If you’re looking for a reliable second car or a first that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you may wish to consider these choices for best used cars under $8,000. Recognize, of course, that you won’t be getting the latest models with the top-of-the-line trims, but there are still some good values available – if you shop around.

How did we arrive at these choices? We scoured Consumer Reports “Best Used Vehicles for Under $20,000” in the $6,000-$8,000 price category. For a range of used car values, we use Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) pricing.

Here, then, are our top picks for Best Used Cars Under $8,000:

  • 2007 Hyundai AccentEven 2010 models are relatively inexpensive for the Hyundai Accent, but to meet the price bogey it’s necessary to go back a few years to 2007. Accent is one of the least expensive cars in its class, which the EPA classifies as compact (although it’s generally grouped with subcompacts). Consumer Guide listed the 2007 Accent as a Best Buy, commenting: “Accent one-ups most subcompact rivals by supplying front side airbags and curtain side airbags as standard equipment. These hatchbacks and sedans are hardly quick, but do deliver solid build quality, reasonable interior space, and more equipment than their low prices imply.” Accent may be a good choice for a commuter car. Look for prices in the under $8,000 range for GS coupe and about $8,400 for GLS sedan (using Edmunds TMV).
  • 2007 Kia SpectraAnother small car makes the list of under $8,000 best used choices – in this case, the compact second-generation 2007 Kia Spectra (which was discontinued following the 2009 model year). Edmunds remarks: “In reviews, we generally praised Spectra for its lengthy list of standard equipment, user-friendly cabin design, decent build and materials quality, smooth ride and competent handling.” Edmunds TMV for the 2007 Kia Spectra ranges from under $7,000 to just under $9,000 for LX sedan, and from $8,476-$8,991 for Spectra5 SX wagon.
  • 2001-2002 Acura TLThough it doesn’t rival the European makes in the midsize luxury sport sedan category for excitement or prestige, Acura TL offers above-average reliability, durability, and good value – especially in the second-generation models from 2001-2002. Consumer Guide says (of 2002 Acura TL): “Solidly built, impeccably finished, and equal or superior to any class rival for refinement, quality, and features per dollar. Type-S imbues the already sporty TL with even better go and extra nimbleness without seriously compromising comfort.” Edmunds TMV for 2001 Acura TL ranges from $6,359-$6,720, while the 2002 model (Type-S available in this year) ranges from $7,270-$8,746.
  • 2000-2001 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassThis baby Benz, the entry-level luxury/sport sedan, offers consumers searching for reasonably-priced luxury-car offerings a good choice. Mercedes-Benz, always known for its safety, performance, and solid build quality, provides all three in the 2000-2001 C-Class. While 2000 is the first-generation, the 2001 marks the debut of the second-generation C-Class – and both are great deals used. Edmunds says: “Used car shoppers should know that the Mercedes C-Class historically scores high in crash tests, and ownership satisfaction is generally quite high, with consumers praising handling, ride, and reliability. However, maintenance is typically costly.” Edmunds TMV for 2000 C-Class ranges from $6,046-$6,502, while the range for 2001 models is $7,183-$8,359.

Want more choices for Best Used Cars Under $8,000? Check out Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2000), Honda Civic (2003-2004), Infiniti i30 (2001), Infiniti i35 (2002-2003), Mazda 6 sedan (2003-2004), and Mercury Sable (2005).

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