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10 Best Used Cars for 2021

Despite the current turmoil and high prices, the used car market is full of excellent options in 2021. Whether you’re looking for a practical crossover, a rugged pickup truck, a fun performance car, or anything in between, there’s a used car, truck, or SUV out there for you. Sure, you may have to look a little harder than usual, but good cars and trucks are available.

Autotrader’s Executive Editor, Brian Moody, says, “New cars are getting more and more expensive. A lightly used car might be the way to get current tech and safety features without exceeding your budget. The average used car on the road today is about 12 years old. A lot has changed in that time. Our list of the best used cars for 2021 should give you a head start on the road to finding the right used car for your needs.”

We’ve put together a list of the best-used cars of the year based on previous “Best New Car” winners as well as vehicles from our list of “Best Electric Cars for 2021.” Autotrader editors narrowed them down based on value and popularity while factoring in brands with good certified pre-owned (CPO) programs.

Here are the best used cars of 2021.

1. 2016-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a staple of the American highway and worksite for its strong capability, famous dependability, and rugged aesthetic. It can also make a good family vehicle when equipped with a crew cab, which isn’t hard to find on the used market. It’s smart to buy used since these trucks have a proven reliability record. Find a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for sale

2. 2017-2020 Ford Mustang

2020 Ford Mustang Front Left Side in Blue

The Ford Mustang is an iconic car not only for its style and performance but for its tremendous value. It’s a modern muscle car within reach for a wide range of drivers, especially on the used market. We recommend the V8-powered GT model if your budget allows it, but we also love the turbocharged EcoBoost models that are good on gas and still a blast to drive. Ford also has a compelling certification program for pre-owned cars. Ford Blue Advantage is worth considering if a used Mustang is in your future. Find a Ford Mustang for sale

3. 2016-2020 Ford F-150

2020 Ford F-150 Front Right Side in Blue

It’s not hard to see why the Ford F-150 is a consistent best-seller. This full-size pickup captures everything that truck buyers want with capabilities that are ready for everything from daily duty at the worksite to a weekend at the lake. From the humble XL to the ferocious Raptor to the luxurious Limited, a wide range of different models means there’s an F-150 for everyone in the market for a truck. In addition, Ford’s new Ford Blue Advantage program offers value that’s hard to beat when it comes to used cars. There’s even a version of the certification plan that’s applied to higher-mileage vehicles, and Ford will certify non-Ford vehicles as well.  Find a Ford F-150 for sale

4. 2017-2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Honda CR-V Front Right Side

Compact SUVs are popular for combining the efficiency and driveability of a compact car with the versatility of an SUV. The Honda CR-V is a consistent class leader in this competitive segment. It has one of the roomiest interiors in its segment, plus great fuel economy (especially the hybrid that came out in 2020) and low ownership costs. A used CR-V is a practical choice for anyone looking for basic, reliable transportation. Find a Honda CR-V for sale

5. 2015-2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler Front Left Side in Red

The Jeep Wrangler is a legend for staying true to its roots as a rugged off-roader. It has off-road capabilities to back up its military-inspired styling. The Wrangler is available as a traditional 2-door or a more practical 4-door, plus it has various removable roofs available. An all-new “JL” generation was introduced in 2018, making it more modern and road-friendly without sacrificing its off-road chops. Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale

6. 2020-2021 Kia Telluride

2021 Kia Telluride Front Left Side in Black

The Kia Telluride hasn’t been around for very long. But, it’s so good that it’s worth keeping an eye out for it on the used market. Kia also has an excellent Certified Pre-Owned program. The Telluride is a midsize 3-row crossover that does just about everything well with a roomy interior, modern tech features, and a rugged yet premium aesthetic. Kia has our favorite non-luxury CPO program with a lengthy 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Find a Kia Telluride for sale

7. 2016-2020 Lexus IS

2020 Lexus IS Front Left Side in Blue

 

A used or Certified Pre-Owned Lexus IS is a great way to get behind the wheel of a compact luxury car without breaking the bank. It has a nice interior, engaging driving dynamics, and Lexus’ famous history of safety and reliability. Another perk of getting a modern used Lexus is the brand’s certified pre-owned program, offering an excellent warranty with no mileage cap. Find a Lexus IS for sale

8. 2018-2020 Nissan Leaf

2020 Nissan Leaf Front Left Side in White

The Nissan Leaf was the original mass-market electric car. It entered its second generation in the 2018 model year, and a new Leaf Plus was introduced in 2019. The standard second-generation Leaf has a range of up to 150 miles, making it a good city car, but the Leaf Plus manages up to 226 miles. This makes the compact Leaf a more practical EV for a wider range of drivers. Find a Nissan Leaf for sale

9. 2016-2020 Subaru Outback

2020 Subaru Outback Front Right Side in Black

If you need something practical but want something a little quirky, then a used Subaru Outback could be just right. The Outback has the benefits of a roomy midsize wagon while also being a pretty capable off-roader with generous ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. The Outback also achieves strong safety and reliability ratings, further adding to its practicality. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

10. 2016-2020 Toyota Highlander

2020 Toyota Highlander Front Left Side in Silver

The Toyota Highlander is a top choice in midsize 3-row crossovers. The Highlander offers minivan-like practicality in the form of an SUV with available all-wheel drive. It has a smooth ride and good handling for an SUV this size. The available V6 engine adds good power and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Consider the hybrid option if you want a big family vehicle with excellent fuel economy. Find a Toyota Highlander for sale

10 Best Used Cars for 2021

  1. 2016-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  2. 2017-2020 Ford Mustang
  3. 2016-2020 Ford F-150
  4. 2017-2020 Honda CR-V
  5. 2015-2020 Jeep Wrangler
  6. 2020-2021 Kia Telluride
  7. 2016-2020 Lexus IS
  8. 2018-2020 Nissan Leaf
  9. 2016-2020 Subaru Outback
  10. 2016-2020 Toyota Highlander
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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