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  5. Five Fantastic Used Car Deals for Under $15,000

Manuel Carillo III | May 05, 2020

New cars are great and all, but learning that the average price of a new ride is around $35,000 can be a shock.

But what if you could spend less than half of what you would spend on a new car, and still keep up with the Joneses? Well, if you dive into the used-car inventory of AutoNation Drive, that's exactly what you can do. But what kind of used car should you buy?

That's where our friends at I See Cars come in. Between Oct. 2019 and March, 2020, the research firm analyzed more than 6.1 million sales of used vehicles less than a decade old. They then cross-referenced the sales data with longevity and crash-safety data.

The result is a healthy assortment of affordable used cars, trucks and SUVs that are proven to be safe (four-star NHTSA safety rating or higher) and last more than 200,000 miles. In this article, we're specifically looking at three sedans and three minivans that fit the I See Cars study's parameters, while also selling for prices between $10,000 and $15,000.

To see all the cars, trucks and SUVs I See Cars recommends across price points higher and lower than the range we're discussing here, check out the full study.

Seventh-Gen Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima is a great used car buy

Off and on throughout its 39-year history, Nissan has coined the Maxima as a "four-door sports car." That kind of marketing was hyperbolic even in the Maxima's 1990s, third- and fourth-generation heyday. In reality, the Maxima has always been a pleasing near-luxury nameplate that's offered varying degrees of driver satisfaction throughout the years.

The 2014 model marks the final year of the Maxima's seventh generation; an era of Maxima that wasn't particularly sporty. Still, with an average selling price of $13,190, the '14 Maxima is a comfortable, spacious, upscale, large family sedan that will offer peace of mind as a used car today. When the 2014 Maxima was new, it came with starting prices between $31,290 and $34,380*.

The 2014 Nissan Maxima is powered by a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower V6 engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) routing power to the front wheels. EPA estimates of the time rated the Maxima at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg highway**.

Shop Nissan Maxima Inventory

Fifth-Gen 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

The Dodge Grand Caravan is a great used car buy

If you were to buy a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan, you could tell people it's a 2020, and they'd be none the wiser. The current, fifth-gen Grand Caravan has been on sale since 2008, but will end production in May, 2020, with the Chrysler Voyager taking the Grand Caravan's place.

Grand Caravans from the 2016 model year average $13,859 now, but sold for starting prices between $22,595 and $31,495* four years ago.

All Grand Caravans in 2016 were powered by a 3.6-liter, 283-horsepower V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic and FWD. EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy sat at 17/25 mpg**.

Learn more about Dodge Trim Packages.

Shop Dodge Grand Caravan Inventory

Third-Gen 2012 Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna is a great used car buy

Like the Grand Caravan above, the 2012 Toyota Sienna also belongs to the same generation as the 2020 model, but the third-gen, 2011-to-present Sienna has seen some styling updates during its tenure. In other words, the 2012 model sort of looks like a 2020 model without fancy makeup.

If you can live with a 2012 Sienna that's styled less than a new one, expect to pay an average of $14,274, a significant savings from the $25,060 to $40,570* that the Sienna commanded eight years ago.

Back in '12, the base Sienna was powered by a 2.7-liter, 190-horsepower, inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed automatic and front wheel drive. That version achieved 19/24 city/highway mpg. Optional was a 3.5-liter, 270-horsepower V6 with a six-speed automatic and FWD or AWD. V6 FWD models returned 18/25 city/highway mpg**, while the V6 AWD model was good for 17/23 city/highway mpg**.

Shop Toyota Sienna Inventory

Fourth-Gen 2013 Toyota Avalon

The Toyota Avalon is a great used car buy

The 2013 Toyota Avalon checks all the boxes. It's safe, spacious, comfortable, well-styled and reliable. You really couldn't ask for anything more in a used, large family sedan. All that substance comes in at an average price of $14,508. Seven years ago, you'd be paying between $30,990 and $41,400* just to start.

The most efficient Avalons were powered by the same 2.5-liter, 200-horsepower four-cylinder as the Camry Hybrid above. In the Avalon's case, that meant 40/39 city/highway** fuel economy. Optional was a 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V6, also offered in the Camry of that time. In the Avalon, that was good for 21/30 city/highway mpg**. All 2013-model-year Avalons are FWD. Hybrid models use a CVT, while V6 models employ a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2013 Avalon marks the first year of the car's 2013 to 2018 fourth generation. The current, fifth-generation car, love-it-or-hate-it styling and all, has been with us since 2019.

Shop Toyota Avalon Inventory

Fourth-Gen 2013 Honda Odyssey

The  Honda Odyssey is a great used car buy

The 2013 Honda Odyssey is part of the minivan's 2011 to 2017 fourth generation. The current, fifth-gen model has been with us since 2018. Back in 2013, the Odyssey commanded starting prices between $28,675 and $44,025*, but you can pick one up today for an average of $14,792.

Powering the 2013 Odyssey is a 3.5-liter, 248-horsepower V6 engine mated to either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels.

Models with the six-speed automatic returned 19/27 city/highway mpg**. Models with the five-speed automatic returned the same highway mileage, but offered 1 less mpg in the city.

Shop Honda Odyssey Inventory

Eighth-Gen 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is a great used car buy

Since there are so many good deals available on Autonation Drive, we're going to throw in an extra one!

We still remember NASCAR driver Kyle Busch doing burnouts with the 2012 Camry Hybrid in Toyota commercials back in the day. That's because the 2012 (as well as the 2014) Camry Hybrid featured a respectable 200 horsepower from its electrically assisted 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. From 2012 to 2014, during the first half of the Camry's eighth generation, that kind of performance was uncommon for hybrid vehicles, which, at the time, were pretty much only known for efficiency — not performance.

For an average price of $13,849, then, the 2014 Camry is a great way to get into something used that offers decent power, as well as spaciousness, safety and reliability. Back in 2014, the Camry Hybrid retailed at starting prices between $26,140 and $28,625*.

All Camry Hybrids in 2014 came equipped with CVT transmissions routing power to the front wheels, which helped base (LE) models achieve 42/38 city/highway mpg**. Loaded XLE/SE models were a little less efficient at 40/37 city/highway mpg**.

Shop Toyota Camry Hybrid Inventory
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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.