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The Best Used Cars Under $10,000 We’d Buy Right Now

Whether it’s your main mode of transport or a second — or third — ride, a $10,000 used car hits the right budget so long as it’s cool enough.

Bay City Motors

Nostalgia is one hell of a drug. It’s a great motivator too, especially when you’re looking to fork over $10,000 for a used car. That amount of money will (probably) land you a desirable vehicle that’s around 20 years old — prime glory day fodder. We took on the arduous task of window shopping for our favorites at the moment, and if we had to choose, we’d say these are the best used cars for the $10,000.

[Note: Prices indicated reflect cost at time of publish, though we’ll strive to keep them up to date. Happy hunting.]

1995 Alfa Romeo 164 Q 4DR

Those rear seats! That dashboard! Sure it looks like a brick on wheels, but it’s an Italian brick on wheels. And a relatively quick one at that. When new, this puppy had 230hp. It’s probably beat to hell, and it would probably fall apart after about 10 miles, but that’s all part of being an Alfa owner. — AJ Powell, Assistant Editor

Mileage: 152415 miles
Original MSRP: $38,940


1981 Mercedes-Benz 240D

I’ve been a BMW guy as long as I can remember and growing up, I always thought of Mercedes as the “bad guy” cars. If you think about it, a lot of movies and TV shows actually position them that way. But I’ve been way into older Mercs lately. I love this color, that it’s a manual and the matching hubcaps. The mileage is an issue, but these older ones are built like tanks! — Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing

Mileage: 347,305 miles
Original MSRP: $20,558


2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder

Every once in a while, I drive past the same Chicago diner (the Golden Nugget off Ravenswood) and every time I see the same, clean, MR2 Spyder. And every time I think “damn, I’d really like one of those.” The second generation MR2 Turbo is the one most enthusiasts pine for right now, but as the nostalgia cycle spins closer to the early aughts, it won’t be long before more people begin to appreciate the MR2 Spyder for what it is.

In many ways, the third-generation MR2 represents an end of the golden era for Toyota performance cars, and there will likely never be a small, affordable mid-engined enthusiast car ever sold in the United States ever again. And, by all accounts, the Sypder is easier to live with from a reliability standpoint (it was basically a mid-engine Corrola in the best possible way). They’re also still cheap. Very cheap. As in, can be found in good shape for about half-our-theoretical-budget cheap. This one? Well, it’s just shy of $10,000, but only because it has absurdly low miles and looks, literally, showroom fresh. They’re also still cheap. Very cheap. This one has just under 100,000 miles (hey it’s a Toyota, it’s just getting started) and comes in well under budget. — Andrew Connor, Staff Writer

Mileage: 99,530 miles
Original MSRP: $24,645


2009 Volvo C30 R-Design

I lived in Los Angeles for a brief time after college, and though my time there could best be described as “abject misery and destitution,” I always saw the Volvo C30 as a ray of hope. The little hatchback had just launched that year, and I thought it was stunning (because it was and still is). There’s that signature Volvo ‘premium funk’ aesthetic, of course, but it’s mated to a zippy little 227-horsepower turbo five-cylinder and room for just four close friends. The small hatch was based on the S40, and while its performance wasn’t incredible — 6.3 seconds to 60 and somewhat uninspired handling — it seemed to me the perfect aspirational car, one that I would absolutely buy the moment I “made it.” That… never happened, but my car crush lives on; specifically, the very two-tone color combo seen here: a champagne-y silver over metallic brown. — Nick Caruso, Associate Editor

Mileage: 74,504 miles
Original MSRP: $23,800


1993 Chevrolet Corvette

This car is my low-key grail. I’m not sure if it’s because I was born in 1993 or that it was my favorite hot wheels growing up. Enough power to let loose on the highway with an aesthetic that still turns heads 25 years later. An interesting snafu about this particular model – all leather seats have the 40th anniversary emblem embroidered due to an error on the drawings sent to the seat supplier. — Brenden Clarke, Social Media Coordinator

Mileage: 76,238 miles
Original MSRP: $41,195


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