Welcome to LotPro.com’s second list of the ten best used cars. We’ve upped the investment just a bit to between $12,000 and $14,000. In alphabetical order they are…
1. 2004 Acura RSX – The lineal descendant of the original Acura Integra (and, in fact, called the Honda Integra in Japan and most of the rest of the world), the RSX/Integra has always been a Honda Civic on steroids, which is not a bad thing. Boasting Acura’s traditional stellar fit and finish, the RSX is limited by two doors, but makes up for this seeming oversight by offering the utility of a hatchback.
2. 2006 Ford Fusion – based on the same platform that spawned the Mazda 6, the Fusion is, in our humble opinion, the best looking sedan to be found in the Ford stable. The interior eschews the 60’s family room wood panel look found in most American sedans for muted black panels and a look inspired by Ford’s European designs.
3. 2005 Honda Civic – The 2004 Civic was on our previous list for the same reasons the 2005 Civic is on this one. All Civics are endowed with Honda’s quality and fit/finish DNA, which is the industry standard. The ’05 Civic gives up a bit in the fun to drive category versus the current and previous generations, but it’s still the target every other manufacturer aims for.
4. 2003 Honda Accord – Everything we just said about the Civic holds true for the Accord except for one important aspect – the 2003 was the first of the seventh generation Accords. As such, it is larger and much more stylish than the generation it replaced. Thanks to a 2” longer wheelbase and an upgraded 4-cylinder engine, the Accord again sets the benchmark for mid-sized sedans.
5. 2007 Honda Fit – Honda didn’t foresee higher gas prices in the U.S., it merely has been building some of the best small cars in the world. Although the Fit is one of the smallest cars available in America, it is similar in outside dimensions to the original Civic. While you won’t win the battle against a big SUV, the Fit comes standard with 6 airbags and an interior that can be configured 6 ways from Sunday.
6. 2006 Mazda Mazda3 – The Mazda3 is the enthusiast’s answer to the Civic (2005-yawn) and the Corolla (snore). The 3 comes with standard 4 wheel disc brakes and a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension derived from the European Ford Focus. Interior materials as well as fit and finish are world class. “Zoom-zoom”, baby.
7. 2006 Pontiac Vibe – Our previous list included the 2005 Vibe, and there’s no reason not to include the ’06 version here. With Toyota build quality and a better styled exterior than its Matrix cousin, the Vibe should be on everyone’s short list.
8. 2006 Scion Tc – It’s not that we hate the styling of most Toyotas, but, really, you couldn’t get much more conservative than the Corolla. Fortunately, you can get that same quality, along with a healthy dose of style, in the Scion Tc. While a bit on the smallish side for interior space, the Tc, like the RSX, is a hatch and makes up for it in versatility.
9. 2004 Subaru Forester – What made the ’03 Forester on our previous list goes for the 2004 Forester this time around. All-wheel drive gives it a leg up on just about everything else on this list.
10. 2006 Toyota Corolla – I know, I know. But the Corolla is a car you can recommend to anyone interested in a high-quality dependable car. For those of us who enjoy flinging our rides around, or for anyone interested in anything other than vapid style, the Corolla is something we can pass on. Still, its history speaks for itself.