After buying a house, buying a car is one of the largest purchases people make. The cost of new cars continues to increase, with the average price of a new car coming in at just over $34,000. Worse yet, Experian reports that the average car payment for a new car is $483 and $361 for a used car payment.
What are individuals who need a new to them car, but don't want to spend that much money to do? There are options available; you can even buy a good used car for under $10K if you do your homework and plan your car buying right. Here are some things to consider when buying a new to you car and how to save money in the process.
What to Look For in a Used Car
In all likelihood, a car that's $10K or less will be used. There's nothing wrong with that as you can often find value in the used car market. Buying any car requires research and that is even truer when you're buying a used car.
Following are some of the things to do when looking for a used car:
- Know the history of your potential car
- Take it for a test drive, even asking to use it overnight if possible
- Have a mechanic look over the car for any major issues
All of these things have one thing in common – you want to make sure the car is reliable. If not, it won't meet the needs of your family.
Benefits of a Lower Priced Car
A used car may not have the appeal of a shiny, brand new car. It certainly won't have that new car smell, though, in all honesty, that new car smell can be expensive. This is not to say buying a car under $10K offers no benefits. They most certainly do and some of those benefits are:
- Less depreciation than with new cars
- Lower monthly payments if you choose to finance the car purchase
- Lower priced car insurance since the car won't be as valuable on paper
The result is you get to keep more of your money in your pocket each month thanks to buying a reliable used car.
Best Cars Under $10K
In most cases, the best cars under $10K will be passenger cars, though that will not always be the case. There are some non-passenger cars available for those with need. That being said, following are some of the best used cars under $10K, according to Consumer Reports:
The Mazda3 is the youngest car among the best under $10K. It boasts a comfortable ride with good interior quality and responsiveness. If you have a large family, you may want to look elsewhere as it has a smaller backseat.
2005 Acura TL
The Acura TL is a little older though still provides great value. The Acura is an upgrade from the Honda Accord, providing more of a luxury feel. The Acura gets good gas mileage, given its V6 engine.
2006-08 Hyundai Sonata
If you're in the market for a Hyundai Sonata you're in luck as there are several model years to select. The Sonata is a roomier car and has a relatively fuel-efficient V4 engine. There is an option to upgrade the engine though it would not fit under the $10K threshold.
2005 Honda Pilot
If you have a larger family or like the ability to have extra storage, the Honda Pilot may be the car to consider. The Pilot is one of the most well-respected SUV models, though it doesn't get the recognition other models receive. One benefit to the Honda Pilot is a third-row seat that comes standard and folds down.
2004 Mazda MazdaSpeed Miata MX-5
No list of best used cars under $10k would be complete without a sports car. If a sports car is on your list of nice to have but unaffordable when new, the Miata is worth considering. The Miata handles well and provides the speed sports car enthusiasts want.
The Best Finance Options
A car under $10K is certainly cheaper than most newer cars, though you may still need to finance the purchase. As with any car purchase, you want math to guide your decision. Often that will come down to getting the best possible rate.
Compare rates from multiple lenders to find the best one. You can check with local banks and credit unions, though online lenders can be a good option to consider.
Buying a car under $10K may seem like a challenge. It's not. There are many options out there to consider. With a little homework and a down payment, you can save a significant amount of money on your car purchase.