10 Best Used Cars (and SUVs) For Under $10,000 in 2021
Roughly two out of every three cars bought from a dealership in Canada is a used car. As the average purchase price for new cars ticks a little higher every year, pre-owned vehicles look more and more appealing to the pocketbook.
You don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money to own a quality used car. A used car under $10,000 is an affordable entry point if you choose wisely. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll still have a factory warranty in effect (check out extended warranty options), selecting an option with a reputation for longevity and safety should be your priority. And hey, decent fuel economy would be a bonus.
But how will you know a bargain when you see one? Our writers shortlisted some of their favourites to help you narrow down your search.
Best used cars under $10,000
Whether it’s for your primary vehicle, a second family car, or a low-cost transportation option for a teenager or student, these are our choices for the top 10 best used vehicles under $10,000.
Please Note: All fuel economy ratings were determined using the Natural Resources Canada (NRC) fuel consumption ratings search tool.
2013 Honda Civic Sedan
NRC fuel consumption rating: 8.3 L/100km city & 6.0 L/100km hwy (automatic)
The most popular passenger car sold in 2013 was the Honda Civic, so there are typically quite a few available on the market. It was a year that the Civic had a significant refresh with sportier looks and improvements to the interior. The base 1.8L engine offered a choice of either manual or automatic transmission, a factor that makes it attractive to drivers both young and old. The Honda Civic was an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ and J.D. Power gave it a reliability score of 86/100. Find plenty of 2013 Honda Civic Sedan models listed for around $9,000.
2014 Toyota Yaris
NRC fuel consumption rating: 7.9 L/100km city & 6.6 L/100km hwy (automatic)
Available in your choice of subcompact sedan or hatchback, the Toyota Yaris is known for being among the best when it comes to the cost of ownership. Amid the most spartan models at the entry level, the Yaris keeps its systems simple but very dependable. It also provides commuters with more than enough pep with its 105HP 1.5L engine. For 2014, the Toyota Yaris Hatchback didn’t quite achieve IIHS Top Safety Pick status, but it came close. J.D. Power Consumer Ratings gave it an overall score of 78/100.
2015 Chevrolet Spark
NRC fuel consumption rating: 7.7 L/100km city & 6.1 L/100km hwy (automatic)
If you’ve seen a subcompact hatchback in a flashy colour, it’s probably a Chevrolet Spark. Built for the commuter or fuel-conscious buyer, it’s a surprisingly well-equipped vehicle with available MyLink infotainment system, Wi-Fi hotspot, and fun splashes of attitude inside. Its 1.2L Ecotec engine isn’t winning any races with just 84HP, but it’s perfect for light-to-light starts and stops. The 2015 Chevy Spark is an IIHS Top Safety Pick while J.D. Power notes that the Spark is the top-rated hatchback in its class for the year. Snag a mid-level trim 2015 Spark LT for just under $9,000.
2013 Nissan LEAF
NRC range: 117 km
Can you get an electric car for under $10,000? The 2013 Nissan LEAF all-electric model boasts a funky design and standard features that include automatic temperature control, push-button start, power windows & locks, and an on-board charger, but its most noteworthy details are its 24-kWh battery and 80kW electric motor. With an IIHS Top Safety Pick award to boot, the 2013 LEAF can surprisingly be found in the range between $9,000 and $10,000.
2013 Kia Forte
NRC fuel consumption rating: 9.3 L/100km city & 6.6 L/100km hwy (automatic)
The Kia Forte is a compact car with an interior that feels much larger. Its style is targeted towards a younger market, although young-at-hearts enjoy it too. The standard 2.0L engine in the LX trim is plenty of fun to drive whether you choose the manual or 6-speed Sportmatic transmission. The 2013 Forte earns its IIHS Top Safety Pick designation handily as it is part of the new era of Kia models that are exceptionally reliable (confirmed by J.D. Power Consumer Ratings: 84/100). There are plenty of 2013 Kia Forte models on the market with deals possible in the $7,500 - $8,500 range.
2010 Honda CR-V
NRC fuel consumption rating: 11.2 L/100km city & 8.5 L/100km hwy (automatic)
If you’re looking for an SUV, the 2010 Honda CR-V comes in both AWD and FWD, but you may have to settle for the latter to keep it under the $10,000 ceiling. You’ll still get the standard power options, a well-demeanored four-wheel independent suspension, and a solid 2.4L four-cylinder engine with 180HP. Aside from four-star rollover crash ratings, the 2010 CR-V achieved five-star safety ratings from the NHTSA. Based on feedback from owners, the J.D. Power Consumer Ratings score of 87 out of 100 reflects impressive reliability. At around $9,250, you should find plenty of options for 2010 Honda CR-V FWD models on the market.
2013 Hyundai Elantra
NRC fuel consumption rating: 8.4 L/100km city & L/100km hwy (automatic)
The fifth-generation Hyundai Elantra offered two new body styles, the GT hatchback and coupe, in addition to the standard sedan we’ve chosen here. Boasting a 148HP 1.8L engine, this entry-priced model offered fantastic value with plenty of standard comforts like A/C, telescopic steering wheel, and cruise control to name a few. The Elantra received the 2013 Top Safety Pick+ designation and held its own with quality and reliability scores from J.D. Power of 77 out of 100. Get the base GL trim for a bargain, at under $7,000 for diligent shoppers.
2013 Chevrolet Trax
NRC fuel consumption rating: 9.4 L/100km city & 7.1 L/100km hwy (automatic)
When choosing between the Cruze sedan and its Trax CUV sibling, most buyers will find the Trax a more appealing option; its higher seating position and higher passenger capacity make it the natural choice. Standard features on the LT trim include A/C, alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, and a spirited 1.4L turbocharged engine. J.D. Power reliability ratings of 85 out of 100 points and an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating make it a dependable and safe option too.
2012 Toyota Corolla
NRC fuel consumption rating: 9.1 L/100km city & 6.8 L/100km hwy (automatic)
Quite literally the standard that dependability is set by, we’d be remiss if the Corolla didn’t make the list. Heralded as an affordable option for students, commuters, and families alike, all trim levels in 2012 have power windows, door locks, and keyless entry, while upper trims feature Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels, and steering wheel audio controls. The 1.8L engine is more than adequate for most drivers and safety comes standard with an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating. The 88-out-of-100 score on the J.D. Power Consumer Rating reliability index seals it—the Corolla must at least make it onto your shortlist.
2011 Ford Escape
NRC fuel consumption rating: 11.8 L/100km city & 9.0 L/100km hwy (automatic)
If a little more capability is what you want, the 2011 Ford Escape SUV may even exceed your expectations. For under $10,000 you can own an Escape XLT 4WD, which includes a 171HP 2.5L engine, optional SYNC communications and entertainment system, heated seats, and moonroof, not to mention all-wheel drive. Fuel efficiency isn’t fantastic but the Ford Escape is the only option on our list with 4WD/AWD under $10,000. Like most SUVs of its era, the 2011 Escape missed IIHS Top Safety Pick status due to marginal roof strength ratings, but it’s well equipped with airbags and other safety features. At 81 out of 100, J.D. Power’s reliability ratings say you can depend on the Ford Escape.
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