Let’s say you want to buy a used vehicle.
It wouldn’t be that unusual, since Americans purchase more than two used vehicles for every new one.
But unlike buying new, which offers several hundred choices each year, the used-vehicle universe is populated by thousands (one popular website offers more than 25 years’ worth in 12 categories). And then there’s the question of where to find top-rated used vehicles.
It’s no wonder that used-vehicle buyers spend about 2.5 hours more on average than new-car buyers researching options online – more than nine-and-a-half hours for used versus about seven hours for new – according to Kelley Blue Book’s Car Buyer Journey 2017 report.
‘Top consumer rated’
One way to make the best use of this time – and maybe even shorten it – would be to consult KBB.com’s lists of “Top Consumer Rated” used vehicles starting in 1992 and comprising 12 categories: convertible, coupe, crossover, electric, hatchback, hybrid, luxury, truck, sedan, SUV, van/minivan, wagon.
For example, if you’re seeking a five-year-old SUV, which avoids a healthy chunk of the vehicle’s depreciation, there are plenty from which to choose. KBB ranks 13, from No. 1 Toyota FJ Cruiser, which gets a 9.4 of 10 rating, with a fair market price from about $29,200 to $32,200, to the Lincoln Navigator L with a 9.1 rating and a fair market price ranging from about $26,650 to $30,500.
In between, the KBB list includes top picks such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Lincoln MKX (both 9.3); Ford Flex, Honda Crosstour, Toyota Sequoia and Volkswagen Touareg (all 9.2).
Where to compare
Then compare those results with U.S. News’ Best Cars rankings, which shows the FJ Cruiser tied for third among “affordable” midsize SUVs with the Hyundai Santa Fe and Buick Enclave, rating 8.4 points of 10.
The Cruiser was beaten out by the Toyota Venza (8.6) and the Ford Edge (8.5), tied the Hyundai Santa Fe and finished higher than the Ford Flex (8.1), Honda Crosstour (8.1), Lincoln MKX (8.0), Toyota Sequoia (7.8) and Volkswagen Touareg (7.8) on their respective lists.
The average price for the 2014 Cruiser ranges from about $28,500 to $30,000, according to U.S. News, higher than all the others except the Toyota Sequoia at $27,200 to $39,600.
Then there’s really old
If you’re looking for a vehicle older than 2009, however, you’re left with the KBB list.
So, if you want to look for a 2008 model vehicle as suggested in a previous post, Shopping for a used vehicle? Analysis shows that 10-year-old model most sensible, KBB lists the following 15 SUVs and ratings: Toyota 4Runner (9.5/10) and FJ Cruiser (9.4); Chevrolet Avalanche, Chrysler Aspen, Honda Pilot, Lexus GX and Lincoln MKX (9.3); Honda Element and Toyota Sequoia (9.2); BMW X6, Hummer H2, Infiniti FX, Lexus RX, Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln Navigator L (9.1).
It took us less than an hour to narrow the options from several hundred SUVs to a handful.
While this kind of research may not provide a single answer to the question of what to buy, you should get closer to the right choice in less time by knowing where to find top-rated used vehicles.