Anyone shopping for one of the best used cars under $15,000 is definitely someone looking for value. If you’re also likely to need financing, you’ll find banks look more favorably upon cars built within the last five years. For this reason, we focused on 2010 models as the baseline— though keep in mind that some of the newer versions of the cars here can also be had under the $15,000 cap. Further, you’ll be happy to learn many of the cars in this age range are still covered by their original powertrain warranties. Even better, you’ll get many of the modern conveniences such as Bluetooth and iPod connectivity in these late model choices. There’s a nice mix of categories here too. We have family cars, muscle cars, compacts, crossover SUVs, minivans, and even a sports car on our list of the best used cars under $15,000.
Finding a good, clean used Honda Accord on a list of the best used cars under $15k is something of a no-brainer. Honda’s Accord is reliable, comfortable, and built with quality materials. A five-year old one (if properly maintained) will look almost as good as a new one. For 2010, the base powertrain was a 177-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four with a choice of a five-speed manual or a five speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels.
Hyundai’s Sonata makes the best used cars under $15,000 list by virtue of its good looks, outstanding roster of standard features, and proven reliability. What’s more, a five-year old Sonata is still under the original warranty as long as it has less than 100,000 miles. The base powertrain for the 2010 model consisted of a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four with a choice of a five-speed manual transmission, or a five-speed automatic to feed the front wheels.
The sportiest model in its class, the Nissan Altima is easily the "driver’s car" in the family car segment of the best used cars under $15,000. Excellent handling, responsive steering, and willing engines are among the Altima’s claim to fame. The Nissan also boasts handsome styling and very strong safety scores. The 2010 Altima’s base powertrain used a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter inline four and a continuously variable transmission to drive the front wheels.
Comfortable, reliable, and nicely equipped, the Toyota Camry is consistently one of the best selling cars in the country. Of course, many decry the Camry’s lack of a personality, but if you’re just looking to get the job done—here you go. The 2010 Camry’s base powertrain was made up of a 169-horsepower 2.5-liter four with a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission feeding the front wheels.
Yes, you’ll have trouble finding one of the fire breathing Super Sport models in a 2010 in this price range, but even the 2010 Camaro’s V6 boasted 300 horsepower, so you will still get your thrills. The 3.6-liter powerplant was teamed with the buyer’s choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission to feed the rear wheels. Fast, fierce, and a lot of fun, the Chevrolet Camaro is a worthy consideration.
Ford created a new paradigm in the American performance car segment when it introduced the Mustang back in 1964. One of the few American nameplates in continuous production since its launch, the Mustang has both legacy and pedigree. The base powertrain for the 2010 models consisted of a 4.0-liter V6 good for 210 horsepower. Buyers chose between a five-speed manual transmission, or a five speed automatic to route power to the rear wheels.
The current iteration of the Focus came to the U.S. market during the 2012 model year. Roundly hailed for its delightful handling, outstanding array of standard features and even more impressive optional tech content, Ford’s benchmark Focus is an outstanding value among the best used cars under $15,000. Offered in both sedan and hatchback styles, the base front-wheel drive powertrain employs a 160-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four with either a five-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Honda offers the Civic in so many configurations it could almost be a car line unto itself. Between the sedan and the coupe and all the different powerplants Honda fits into the model, you can pretty much write your own ticket with the Civic. Practically bulletproof, they make excellent choices on the used car market as well. The base powerplant for 2010 was a 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder feeding the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.
Among the selection of compact sedans on our list of the best used cars under $15,000, the performance-oriented versions of the 2010 Nissan Sentra were exceptionally driver focused. It’s also quite spacious and returns considerable fuel economy. The 2010 Nissan’s base engine was a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four. The engine fed the front wheels through the buyer’s choice of a continuously variable transmission, or a six-speed manual gearbox.
One of the best selling cars in the world, Toyota’s Corolla has won over legions of fans with its unimpeachable reliability, outstanding roster of standard features, benign appearance, affordable pricing, and pleasant—if not exactly dynamic—road manners. The proven 1.8-liter inline four produced 132 horsepower for the 2010 model year, and was teamed with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive was the only drivetrain configuration.