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Ford For many young people and their parents, buying a first car is a major step. One good option is to look at cars that are used, which can often be had for a fraction of the cost of brand-new versions. We came up with 15 used cars we believe are the best for the young car buyer on a budget. To make our list, we focused on automobiles which are on the market right now for under $15,000. We looked for people who are reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, attractive, economical, functional, and most of all, secure. For security, we checked the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) average front overlap crash test ratings for the automobiles we selected. Rates are based on current prices on Autotrader.com and reflect the lowest cost we think a decent example may price. 2010-Present Chevrolet Equinox Starting price: $14,000 and up IIHS crash test rating: Great Why buy it: The second generation Chevy Equinox not just continued the version 's sales success, it gave General Motors a topnotch compact crossover SUV to compete against the segment leaders. The Equinox offers a drivers a comfortable and capable crossover in trendy and attractive package. The base powerplant for the Equinox is a 2.4 liter 182 hp four-cylinder motor, while more expensive models come equipped with a choice of strong V6 engine options. 2002-Present Honda CR-V Starting price: $7,500 and up IIHS crash test evaluation: Good Why buy it: Since its launch in 1997, the Honda CR-V has been one of the hottest selling mini-SUV's in the world. The CR-V provides an amazing blend of economy, utility and Honda's unbeatable track record for reliability. Though some might find the CR-V's little lookup engine to be somewhat underpowered, it's more than acceptable for many daily commutes. Honda has also contained a host of fun features such as a collapsible center console and an in-car picnic table. The CR-V has kept its worth remarkably well, so finding a well-preserved example might require a cost premium. 2005-2014 Ford Mustang Starting price: $6,000 and up IIHS crash test rating: Great Why buy itWhen Ford introduced the fifth-generation Mustang in 2005, it reinvigorated a muscle car market which has been effectively on life support. The Mustang creates our record since it provides drivers cheap access to horsepower in a elegant package with styling which withstands the test of time. Available, with both V-6 and V-8 options, the suggested variant is the mid-level Mustang GT with all the 5.0 liter V-8. Although the V-6 is slightly more efficient than the 5.0, the performance drop-off and lack of GT trimming go-fast goodies makes the larger motor the optimal option. 2011-Present Volkswagen Jetta TDI $13,500 Starting price: $12,500 and up IIHS crash test evaluation: Good Why buy it: The sixth generation Volkswagen Jetta offers buyers a pleasure European sports compact sedan with a decidedly upmarket feel. For the value-minded customer, the petrol TDI engine alternative offers great range and fuel economy in a potent package. However, as with any technologically advanced European sedan, take time to search for a well maintained lower mileage example, as out-of-warranty repairs for the car may become pricey. 2002-2007 Toyota Highlander Starting price: $7,000 and up IIHS crash test evaluation: Good Why buy it: The Toyota Highlander is perfect for the driver looking for a good crossover SUV. While it doesn't have the off-road capabilities of the Tacoma pickup, the Highlander's four-wheel drive system offers solid bad weather functionality and gives drivers a reassuring sense of solidity. Sharing a stage with the pricier Lexus RX, the Highlander maintains the interior build quality observed in its more premium cousin. Environmentally conscious buyers can opt for the Highlander Hybrid. However, consumers are led into unfamiliar territory as aging batteries and hybrid drive components may result in costly repair bills. 1998-2004 Toyota Tacoma Starting price: $5,900 and up IIHS crash test rating: Acceptable Why buy itToyota's Tacoma pickup creates our list as the only representative of the pickup segment. The Tacoma offers rugged off-road capability along with Toyota's strong build quality. The truck's available four -and - six-cylinder powerplants offer fantastic performance, but some might find them to be a bidding thirsty when it comes to fuel.
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