• Jun 5th 2006 at 4:59PM
  • 30
While there are plenty of lists of top vehicles for virtually any category (e.g., best economy car, most exotic under one million, ugliest mid-sized sedan in white, etc.) most show only the latest models. If you don't have the financial resources for a brand new set of wheels, here are ten used cars, broken down by category, that won't hurt your wallet quite as much:
  • Economy Car: 1999-2004 Honda Civic
  • Midsize Car: 1999-2004 Toyota Camry (Fine build quality, legendary reliability and a hushed ride characterize the Camry.)
  • Large Car: 1999-2004 Ford Crown Victoria / Mercury Grand Marquis
  • Luxury Car: 2003-2004 Infiniti G35 (pictured)
  • Sporty Car: 1999-2004 Mazda Miata (Mazda's little two-seater wins over even those who don't know a camshaft from a half shaft.)
  • Mini-SUV: 1999-2004 Honda CR-V
  • SUV: 2002-2004 Ford Explorer
  • Minivan: 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey
  • Small Pickup: 1999-2004 Toyota Tacoma
  • Large Pickup: 1999-2004 Ford F-150 (...a compliant ride, communicative and precise steering, smooth power plants and best-in-class brakes.)
Full explanations on how and why each vehicle made the list can be found at the link. Has the list hit the target or missed the parking lot altogether?

Macleans 2006 Top Ten picks
Harris poll ranks the top "buzz-worthy" vehicles from 2005
Automotive awards -- what do they really mean?

[Source: Edmunds]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I agree about the Crown Vic / Grand Marquis, taking note they mentioned 1999-2004, AFTER the decades long transmission problem was finally solved, aka Ford shoved something else in that didn't fail at 70,000 miles, ala my 1994 Crown Vic.

      I've got a 2001 Grand Marquis LS now... lots of bang for the buck, espeically used ($8600 with 24k and one owner) and I've put about 40,000 miles on since. There have been some typical Ford annoyances like door panel rattles, strange creeks, and sensors going out, and Ford's crappy fast wearing breaks. But given its the last of its breed, pretty comfortable, and decent mpg (real world 18-21) it can't be beat.

      Next car will be an all black, push bumper, dual spotlamp tinted window, scare the crap out of the guy in front of me, low mileage used P71.
      • 9 Years Ago
      First of all #14 (but then again the numbers so conveniently change on here sometimes) which states "POS" at the end isn't really my post. Another nice feature of autoblog is that there is no security.

      Second, Matt, I am not the one who started the thread about Civics being so much money but I did have fun with the idea. Sorry any negative about Honda pisses people off. The domestics get their share of negative and not everything domestic is bad. So I really don't feel too bad.

      Third, though the one post about Vic's being POS wasn't from me I wouldn't buy one because they are not assembled in the U.S. from what I can tell (Mexico I believe).
      • 9 Years Ago
      My civic is a tank. It's a 1997 with 282,000 miles on it. My friends are amazed at the mileage and everyone thinks I must baby it since it still looks so good. But, I actually run it ragged (hence the mileage). Still, all original equipment. Nothing replaced except the typical brakepad or timing belt/water pump. Even the radio and cd changer still work like new.
      • 9 Years Ago

      "used civics cost at least 30% more than an equlivant anything else."

      Yeah, but Americas kids are not good at math anymore... What's 30% of X? I don't know it's too complicated but I heard Civics are cool... Maybe if you told them how many game players, ipods, and LCD screens they could buy if they bought a different car then maybe they'd get it.

      BTW, my mom has a 2000 LeSabre which has been great. Isn't it in the same class as the Crown Vic (large sedan)? No rattles or anything in my moms Buick. Very strange to see the Crown Vic as better.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Nice to see the Odyssey show up even with absolute known transmission problems. As long as Honda extended the warranty on their transmissions for it I guess it is acceptable to have the family break down in it.

      Yet with those $3K cash backs GM and Ford were given no one found it acceptable to just buy the biggest warrany possible. No a break down is so much worse of a thing even covered by warranty in anything but a Honda (or Toyota) I guess.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "I was being sarcastic..."

      So was I, maybe I'm to subtle...
      • 9 Years Ago
      Sorry Matt, I meant Sam in my last reply.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I have realized after reading list after list from auto, finance, and other magazines, that anytime a magazine tries to do any sort of "best of" list, it winds up being a total joke. You see, magazine journalists lack the time and dedication to do proper research. Writers who are patient don't write for mags, they write books.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The Crown Vic really stands out from the list, mainly because it's ridiculous. I'm not going to talk about its competitors, other than noting I think there are plenty, because I haven't driven the Crown Vic's competition for any meaningful time period.

      I drove fleet performance model Crown Vics (1999-2003)for work for a couple years. Their driving dynamics, well, blew. The suspension failed in keeping the platform stable at moderate sporty usage. I frequently felt tremendous body flex in simply strolling around town. The brakes are nothing short of dangerous. That fact is so well known that one is instructed to be verrry careful after a single hard stop because fade sets in quick and extreme. The seats are made of special David Blaine Disappearing Foam since, after only a couple years' use, seat springs enjoyed giving me an involuntary flexible sigmoidoscopy.

      When I first started driving them I had flashbacks to driving 1980s American metal.

      Maybe they hold their value, maybe people think they look nice, maybe sellers offer free "Police Academy 6" posters to buyers. I dunno. I just know I couldn't trust them to perform well and they were uncomfortable to drive. Nice trunk though.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Seems like a sensible list to me. I would have concern for a pre 2003 Ford F-150 though - those did terrible in crash tests (the entire upper body buckled and creased). Hate to say it, but unless you need to tow stuff around, the Toyota Tundra is a more sensible large truck (reliable and good crash scores). 2003+, Ford F-150 is a good choice.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Plain and simple guys .. I dont believe in those BEST PICKS anymore .. those auto journalist spend one week at most driving around and they think they know which ones are the best ...PRETTY LAME and STUPID i would say
      • 9 Years Ago
      definitely an economic car is no where in the US.
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