What are Good Used Car to Buy in 2021?

Buying a used car is a reasonable choice for people who want to save money or get an upscale model on a budget. Buyers are looking for vehicles that align with their interests and offer the best value for their price. When it comes to used cars with no down payments, knowing your options is important. Here is a list of 7 good used cars from various classes to buy in 2021. Sources include the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), J.D. Power and Associates and the U.S. News automotive rankings.

7. 2016 Toyota Highlander

When it comes to midsize three-row crossovers, the Toyota Highlander is a great choice. It is practical and spacious like a minivan, and has a trusty V6 engine that can put out enough torque to tow up to 5,000 pounds. It is reasonably safe and handles well for its size. Choosing the hybrid option is preferred for fuel economy, as ownership costs can be relatively high. Used Toyota Highlander is excellent if you are looking for an affordable family vehicle with enough room for passengers and cargo.


  • Rated as Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.
  • 83 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-3 consumer rated SUV in 2016.
  • Ranked 6th in Used SUVs with 3 Rows by the U.S. News.
  • Strong reliable V6 engine.
  • Smooth transmission.
  • Large interior storage space.

6. 2016 Subaru Outback

Practical? Check. Stylish? Check. Quirky? Check. Overall, the Subaru Outback is a good, classy wagon for adventurous owners. Used Outbacks tend to retain their value well. With its large clearance and capable all-wheel drive the vehicle feels confident both on pavement and off road. Strong reliability and safety ratings add to its practicality. Base engine can be a little underpowered. The six-cylinder option is preferred for more extensive off-roading.


  • Rated as Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.
  • 80 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Ranked 1st in Used Wagons by the U.S. News.
  • All-wheel drive provides good traction.
  • Roomy interior and cargo space.
  • Praised for its reliability and safety.

5. 2018 Nissan Leaf

The world’s first mass-market electric vehicle still holds up pretty well. The model went through a full redesign in 2018, adding more power and range. Used Nissan Leaf is a solid compact car best suited for urban driving. The Leaf Plus can cover more than 200 miles on a single charge. The most appealing quality of this car is its low ownership cost, with estimates for maintenance, insurance and charging sufficiently below average.


  • 81 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-7 consumer rated Hatchback in 2018.
  • Ranked 38th in Used Hybrid Cars by the U.S. News.
  • Below average ownership costs.
  • Estimated range above its competitors.
  • Enough cargo space.

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4. 2018 Lexus IS

Choosing a used Lexus IS is a great way to buy a compact luxury car without going broke. The Lexus IS is engaging to drive and comfortable for the passengers. It is one of the safest cars out there, with above-average reliability. If you prefer a stylish look and sleek interior and can do with a smaller trunk and sub-optimal gas mileage, this car will reward you with an excellent driving experience.


  • Rated as Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
  • 82 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-3 consumer rated Sedan in 2018.
  • Ranked 22nd in Used Luxury Small Cars by the U.S. News.
  • Elegant, upscale interior.
  • Handles with ease.
  • Includes a number of advanced safety features.

3. 2015 Jeep Wrangler

A Jeep is a Jeep is a Jeep is a Jeep. The Wrangler is a legendary off-roading vehicle that can be modified to suit tastes and requirements of any owner. Compared to other vehicles in its class, the Wrangler doesn’t offer many features, and is a stiff and noisy ride. If you want buy a used Wrangler, know what you are getting into. Off-roading? Fantastic. Everyday urban commuting? Not so much. Besides, the maintenance is a bit pricey.


  • 81 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-8 consumer rated SUV in 2015.
  • Ranked 38th in Used Compact SUVs by the U.S. News.
  • Unrivaled off-road capabilities.
  • Four-wheel drive gives good grip on rough terrain.
  • Large room for cargo.

2. 2018 Honda CR-V

If you are in the market for a used compact sport utility vehicle, look no further than the Honda CR-V. It combines fuel efficiency and easy handling of a compact car with large cargo capacity and versatility of an SUV. If you want a reliable, inexpensive and safe vehicle for the whole family, this is probably it. The hybrid version drives the costs of ownership down even further.


  • Rated as Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
  • 84 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-3 consumer rated SUV in 2018.
  • Ranked 6th in Used Crossover SUVs by the U.S. News.
  • Passengers enjoy a lot of room.
  • Handles with ease, pleasant to drive.
  • Efficient fuel consumption.

1. 2017 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang offers a combination of practicality and performance. It is a great pick if you are looking for a fast and stylish used sports ride. Owning a Mustang sets you apart from the crowd. Despite being a sports car, the Ford Mustang rates well for crash safety, has reasonable fuel economy and even a spacious trunk. The V8-powered GT model is the creme de la creme of American muscle cars.


  • 83 out of 100 J.D. Power consumer satisfaction score.
  • Top-2 consumer rated Coupe in 2017.
  • Ranked 5th in Used Sports Cars by the U.S. News.
  • Powerful engine.
  • Great handling on curves.
  • Stylish interior.

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