If you want good transportation and your budget is light, you can get a good deal when you check out these best used cars under $12,000.

For starters, we searched through Consumer Reports “Best Used Vehicles for Under $20,000.” Consumer Reports lists several price range classifications, so the one we’re interested in is the $10,000-$12,000 category. As for a ballpark idea of prices, we’ve used Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) pricing for each of the selections.

Here, then, is our list of top picks for Best Used Cars Under $12,000:

  • 2008 Dodge CaliberIntroduced in 2007 and largely unchanged for 2008, the compact hatchback/wagon Dodge Caliber may very well be the right fit for your transportation needs. Motor Week had this to say of the 2007 Caliber: “Definitely much more than just a Neon replacement. While there is clearly a tradeoff between power and fuel economy, it still pulls the compact crossover up to the next level.” Edmunds TMV for the 2008 Dodge Caliber ranges from $9,363 for the base SE, up to $12,189 for the R/T with manual continuously variable transmission (CVT) and 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine. Other trims are higher than the $12,000 and under price bogey.
  • 2007 Honda Fit The diminutive Honda Fit could be a bargain when you look for the 2007 model – its debut year. Fit offers peppy ride and handling, four seating/cargo configurations, good value for the money, and has won a slew of awards. Consumer Guide gave it a Recommended nod, commenting: “You’ll be hard pressed to match Fit’s blend of thrift, clever packaging, standard safety features, spry road manners, and Honda pedigree.” Edmunds TMV for the first-generation 2007 Honda Fit ranges from $10,563 (Base, manual) to $12,003 (Sport, automatic).
  • 2007 Volkswagen RabbitWith its nimble handling and solid, overall performance, the 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit (reincarnated for just three years, 2006-2009), is another contender to consider. Edmunds says: “In reviews, we lauded the Rabbit’s high-quality cabin trim, which imparted a richness that’s rare in the compact class. Additionally, the Rabbit’s comfortable ride and competent (if not overly sporty) handling dynamics made it a well-rounded and practical economy car.” TMV pricing for this year ranges from $10,887-$13,028.
  • 2006 Subaru Impreza WagonSubaru, always a reliable name, offers consumers a lot for the right price in the compact 2006 Subaru Impreza Wagon. Consumer Guide remarks: “All-wheel drive is an asset that comes with every Impreza, and the WRX and STI models are fast-if rowdy-fun.” Edmunds TMV for the 2005 Subaru Impreza Wagon ranges from $10,935-$11,869, and 2.5i Sport Wagon from $9,977-$10,401 (other trims are higher).
  • 2005 Honda AccordFor shoppers in search of a reliable midsize car, the 2005 Honda Accord can’t be beat. Edmunds says: “Take an Accord for a test-drive and you’ll find it comfortable, roomy, intelligently engineered and easy to drive. Research it, and you’ll find it backed by a solid reputation for reliability, a strong resale value, and an emphasis on safety.” Edmunds TMV for the 2005 Honda Accord sedan starts at a low of $8,137 (DX), and goes to $11,885 (LX, V6). Coupe TMVs start at $9,572 (LX), to $11,891 (EX with leather). Other trim levels in sedan and coupe are more.

Other considerations for Best Used Cars Under $12,000 include the 2002 BMW Z4, Nissan Altima (2004-2006), 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car (2004-2005), 2006 Hyundai Sonata, and 2005 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

See a list of all currently available used cars under $12,000.

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