There are many good reasons to buy a small used car, but is safety one of them? While compact or small cars offer better fuel efficiency and ability to park easily, often they lag behind when it comes to safety compared to their larger stable mates. However, after trawling through hatchbacks, sedans and hybrids, I’ve come up with a list of 6 of the safest small used cars for under $10,000 to get you on the road with peace of mind.
2013 Toyota Corolla
Rated as a ‘Top Safety Pick’ by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the ever reliable Corolla has a great track record for safe vehicles. Being a sedan, the Corolla offers a bit more safety having the trunk sectioned off at the back while extending the distance between the driver and the rear of the car should another car smash into the back end.
The one I found – Painted in exotic metallic ‘Barcelona Red’, I found a exceptional automatic ‘S’ (Sports) example with 93,274 miles, a sunroof, rear trunk spoiler, and rust-free for $9,995 from a dealer.
2011 Honda Civic
Just as good as the Corolla, the Civic has a solid history of reliability and is another ‘Top Safety Pick’. And just like the Corolla, the Civic sedan is the model that rates better. Of course, if you want the newer, larger tenth generation Civic, you will have to pay more, so we’ll stick with the next best thing within budget – the ninth generation.
The one I found – A 5-speed manual in medium bronze-silver with just over 88,700 miles, daytime running lights, anti-theft system, no recalls for this model, and no listed accident history for $9,995.
2013 Mazda 3
One of the best selling cars around the world, the ever popular Mazda 3 excels at performance, handling and being responsive to the driver – all important factors when choosing a safe car. They also come with traction control, low tire pressure warning, brake-assist, and electronic stability control.
The one I found – A really tidy 2013 5-speed automatic sedan with ‘Crystal White Pearl Mica’ exterior paint (to be exact), front and rear anti-roll bars, and only 75,625 miles on the clock for $9,957.
2012 Chevrolet Volt
Available in sedan or hatchback, the first generation Volt hybrid certainly made a splash when it arrived. It also came with great safety credentials including ‘Active’ seatbelts, stability control, low-tire pressure warning, daytime running lights, as well as passing IIHS tests with flying colors.
The one I found – I found a great one-owner 2012 hatchback with leather seats, all service records, 96,100 miles, as well as the updated ‘Premium Trim Package’ and ‘Rear Camera & Park Assist Package’ – all for $9,995. The only minus is the color (black), however you could always add reflectors to the side mirrors, and light colored stripes or graphics down the sides, on the bonnet and rear to give it visibility plus!
2011 Toyota Prius
On the tails of the hybrid Chevrolet Volt is another hybrid – this time the Toyota Prius. Optional features included ‘Intelligent Parking Assist’, ‘Lane Keep Assist’, and ‘Dynamic Radar Cruise Control’. Note these were optional, so if you want these options, check if these are available when looking at one for sale. There are also five trim levels in case you’re wondering what these numbers are after the model – five being the highest amount of trim.
The one I found – A one-owner Prius with automatic transmission, backup camera, and 78,600 miles on the clock. There’s no previous accident or title issues reported and looks to be in great condition for $9,999.
2013 Volkswagen Golf
Whether you’re after a 2-door or 4-door model, the seventh generation Golf has plenty to offer with Electronic Stability Control, Reinforced Front Crumple Zones, Body Side Reinforcements (Side Impact Door Beams), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, and an Impact Sensor Post-Collision Safety System. While there aren’t pages of good ones for sale, there are certainly a few good ones out there. Just make sure there’s no past accident history or branded titles.
The one I found – Presented in light ‘Apollo Silver’, I found a 4-door hatchback with 6-speed automatic transmission, 98,200 miles and extremely clean interior for $9,888. The only minus is a small dent in the trunk which would come out with a dent removal tool or small drain plunger. Doesn’t affect the safety in any way, and there’s no broken paint. If you’re looking for a 2-door however, I found a 5-speed manual you could pick one up for $9487 with only 83,835 miles, and comes in very safe ‘Candy White’ color. There’s very little difference between these cars when it comes to safety, it really comes down to personal choice. Of course you will need to do your own research, but keep in mind you will need to look for cars that have no reported accident or damage history – meaning no ‘Brand’ title (written-off registrar, salvage, rebuilt, water damage, hail damage, title washing, odometer rollback). Refer to https://rearviewreview.com/what-is-a-branded-title/ for more information. Also make sure that any company recalls for the model you’re looking at have been done. Think about the color of the car as its common knowledge that black cars (followed closely by charcoal) are at the top of the list for most accidents reported as they tend to fade into the background – especially in wet weather or heavy shade conditions. And finally, make sure you get a thorough inspection done which will show any signs of previous accident repair.