Consumers looking for a little luxury without having to spend big bucks for brand-new may find a lot to like in these best used cars under $25,000. How did we choose them? For starters, we checked Consumer Reports’ “Best Used Vehicles for Under $20,000” and went from there. Since the magazine’s top price category is $20,000, we figured that vehicles that are consistently in the various price echelons are the ones to consider for our $25,000 price cap – so we just selected newer model years and double-checked the Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) pricing, just to be sure.
Here, then, are some of our selections for Best Used Cars Under $25,000:
- 2008 Infiniti G35 – The last year of its second generation, and the same year Infiniti introduced the G37, the 2008 provides savvy consumers with excellent value in an entry-level luxury midsize sedan that’s sporty, comfortable, and sleekly sophisticated. New Car Test Drive commented this way on the 2007 refresh (2008 is virtually unchanged): “Clearly, Infiniti has now set its sights on BMW, long touted as the ultimate driving machine. The 2007 G35 sedan is loosening BMW’s grip on that crown.” Edmunds TMV for the 2008 Infiniti G35 sedan ranges from $22,848 to $24,588 for the top-of-the-line X model.
- 2008 BMW 3-Series – Speaking of BMW, why don’t we? In this case, the 2008 BMW 3-Series sedan and wagon in 328i, and sedan in 328xi. Edmunds TMV for these models ranges from $23,950 to $25,247 – so, within the ballpark. The benchmark BMW 3-Series has won the coveted Car and Driver 10Best Cars crown for 17 consecutive years (as of 2008), and is still going strong with successive wins to-date. Editors rave: “But in 17 years, no other carmaker has quite managed to package these attributes as successfully as BMW, although many have tried. Which is precisely why the 3-series continues to be the perennial benchmark of the entry luxury-sports-coupe, -sedan, -convertible class.”
- 2008-2009 Audi A4 – Two excellent years to choose from here and still mostly meet the price cap. We’d opt for the 2009 and bump the cap up about $500 – to an Edmunds TMV of $25,545 for the 2.0T Premium. What you get for that is all-new design in 2009, plus the luxuriously-appointed cabin, good handling, ride, and balance, and the comfort of knowing you’re in an Audi. Edmunds comments: “The redesigned 2009 sedan and Avant wagon boast more space, better driving dynamics and more gadgets. They’re worth a look for shoppers desiring good looks and sharp handling.” If you want higher trims, go for the 2008 versions (old design), and get bargain pricing – Edmunds TMV ranging from $19,717 for the base 2.0T sedan to $25,222 for the 2.0T A4 Convertible (Cabriolet).
- 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class – Four styles meet the price target in the 2008 midsize luxury sedan, from the rear-wheel drive (RWD) C300 Sport (with Edmunds TMV of $22,467) to all-wheel drive (AWD) C300 Luxury 4MATIC (at TMV of $24,881). For 2008, C-Class boasts updated styling inside and out, sportier suspension, powerful V6 engine, and loads of safety features. Motor Trend observed: “As it’s Mercedes’s worldwide best-seller, the company has put a massive amount of work into sharpening up its fourth-generation model, and it shows.”
- 2009 Acura TSX – For something a bit sportier-looking – and handling (so say some reviewers), why not check out the 2009 ? Of course, you’ll have to settle for the base trim, with starting Edmunds TMV of about $23,680, available in either automatic or manual transmission. The car received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. AutoWeek commented: “The TSX is a solid, fun car to drive, loaded with technology. Acura bills it as an entry-level, premium sports sedan, and that description seems apt. A bit more sport, with some more ponies underhood, would be nice. Few people might be able to distinguish the new car from the old at a glance, but as an overall package – ride, handling, comfort, fuel mileage – the TSX is hard to beat in the category.”