Warmer weather is just around the corner, and no matter what part of the country you call home, that's good news. The longer days and brighter sunshine means its also time to think about the best used cars for spring - vehicles that will allow you to make the most of the blue skies ahead and get a jump on the summer. Remember: the sooner you decided to bring home a used car for spring, the lower the chance that you'll have to pay a premium for these suddenly-hot commodities.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best used cars for spring, covering a wide range of lifestyles, needs, and models.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 01 - Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is one spring sleeper that you won't want to miss. A used Honda S200 embodies three very important attributes: performance, fun, and reliability. You'll rarely find more than two of this trio together at once, which makes the S2000 a rare duck indeed. It's also quite affordable - expect to pay less than $20,000 for a very nice first-generation example, and $5,000 less than that for a solid driver. The S200's four-cylinder engine came in two different varieties, but each featured a very high redline that had some comparing the compact roadster to a four-wheeled motorcycle. Output for the most recent model (2009) checks in at 237 horses, and a six-speed manual transmission and tightly-tuned suspension system was standard with each and every version of the Honda.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 02 - Toyota Tacoma
A used Toyota Tacoma might seem like an unusual addition to a list of spring rides, but this compact pickup manages to strike our fancy due to its exceptional utility and reasonably affordable pricing. Spring cleaning often means taking care of all of the damage that winter has done to your home and gardens, which can translate into hauling shrubs, paving stones, shingles, gravel, and whatever else you might need to replace or repair after a full season of cold weather. A choice between four and six-cylinder power, as well as several bed lengths and cab combinations, make the Toyota Tacoma a versatile choice for all of your spring chores.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 03 - Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang GT is a perennial favorite when looking at the best used cars for spring, because what's better than hearing the roar of a V-8 engine with the windows down and the sun's rays streaming through the windshield? There's a lot of choice when shopping for the Ford Mustang GT on the used market, with the 2010-and-up delivering over 400 horsepower from a 5.0-liter mill and the previous-generation Mustang making do with a still-stout 300 ponies from a 4.6-liter unit. A six-speed manual is the right choice for spirited driving, but if you simply want to cruise then the Mustang GT can be had with an automatic transmission, too. Just make sure to budget for all of those extra rear tires you're going to be shredding.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 04 - BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 is a roadster of a different color when compared to the S2000. Not quite as focused on performance, a used BMW Z4 appeals to buyers who want a two-seat convertible that's quick but also comfortable enough to cover long distances without wearing out its welcome. We recommend targeting the sDrive35i trim level, which delivers BMW's excellent turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine which can be counted on to produce 300 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is common in used examples, but if you look hard you can find a six-speed manual, too. 2010 and up editions of the Z4 feature a retractable hardtop, which is a bonus if you want to parlay your spring fling into a May-December romance.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 05 - Chevrolet Suburban
The Chevrolet Suburban gets a nod on our list of the best used cars for spring because it's one of the most accomplished tow vehicles around. Properly equipped, the eight-cylinder, 310 horsepower Chevrolet Suburban can pull over 8,000 lbs of trailer weight, but even better is the fact that it also offers seating for up to nine passengers as well as near-minivan levels of interior storage space. In short, it's hard to think of a better mule for taking the boat to the lake, the camper to the park, or the race car to the track, as no matter what you're hauling, the Suburban can answer the call of duty.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 06 - Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is the oddball of oddball spring rides, the kind of vehicle you take with you on spring break simply to attract as many stares as possible. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is a convertible crossover - a two-door version of the standard Murano that features all-wheel drive and a surprisingly roomy passenger compartment. Not that you'll care about the Murano's 260 horsepower V-6, but it's there if you need to make a quick getaway from your throngs of…um…admirers along the beach. One thing is certain: fewer affordable convertibles are as rare as Nissan's unique design.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 07 - Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata can be thought of as the more popular, less expensive, and less 'razor's edge' version of the Honda S2000. In fact, the Mazda MX-5 Miata was the car that Honda was trying duplicate when it came up with the S2K, as Mazda has sold hundreds and hundreds of thousands of this incredibly fun-to-drive roadster since it first debuted in 1989. The best part about the Miata? There aren't any bad ones to avoid, so feel free to take your pick from the $5,000 first-generation (1989 to 1997), the $10,000 second-generation (1999-2005) or the most modern $15,000 to $20,000 iteration (2006 and up). Each features a modest four-cylinder engine, perfect weight balance, and the kind of handling that can only be achieved when adopting a low-mass design philosophy right from the start.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 08 - Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette has almost always been known as a summer car, but picking one up in the spring gives you that much more time to enjoy its exceptional performance. In fact, now more than ever you have a shot at getting a great deal on the 2005-2013 'C6' Chevrolet Corvette, because the new C7 model has just been released and scores of diehard fans are lining up to trade in for the latest-and-greatest. Not that there was anything wrong with the C6 'Vette, what with its 430 horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine, choice between six-speed automatic and manual transmissions, and ability to hit 60-mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Grab one now and enjoy an American icon.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 09 - Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler enjoys a respectable image as an unstoppable off-road rock crawler, and with mountain passes starting to open up due to the warmer spring weather it's almost time to put the SUV's dependable four-wheel drive system to the test and head out into the wilds. Of course, the Jeep Wrangler is just as capable of tearing down a sandy beach and kicking up spray from the waves as it is grinding gravel under its wheels, so there's a strong fun in the sun component to be considered when considering a used Wrangler. Our tip is to stick with the 2012 and up models so you can enjoy the much better Pentastar V-6 drivetrain introduced that model year.
10 Best Used Cars For Spring - 10 - Honda Del Sol
Time for a blast from the past: the Honda Del Sol. Almost forgotten in some parts of the country where salty winter roads have worked their cancerous magic on the sheet metal of these compact roadsters, the Honda Del Sol left the market in 1997 only to enjoy a second life as a fun used car in warmer climates. With a removable roof panel, drop-dead reliable, Civic-sourced mechanical bits (including a 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine), and an available manual transmission, the Del Sol isn't a sports car, but it's a very inexpensive and enjoyable daily driver that you can fit into almost any parking spot.