Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2019 Mazda CX-5 is shown from a high angle parked on a city street.

Used Cars You May Haven’t Thought Of

When you start looking for a used car to purchase, you start a journey of researching brands, scanning car listings, and finding a top used car dealer. Finding the right used car dealer is absolutely crucial in your used car purchase as it can affect your money and vehicle quality. You’ll come across many different brands at used car dealers, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. On the car lot and through online searches, you’ll find dozens of models from the top car brands. Maybe one of those is right for you, but there are other strong car brands out there that don’t get as much attention as the big dogs. They produce some high quality used cars that can give you everything you’re looking for in a used car. Here are a few used cars that you may haven’t thought about and definitely should consider.

Mazda – Premium Without The Pricetag

The Mazda brand of vehicles has been around for 100 years, and they set high standards for quality, safety, and enjoyment in their lineup. You have your choice at a variety of SUVs, hatchbacks, sedans, and sports cars. So whether you’re in need of a three-row SUV or looking for a sporty two-seat convertible, Mazda likely has what you’re looking for. What makes them such a fantastic brand? They recently won their sixth consecutive Best Car Brand from U.S. News & World Report. Their individual models are award winners as well. Let’s focus on some of their more popular used models, the Mazda CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda6.

The Mazda CX-5 and CX-9 are Mazda’s largest SUVs. The CX-5 technically falls into the compact SUV segment, but there’s nothing compact about it. It seats five passengers and has a surprisingly luxurious vibe on the interior. Many even argue that Mazda SUVs rival the products from the big-name luxury brands. But even with its premium interior, a used Mazda CX-5 is affordable, and the 2019 model made the Kelley Blue Book list of 10 Best Used SUVs Under $25,000.

A step up is the Mazda CX-9, which offers a third row and broadens its horizons to larger families and groups. The CX-9 carries all the premium feel and build quality that Mazda is known for and provides more seating and cargo capabilities. All Mazda’s have high safety ratings, and the CX-9 is no different. Newer models even have some of the top safety assist features as standard. Kelley Blue Book also named the 2016 CX-9 in the 10 Best Used Family Cars Under $20,000.

Finally, the Mazda6 is a strong midsize sedan in the used car market. The 2018 and 2019 Mazda6 were named as two of the best used midsize cars by the U.S. News & World Report. The Mazda6 is known for top quality features for technology and convenience, a high-performance engine, and great fuel economy. Mazda produces strong vehicles that can stand the test of time and has the ratings to prove it. If you are looking for a premium option at an affordable price, add Mazda to your list of used cars to check out when you hit up your used car dealer.

A silver 2019 Subaru Outback is shown from the side driving in a desert.

Subaru – Trustworthy For Life

When you think of a Subaru, you probably picture an older Subaru you’ve seen on the road or in a friend’s driveway. This proves the quality of the Subaru brand. People love Subaru because their vehicle lineup is built to last and holds its value for many years. There are quite a few awards that Subaru has received. Kelley Blue Book has named Subaru as the Best Overall Brand and the Most Trusted Brand many times over the years. This is all due to Subaru’s tenacity in building safe and practical vehicles for wherever life takes you.

Subaru produces a stellar lineup of cars that should definitely be on your radar for your used car search. Specifically, the Subaru Outback and Legacy consistently made the highly rated lists. The Outback is Subaru’s compact SUV that keeps up with your fast-paced, adventurous lifestyle. Using its standard all-wheel drive, you can go almost anywhere, and with Subaru’s track record for safety, you can be confident you’re in a capable vehicle. A used Subaru Outback is affordable too, and the 2019 model is on the Kelley Blue Book list of the Best Used SUVs Under $25,000.

The Subaru Legacy is Subaru’s premium midsize car and has standard all-wheel drive and remarkable safety ratings, as is normal with Subaru vehicles. U.S. News & World Report rated the 2018 and 2019 Subaru Legacy models as two of the most affordable midsize cars. If safety and all-wheel drive are highest on your wishlist, then a used Subaru Legacy or Outback could be great options for your used car purchase. You can hit the road for adventure and still get great interior conveniences.

A gray 2019 Buick Enclave is driving on a city street after leaving a used car dealer.

Buick – Luxury That’s Attainable

Buick is advertised and positioned as a luxury car brand, and that’s not wrong. It’s a brand that’s evolved over the years to keep up with the demands of customers while still keeping its edge for luxury and quality. In 2018, Buick was named the Best Value Luxury Brand by Kelley Blue Book. While Buick stopped producing new sedans after the 2020 model year in favor of more SUVs, both their sedans and SUVs are high quality used car options.

The Buick Enclave is one of the most popular Buick SUVs. It fits in the midsize SUV category and provides a third row for the extra-large crowd to join in on the drive. The Buick Enclave has maintained a solid 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for years, and the 2017 model was named one of the Best Used SUVs Under $25,000 by Kelley Blue Book. If a luxury SUV is your goal, then purchasing a used Buick Enclave is an attainable way to achieve it.

Even though you can now only purchase a Buick sedan as used, they are still winning awards. The Buick Verano and Lacrosse are recent winners of the J.D. Power Dependability Awards. These dependability awards are handed out to the vehicles that are still holding strong after three years of ownership. This solidifies Buick’s place for producing high-quality vehicles that stand the test of time. If you don’t already have Buick on your list of used car brands, it’s worth a second glance because of their combination of luxury features and emphasis on safety and quality.

Enjoy Something Different

You don’t have to stick with the big brands to find true gems in the used car world. Now you’re armed with great information to do some solid searching. You can also rely on your used car dealer to guide you on the best used car for your daily needs and budget. While some of the big dogs in car brands produce pretty stellar used cars, don’t count out smaller brands like Mazda, Subaru, and Buick. In many cases, a smaller manufacturer will specialize in a particular type of vehicle and outperform larger companies in that niche – such as the premium feel of Mazda, the all-weather performance of Subaru, or the reliable luxury of Buick. Next time you start a search for a used SUV or car, check out these brands, and you might just be surprised at what you can get for your budget.