Best Used Sedan 2013: The Car Connection's Picks

May 10, 2013

With so many nameplates and so many millions sold each year, the four-door sedan is one of the pillars of the car industry. As with trucks and utility vehicles, sedans make up such a big chunk of total car sales, it's simple--and maybe overwhelming, too--to find one that suits your taste and your price point perfectly.

It gets even more complex as you wade into the previously owned arena. New sedan buyers focus on features and styling, but when it comes to used sedans, shoppers turn their attention to other factors--less sexy, less easily measured things like reliability, value, and durability. How long will this car last? Will it cost more in repairs than a competitive car? What happens if I get into an accident? Does it come in blue?

There are answers to those questions, and we're here to help you find them. Finding your way to the best used sedan can be as simple as studying a few of those important factors and letting them lead you through the process. We've looked at the data for used sedans, and have a shortcut for you, to help you find the best used sedans you can buy today.

To qualify as one of our Best Used Sedan 2013 candidates, a four-door 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
  • no reported score lower than 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).

After vetting all the sedans sold in the 2011 model year, we've narrowed it down to the following set of vehicles, and given our insight in the bottom line from our original review. By the standards we've set, these cars stack up as the best used sedans on the road today:

Small Sedans

Hyundai Elantra

A sleek, sophisticated look; 38 mpg; and even more value for the money confirm that this little sedan has officially left the Corolla in the dust. Read more »

2011 Kia Forte sedan

2011 Kia Forte sedan

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Kia Forte

The 2011 Kia Forte exemplifies the new direction of Kia, with a simple, elegant style, unexpected levels of refinement, and lots of value for the money. Read more »

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 4-door Sedan Auto i Sport Side Exterior View

2011 Mazda MAZDA3 4-door Sedan Auto i Sport Side Exterior View

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Mazda 3

The 2011 Mazda3 provides more driving enjoyment than most other small-car models, along with a stylish, racy look; but with a tight, noisy cabin, it’s not without compromise. Read more »

2011 Subaru WRX STI

2011 Subaru WRX STI

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Subaru WRX

 

The 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX and WRX STI are fast, fun cars to drive in any situation, and they're comfortable, safe, and practical enough for small-family use; poor fuel economy and a lack of automatic transmissions limit its appeal, though. Read more »

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