New vehicles with untouched powertrains, mint interiors and intact warranties can be easy purchases. Used vehicles? It's a whole other process, one that's more confusing altogether, with variables of mileage, reliability, quality, and satisfaction all coming into play.
No matter what data they have in hand, or reviews they've read, many new-car buyers go with their gut and their emotions when they buy a used vehicle. Choices center heavily on price and vehicle type, maybe even more so than with a new-vehicle purchase.
We think there's other helpful information that should come into play when you're shopping for a used vehicle--and that's why we're putting together a series of guides to help you narrow down the field of used cars, trucks, crossovers and minivans to a smaller set of best-in-class bets.
We've arrived at these groups of vehicles by comparing three sets of data. To make our Best Used lists, a vehicle must score
- at least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection's full reviews from three years ago--in this case, the 2011 model year
- at least four circles on J.D. Power's predicted-dependability rankings, or at least average reliability on Consumer Reports
- at least four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
In this list, we've examined the field of sport-utility vehicles--including crossovers--and come up with 18 of the best used SUVs on the road today, with the bottom line from our 2011 review:
With a few notable flaws in styling and features, the 2011 Acura MDX still impresses us with its friendly handling and gutsy power. Read more »
2011 Audi Q5
2011 Audi Q5Enlarge Photo
The 2011 Audi Q5 is one of the best upscale picks in a compact crossover, thanks to its sleek lines, practical interior, responsive feel, and city-savvy size. Read more »