Shopping for a safe used car is a lot easier when you check out the listings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Look for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS and an overall four- or five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA.
With a budget of under $25,000, here we take a quick look at 10 of the safest used cars you might want to consider.
2011-2014– If you shop wisely, you can get a late-model Chevrolet Cruze and be assured of the car’s top safety ratings. Prices range from around $9,900 to $21,000 (for the 2014 Cruze diesel). Ten standard airbags help bolster the Cruze’s stellar safety rating.
2013-2014 – The five-passenger midsize 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu offers family comfort and convenience with an extra dollop of safety, achieving the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status (in 2014, Top Safety Pick for 2013). Pricing on used Chevy Malibu sedans ranges from around $14,985 to $21,995.
2011-2014 – The midsize four-door sedan was completely redesigned for 2013, making the 2011-2012 models the most appealing price-wise. Named IIHS Top Safety Picks, all these model years are good choices for a safe family sedan. Prices range from around $11,422 to $21,970.
2013-2014 – What would a safe car list be without a Honda? The Honda Accord, completely redesigned for 2013, marks an impressive choice for a safe family coupe or sedan (or a safe car, period). Standard features include a rearview camera, something other automakers are just now beginning to include as standard equipment, while Honda led the way. Pricing ranges from $16,994 to $24,930 (and higher).
2014 Sedan – Sporting an all-new design, the 2014 Kia Forte (in sedan version) also achieves IIHS Top Safety Pick status, making this one compact car worthy of a second look. The sedan earned an overall four-star out of five in NHTSA testing and “good” in all IIHS categories except the new small overlap front test. So, early 2014 models qualify for 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick. Look for prices ranging from $14,900 to around $17,998.
2012-2014 – Redesigned for the 2012 model year, the compact Subaru Impreza offers consumers styling that is inspired by its larger Legacy sibling, more room in the cabin, and strong safety scores, including IIHS Top Safety Pick (all except WRX models). Check out pricing from $14,995 to $23,991.
2011-2014 – A midsize family sedan, the 2011-2014 Subaru Legacy boasts strong safety ratings and standard all-wheel drive. The Legacy earned an overall five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ accolade (in 2014) and Top Safety Pick (2011-2013) from the IIHS. Pricing ranges from $9,980 to the vicinity of $25,000 (and higher).
2011-2014 – The five-passenger wagon, with its SUV traits and car-like handling, is an easy choice for families looking for a versatile, fuel-efficient, capable and safe vehicle. Go for the version with optional front crash prevention as this is the Outback that received the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation for 2014, while 2011-2013 models earned Top Safety Pick status. Prices range from $16,995 to around $23,998.
2011-2013 – With its 2011 redesign, the Volkswagen Jetta is bigger and roomier than the model it replaced. The five-passenger small car has a big trunk, good fuel economy (especially from turbocharged models), and the sedan is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for all those years. Look for pricing ranging from $10,800 to $22,999.