Best Used Cars

Buyer’s Guide: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class R129 Generation (1990-2002)

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class traces its roots all the way back to the 300 SL Gullwing, a 1950s style icon that drove even better than it looked, capturing the checkered flag at storied races like Le Man and the Carrera Panamera. These days a Gullwing will set you back a cool million. But there’s another SL out there that’s not only a deserving heir to the name but also a great value: the R129 generation.

Produced from 1990 through 2002, the R129 Mercedes SL wears classic lines that look sharp to this day. Famed designer Bruno Sacco called it his masterpiece. And its beauty isn’t skin deep. Under the hood you’ll find a number of legendary engines, including V8 and V12 mills with their own impressive racing pedigrees.

The supply of nice R129 SLs is quite good, thanks in part to its long production run and also to the fact that many owners kept them as second or third cars, driving them only on special occasions. Now, thanks to the power of depreciation, these excellent roadsters are also about as cheap as they’ll ever be.

So if you’re in the market for a classic roadster that looks like a million bucks but only costs about $10-15 grand, you’re in the right place. Here is the Klipnik Buyer’s Guide for this thus-far overlooked generation of Benz’s iconic luxury roadster.

Buyer’s Guide: BMW 3 Series F30 Generation (2012-2018)

The BMW 3 Series is as storied as they come. Spanning seven generations, from the E21 of the 1970s to the G20 of today, it boasts a legendary combination of athleticism, style, and livability. In fact, Car and Driver has named the 3 Series to its annual 10Best list a record 22 times in a row (from 1992 to 2014). No wonder it’s BMW’s best selling model, accounting for about a third of its worldwide sales.

The sixth generation, dubbed F30 for sedans and F31 for wagons (or “Touring” in BMW speak), carries the 3 Series mantle quite well, despite some notable departures from prior versions (which we’ll discuss below). And now that most are at least five years old, the F30 generation has gotten quite affordable, too, with excellent examples available for as little as $15,000.

So if you’re looking for a great used car that excels at almost everything — from commutes, to road trips, to backroad blasts — an F30 generation 3 Series should definitely be on your list. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to find and buy the perfect one for you.

What’s the Best Cheap Mercedes S-Class? Generations W126 vs. W140 vs. W220

They say there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes. And if by “cheap” they mean run down, neglected, and worn out, they’re absolutely right. But the truth is, even though a Mercedes S-Class represents the very best in German engineering and can sell for well over $100,000 when new, you can find outstanding used examples for as little as $10,000. You just have to know how to look.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the most affordable S-Class generations from the last 40 years. Check it out to learn which one is right for you.

Subaru Outback: Model History and Buyer’s Guide

One of the most popular crossover SUVs in America is actually a station wagon. Well, sort of. Defining the Subaru Outback has never been easy. Is it a wagon? Or an SUV? The answer has always depended on who you ask. Its appeal, however, is undeniable.

Today, after nearly 30 years of sales success, the Outback seems like a no brainer. But it was a radical idea at the beginning. Back then, most SUVs were trucks. Car-like crossovers — which combined the cool rugged image of an SUV with the more refined road manners of a sedan — weren’t commonplace. The original Subaru Outback helped invent the genre, and it remains one of Subaru’s best selling models five generations later.

The 7 Best Used Luxury Cars for Less than $25,000

A great used luxury car for less than $25,000 may sound like a fantasy, but they’re as real as rain. You just need to know what cars to shop.

Luxury cars are notorious for shedding value, which makes them great used car buys, and there are millions of nearly new, fun-to-drive, leather-lined sedans and coupes out there from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and other luxury brands just waiting for their next owners.

Buyer’s Guide: Toyota FJ Cruiser (2007-2014)

The FJ Cruiser began life purely as a design concept. It’s retro lines — penned by then 25-year-old Jin Won Kim of Toyota’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach — recall many elements of Toyota’s iconic FJ40, the original Land Cruiser.

Even though Kim was born a quarter century after the original FJ rolled off the assembly line, he nailed the look. In fact, it wowed people so much at its 2003 debut at North American International Auto Show in Detroit that Toyota greenlit the FJ Cruiser for production.

Three years later, a new icon was born.

What’s the Best Cheap BMW M3? Generations E36 vs. E46 vs. E92

As serious car enthusiasts, even we here at Klipnik are sometimes surprised by the skyrocketing values of certain models. For years these cars and trucks remain affordable to non-wealthy enthusiasts, then, seemingly as if a switch is flipped, they become the flavor of the month, and their values go stratospheric. Case in point is BMW’s E30 M3, whose values headed for the moon a few years ago. Indeed, top examples of these have become valued up to $70,000 and more.

Granted, they are certainly desirable cars with their unique, racing-derived, and high-powered (for the time) inline four, firm sport suspension, serious sport seats, and radical body modifications. And they also have the added cachet of being a model built and sold to be homologated for racing. We know, we know — it’s all about supply and demand as well as what the market will bear.

Great cars, those early M3s, but there are much more affordable and better performing alternatives to be found right within the M3’s own family tree. We’re talking about, and presenting for your consideration here, the three generations that came after that first M3 which offer much better performance at a much more approachable purchase price.

Buyer’s Guide: Toyota 4Runner 3rd Generation (1996-2002)

The Toyota 4Runner is a legendary rig. One of the last SUVs still made with rugged body-on-frame construction, it pairs off-road prowess with Toyota reliability and longevity. Indeed, iSeeCars ranked it as the longest-lasting midsize SUV in a recent study. As a result, it remains not only a top seller at dealerships, but used 4Runners also command significant demand and thus tend to retain their values surprisingly well.

The 6 Best Used SUVs for Less than $20,000

The popularity of used crossovers and SUVs is gaining steam. They’re not just the choice of families anymore. Young Americans are buying them in record numbers, too. Small crossovers are now extremely popular, while sales of midsize SUVs and those with three-rows of seating continue to climb.

To help you find the best used SUV for less than $20,000, we’ve created this list of six models. According to the data, these SUVs offer above-average reliability, and they’ve received exceptional safety ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They’re also fun to drive and fuel-efficient. Our list includes two compacts, a larger five-passenger model, and three with seating for seven, so there’s something here for everyone.

The Chevrolet SS (2014-2017) is a Used Car Hidden Gem

The Chevrolet SS is a bit of an odd duck. It looks unassuming, but it boasts Corvette power. It’s a big sedan, but it handles well. It’s an American car, but it’s imported from Australia. Perhaps that makes it less of an odd duck and more of a platypus.

Like the platypus, the Chevy SS is a pretty rare sight. Despite plans to sell as many as 15,000 units a year, GM unloaded only a fifth of that number, or about 13,000 total over its four-year run (2014-2017).

That’s mixed blessing for used car buyers. On the plus side, the limited supply helps to keep depreciation at bay. On the minus side, a good used SS still commands a premium, with prices ranging from around $30,000 to as much as $50,000 or more, depending on the year, miles, and options.

But considering what that buys you — a modern Q-ship that’s equally capable of driving grandma to bingo as it is of breaking the tires loose on the 2-3 upshift — we think that makes the Chevrolet SS a used car hidden gem.

The Ford Fiesta ST (2014-2019) is a Used Car Hidden Gem

Being equal-opportunity car enthusiasts, we at Klipnik love the idea of driving something that’s not only fun and relatively inexpensive, but also that doesn’t get as much time in the spotlight as its more popular peers. We’re here to give you the inside scoop on these unsung heroes, like the Ford Fiesta ST.

The 10 Best Used Convertibles for Less than $15,000

Buying a convertible certainly seems like the very definition of frivolity. But that’s only if you buy one new. Used convertibles shed their values almost as quickly as they drop their tops. Combine that with the fact that their owners tend to drive them only occasionally, keeping the miles low, and it makes convertibles a terrific used car bargain.

In fact, you can have that perfect open air experience for less than $15,000. There’s no shortage of makes and models to choose from, even at that modest budget, so to help you start your search we’ve assembled this list of ten that offer what we feel to be the best mix of style, performance, and overall desirability. Some even have the potential to increase in value over the course of your ownership.

The 6 Best Used Cars for Less than $20,000

So you want to buy a good used car. And your budget is modest. You need to keep the price under $20,000, and you don’t want anything that’s more than five years old. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Twenty large isn’t going to get you a Bentley, but it’ll buy you something even better: a safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient ride. One that won’t leave you by the side of the road or bankrupt by repair bills, and more importantly, one that will properly protect you and your family in an accident.