Used Cars Sales Still Solid

Consumer Watch There are plenty of used cars out there for sale. But how do you know you're getting a good deal? And how do you know you're buying a good car?

Consumer Reports has come up with a list of the "best of the best" used cars. There are plenty of good choices, several for fewer than $12,000 dollars.

Those bargain used cars include the 2002 and 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX, 2003 Acura RSX, as well as the 2004 Mazda 3. Consumer reports recommend getting the Mazda 3 with side-curtain air bags - an important safety feature that was an option in 2004.

But first look over the car carefully yourself. Check the body closely, looking for dents, scratches and rust.

And check the tailpipe. This white steam is okay, but dark smoke is a sign of trouble.

Consumer Reports' research shows cars have gotten vastly more reliable. A well-maintained car should last 100,000 miles, even 200,000 without a major breakdown.


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