard is user-friendly and easy to navigate. If you’re purchasing a vehicle online, be sure to research reviews on the vehicles infotainment system. You want your infotainment system to be responsive and intuitive instead of lacking functionality.


#2. Advanced Safety Features

Safety is another important feature at the top of our list. Thankfully, safety is something that most automotive brands take very seriously and each day new safety technologies are emerging to keep drivers and passengers safe on the roads. Here are a few of the advanced safety features to look for during your search for a used car:

  • Backup Camera
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • LED Headlights
  • Brake Assist
  • Full Airbag Suite
  • Child LATCH System
  • Cruise Control
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Detection

In addition to these features, you’ll want to research the IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings that your vehicle of interest scored. This can be easily found with a quick Google search!


#3. Ample Cargo Space

Whether you’re looking for a sedan, truck, or SUV, cargo space is important. This allows you and your passengers to transport your belongings with ease. When browsing used cars for sale be sure to compare the available cargo space. If you’re in the market for an SUV, check out the cargo space with and without the seats folded down. You’ll want to make sure you still have plenty of room when you have passengers onboard!


#4. Performance

Depending on what type of vehicle you’re looking for the performance you need will vary. If you’re looking for a truck and intend on using it for weekend adventures or on the worksite, you’ll want to take careful note of the towing capacity. Whereas if you’re looking for a speedy, powerful sedan, you’ll want to look for ample horsepower.


#5. Fuel Efficiency

Every driver on the road appreciates efficiency. And with today’s automotive advancements, even many of the larger trucks and SUVs offer impressive fuel efficiencies. If fuel efficiency is at the very top of your list, you may want to check out some of the hybrid vehicles available on the market. Hybrid used cars for sale can reach fuel efficiencies in the 40+ MPG range.


#6. Interior Design

Interior design is all about function, materials, and aesthetic. Of course you’ll want a vehicle with an interior design that you find pleasing, but you’ll also want to make sure that the actual design of the interior is practical and convenient. In addition, a higher quality interior will offer premium materials. As a quick guide, here are a few things to look for when it comes to interior design:

  • Controls are conveniently placed and displayed
  • Interior materials are of high-quality
  • The design itself is aesthetically pleasing

Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of your time on the inside of the vehicle! So, it is extremely important that you enjoy the overall interior design of your next used car.


#7. Exterior Design

For the most part, exterior design is all about personal preference. When searching for used cars for sale it is the exterior of the vehicle that you will see first. Do you like the overall design? Does it have the unique touches and accents you’re looking for? Does the body style match what you intend to use the vehicle for? Remember that you’re about to commit to this vehicle for the near and possibly distant future – no need to experience buyer’s remorse! If you don’t like the exterior design of a vehicle, keep looking!


#8. Seating

The number of seats you’ll need truly depends on what you intend on using your next used car for. If you plan on having plenty of passengers regularly, you’re most likely looking for an SUV with ample seating. Larger SUVs can seat up to 8 passengers these days, but more commonly you’ll find seating for 5-7 passengers. If you’re in the market for a truck, the amount of seating you’ll need will ultimately determine your cab configuration, making it an important factor to consider prior to your search. Sedans typically seat 5, however some sedans are much more spacious than others. In addition to paying attention to the number of seats, you’ll want to make sure the seating is comfortable and practical.

Children watching a video in the backseat of a 2018 Toyota Highlander


#9. Storage

We’ve discussed cargo space, but interior storage space is also important. Vehicles that feature plenty of storage options in the cabin can help drivers and passengers stay organized and comfortable on the road. Make sure there’s room for your small belongings, drinks, and anything you’ll be keeping in the vehicle at all times. Today, there are many vehicles that feature innovative storage spaces to make the best use of the interior.


#10. Those Luxury Touches!

One of the best parts of buying used cars for sale is that you can experience many luxury features without paying a luxury price. Used cars that were originally purchased with a higher trim level or featured add-on packages may allow you to enjoy features like these:

  • Leather Seating
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Power Adjustable Driver’s Seat
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Chrome Accents (Exterior)

Note: Many drivers find that purchasing a used vehicle with a slightly older model year but higher trim level grants them more luxury features than purchasing a newer model. For example, you could purchase a 2015 model of the highest trim level equipped with heated, leather seating, navigation, and more. Or you could purchase a 2017 model vehicle of the base level trim which comes with no luxury features. Often, the older model with the higher trim will be less expensive or about the same price as the newer, base model vehicle. With used cars, the newer the vehicle doesn’t always mean it’s better!


Ready to Start Looking for Used Cars for Sale?

When it’s time to look for your next vehicle, be sure to consider these features. From local dealerships to online services and more, there are plenty of places available to find your ideal used car for sale. Consider all of your desired features and requirements, and don’t settle for anything less!