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Experts Say These Are the Best Cars You Can Buy for Under $10,000

Consumer Reports and the IIHS have joined forces to find the best used cars for anyone on a budget

subaru outback wagon
Subaru

Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more commonly known as the IIHS, publishes data about the safest vehicles on the road. Consumer Reports, meanwhile, has made a mark for itself finding the most reliable and affordable used cars. Now, in a move hopefully involving some form of elaborate Voltron-esque joining of forces, the two companies have combined their powers to provide the ultimate list of safe, reliable, and affordable used cars.

The IHS and Consumer Reports broke their recommendations down into two tiers: Best Choices and Good Choices.

Cars meeting the Best Choices criteria — which, let's face it, are the ones we all care about most — needed to fulfill the following criteria: a good rating on IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and at least a good or acceptable rating in the driver-side small overlap front test; either four or five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (if rated); standard electronic stability control; and a curb weight greater than 2,750 pounds.

The vehicles also needed an above-average or better reliability score from Consumer Reports, a score of 3 or higher out of 5 on CR’s emergency handling test, and needed to satisfy the testing organization's demands that they could stop quickly enough.

Cars that met all of those criteria but had a “substantially higher than average” medical payment and personal injury protection claim frequency were excluded from the ranking, for...well, for obvious reasons.

More than 40 cars made since 2014 met the Best Choice criteria — but only eight managed to do it and be available for less than $10,000. Those eight are below.

Subaru Outback (2013 and newer)

subaru outback driving through snow
Subaru

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Mazda 3 Sedan / Hatchback (2014 and newer)

mazda 3 sedan
Mazda

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Subaru Impreza Sedan / Wagon (2014 and newer)

subaru impreza sedan
Subaru

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Honda Accord Sedan / Coupe (2013 and newer)

2017 honda accord
Honda

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Subaru Legacy (2013 and newer)

subaru legacy sedan
Subaru

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Volkswagen Jetta (2016–2018)

volkswagen jetta sedan
VW

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Mazda CX-5 (2014 and newer)

mazda cx 5
Mazda

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GMC Terrain (2014, 2016 and newer)

2018 all new gmc terrain slt
GMC

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