We analyzed. We compared. We deliberated. And now we’re pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 CarGurus Best Used Car Awards.
From entry-level compact sedans to luxury SUVs, full-size pickup trucks and everything in between, our 2nd annual Best Used Car Awards identify the top vehicles across 10 automotive categories (three more than last year’s awards).
Our awards reflect a range of factors including vehicle popularity, expert Test Drive Reviews, CarGurus user reviews, availability and how well a vehicle holds its value. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, the following award winners are worth a close look.
1st Place: 2012-2018 Toyota Corolla
The 11th generation Toyota Corolla (model years 2012-2018) is not only the most plentiful car in its segment, it is also the most popular compact sedan among CarGurus shoppers, who equate it with both reliability and good value. The Corolla holds it value nearly 29% better than other vehicles in the segment. Although neither the 2nd place Chevrolet Cruze nor the 3rd place Honda Civic retains its value as well as the Corolla, both have their merits. Shoppers appreciate the Cruze’s ample space, and the Civic has long enjoyed a positive reputation for reliability.
2nd Place: 2011-2015 Chevrolet Cruze
3rd Place: 2011-2015 Honda Civic
1st Place: 2012-2017 Toyota Camry
Toyota certainly knows how to make a great sedan. If you’re shopping for a used midsize sedan, the previous-generation Toyota Camry (2012-2017) is the best option. The Camry retains its value nearly 13% better than its segment average. The Camry also averages an impressive 7.5 out of 10 from CarGurus expert reviewers across 5 model years and remains both popular and readily available on the used-car market. In second place, the Nissan Altima offers a compelling combination of cargo space and fuel efficiency, and no midsize sedan packs as much performance as the 3rd place Dodge Charger.
2nd Place: 2013-2018 Nissan Altima
3rd Place: 2011-2018 Dodge Charger
First Place: 2011-2018 Chrysler 300
Full-size sedans define comfortable highway driving, but the 2nd generation Chrysler 300 (2011-2018) is more than just a big cruiser. It boasts a high expert Test Drive Review average of 8.1 out of 10 points. And CarGurus users agree with the pros, ranking Chrysler 300s higher than the competition overall more than 54% of the time. The 300 retains its value roughly 7.9% better than the full-size sedan segment average. With more availability than the #2 Chevrolet Impala (a car that also retains its value well) and the more luxurious 3rd place Buick LaCrosse, a used Chrysler 300 shouldn’t be hard to find.
2nd Place: 2014-2018 Chevrolet Impala
3rd Place: 2010-2016 Buick LaCrosse
First Place: 2013-2018 BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series has long been applauded for its balanced power and handling, and the 6th generation 3 Series (2013-2018) follows that blueprint. The 3 Series averages a competitive 7.44 rating from CarGurus experts, is readily available across the country, and drives more interest from CarGurus shoppers than nearly all its competitors. The 2nd place Volvo S60 has a sterling reputation for safety, and the 3rd place Lexus ES 350 is a quiet cocoon of comfort, but with a wide array of impressive engines, available rear- or all-wheel drive, and a rich pedigree, the BMW 3 Series’ balance of strong performance across the board puts it 1st in the luxury sedan category.
2nd Place: 2010-2018 Volvo S60
3rd Place: 2013-2018 Lexus ES 350
First Place: 2008-2018 Dodge Challenger
Few cars possess the formidable presence of the 3rd generation Dodge Challenger (2008-2018). Whether it’s thanks to a strong V6 engine or one of two optional V8s, the Dodge Challenger’s a favorite among sports car fans. In fact, CarGurus shoppers select the Challenger over its competition 52% of the time overall. The 2nd place Ford Mustang has plenty of fans, and the 3rd place, racetrack-ready Chevrolet Corvette scores an exceptional 8.5 out of 10 in its expert review. But few cars are as plentiful or as popular as the Challenger, and no sports car holds its value better, with the 2-door Dodge muscle car performing 38.15% better than the segment average.
2nd Place: 2005-2014 Ford Mustang
3rd Place: 2014-2018 Chevrolet Corvette
First Place: 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler
Jeep strikes again with the Wrangler! Buoyed by its incredible value retention—more than 60% above the segment average—the 3rd generation Wrangler (2007-2017) wins the small crossover/SUV category for the second year in a row. Users select the Wrangler more than half the time overall in CarGurus ranking reviews. And the arrival of a new generation of Wranglers hasn’t deterred potential owners, either; the 2-door Wrangler still receives significantly more interest from shoppers than the #2 pick, the Honda CR-V, although both that car and the 3rd place Jeep Cherokee remain excellent alternatives for shoppers interested in crossovers featuring a quieter, smoother ride than the Wrangler’s.
2nd Place: 2012-2016 Honda CR-V
3rd Place: 2014-2018 Jeep Cherokee
First Place: 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Not to be outdone by the smaller Wrangler, the 2nd generation Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (2007-2017) is another 2-time winner. The capable off-roading Unlimited retains value an incredible 102.23% better than the midsize crossover/SUV segment average, and receives unmatched interest from shoppers. The 2nd place Jeep Grand Cherokee and 3rd place Chevrolet Equinox are both widely available, yet neither can best the Wrangler Unlimited’s prestige in the eyes of CarGurus users, who select it nearly 57% of the time.
2nd Place: 2011-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee
3rd Place: 2010-2017 Chevrolet Equinox
First Place: 2011-2018 Ford Explorer
First arriving in 1991, the Ford Explorer is a well-known staple in the full-size crossover/SUV category. Despite competing against an increasingly crowded field, the Explorer continues to lead the pack. This model is both the most readily available and the most popular vehicle in its segment, besting both the 2nd place Chevrolet Traverse and the 3rd place GMC Acadia. The Traverse scores very well with CarGurus experts, and the Acadia remains more popular than most. But neither can match the 5th generation Explorer (2011-2018) in terms of value retention; the storied SUV retains its value nearly 23% better than its competitors’ average.
2nd Place 2009-2017 Chevrolet Traverse
3rd Place 2007-2016 GMC Acadia
First Place: 2014-2018 INFINITI QX60
Whether due to its powerful V6 or lavish interior, no vehicle in the luxury crossover field can match the INFINITI QX60 (2014-2018) in CarGurus ranking reviews, with it earning the overall nod more than 70% of the time. Our experts agree, giving the QX60 an average Test Drive Review score of 7.25 out of 10. Our experts also view the 2nd place Lexus RX 350 as a good value in the luxury crossover arena, and few cars are as safe as the 3rd place Acura MDX.
2nd Place: 2010-2015 Lexus RX 350
3rd Place: 2014-2016 Acura MDX
Full-Size Pickup Truck
First Place: 2009-2014 Ford F-150
Of all the options in the full-size pickup truck segment, the last steel-bodied Ford F-150 sports the highest average expert review rating on CarGurus. The 12th generation F-150 (2009-2014) is also the most popular and plentiful full-size pickup on the market, in part because of the truck’s strong value retention. Competition is fierce among full-size pickups, and both the 2nd place Ram 1500 and 3rd place Chevy Silverado 1500 provide plenty of capability. Ask shoppers, however, and the winner is clear; Ford’s F-Series trucks have been the most-purchased vehicles in the world for decades. Considering its pedigree and popularity, it comes as no surprise that CarGurus users rank the F-150 over the competition overall more than 58% of the time.
2nd Place: 2011-2018 Ram 1500
3rd Place: 2014-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
CarGurus Best Used Car Awards winners were selected from late-model cars with test drive reviews, available for sale in the United States. Vehicle generations that include the 2014 model year were considered in their entirety when evaluating potential winners. Cars were evaluated on criteria including CarGurus user reviews, professional test drive reviews, popularity, availability, and projected 12-year value retention. The model with the highest overall score was determined to be the winner for each category.