The sedan is the ubiquitous family vehicle and has been for decades. Sure, there are crossovers and minivans and SUVs to consider and these have definitely taken hold with larger families, especially. But for millions of Americans, the family car is a sedan. With new car prices creeping ever upward, it’s worth a look at some of the best used sedans out there. Consumer Reports, in its “2015 Annual Auto Issue,” does just that.
Check out the profiles of these 12 best used sedans in four categories: less than $10,000, $10,000-$15,000, $15,000-$20,000, and $20,000-$25,000.
Less Than $10,000
2005 – A year after the 2004 redesign, the 2005 Acura TL shone with a “near ideal blend of comfort, convenience and sportiness,” remarked Consumer Reports editors in a model summary. They were also impressed with the strong 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter V6 engine. In this year’s “Best & Worst” list, the publication says buyers can keep within their budget and still get a “reliable luxury car” with the “slick-handling” Acura TL.
2005 – The entry-level Acura TSX sedan arrived in 2004. While not exactly an exciting to drive sports sedan (at least compared to others in the segment), the 2005 TSX was nevertheless agile and boasted a fairly spacious cabin. The ride, however, was stiff. On the reliability side of the equation, the 2005 Acura TSX scores “better” in almost all categories, with transmission major just one tick under better and electrical system in the middle. The CR Annual Auto Issue says the TSX is a “smaller but sportier alternative based on the European .”
2005 – Redesigned for 2005, the Toyota Avalon, always a well-executed sedan, got even better. In the model summary, CR editors call out the “silky-smooth” powertrain, “generous” accommodations, and “Lexus-like road isolation.” The powerful V6 engine in 2005 was a welcome addition, although the suspension was a little “floaty” at highway speeds, except in the Touring edition. Calling out the 2005 Avalon as one of the best used sedans in the less than $10,000 category, CR says the Avalon is “coddling and cavernous.”
2006-2008 (4-cyl.) – Here’s the case of another redesigned (for 2006) affordable sedan that’s worthy of inclusion in the CR “Best & Worst” list. The 2006 redesign of the Hyundai Sonata added power and refinement, with electronic security control (ESC) and curtain airbags added as standard equipment. The 26 mpg overall fuel economy in the four-cylinder engine “was very good.” Bottom line: this Korean sedan delivers roominess and quality.”
2007-2008 – The cousin to the midsize Hyundai Sonata, the Kia Optima (also redesigned for 2006) offers a comfortable and quiet cabin and a ride that’s composed. Handling was better than it had been, although not exactly agile. Safety scores for the 2007-2008 Kia Optima are also noted as excellent.
2006-2007 – Redesigned for 2007, the Infiniti G35, according to the editors at Consumer Reports in a model summary for that year, said the sedan was now “top-rated in its class.” Highlights included its quickness, agility and sportiness and the fact that the G35 sedan is a “driver’s car.” The cockpit area and trunk are small. The G35X (all-wheel drive) version is just as good as the G35, with just a slight fuel economy loss. Reliability is good for both models. Listing the 2001-2007 Infiniti G35 as one of the best sedans in the $10,000-$15,000 price category, CR says the G35 blends “sporty handling with interior refinement.”
2005-2006 – A major redesign in 2005 was good for the Acura RL, the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan. Highlights include roomy cabin, comfortable ride, exceptional brakes and sound but unexceptional handling and a switch to standard all-wheel drive. For a big car, the interior, while nicely finished, is a bit cramped. On the best used car listing, CR editors remark that the RL’s “all-wheel drive traction, luxurious interior and reliability make it a wise choice, once you get past its plain looks.”
2008-2012 Honda Accord – In the CR model summary for the 2011 Honda Accord, the sedan is listed as an “excellent used-car choice.” Four-cylinder models are “smoother than many V6s,” while the V6 engine is “quick and quiet.” The redesign for 2008 brought a larger body and roomier interior, good ride and handling, and good reliability overall. Editors hail the Accord as a “perennial crowd pleaser” in its latest best used car listing, hailing its “cavernous” backseat, “usually responsive reflexes,” and 23 mpg (25 mpg in 2011-2012) from the four-cylinder engine. What’s not to like?
2010-2012 – Freshened in 2010 and a 2012 redesign helped the Toyota Camry midsize sedan keep its place as one of the best used sedans in America, especially in the $15,000-$20,000 price range. Highs include ride, cabin space, quietness, fuel economy, transmission and interior storage. Lows include “lackluster” handling and thigh support for some drivers. In its latest listing of the best used sedans, CR notes the “stellar reliability” and “ample room for five adults.”
2007-2008 Lexus ES – “Continuing the tradition of seamless powertrains” is the overarching comment in the CR model summary for the redesigned 2007 Lexus ES, which benefitted from a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Editors also noted the high rear deck that makes the backup camera included with the navigation system a “desirable” feature. In the newest listing of best used sedans in this price category, CR notes that the ES “takes the Camry formula and adds luxury appointments, road-trip-worthy front seats, and a hushed cabin.”
2012-2013 – Take whatever’s been already said about the Toyota Camry and say the same for the Camry Hybrid. Listing the 2012-2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid as one of the best used sedans in the $20,000-$25,000 price category, here’s what CR editors have to say: “With its composed ride and handling and class-leading 38 mpg, we think the Hybrid is the best Camry available.” Enough said.
2009 Infiniti M – Last, but not least, the 2009 Infiniti M makes the grade as a top used sedan under $25,000. It’s a capable sedan “whether cruising along the highway or hustling along twisty country roads.” You’ll get a plush and well-constructed interior to boot. How’s this for an attention-grabbing comment? The Infiniti M is “reliable, luxurious, and fun to drive”… no matter if you choose the “strong” V6 or the “snorting-bull” V8.