Here’s the situation: You need to purchase a new-to-you vehicle, but you’re not looking to spend a lot of money. Perhaps you’re not swimming in cash and/or are in a pinch and don’t have a ton of time to conduct an exhaustive search to find the impossibly perfect car that fits your discerning taste. However, you’re also not looking to sacrifice quality, because at the end of the day you still need a vehicle that is reliable and long-lasting. Have we narrowed the search parameters for you? If so, it’s your lucky day! Below are our selections for the top used car options under $15,000.
2013 Hyundai Elantra
- When it comes to compact cars on the used car market, there are few choices that better encapsulate attributes such as style, comfort and affordability like the 2013 Hyundai Elantra. In addition to this, the Elantra also delivers well for its class under the hood, as it’s equipped with 1.8-liter engine that produces 148 horsepower.
- According to Edmunds, the Elantra’s interior boasts a “daring design theme” and “rich-looking materials” that make it an attractive buy. Couple that with impressive dimensions that allow for plenty of headroom and space for passengers, as well as a trunk that stands one of the roomiest in its class (14.8 cubic = at least 3 bags of golf clubs), and you get a strikingly versatile compact vehicle.
- In government crash testing, the 2013 Elantra also earned five out of five stars for overall crash protection, and earned a top score of “Good” in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests.
- Thanks to head-turning styling, a fuel-efficient engine, a long list of standard safety features and upscale options, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra stands as a top pick for a compact sedan. (Edmunds)
2013 Ford Focus
- Engineered with nimble handling and a smooth ride, the 2013 Ford Focus feels more like it was manufactured overseas opposed right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Though the 2.0-liter engine won’t win you any drag races anytime soon, it does offer competitive performance and quality fuel economy for its class.
- With best-in-class interior materials, the 2013 Focus offers an “upscale” cabin with seating that is supportive and comfortable over long distances. The only noticeable drawback to the Focus’ interior is the lack of legroom compared to its competitors.
- The Focus comes with an impressive list of safety features that come standard, including antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. The Ford Sync safety system is also available on all Focus models, which includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when coupled with a compatible cell phone.
- The well-rounded, well-built 2013 Ford Focus stands as one of the top choices in an increasingly competitive segment. (Edmunds)
2012 Kia Sorento
- For the small or midsize crossover SUV, the 2012 Sorento offers tremendous fuel economy, as it’s capable of delivering an impressive EPA-rated 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. If you’re the kind of person that’s transporting kids, pets and gear on a regular basis, the Sorento also offers a less fuel efficient, but more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine.
- The Sorento also offers third-row seating for larger families. Don’t need the seats? No problem! The third row can be folded down to carry up to 72.5 cubic feet of cargo space…enough to fit a ridiculous 18 bags of gold clubs.
- Not often are small family crossovers fun to drive, but the 2012 Sorento injects a level of sportiness in its handling ability that makes it enjoyable behind the wheel.
- No longer simply just a good value, the 2012 Kia Sorento is now an excellent pick for a small or midsize crossover SUV. (Edmunds)
2014 Mazda 5
- Due to its affordability, the Mazda 5 is considered a minimalist minivan. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s not capable of transporting a family constantly on the go. With easy third-row access, the Mazda 5 is a great choice for families with small children.
- Though the Mazda 5 doesn’t come with the kind of spacious dimensions often found in other, more expensive minivans, it doesn’t lack cargo volume. If you were to fold the third row of seats, you’d have enough room to store at least 11 bags of golf clubs (44.4 cubic feet of storage).
- For a minivan, the Mazda 5 adds an uncommon sporty element underscored by its impressive agility and smooth handling.
- The sporty 2014 Mazda 5 is a good option for small families who don’t need all the space and amenities of a full-size minivan but still want three rows of seating. (Edmunds)
2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid
- In an effort to blend the passenger space of an SUV with the fuel economy of a hybrid vehicle, Ford manufactured the C-MAX Hybrid – a ridiculously fuel-efficient vehicle that gets 47 mpg for both city and freeway driving.
- The C-MAX Hybrid’s stylish and well-made interior blends attractive design with supportive, comfortable seating. The only downside is that when compared to other similar kinds of crossovers, it lacks noticeably in cargo space (24.5 cubic feet available behind the rear seats).
- The C-MAX Hybrid offers a quiet, smooth ride with responsive handling and impressive giddy-up for a hybrid vehicle. (0-60 in 8.1 seconds according to Edmunds performance testing.)
- The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is an interesting alternative to compact crossovers, wagons, minivans and hybrids. Its fuel economy and refined driving manners make it especially appealing. (Edmunds)