Prior to the easy availability of the internet, used car buyers had to rely on Consumer Reports Magazine in order to find out the best and the worst of what was available. While a lot of information is now quickly accessible online, those seriously considering a used car purchase should buy this month’s (April 2009) Consumer Reports, the Annual Auto Issue, to get the real lowdown on the best of the best, and the worst of the worst.

The magazine puts out the most unbiased opinion of any information-gathering business. The company is not related in any way to anything in the automotive industry. No advertisements are allowed in any issue, further assuring the consumer that the information read in the magazine is as close to the truth as possible, without any gloss or wash.

The info has been broken down by vehicle type, best in price range, worst overall and more. The data was compiled from information obtained from their annual auto survey—and information was received on over 1,400,000 vehicles. The information on pre-owned vehicle covers those ten years and younger, from 1999-2008 and has been sorted into nine categories: small cars, sport cars, family cars, upscale cars, luxury cars, minivans, small and mid-large sized SUVs, and pickup trucks.

Best small cars were the Honda Civic, Toyota Echo, Scion xB, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix, Subaru’s Impreza and Mazda Protégé also made the top ten, as did the Mazda 3. The only American car on the list was the Pontiac Vibe.

Honda topped the best family sized cars list with the Accord. Also on this list were Toyota’s Prius and Camry and American-made Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan.

Best minivans were the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey; while the best small SUV were also Toyota and Honda, with the RAV4 and the CR-V. Toyota dominated the ‘best of’ list for mid and large SUV’s with the Highlander, Land Cruiser, 4Runner and Sequoia. Also on the list were the Honda Pilot, Lexus’ RX and GX, Infiniti FX35 and QX4, amongst others.

Best resale sports car honors went to the Mazda Miata, best upscale and luxury vehicles were the Lexus ES and the Infiniti I30.

One interesting point made by Consumer Reports is that overall, problems on all used cars have decreased. This is welcome news for the buying public, which is turning more to pre-owned vehicles than ever before.

Any vehicle a buyer might be considering will certainly be somewhere in this report—it is certainly worth it to spend a few bucks at the news stand or on their website to save potentially thousands of dollars in repair bills down the road.

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