The Most Reliable (and Affordable) Cars
Used to be that when we shopped for an inexpensive new or used car we either focused on reliability or cost, because we’d become conditioned not to expect that we could find a solid, dependable (and safe in case of an accident) car on the cheap. Fortunately, time and technology have caught up with the automotive industry, and most manufacturers now include some of the same features that were once considered to be advanced as standard on even their base models. But, who does it best, and how much does reliability really cost? Here is a list of a few of the most reliable and affordable new and used cars, and a regional West Coast-East Coast comparison of the average base price of each new model.
Of course, there won’t be any new cars in this category, but there are certainly a lot of quality late model used cars to list. For example, the 2007-2012 Nissan Versa is a solid choice. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but the car is very reliable and safe, gets good gas mileage, and since it’s such a popular car, parts are easy to find.
Another great choice in the under $10K category is the Ford Escape. Look for a model in the 2001-2007 range with low mileage, and you’ll have yourself a great SUV that is sturdy and safe, and if you purchase the V6 model, your Escape will even have a little extra power under its hood.
If you’re looking for a truck in the under $10K range, consider the 2004-2006 Ford F-150. As functional as it is dependable, the F-150 underwent a redesign for its 2004 model year, which means that trucks made for that year (and beyond) represent the best the company has to offer. From its high-performance V8 engines to its consistently high consumer satisfaction ratings, the Ford F-150 is the one to beat in the under $10K truck category.
The under $20K category offers a good selection of new cars, so if you’re only interested in purchasing a new car, you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pockets, regardless of where you live. Of course, the actual purchase price will vary just a little bit by region. For example, the 2014 Kia Soul base model, which is funky, reliable, safe, and fuel efficient, starts at about $14,091 in Jacksonville, Florida, according to Kelley Blue Book. However, across the country, in Salem, Oregon, the same car will cost you a couple of hundred dollars more. In Salem, the 2014 Soul has a base price of $14,281.
For just a little bit more, you can purchase the 2013 Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab pickup truck. With similar base starting prices ($17,494 in Salem, Oregon and $17,380 in Jacksonville, Florida), it’s clear that this truck’s performance is as consistent as its coast-to-coast pricing!
The Nissan Versa makes an appearance in this category, as it does in the under $10K category. In this instance, the car in question is Nissan’s 2014 Versa base model. The base model Versa S starts at $11,858 in Jacksonville, while in Salem you can get the same dependable car for a little under $100 less ($11,763). Again, not a lot of excitement in this car, but they’re highly dependable and easy to repair and maintain.
Once you’ve decided on the exact new or used car you’d like to purchase, check for auto recalls, regardless of the model year (yes, even new cars are subject to recalls). Car dealerships are supposed to stay on top of recall notices, however, as an informed consumer you should also independently confirm with the dealer that the car you want to purchase doesn’t have any open recalls against it. If there are, demand that they be addressed before you enter into a purchase agreement.
Remember that, whether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, or anywhere in between, a car is only as safe and reliable as the person who owns and drives it. Proper maintenance of your vehicle, as well as always practicing safe driving habits, will help add longevity to your investment, and prevent vehicle stalls and accidents. After all, it would be no fun having to deal with a Salem or Jacksonville car accident lawyer!