Clark Howard: Know the best and worst among used cars

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So much has been written about how to buy a new car. But far more people buy used than they do new. So here’s some guidance to help you get the best used car for your dollar.

Consumer Reports is my favorite source of info on buying cars. They’ve recently started running a new feature listing bad used cars. Here is a very partial list, in alphabetical order:

  • BMW 330i ’06; and 335Ci ’07-’09
  • Buick Enclave ’08-11; and Terraza ’05-’07
  • Chevy Cruze (1.4T) ’11-’14; Cruze (1.8L) ’11-’13; Uplander ’06-’08; and Venture ’05
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser ’05-’08
  • Dodge Grand Caravan ’05-12
  • Ford F-250 and F-350 (diesel) ’05-’08, ’10-’11, ’13; and Fiesta ’11-14
  • Jeep Wrangler (4-door) ’07-’09, ’11-’13
  • Mini Cooper S ’05-’12
  • Saturn Outlook ’07-’09; and Relay ’05-’07
  • VW GTI ’07; and Tiguan ’09-’11

For the complete list, you can either buy one-time access to Consumer Reports at or check out the latest issue from your local library.

At the other extreme, Consumer Reports also has a list of vehicles they’ve deemed the best used cars. Here’s a partial overview:

  • Mazda3 s (2008)
  • Pontiac Vibe (2005-’08)
  • Volkswagen Rabbit (2007-’09)
  • Acura MDX (2005-’06)
  • Toyota Highlander V6 (2005-’07)
  • Honda Accord (2008-’12)
  • Toyota Camry (2010-’12)
  • Lexus ES (2007-’08)

When you’re looking for a used car, you want reliable, affordable transportation. So let this list be your guide.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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