Scrounging around for a really great deal in a first-time or replacement vehicle – and you don’t want or choose not to buy new? Used cars may not only be a reasonable choice, they may also be your best option.

Here we look at the 10 best values in used cars in 2012, as offered by Kiplinger’s, which compiled their list according to the vehicles receiving top scoring in performance, value and safety, as well as high marks for reliability. Of course, we have a few thoughts of our own about each, as you’ll note below. Each of these 2008 and 2009 models represents sound investments that can help get you on the road without breaking the budget.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS – Good EPA-rated 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway fuel economy from the 2.4-liter engine, six airbags, electronic stability control standard, low ownership costs, and continuation to the new owner of the 5-year/50,000-mile new car warranty plus five-year no-charge roadside assistance are all excellent reasons to choose the 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS. When new, the price was $19,545 (automatic). Today, the dealer price used is $9,902, while private-party used is $8,731. Going certified used will cost $11,480.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Sedan – It cost $18,190 new and today can be found on dealer lots used for $12,191. Private-party used is nearly $11,000 and certified used is about $13,000. But this 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.4i sedan comes with standard Subaru all-wheel drive, gets 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, has side and side-curtain airbags standard, and garnered a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT – Fresh off its 2008 redesign, the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT cost a little over $23,000 new. Today, dealer used price is $13,000 and change, while private-party price is about $12,000. Certified-used price is just over $14,000. For 2009, the Malibu received standard stability control, along with side and side-curtain airbags. And the fuel economy for the midsize family sedan is 22 mpg city/33 mpg highway.

2009 Nissan Rogue S – Rated an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2009 Nissan Rogue S cost just over $21,000 new. Today a used Rogue S on dealer lots is about $15,000, while

 

 

 

 

private-party is in the vicinity of $13,400. Certified-used is just over $16,000. Fuel economy for the stylish compact crossover is good at 22/27. The Rogue has a 2.5-liter engine, six airbags, stability and traction control standard.

2008 Honda CR-V CX – Boasting fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan at 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, the 2008 Honda CR-V CX compact crossover just keeps on holding its value. (Kiplinger’s perennially rates it Best New and Best Used pick.) Top Safety Pick status, 36 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, standard stability control and six airbags are other reasons to buy. New, the CR-V cost $21,370. Dealer used is just over $15,000 and private-party is just over $14,000. Certified-used price is $16,402.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i – Although it cost $25,240 new, today used at the dealer, the 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i is $15,200 and private-party is just over $14,000. Certified-used price is around $16,200. Compelling reasons to choose: car-like driving and all-wheel drive utility, standard stability control, six airbags, 34 cubic feet of cargo room, 20/26 mpg fuel economy, and Top Safety Pick status.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited – Top Safety Pick status, standard stability control, and voice-activated SYNC system, plus 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway – standout attributes and features of the 2009 Ford Taurus Limited. New, the price was about $31,500. Dealer used today, it is $16,634. Private-party price is $15,271 and certified-used is $17,653.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport – The seven-passenger, three-row crossover has copious storage (48 cubic feet with third row folded down), standard stability control and optional blind spot monitoring system, and 16/22 mpg fuel economy. New, the price was $30,035. Today you can find it on dealer lots at about $18,300, while private-party price is $16,689 and certified-used is $20,424.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE – The seven-passenger 2009 Toyota Sienna LE minivan offers easily-configurable seating and storage space and 17/23 mpg fuel economy. Price new was $26,865. On dealer lots today, the price is in the area of $18,400. Private-party price is about $16,700 and certified-used is about $19,900.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD – Looking for a little luxury in a used car? The 2009 Infiniti G37x AWD has a larger 328-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 engine, seven-speed automatic transmission, stability control, head and side airbags, and gets fuel economy of 18/25 mpg. Price new was $36,615. On dealer used-car lots today, the price is $23,890. Private-party price is just over $1,500 less at $22,308, while certified-used is just over $26,000.

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