In the search for the best used 2008 cars, it’s helpful to consult the experts. In this case, we’re including Edmunds “2010 Used Car Best Bets,” Consumer Reports “Best Used Vehicles for Under $20,000,” and Car and Driver’s “2008 10Best Cars,” among other sources. Some of our top picks for best used 2008 cars appear on all the lists, while others may be only on one. It at least gives you some place to start.

  • Hyundai ElantraEdmunds lists the compact Hyundai Elantra sedan, which was redesigned in 2007, in its used car best bets, saying: “In addition to peppy performance and a smooth ride, the Elantra offers solid build quality, reliability and operating economy…Impressive crash-test scores are another feather in the Elantra’s cap.” And New Car Test Drive asserts: “The Hyundai Elantra offers a roomy interior for the class, a good package of safety equipment, and a strong warranty.”
  • BMW 3-SeriesWho doesn’t love the BMW 3-Series? Car and Driver certainly does, to the tune of 17 consecutive years as a “2008 10Best Cars” winner (and still counting in 2010). The formula for the winner: Ample power, suspension tuning combining excellent ride quality and handling, classically evolved coupe and sedan proportions, and supportive seats. Car and Driver comments: “…in 17 years, no other carmaker has 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-sport-coupe, -sedan, -convertible class.”
  • Cadillac CTSRevamped in 2008, the Cadillac CTS entry-level luxury sedan impressed Motor Trend editors, who named it “Car of the Year.” Motor Trend gushes: “With this bold, savvy, uncompromising showpiece of a sedan – the all-new Cadillac CTS – GM has leapt straight from the rabbit’s side of the velvet rope into that coveted, highly-selective inner sanctum marked ‘World’s Finest Cars.’ For that remarkable achievement, and for making us grin like lottery winners every time we drove it, the CTS is our enthusiastic choice for Motor Trend’s 2008 Car of the Year.”
  • Chevrolet CorvetteWith 22 significant updates for 2008, including upgraded cushy leather cockpit, dynamic handling improvements, and increased horsepower (new 6.2-liter 430 horsepower LS3 V-8), the Chevrolet Corvette makes its seventh appearance on Car and Driver’s 10Best Cars list, with editors remarking: “Over the course of its past six years as a 10Best Car, we’ve called the Corvette one of the world’s best high-performance buys, an assertion that continues to be true. Now even more so.”
  • Pontiac VibeSharing a platform with the Toyota Matrix and Corolla, the 2008 Pontiac Vibe, which was redesigned the next year (2009) and discontinued after the 2010 model year, is one of Edmunds 2008 used car best bets. Edmunds editors hailed the wagon’s various features, saying: “With more than a touch of style, impressive space-efficiency, compact dimensions and a very smooth, reliable powertrain courtesy of Toyota, the Vibe makes for a very practical choice.

Other best used 2008 cars to consider include the midsize Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord, subcompact Honda Fit, compact Mazda Mazda3, Hyundai Azera, an affordable large car, the sporty/performance Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the upscale small car Volkswagen GTI.

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