Author Archive

Mark Holthoff

Mark Holthoff likes cars and likes writing, and he's been interested in both for as long as he can remember. He has over a dozen years of experience in the automotive industry, which includes launching a car buying advice hotline for Edmunds.com. In addition to Klipnik, his work has appeared on TrueCar, Edmunds, and other outlets. His first car was a 1974 Triumph TR6, which he bought with his life savings of $2000 and kept on the road with spare change, borrowed tools, and duct tape.

Chevrolet Volt: Model History and Buyer’s Guide

Roll the clock back to 2011, and you’ll find only a handful of electric vehicles (EVs) on the market. The sales leader at the time was the original Nissan Leaf, boasting about 85 miles of range. And the sole Tesla model available was the two-seat, Lotus-based Roadster with a price tag over $100,000. EV sales for the year totaled just 17,000 units.

Enter the Chevrolet Volt. The Detroit-designed and -built compact sedan offered sharp looks, room for four, and an innovative hybrid-electric powertrain that could travel well over 300 miles without a refill. GM reportedly spent a billion dollars developing the car. Yet you could buy it for just $32,495 (after federal incentives).

No wonder the Volt was a hit, racking up an impressive list of kudos, including North American Car of the Year and World Green Car, and landing a spot on Car and Driver’s 10Best list, the first electrically powered car to do so. It quickly became America’s best-selling EV, a crown which it held for many years, only recently ceding it to the Tesla Model 3.

The qualities that made the Volt a popular new car — its outstanding fuel efficiency, robust engineering, and affordable price — make it an even better used one. After nearly a decade of production spanning two generations, there are plenty of Volts available for sale on the used market. And thanks to deprecation, excellent used examples are now available for as little as $10,000.

But which is the best Chevy Volt to buy? And are there any problem areas to avoid? We explore that and more in this detailed buyer’s guide.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class: Model History and Buyer’s Guide

The E-Class may not be the most iconic car to come from Mercedes-Benz. That honor likely belongs to something a bit more extravagant, such as the 300SL Gullwing.

But that doesn’t make the E-Class any less significant to the brand. That’s because it has long been the most practical car in the German automaker’s lineup. Indeed, since Benz first introduced a midsize sedan back in the 1950s, the E-Class has represented a near perfect combination of size, comfort, and value.

Equally capable of running errands, handling the daily commute, or hauling the family across the country, the E-Class is the ultimate do-anything vehicle. And while it’s never been cheap to buy, it’s built well enough to provide decades of useful service.

If you’re in the market for an E-Class Mercedes, you have quite a few options to choose from, ranging from classic models to modern cars laden with cutting-edge tech. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll give you the scoop on every E-Class generation from the last thirty years to help you find the perfect one for you.

BMW i3: Model History and Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for a used electric vehicle, or EV, can be tricky. While EVs are spiking in popularity, they still only represent about 2% of all vehicles sold in the U.S., according to a recent study by Pew Research. So you won’t find a ton of used EV listings on Craigslist or Autotrader.

Further compounding matters, EV technology is evolving at a rapid clip. That means many EVs on the used market are woefully out of date. Worse, their battery packs are aging, and it’s not yet clear how long they’ll last before it’s time for an expensive replacement.

But there’s one particular EV model that bucks most of these trends: the BMW i3. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explain why we think the i3 a great EV to buy used.

2006 Nissan Xterra with 88k Miles and a 6-Speed Manual

For December 2, 2021, our used car find is this unusually clean 2006 Nissan Xterra 4×4 in desirable Off-Road trim and with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Seattle area for $9,900 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

The Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG is a Used Car Hidden Gem

AMG gets lots of press for souping up high-end Mercedes-Benz models, such as the autobahn-storming, 621-horsepower CL65. But the engineers at Affalterbach also have a long history of tinkering with cars from the lower rungs of the MB ladder. In fact, the mid-1990s C36 — a humble C-Class stuffed with a stroked 3.4-liter inline six — was the very first AMG car officially sold by Mercedes dealers.

It was a hit, and since then AMG has pushed the small car, big engine formula even further, eventually leading to today’s flamboyant C63, which sports a bonkers 469-hp turbo V8 under the hood.

But one of the very best Mercedes-AMG collaborations is a much subtler affair. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you’d never guess that the understated C55 AMG, which was produced for just two model years (2005-06), is anything more than an entry-level C-Class. That is, until it dusts you off the line.

The anonymity of the C55 AMG is one of its best traits. Not only does the bantam Benz shrug off the prying eyes of neighbors (as well as the local constabulary), it also has yet to attract the attention of most collectors. That means prices for a used C55 remain quite reasonable — cheap even, if you consider the levels of performance it offers.

And that makes the C55 AMG a used car hidden gem.

The Longest-Lasting Used Cars, Trucks, and SUVs

Reliability is a top concern for many used car buyers. Which makes sense. Most used cars no longer carry a factory warranty, so the owner is responsible for any repair bills. And they can add up. In fact, maintenance and repairs make up the second costliest expense of used car ownership (as we note here). If you want to keep your transportation costs to a minimum, it’s important to buy a used car that spends more time on the road and less time at the repair shop.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the longest-lasting vehicles on the road today. These are the used cars, trucks, and SUVs that owners actually drive the most over the long haul. Where lesser vehicles are breaking down and getting parked or scrapped for parts, these models keep piling on the miles, year after year.

Museum-Quality 1992 Lexus LS 400 with Just 23k Miles

For November 25, 2021, our used car find is this museum-quality 1992 Lexus LS 400 with just 23k miles on the odometer plus tons of recent maintenance. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Orange County area for $19,800 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Sedan with 66k Miles

For January 18, 2022, our used car find is this unusually nice 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG sedan with just 66k miles. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Eugene Oregon area for $25,000 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

Classic White 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300D with 84k Miles

For December 20, 2021, our used car find is this extremely well-preserved, two-owner 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300D sedan with just 84k miles. It’s offered on Craigslist by a private seller in the Richmond Virginia area for $11,750 or best offer.

Here’s what makes this one special.

How to Buy a Car from a Private Seller

Buying a car doesn’t rank very high on the list of things people like to do. In fact, a survey by Edmunds found that half of Americans would prefer to clean the toilet rather than face the stresses of car buying. That’s largely due to the typical dealership sales experience, which seems geared to wear you down with pushy salespeople, endless haggling, and unexpected add-on fees.

If you’re like others who dread a trip to the dealership, we have good news. There’s another way to buy a car that avoids the headaches. Even better, it offers access to some of the best used cars on the market. And it saves you money.

So just what is this great car buying secret? It’s simple. Buy your next car from a private seller.

OUR BEST USED CAR FINDS AND BUYING TIPS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

You can always unsubscribe with just one click.