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Not everyone wants to buy new, and there are a number of convincing reasons as to why secondhand cars can sometimes be the best way to go. Not only are secondhand cars typically less expensive than their new counterparts, but sometimes they also come with similar warranty protections and perks. It's also occasionally the case that the difference in price between a newly redesigned model and its predecessor isn't justified by the features it has to offer - especially for people looking for basic transportation, and not the latest-and-greatest.
Let's take a look at a diverse list of some of the best secondhand cars that are currently out there on the market.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 01 - 2011 BMW 750i
Typically, one is cautioned to stay away from high-end German luxury models on the secondhand car market, but the 2011 BMW 750i is actually recommended for a couple of reasons. First of all, its two-year old status means that a substantial chunk of the depreciation that hits premium models hard has already cut the purchase price down considerably from its as-new MSRP. Second, BMW offers a comprehensive certified pre-owned program that provides an inspection and a warranty for this full-size sedan, which can allay fears about expensive repairs down the road. Finally, it's hard not to like a comfortable four-door that can be had with the choice of either a 315 horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 that is good for 400 horsepower, or a 535 horse, twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 02 - 2011 Honda Civic
The 2011 Honda Civic is notable for being the last model year offered prior to the disastrous redesign that saw Honda scrambling to do an emergency refresh on the compact sedan and coupe the very next year. What this means is that not only is the 2011 Honda Civic more affordable than the 2012 or 2013 model, it's also a much better package overall when it comes to features and styling. Its drivetrain is also remarkably similar to the current model, which means a 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the base model that returns fuel mileage of 25-mpg in stop and go driving and 36-mpg on the highway.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 03 - 2011 Toyota Tacoma
The 2011 Toyota Tacoma is a workhorse in the mid-size truck segment, and it offers Regular, Access, and Double cab body styles, with the latter two providing seating for additional passengers behind the front row. The Toyota Tacoma holds its value well, but secondhand editions offer savings over new without sacrificing reliability. The Tacoma can be had in a number of trim levels, including TRD Off-Road and street custom X-Runner versions, and four-wheel drive is also available with the truck. The Tacoma's 2.7-liter, four-cylinder motor provides the best fuel economy (19-mpg city / 25-mpg highway), but the 236 horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 isn't far behind with 17-mpg around town.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 04 - 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid
The 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid represents the final year of production for the more truck-like version of the compact, battery-assisted SUV. Ford has thrown a ton of publicity at the next-generation Escape, but the 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid is worth a look as a used vehicle due to its exceptional fuel economy and its solid practicality. Five passenger seating and 66 cubic feet of total cargo space can be found inside the Escape Hybrid, and its 177 horsepower gasoline / electric drivetrain returns fuel mileage figures of 34-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. All-wheel drive can be found as an option with second hand versions of the Ford SUV.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 05 - 2011 Lexus ES
The 2011 Lexus ES has been one of the strongest-selling luxury sedans almost since it was first introduced in the 1990s. The Lexus ES is all about comfort, as it offers an isolated ride, tame driving dynamics, and good interior space to those who would prefer to just enjoy the ride. The Lexus ES was recently redesigned but the improvements made were largely incremental, which means that older versions of the mid-size car still make the cut from a styling and features perspective. With a new model on the market, secondhand cars like the 2011 ES can be had at a significant discount, which makes the 268 horsepower Lexus a value-oriented choice for frugal premium fans.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 06 - 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
When Lincoln first introduced the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid in 2012, it did something unusual - it kept the price of the car identical to that of its gas-only counterpart. With no extra cash to lay out for the hybrid model, its descent into the depreciation faced by all luxury cars didn't have that extra hurdle to clear, which means that affordability has arrived that much faster. Throw in the fact that the MKZ is all-new for 2013, and there are some Lincoln owners out there who are trading up as quickly as they can, which means a greater selection of inexpensive mid-size sedans out there wearing the MKZ Hybrid badge. The Lincoln's exceptional fuel efficiency of 41-mpg in stop and go driving and 36-mpg during highway cruising provide an additional incentive to seek out the MKZ Hybrid.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 07 - 2011 Suzuki Kizashi
The 2011Suzuki Kizashi might seem like an unusual secondhand car recommendation given that the automaker's U.S. operations are in the middle of bankruptcy, but hear us out. Suzuki has set up a system that will support warranty repairs and keep parts available for American Suzuki Kizashi owners, and the brand's Japanese operations are as healthy as can be from a financial perspective. With the disappearance of Suzuki dealerships from the United States, you can be sure that more than a few owners will be dumping this fun-to-drive sedan (which offers optional all-wheel drive and a 185 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine) for far less than they originally paid for it - which makes it a great used car deal.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 08 - 2011 Ford Flex
The 2011 Ford Flex is another secondhand car that benefits from the recent introduction of a brand new model bearing the same name. The fact that there is a fresh Ford Flex design out there might lower the price of earlier examples, but it certainly doesn't diminish the seven-passenger practicality offered by this full-size crossover. The Flex's base 262 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is competent enough, but seeking out an EcoBoost edition of the crossover introduces a twin-turbo version of the same motor that is good for 355 horses and 350 lb-ft of torque - paired with a standard version of the optional all-wheel drive that can be had with the tamer mill.
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Best Secondhand Cars - 09 - 2011 Toyota Corolla
The 2011 Toyota Corolla makes an ideal secondhand car purchase because quite honestly, this icon of the entry-level compact segment hasn't changed much over the course of the last several years. Not wanting to mess with a good thing has seen Toyota keeping the Toyota Corolla remarkably similar from one model to the next, and the 2011 edition comes with essentially the same drivetrain (1.8-liter, 132 horsepower four-cylinder) and fuel efficiency (35-mpg highway) as its 2013 incarnation. If you are looking to save more than a few dollars, a well-kept older Corolla makes for a worthy alternative to a brand new version of the car.
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Best Secondhand Cars -10 - 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan is worth targeting as a second hand car because this particular model year marks the introduction of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 under the hood. This engine, which cleaned up the Dodge Grand Caravan's somewhat confusing options list by replacing three power plants with one, also helps to give the minivan a significant performance and efficiency boost. The seven-passenger Dodge rolls forward with authority thanks to the Pentastar's 283 horses, and its fuel efficiency figures of 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway are quite competitive. Stow 'n Go seating (which folds the rear rows flat into the floor) introduce additional practicality for families on the go, and the feature is standard with the Grand Caravan.
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