Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A smiling couple is at a dealership after searching for "used cars near me."

What To Look For When Shopping Used

When the time comes to start vehicle shopping whether it’s your first car or your second, shopping can be grueling and intimidating if you don’t do your research correctly, you may find yourself hopelessly searching “used cars near me” to no avail. It’s not uncommon for a customer to have a specific vehicle in mind when they start researching the area for used cars, and there are times when you must travel lengthier distances to find exactly what you’re looking for. As long as you use the valuable tools available at your fingertips, specifically designed to help shoppers like yourself, such as my local used car dealerships website, there will never be a missed beat again when it comes to shopping for the perfect used vehicle.

We’ve spent time researching some of the best deals we could find through their website and have narrowed our choices down to two vehicles, both of which are wildly different from one another, but they do share something in common, they’re both used and have a great value for the prices they were given. These two vehicles we have chosen to highlight are the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro and the 2017 Toyota Tacoma. Both vehicles were found at a price below their average value and have respectable mileage given their used status. We’ve done this to show you that used car shopping can yield some amazing results.

Used 2011 Chevrolet Camaro

We were impressed to find a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro at my local dealership, which only had 20,011 miles on the engine for the price of $19,990, which according to a Carfax statistics, is roughly $1,360 or 6.5% below the average value. Regarding the engine, this particular Camaro came equipped with a 6.2L V8 engine, which produced a whopping 426 hp with 420 lb-ft of torque. This vehicle only supported rear-wheel drive, but its manual transmission plus the power the engine provides made this ride a fun one. With the 6.2L V8 in this Camaro, we can expect a fuel economy rating of 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway and a fuel tank capacity of 19 gallons.

The vehicle we had discovered had a stunning red exterior paint with a coupe designed body style. This Camaro came with alloy wheels, fog lights, and intermittent wipers, to name a few of its exterior features. Inside of this particular Camaro, we found a tan interior, leather steering wheel, adjustable heated seats, and a wide range of features spanning from a head-up display and a sunroof all the way to 4-wheel disc brakes. This 2011 Chevy Camaro was loaded with features, many of which are still commonplace today, and we’re impressed with its feature set, even nearly nine years later.

A silver 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, which is a popular option for used cars near me, is parked in a parking lot with city buildings in the distance.

If you are searching for a Camaro, for models built as early as 2011, you could expect safety features such as front and rear side airbags plus a built-in OnStar communication system which contains a wide range of helpful security features. These features include car location tracking, the ability to send tow-trucks to your location if needed, plus emergency support with sensors built into your vehicle that will notify OnStar if there is a collision.

Even more, a 2011 Camaro allows you to connect your devices wirelessly through Bluetooth for handsfree calling or media playback so you can keep your eyes on the road. You can also find in a 2011 Camaro Electronic Stability Control, which is a built-in computer system that assists with directional control when the vehicle is presented with difficult driving conditions. This can make driving in heavy rain, on dirt, or in snow, much easier.

Going with the 2011 Camaro, you should expect to see features such as a rear defroster, power mirrors, power windows, and the implementation of the Chevrolet Convenience Package. What a convenience package does is add features like the aforementioned Bluetooth integration, plus the addition of steering wheel-mounted audio controls so that you will no longer have to take your hand off the wheel to change the volume or radio station. You will also get features such as automatic wipers and headlights with the convenience package. So, even though the 2011 model is almost a decade old, it is still an excellent buy if you happen to come across one.

Used 2017 Toyota Tacoma

The next vehicle we found was a 2017 Toyota Tacoma and recently had a major price drop. Back in October of 2019, this Tacoma was selling for $25,995, but now it is only $22,625, which is approximately $995 below the Carfax average value. However, considering the original cost of the Tacoma, you can see that this model has held its value pretty well. This is quite common for Toyota models. When you go used car shopping, you will often find a used Toyota with a price close to its original sale price.

Comparatively speaking, a 2017 Tacoma and a 2020 variant are not easily differentiable from one another, and you will find a lot of the features which were available with the 2017 Tacoma on both variants, making this used option quite intriguing should you find one at your local used car dealership.

The engine inside of the used Tacoma we found was an extremely similar variant to one still found in the latest 2020 Tacoma. The engine in this model was a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine that produced 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. If you are shopping for a used 2017 Tacoma, you might find it equipped with the 2.7L engine or with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. You’ll also find those exact engines on a 2018, 2019, and even a 2020 Tacoma.

A grey 2017 Toyota Tacoma is driving on a tree lined road with mountains in the distance.

A Toyota Tacoma will most likely be loaded with safety, entertainment, and convenience features. In a used 2017 Tacoma, you can see features such as keyless entry and fog lights. You might also find all-season tires with alloy wheels, and a rear-view camera comes standard to help you back out of driveways or parking spaces. Other features include anti-lock brakes and an anti-theft system for added security. The Tacoma can also come with tow hooks and a full-size spare tire as well as a built-in tire pressure monitoring system. The Tacoma also includes handsfree/Bluetooth integration to keep your eyes on the road when answering phone calls with the included controls built into your leather steering wheel. We’re very impressed with the features included inside of the 2017 Tacoma, and it’s no wonder why most of these features remain in their 2020 models.

Toyota Tacomas are off-roading vehicles first and foremost, and the implementation of a multi-terrain select system helps us adjust the vehicle’s throttle and braking depending on the terrain, whether it be mud, dirt, or snow. It aids the traction of the vehicle when under such conditions, which is a feature that we greatly appreciate in the Toyota Tacoma.

Why The Research Matters

The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro and the 2017 Toyota Tacoma are definitely prime examples when it comes to why you should consider a used vehicle. The Tacoma was able to hold most of its original value, and the Camaro was almost a decade old but had low mileage, excellent features, and an affordable price.

Used vehicles are a great choice, especially if you’re considering purchasing a brand new vehicle as you’d be able to save a solid amount of money alongside warranties that typically go hand in hand when you purchase a used vehicle.

The best part about shopping used is the ability to match your budget with a vehicle you genuinely would like to drive. You are always given a choice to save money by shopping for vehicles that are a few years old; for example, you could shop for a 2009 Camaro or a 2015 Tacoma, and the difference will save you money while the built-in features won’t be absurdly outdated to their newer counterparts.

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