It’s not an easy time to shop for a used car and even harder if you’re on a tight budget. Demand is up and supply is down, and that means prices have jumped. A federal inflation report in June showed vehicle prices up nearly 30% from the same period a year prior, with much of that increase coming in the past few months.
But this does not mean you can’t find a safe and reliable used car at a relatively modest price. Cars.com scoured its current vehicle listings and found good vehicles in different types and sizes with median list prices of around $10,000 as of June. That means half the listed prices for that vehicle are above the median and half are below, so you should be able to get one on a $10,000 budget. Unless otherwise specified, our calculations include all body styles and powertrains offered for the vehicle. Tap the link below each vehicle to find complete data by model year on the trim levels and features you might find during your shopping process.
But beyond price, we picked only vehicles that Cars.com editors continue to respect in their categories — no dogs. We avoided cars before the 2012 model year, as such examples are likely to have higher mileage, worse crashworthiness and more age-related mechanical problems. Within those boundaries, we chose vehicles that have respectable reliability scores in the U.S. Vehicle Dependability study by analytics company J.D. Power. And we picked only vehicles with high safety scores for these model years from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-testing.
We’ll detail some specs about each vehicle below its photo, but note that EPA fuel economy is based on current ratings adjusted in late 2016, so the figures shown may not match the original window-sticker numbers.
Here are our 10 picks that fall within that range, listed by type: