What would you buy for $10k?

Given the prices of most leases right now, I think it would be an interesting discussion on what reliable car one could buy for $10k with under 100k miles to hold you over for a year or so until chip shortage ends and prices start to “normalize”.

What would you get?

Too broad of a question.

In the current market, unless you were actively looking, you would not be on top of the cars that would make the list to pick one from it.

Do you have some that can make the list?

Personally if i was going to drop 10k on a used car, then id rather get one of the Mazda, Jeep, Taco leases under $400 which would come out around the same for a 3 year lease after considering tax & fees


I bought a 2010 Escape XLT V6 4wd with 101k miles for $4k a few months ago. Put less than $1k into it, which included new M/T tires, a bull bar, roof rack, fender flares, seat covers, alternator, and spark plugs. Runs great. Wife has been driving the hell out of it.


2012 Civic LX can be had for $10k with around 100k mi. Reliable car gets 35mpg+ too.


2010+ Outback… useful & popular AWD vehicle requiring limited maintenance that will retain decent value even when the market returns to normal. Crazy how many for sale now have 150-200k miles and still running strong.

Still painful to pay $10k for a car which was $25K 10 years ago.


Jeeze, $10k for a 10yr old Civic with 100K miles.



You do realize a lease taken to term usually means 0 equity right? While a used car bought well at $10k will have $7-8,000 equity?


$10K buys a lot of gas, even at today’s prices.

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If I could get a good bmw i3 for 10k that’s what I’d take. Was a fun little commuter car for work. Not quite as nice as my p3d but I’d go back to one for the right price.

I’ve looked at used cars for years now, particularly on CL and FB where the free/cheap listings attract the lower half of the bell curve. Some observations:

  1. As a brand, Toyota is the obvious choice here and makes them the hardest to find and easiest to resell. Highlanders and LCs that are priced correctly in the $10k range will have high miles but by the same token will hardly lose any value after being driven an additional 20k. The hack here among Toyota SUVs is the first generation Sequoia. You can still find sub 100k mile ones for $10k or less. Obviously if you don’t need the space, get a Corolla or Camry. Earlier the better actually (pre 1999), preferably made in Japan.

  2. Outside of Toyota there are other hacks. Both Consumer Reports and Car Wizard recommend certain years of GM’s full-size platform with the 3.8L V6 for its reliability and easiness to work on. I forget which years exactly. But Car Wizard did two videos on an Impala recently. Check those out.

  3. Pre-Ghosn Nissans, like 1990’s Altimas.

  4. A car retired by a senior like a Mercury Grand Marquis.


im all for impalas and grand marquis…nothing beats a 3 seater front row couch on wheels.


you’d really get a 25 year old Toyota over let’s say a 10-12 year old one?

I think his point was that a '99 wouldn’t hardly cost anything in depreciation if you resold it in a year or two versus a more recent model year

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So you’re telling me that in current situation,

a used car after 3 years will only depreciate by 2-3k
a brand new leased vehicle will have no equity??


Are you sure you’re comparing apples to apples?

So in your opinion,

If the used car is bought for 10k + TTL for $12k out the door.

After 1 year you sell it for $8k…1 year cost of ownership = 4k, equivalent monthly, $333

Not to mention any additional repairs expense.

I will take my chances with sub $400 lease.


I’m looking at an 08 G35 with Premium and Tech packages today with 100k miles for $8k - could be a perfect short term, fun-ish to drive hold.


I actually need help here as well, I have a uncle who’s high-level in the South Asian government & he recently moved here to CT/NYC.

He needs an AWD car for the winter times with winter tires I’ll put on while he’ll be here but doesn’t want to lease anything as the market sucks & the car will be sitting for 6-8 months out of the time in my driveway.

I can’t find ANYTHING to give him at all, everything on FB Marketplace is trash & all the Subaru’s have me worried about the head-gasket issue, Nissan Rogue transmission issues, American Cars being shit at this price range

Complete with recently fluffed lap dog(s).

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No craigslist CRV special? I’m sure you can find a 2010ish Honda accord even rn on Facebook MP for 5-10k.

10-12yr old Toyotas are usually overpriced. So the value and reliability of the older ones make them more of a choice IMO.

The engineering behind those cars is unbelievable. If you could go back in time and pick one brand new car to last your lifetime, your best bet would be a 1990’s Toyota built in Japan, second the same era Honda.

The one thing holding them back in the northeast is stuff that was probably outside their control to some extent, like the galvanization properties of the steel they bought. But that shouldn’t be a problem with southern cars.

The streak ended in the 2000s though. Exchange rates and MBAs taking over from former engineers in management led to much more cost-conscious development.


It doesn’t snow that much here and it’s mostly flat. Winter tires will be fine on any drivetrain. Look at the cars I recommended above.