Best Used Cars Under $10,000 For 2022 (2024)

Make no mistake, it’s harder than ever out there for used car buyers in 2022. With new-vehicle supplies severely constrained by Covid-19-related supply chain problems, used-vehicle prices soared in 2021, and they’re still at all-time highs. And that was before 8% monthly inflation and $5.00-per-gallon gas. All that has made it especially difficult for folks on a limited budget to find a new-to-them car.

But while $10,000 doesn’t buy what it used to, or even what it used to last year, there are reliable, value-packed, and even fun and stylish rides to be had for ten grand. All you need is a bit of patience while shopping and some careful research. That’s where this list comes in.

Using a combination of average transaction prices, owner feedback, reliability ratings and expertise from Forbes Wheels staff, we’ve compiled a list of 20 good $10,000 used car choices. For this list, we looked for cars newer than the 1999 model year which were available for up to $10,000 with less than 130,000 miles on the clock.

We weighted reliability and owner satisfaction scores highest, but also prioritized vehicle age and cost of ownership. Value is the name of the game, and we’ve steered away from options that are cheap upfront but might not be in the long run.

Where you buy also affects what you’ll be able to get. Many new- and used-vehicle dealerships stock good sub-$10,000 machines, but buying older cars from private parties will stretch your dollars further and give you more opportunity to negotiate. Some private sellers also have detailed maintenance records to show off, which can provide some reassurance about the vehicle’s condition and history.

As even the most reliable and well-made cars degrade time if they aren’t maintained, we also recommend a mechanical inspection before purchase. For more buying tips, see the FAQ below our methodology.

1. 2007 to 2016 Honda Fit

Why we picked it: Also last year’s champ, the Fit is small but packed with value. It has an excellent reliability record and returns up to 31 mpg combined. Though tiny on the outside, the Fit’s minivan-like interior makes excellent use of space. It’s noisy and buzzy on the highway but a fun car to drive, with responsive handling and a willing engine. The 2009 to 2013 model is more refined than the original version and more fun to drive than the third-generation 2015 to 2020 car, but all are good choices. A few cars as new as 2016 can still be found for under $10,000.


  • Cheap to buy and own
  • Fun to drive
  • 31 mpg, plenty of cargo space


  • Noisy and small
  • Firm ride, small tires can wear quickly
  • Basic interior

2. 1999 to 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis

Why we picked it: The last in a long line of big, traditional rear-drive sedans, The Grand Marquis was popular with retirees when it was new, and many examples tend to be very well kept. Hiding beneath the old-fashioned exterior are the same extremely durable mechanical pieces as a Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor. The Mercury rates high for comfort, reliability and low maintenance costs, but its thirst for fuel rivals half-ton pickups. It handles better than you’d expect for such a big car, but the rear-wheel drive V8 configuration isn’t great for snow or ice.


  • Roomy, comfortable and quiet
  • Reliable and tough
  • V8 power


  • 16 mpg around town
  • Impractical size
  • Old car feel

3: 1999 to 2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Why we picked it: Famously the best-selling roadster of all time, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is an open-air joy to drive, but it’s also a surprising used car bargain. Many owners take care of their vehicles, and they tend to be second or even third cars, used for long trips or fun rather than the daily grind. The second-generation “NB” Miata debuted for 1999 with a little more power and more sophisticated interior than the circa-1989 original but with a less cute overall look. These Miatas have an excellent reliability record and get high marks for owner satisfaction, but like all roadsters, there’s no back seat and little space for luggage.


  • Lots of fun
  • Cool and stylish
  • As affordable as a sports car gets


  • Shoebox-sized trunk, only room for two
  • No fun in winter
  • Lacking amenities and some modern features

4. 2003 to 2013 Toyota Corolla

Why we picked it: The Corolla has been a go-to option for reliability and value for decades and still is, although there are some caveats. These years encompass both the closely-related tenth and eleventh-generation models, and they are very reliable, low-maintenance machines and even manual transmissions are available. What they aren’t, with the exceptions of the rare 170-horsepower 2005-2006 XRS or the optional 2.4-liter, 158-horsepower model offered in 2009 and 2010, is very interesting or fun to drive. What you get here is low-cost, low-hassle transportation and nothing more.


  • Reliable
  • Easy to drive and live with
  • Cheap to buy and own


  • Because of its rep for reliability, some cars have been neglected
  • More appliance than car
  • Many tend to be very basic vehicles

5. 2003 to 2011 Lincoln Town Car

Why we picked it: A close relative of the Grand Marquis under the swanky exterior, the Town Car was once a taxi-fleet favorite thanks to its extremely durable and easy-to-service mechanical pieces. As many Los Angeles and New York City livery cab drivers once discovered, properly maintained Town Cars can last a very long time. The interior is a comfy, cosseting place to be, with lots of amenities and room for up to six and an enormous 21.1 cubic-foot trunk. The downside is that the V8-powered, rear-wheel drive Town Car is truly huge, 215 inches long and 4,300 pounds, so you’ll pay at the pump and need a big parking spot.


  • Very durable
  • Lots of room and luxury
  • Powerful and quiet

6. 1999 to 2012 Lexus ES

Why we picked it: Lexus’ upmarket sister to the Toyota Camry, all generations of the ES rate very highly as used vehicles, with excellent reliability records and a slew of JD Power awards. Although we only factored in the fourth- and fifth-generation models in this list, we’d consider any Lexus ES (and they date back to 1990) in good condition to be a solid used-car choice. These years stick close to the traditional ES formula, with a luxurious, comfortable cabin, subdued styling and V6 power. While short on personality, the ES promises many miles of comfortable and trouble-free motoring.


  • Reliability beyond reproach
  • Luxurious and quiet
  • Lots of features


  • Low-mileage cars hard to find
  • Some features can be expensive to fix
  • Bland design and personality

7. 2004 to 2008 Toyota Camry Solara

Why we picked it: A two-door coupe and convertible version of the Camry, the Solara is just as reliable and refined as its sedan sibling. As on the sedan, power comes from a four-cylinder or V6 engine. Both deliver decent fuel economy, and the six-cylinder models have plenty of power. Thanks to the Camry’s subdued personality, Solaras aren’t as fun to drive as other coupes and convertibles, but that also means they generally haven’t been driven as hard. Most owners seem to have taken good care of them too, and they have a much better reliability record than the Chrysler Sebring. The usual two-door drawbacks apply, meaning a small back seat and trunk, and the melted-butter styling isn’t to everyone’s taste, but these are hassle-free cruisers with low ownership costs.


  • Comfortable and safe
  • Available as a convertible
  • Low maintenance


  • Dated 2000s-era styling
  • Boring to drive
  • Small back seat and trunk, especially in the convertible

8. 2006 to 2014 Honda Civic

Why we picked it: These years incorporate two generations of Civic, the swoopy, futuristic-looking 2006 to 2011 eighth generation and the more modest 2012 to 2015 ninth-gen. The earlier cars are better looking and much more fun to drive, but the newer ones have a slightly better reliability record. All of these Civics make excellent commuter cars, offering decent power, good fuel economy and low maintenance costs. Sport Si versions with more power even pack in plenty of fun. Hybrid Civics offer stellar fuel economy but are very hard to find for $10,000. There are also sporty Si models and manual transmissions to be had, even at this price.


  • Good looking inside and out
  • Reliable and efficient
  • Sporty models and hybrids available


  • Small back seat, especially in coupes
  • Newer models less fun to drive
  • Weird dashboard layout in earlier models

9. 2005 to 2010 Toyota Avalon

Why we picked it: Last year’s #3 pick on this list, the big Avalon slips way down the charts for 2022 as it’s now harder to find for $10,000, but it’s still a good deal. The conservative Avalon is the biggest and most opulent Toyota car and one step below a Lexus. While not particularly exciting or beautiful, it’s roomy, comfortable, quiet and returns good fuel mileage for a big car. Avalons also tend to come with lots of nice features, like navigation, leather interiors and even reclining seats. These years cover only the third-generation Avalon, but earlier Avalons are also good deals. You might have to search hard for a newer example, however.


  • Dependable and safe
  • Good mpg for a large car
  • Comfortable, refined and quiet


  • Some features can be expensive to repair
  • Not exciting to drive or look at
  • Mushy handling

10. 2008 to 2014 Scion xB

Why we picked it: The second generation of Scion’s funky Tokyo Tonka Truck, this xB was bigger and less characterful than the original and seemed to fade as Kia’s Soul overtook it in popularity. But the xB was still a very high-quality vehicle that was both distinctive and practical. Scion discontinued the xB after 2014 and Scion itself was discontinued by Toyota in early 2016, but the xB’s orphan status today makes it more affordable and no less reliable or serviceable (it’s related to the Corolla underneath). The xB isn’t very exciting to drive, but it returns 24 mpg combined and has plenty of room for people and gear. We also consider the smaller first-generation model (2004 to 2006) a good deal.


  • Reliable and cheap
  • Lots of room in a small footprint
  • Cool design


  • Not as interesting or fun as first-generation model
  • Slow
  • Hard to find with low mileage

11. 2009 to 2013 Mazda6

Why we picked it: Mazda simplified the 6 lineup for the car’s second generation, deleting the performance-focused MazdaSpeed 6 as well as the wagon and hatchback versions. But this second 6 is still a sporty driver by family sedan standards, powered by either a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (Mazda6 i) or a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 (Mazda6 s). The 6 does much of what family sedan buyers expect, with ample rear leg room, comfy seats and a 14.7 cubic-foot trunk, while also offering sleek styling and an involving driving experience. Repair costs are generally low and reliability high, but the V6’s fuel economy isn’t great.


  • Stylish
  • Comfortable interior
  • Fun to drive


  • Base engine underpowered
  • So-so fuel economy
  • Plasticky and dated interior

12. 2006 to 2012 Hyundai Azera

Why we picked it: These years incorporate both the first and second-generation Azera, which debuted for 2012, although it’s hard to find 2012 or newer models for $10,000 now. The Azera was Hyundai’s take on the Toyota Avalon formula—a big and roomy V6 sedan with lots of features, including standard navigation on higher trims. Though it falls short of the Toyota overall, the Azera has good reliability ratings, and owners generally consider it a very good long-term value. The first-generation model is much blander to look at and drive, but it’s also more affordable.


  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Lots of features
  • Low cost of ownership


  • Bland design
  • Firm ride but vague handling
  • Newer models hard to find at this price

13. 2006 to 2011 Ford Mustang

Why we picked it: The fifth-generation “S-197” Mustang was a major upgrade over the previous iteration and helped resuscitate the muscle car market, leading to the revival of the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. At this price, most clean used examples will be V6-powered, the lowest-end versions, but even there, the base V6 had 210 horsepower until 2010 and 305 in 2011. Mustangs come with five-speed manual or automatic transmissions. 2010 and 2011 models benefitted from major style and feature updates, but all of these Mustangs are comfy grand tourers with nice interiors for their era and solid reliability ratings. Inspect carefully, though, as even V6 models can have histories of being driven hard.


  • Lots of style
  • Fun to drive
  • Available convertible and manual transmission


  • Tight back seat and little cargo space
  • Good V8s typically cost more than $10,000
  • Requires careful inspection

14. 2010 to 2013 Mazda3

Why we picked it: Last year’s runner-up on this list, this generation of Mazda3 slides to #14 this year as Mazda3 values have climbed. New in 2010, this second-generation Mazda3 improved reliability and rust protection over the previous model and added a little room, too. With peppy four-cylinder engines and capable handling, this older 3 was as fun in its day as the current one is today, although the potent 2010 to 2013 MazdaSpeed3 and higher-trim versions may be hard to find at this price. In 2014, the 3 was redesigned again and got much more stylish, but those are not easy to find at this price. Both generations are available as a hatchback or a sedan.


  • Sporty handling, involving performance
  • Practical available hatchback body
  • Nice interior designs


  • Newer, sportier examples may be costly
  • Fewer features on base models
  • Grinning front-end styling

15. 2012 to 2015 Buick Verano

Why we picked it: Too small and the wrong brand for luxury buyers when new, the Buick Verano wasn’t a big seller then, but it’s a great value now. Power comes from either a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter or punchy turbocharged 250-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with manual or automatic transmissions. The exterior styling is a snoozefest, but the Verano has a comfy, well-designed cabin with decent room for a small car. Some models also have nice features like heated seats. Fuel economy is so-so for a car of this size, but the Verano has a good reliability record.


  • Stylish and roomy interior for a small car
  • Lots of nice features
  • Available turbocharged engine, manual transmission


  • Invisible styling
  • Mediocre fuel economy
  • Base models feel distinctly basic

16. 2007 to 2011 Toyota Camry

Why we picked it: The Camry’s legendary reliability and easy-to-live-with nature made it the best-selling car in America for many years. These years cover the sixth-generation Camry sedan, which has excellent reliability ratings and can easily be found at this price, although with higher mileage than you’d have found last year. Available with four-cylinder or V6 power, the Camry is practical and quiet in every respect but not very exciting to drive or look at. It returns 25 to 28 mpg combined, and ownership costs are low. The Camry Hybrid, introduced for 2007, returns even better mpg but is very hard to find at this price.


  • Famously reliable
  • Popular and easy to find
  • Low maintenance


  • Not exciting
  • Neglected maintenance can be an issue
  • Base engine, hybrid not very powerful

17. 2007 to 2011 Toyota Yaris

Why we picked it: The Yaris replaced the awkward-looking Toyota Echo in 2007, bringing cuter styling and slightly better fuel economy with it. The tiny Toyota’s reliability scores are top-notch, and operating costs are low. Available as a hatchback or a sedan, the Yaris looks nice but doesn’t use its interior space nearly as well as the Honda Fit. It feels small, and it isn’t much fun to drive. As a sign of the times, you can find plenty of very nice 2007 to 2011 Yarises on sale for $10,000, but last year this car was on our “Best $5,000 car” list.


  • Very cheap transportation
  • Good fuel economy
  • Low maintenance costs


  • Feels tinny and small, with limited cargo space
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Very basic: early models lacked even standard anti-lock brakes

18. 2010 to 2013 Ford Taurus

Why we picked it: Big conservative sedans that sold new to older customers tend to age well, and the sixth-generation Taurus is no exception. It replaced both the earlier Taurus and the big Crown Victoria and shared its architecture with the Lincoln MKS. Big, comfy and packed with features, it’s a more lively vehicle than some of the other big cars on this list and, in these years, was powered by either 263- or 365-horsepower V6s. Like the old Crown Victoria, it was also built for police work. We’d avoid examples that have been used hard in fleet service, but its reliability record is very solid.


  • Big and stylish
  • Powerful engines and good driving dynamics
  • Comfortable and equipped with lots of nice features


  • Not as big inside as exterior dimensions suggest
  • Mediocre fuel mileage
  • Avoid fleet or police versions

19. 2011 to 2015 Volkswagen Jetta

Why we picked it: The sixth-generation Jetta brought new levels of refinement to the popular sedan and broke away from the long-related Golf for the first time. There are actually two different Jetta designs in this era, however, as the Jetta SportWagen continued with the fifth-generation model’s design. Both performed well with a pair of 2.0-liter engines (gas and diesel) or an optional 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower unit. The diesel models were at the center of VW’s emissions scandal, but the automaker eventually rolled out emissions fixes for them with only a tiny loss of performance. SportWagens are an older design but tend to have higher resale value.


  • Roomy and premium-feeling cabin
  • Good fuel economy
  • Available manual transmissions, GLI performance model and diesel engines


  • Dieselgate stigma
  • Sedans not as engaging as wagons
  • SportWagen generally costs more than $10,000, as does GLI

20. 2010 to 2016 Kia Soul

Why we picked it: Cute hamsters and funky styling made the Kia Soul as cool as it was practical, and sales were strong from the start. In fact, it annihilated the competing Scion xB and Nissan Cube in the sales race, with both rivals killed off in 2014 just as a newer and even nicer second-generation Soul arrived. These years cover both generations. Each is spacious and practical for its tiny size, but both are underpowered and the lower trims are basic inside. Their reliability record and fuel economy ratings are good but not great, but the Soul is cheap, cheerful and capable of transporting a small family.


  • Good looking and practical
  • Affordable
  • Good gas mileage


  • Slow
  • Newer models hard to find at this price
  • Basic interiors


To determine our list of the best vehicles under $10,000, we cross-referenced a broad range of reliability and quality scores, evaluations by vehicle testers, thousands of long-term reports and reviews from owners and factored in our own long-term experiences with these vehicles as new and used cars.

In addition to these criteria, the vehicle had to have average transaction prices under or near $10,000, be manufactured after 1999, and be generally available in five major geographic markets. We sampled used car listings from Miami, Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix, and Seattle.

As the values of used cars have risen considerably in 2021 and 2022, many of the cars on last year’s version of this list dropped off, particularly hybrid models like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. Those cars can still be found for under $10,000, but it’s much more difficult. Some older models, with fewer data points, were generally left off due to a lack of reliability information or because of limited availability, such as the BMW Z4 and Volvo C30.

Some of the vehicles on our list come from defunct brands. In all cases, the vehicles’ manufacturers still exist and there’s generally adequate parts and service support. Defunct brands often lose value, which can make them a good buy later on if they are substantially similar to models from the overall parent company, as with Mercury and Ford.

We focused specifically on providing maximum value and reliability for the price, prioritizing models which are known for durability and low cost of operation, but also tried hard to provide a variety of models to suit different tastes. We also left off some models due to higher-than-average recall incidents, including the Honda Accord.

Although we can generally provide guidance on which models may be the best value or the most reliable, we cannot make any guarantees about how individual cars will perform. We’ve done the research, but we still recommend you investigate your choices further before purchase and, as indicated above, pre-purchase inspections are recommended. Theoretically, that’s easier than ever as there are now mobile mechanic services, booked via smartphone, that can come to the vehicle directly.

Is it Worth Buying a 10-Year-Old Car?

Yes, and in 2022 most $10,000 vehicles will be a minimum of eight years old.

In more typical times, vehicles between 10 and 25 years old are at or near the bottom of their depreciation curve. They’re no longer “new” but are still too young to be “classics.” It’s in this pricing valley where some of the best values can be found, but you have to be willing to shop around, inspect carefully and live without some modern features.

These cars can also provide hassle-free transportation for a long time to come provided they’ve been maintained and buyers continue to invest in maintenance.

Does Mileage Matter on Used Cars? What’s More Important, Age or Mileage?

Both age and mileage matter to different degrees, but how a vehicle has been maintained trumps both factors.

The older a vehicle is, the more its component parts may age and the more difficult it can be to get spare parts for, though mainstream brand cars shouldn’t have too many difficulties. The higher mileage a vehicle has, the more mechanical wear it has, which might mean replacing parts sooner or a series of expenses as components wear out.

In the 1990s, cars were commonly thought to be worn out after 100,000 miles or 10 years, but improved quality standards have greatly extended the lifespan of vehicles since then. The average car in the United States is now more than 12 years old and fully one-quarter of the cars on the road are over 16 years old. It’s common now to see quality used cars with over 120,000 miles, but typically below 160,000 to 180,000. Several vehicles on our list, including the Lincoln Town Car, were fleet favorites when new and can rack up interstellar mileages.

Proper maintenance and careful use are more important than mileage or age. The average vehicle is driven 12,000 miles a year throughout its lifespan, but many vehicles see much lighter demand than that. A low-mileage car that hasn’t been maintained properly or has sat idle for a long time might pose more problems than a higher-mileage vehicle that has been fastidiously maintained. Where possible, ask previous owners for maintenance records and seek a pre-purchase inspection.

Should I Get a Mechanic to Inspect a Used Car?

If at all possible, yes. Ideally, you may already have a relationship with a mechanic you know, but if not, there are many services available that perform pre-purchase inspections. Ideally, this inspection should contain a test drive over different types of roads with bumps or broken pavement and a run up to highway speeds to test the vehicle in all conditions. This should be part of your pre-purchase and negotiation routine.

Adding a mechanical inspection might be socially awkward if the seller is reluctant and will likely cost you $150-200, but it’s money well spent. Note that even the best mechanics might not be able to detect every possible issue and won’t be able to get into the engine internals, but they can help you spot obvious signs of trouble.

What’s the Best Place to Buy a Used Car under $10,000?

The best option is buying from a private party, and such listings are most often found in places like Craigslist, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace, but at this price point many dealers, even franchise new-vehicle stores, also stock good choices and you can peruse used cars online via portals like TrueCar, Cargurus and other sites.

Buying from a dealer can mean a limited warranty, but on vehicles of this age and mileage those warranties are not likely to be very substantive, negating one of the main advantages of dealerships. Private sellers don’t have to worry about the cost of a car lot or pay detailers to make their inventory shiny, so those costs are not factored into the asking price, which may help stretch your buying power. owners also tend to have maintenance records and at least some history on the vehicle, which most used-car retailers won’t. Many used cars are bought at wholesale auctions, and little information is included with them.

Best Used Cars Under $10,000 For 2022 (2024)


Is $10,000 enough for a used car? ›

Fortunately, there are some vehicles around the $10,000 price range that are worth checking out. This mostly includes models that are at least five or 10 years old, but even then, many of these cars are still reliable and will get you where you need to go.

What's the most sought after used car? ›

It wouldn't be a best seller list without the Ford F-150 pickup topping it and 2023 is no exception. Making up 3.3% of the 9.2 million used car sales examined, the Ford F-150 retained its top spot for another year, not just in the used market.

How much should I put down on a $10,000 dollar car? ›

A down payment between 10 to 20 percent of the vehicle price is the general recommendation. But if you can afford a larger down payment, you can save even more money on interest payments over the life of the loan.

What is the most reliable low maintenance used car? ›

2003-2014 Honda Accord: A midsize car that rarely disappoints in terms of maintenance. 1998-2017 Toyota Corolla: Its longevity is legendary. 2008-2015 Toyota Camry: Another Toyota model that promises fewer trips to the mechanic.. 2008-2015 Nissan Altima: A sedan that balances performance with reliability.

What is the best vehicle to buy with the least amount of problems? ›

Lexus, Toyota, and Mini are the three most reliable brands in this year's annual auto reliability brand rankings, with the two Japanese brands swapping spaces from last year. The automaker Honda follows, with its luxury Acura brand coming in fourth and the mainstream Honda brand rounding out the top five.

Which used cars last the longest? ›

Here's a curated list of 25 used car makes and models that have earned a reputation for their longevity:
  • Toyota 4Runner.
  • Toyota Land Cruiser.
  • Toyota Prius.
  • Toyota Avalon.
  • Toyota Tundra.
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
  • Toyota Corolla.
  • Honda Civic.
Nov 3, 2023

What car is ranked #1 in reliability? ›

Consumer Reports released its annual ranking of most reliable cars and brands. Toyota and Lexus top the list.

Which brand is best for used cars? ›

Best Car Brands to Buy Used

Some brands simply feature more reliability and safer vehicles than others. That's why you might want to consider a used Lexus, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru or Kia as these topped the Consumer Reports listing of the most reliable brands.

How many miles is too many for a used car? ›

There's no rule to how many miles on a used car is too much, but by attempting to stick to the 12,000 miles per year rule is a great place to start. Find out how old the car is, multiple the number of years by 12,000, and if the number on the odometer is significantly higher than that, some concern might be warranted.

Which year used car is best to buy? ›

The optimal time to purchase a used car is typically between 2 to 5 years old. Within this age range, the vehicle has already experienced the most significant depreciation, yet remains relatively new and in good condition.

What is the number one selling used car in America? ›

At the forefront of this trend are trucks, with used Ford F-150s taking the #1 spot. A used Ford F-150 in the United States currently averages $34,594.

What is the most reliable car in the last 10 years? ›

1. Lexus ES. Based on the Toyota Camry, and awarded the highest reliability rating for compact premium cars by J.D. Power every year from 2012 to 2019, it's not surprising to see the ES on our list. The Lexus ES rates high on everything car buyers value — quality, reliability, driving experience and resale appreciation ...

What is a good amount of money to spend on a used car? ›

Ideally, you'll want to stick to spending around 10-15% of your monthly take-home income on transportation costs. As an example, if your take-home is $5000 a month, then your total transportation budget is $500 to $750.

Is $10,000 too much for a first car? ›

When you have calculated your monthly expenses, you will have a better idea of how much you can put toward a car. For your first car, you can spend an average of $5000 to $10000.

What is a good amount to save for a used car? ›

In general, you should strive to make a down payment of at least 20% of a new car's purchase price. For used cars, try for at least 10% down. If you can't afford the recommended amount, put down as much as you can without draining your savings or emergency funds.

What should my used car budget be? ›

According to our research, you shouldn't spend more than 10% to 15% of your net monthly income on car payments. Your total vehicle costs, including loan payments and insurance, should total no more than 20%. You can use a car loan calculator to calculate a monthly payment within your budget.

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