Where to find top-rated used vehicles from 1992 to the present

Top-rated used vehicles
KBB.com users rate the Toyota FJ Cruiser their No. 1 SUV for 2014.

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.

More Like This

March 16, 2016

GM, Toyota score big in J.D. Power dependability ratings

Looking for a good used car? The J.D. Power Dependability Ratings and Awards is a good place to start. The dependability study looked at problems reported during the past 12 months by 33,560 original owners of three-year-old vehicles, that is,…

March 10, 2015

GM and Toyota make most-dependable vehicles, says J.D. Power

General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. products dominate new rankings of the most-dependable vehicles available. The two automakers ranked atop 14 of 19 most-dependable segment/categories with seven wins each, while Mercedes-Benz scored two category wins, and Kia and Mazda each…

April 15, 2013

Tips for car buying

Did you just graduate from high school? Are you trying to figure out what your next steps in life will be? Whatever your situation, you most likely will need a car. So to help all you recent high school (or…