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Well, at least some good came out of the refinance that didn't happen.

The money we were going to use for closing can now be allocated towards the car replacement fund.

That means we're starting to hunt for our next family car. I was expecting to shop for a vehicle sometime this summer, but we may get our next car this spring.

Our goal for this next car is making sure it gets gas mileage at least as good as my husband's car (30 mpg) and has a bit more space than our Jetta has now.

Best Reliable Used Cars for Families

Looking for a family car, but tight on your budget? Learn about the best reliable used cars for families that won't break the bank!

Before we spend our very hard earned savings, we want to make sure the car is a smart buy.

Not only are we looking at the upfront cots, we are calculating possible total cost ownership.

For that, we turned to a dependable source – Consumer Reports.

We checked their online site and found a list of the most reliable used sedans. Here's what was on it: 

  • Acura TSX
  • Ford Fusion
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Lincoln Zephyr, MKZ
  • Mazda6
  • Mercury Milan
  • Nissan Altima
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Prius

There are a few here on the list that I never thought of, such as the Ford Fusion. We'll be digging around Consumer Reports and seeing what years have gotten the best ratings.

Looking at Our Family Budget

It's quite a list, but it's time to whittle it down a bit – we're going to factor in our budget.

We'd like to keep our next car $10,000 or less. That will allow us to have some money left over for expected car maintenance.

Our next step is to see how much these models are being sold for in our area. I'll be examining dealer sites, Kelly Blue Book, Craigslist, and asking friends to get a clearer idea of what to expect.

Certain brands like Honda and Toyota tend to hold their value more, so we may have to look at slightly older models if we want to stay within budget.

I'll also look at the gas mileage of all of these cars and share what I find next week. Hopefully, we have 5 models to consider.

Thoughts on Best Reliable Used Cars for Families

I'd really like to get your opinions and thoughts about possible contenders. Do you own any of the above models?

How has it been doing for you? How long have you owned it?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

4 comments add your comment

  1. Well I know it’s not exactly what you are looking for- but I own a 1996 Honda Accord and she runs like a champ. I NEVER have problems and only have to keep up on maintenance repairs. Its 15 years old and gets 26 mpg.
    I’m going to be shopping for a new car this year too and after my research my top two are the Ford Fusion or another Accord. (the Fusion is pretty spendy, comparatively)
    BTW, the Accord went through a huge redesign in 08 to make it seem more ‘luxury’ so I’d look for that year or above!

    • Thanks so much Shellie on your feedback! We’re looking to keep this car for a while so knowing that you had no major problems with your Accord is a huge plus.Thanks for the heads up on the redesign as well :)

  2. I have a 2008 Sonata. I love it. I had some 05/06 models as rentals on business and loved them, so when I went looking for a car this was tops on my list. Haven’t been disappointed in it at all. I did get it new. I have had one repair under warranty, and one recall for stickers on the back of the visors. The only bad thing about my car is that it has 17″ wheels and those tires are more expensive to replace. I didn’t realize that when I got it. I was happy to get one with the other features off the lot I wanted at a 0% interest rate. Gets good gas milage, too… I’d say about 30 or so in mostly city driving.