By on April 12, 2012


The automotive world is infested with lists and rankings.

The 10 Best Here. The 10 Most There.  Sometimes you may even find a 10 Least or a 10 Greatest. The range of expertise for such rancor can vary from truly knowledgable souls to borderline literary dope pushers with monetary agendas.

Personally, I enjoy the mental exercise. When you look at 20,000+ vehicles going through the lanes at the auto auctions every year for well over a decade, ranking becomes part of your work.  The same is true for folks in traffic.  Or those who take strolls through our streets. Or our junkyards.

Since every publication in the car business offers some type of “Best Car!” article,  we here at TTAC have decided to do our own…

with your help.

When it comes to used cars, who is to say that the 2008 Lincoln Town Car offers, “The Best Luxury Ride For Those Who Miss The Ocean.” Or that the 2002 Kia Sportage is, “The Best Kia Ever Made… Before Hyundai Took Over.”

You for starters. So here’s the game.  Help us develop a true “Best Used Cars” list for the car buying public.

Categories? Why only the best will do of course!. Although you can always do subcompact, compact, midsized, yadda yadda… try to be a bit creative.

“The Best Pre-Bankruptcy Subcompact Sold By GM, Beginning With The Letter A!”

may be a bit funny… perhaps too specific… while…

“The Best European Luxury Car, For Bankrupting Their Next Owner.”

Is far more broad and debatable. By the way, my choice for that honor would be a 2005 Jaguar S-Type R.  (Editor’s Note: I’m tired of picking Maseratis for this honor.)

The contributor who makes the most compelling and hilarious submission will receive a free issue of “Hot Rod” magazine dated February 1957.  Try to explain why you made the choice you did, and may the “Best Car For Using The Force” be with you.



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100 Comments on “Hammer Time: The Best Used Cars! Or Not…...”

  • avatar

    Best Sports Car for Inciting Both Total Adoration And Total Rage From Competing Fanboi Camps On YouTube Comments: Mazda RX-8

  • avatar

    “Best vehicle with an oddly self-aware name”:
    Toyota Sequoia
    Over $12K honorable mention: Nissan Armada

    Reason: Although most big SUVs are named after travel, locations, or some other adventure word, Toyota’s tied-for-biggest SUV is named for a giant tree. Nissan’s biggest SUV is named after a naval fleet.

  • avatar

    Best car: Late 1990s/early 2000s GM H bodies with 3800 engine.

    • 0 avatar

      Second that. I’ve got a ’99 LeSabre with the 3800 Series II with 130k on the clock that I’ve been driving since 50k, and all it has required is fuel, oil changes, the serpentine belt replaced at 100k, and a set of tires. Everything electrical works, and the engine is as understressed as they come. Thanks to this ugly FWD beast, with its atrocious interior, AM/FM/Cassette, and Model T suspension, I’ll be buying my next vehicle with cash. The Buick’s getting handed over to my 19yr old so he can destroy it properly at college. And I’m a lucky man – he’s actually looking forward to the old boat being his car.

  • avatar

    “Best car for confusing your local DMV/Registry”

    My vote is for the 1993 Asüna Sunfire

    First I’d like to see them enter ü character into the system. Followed by asking what the heck is an Asüna. Then topped with an argument with them trying to convince you that you really have a Pontiac Sunfire of some type.

    Here is the car in question for those who don’t know. It was sold in Canada only. Think Isuzu Impulse.

  • avatar

    Best used car for out-dragging a vintage Ferrari 308: 2002 Toyota Camry V-6

  • avatar

    I sorely miss the TTAC’s old TW4T awards, which was exactly this.

    I also miss the podcasts, while we’re at it.

  • avatar

    It’s pretty easy to dispute that the “2005 Kia Optima LX is, “The Best Kia Ever Made… Before Hyundai Took Over.”
    It was made AFTER Hyundai took over, on a Hyundai platform.

  • avatar

    Bestest conveyance to placate a curmudgeon of the Disgruntled Old Coot variety:

    Late 1960s Dodge Dart

    2nd place: 1970-1972 Plymouth Duster

    any engine-type acceptable.

  • avatar

    The best of the best cancelled production vehicles.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    The 10-best diesel wagons with manual transmissions?

  • avatar

    The 10 best cars which make you look suspiciously like a drug dealer.

    1. 2005-2010 Chrysler 300 with billet wheels, aftermarket grill and blacked out windows.
    2. 2002- Range Rover in white, with billet wheels and blacked out windows.

  • avatar

    The best used car to get a low price on? A brown one!

  • avatar

    “Lincoln Tow Car” as the picture states seems somehow appropriate…

    I don’t agree with the Mercedes. Once they’re out of warranty, the service and repair costs can ruin all but the most liberal budgets and Mercedes don’t have the “unbreakable” reputation any more. It’s similar to the flood of BMWs that appear on the market when the four years of free service runs out.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    How bout “Best Engine Given To The Least Likely Customer Demographic To Ever Use Its Full Potential And Kept In Production Far Too Long Despite Fatal Flaws”… (BEGTTLLCDTEUIFPAKIPFTLDFF) And the award goes to…

    The entire Northstar Engine Family from 1992 – 2010!

  • avatar

    Five best Grandpa cars that are secretly awesome:

    1. Chevrolet Caprice (5.7L)
    2. Buick Roadmonster Wagon
    3. Buick Park Avenue (supercharged)
    4. Any well kept Panther Platform car, 2003 or newer
    5. […]

  • avatar

    Here’s another:

    The best vehicles never made!

    (I just checked this only to find that there are already numerous lists out there about this…)

  • avatar

    Mazda Protege 5: Honest to goodness the best practical go-kart money can buy……as long as you dont mind a spot of rust as an accent color.

  • avatar

    Ten Best Cars for demonstrating that rationality played absolutely no part in your vehicle-selection process:

    1. BMW X3
    2. BMW X5
    3. Hummer, H2 or 3
    4. Mercedes M-class
    5. Mercedes GL class
    6. Lexus GX series
    7. Cadillac Escalade EXT
    8. Lincoln Blackwood/LT
    9. Infiniti QX56
    10. […]

  • avatar

    The best vehicle for those with more money than sense….

  • avatar

    Best luxury vehicle for those avoiding exes, process servers, or paparazzi:

    2005+ Acura RL

    • 0 avatar

      Any pre-beak RL meets that description, but let’s be honest, if it’s “I am not interesting” you’re after, there’s always the Toyota Corolla.

  • avatar

    Best used car for making your neighbors think you’re a celebrity or billionaire *(provided they never go inside or look under the hood): Mercedes G-Class. They’ve been made for 33 or so years, so you can buy a well-used military-spec one, take it to Maaco, put some wheels from a newer one on, go to Pep Boys and buy some tacky chrome trim (and LED strips if you’re serious about simulating a 2013!), buy some “Kompressor” badges from eBay, and presto!

  • avatar

    Ah dang, I just bought an XJR. I figure once I go completely crazy I’ll trade it on a quattroporte in need of a timing belt.

  • avatar

    Best example of a major car maker showing it knows how to build exciting new cars? Honda NSX. Best example of a car maker that has lost its way? Advertising the new NSX in mass market media when the car is: 1) a limited production “halo” car; and 2) is 3 years away from production

  • avatar

    Best small truck whose badges will keep spelling dictionary words even as the letters continue to fall off with old age:

  • avatar

    Best CUV to deliver fresh corpses to a hot dog plant?

  • avatar
    Matt Fink

    The Worst Car Your Girlfriend at the Time Drove

    My 16 year old girl friend in high school had a… Ford EXCURSION!

  • avatar

    The best “Budget & Green” Small Car (or Fuel Sipper) under $20K to tie IKEA flatpack furniture on the roof using white string and carry four small children in the rear seat…

  • avatar

    The lowest True Cost of Ownership for a hatchback with a bicycle mounted on the roof that is driven into a multi-level parking garage.

    Hint: It’s not the Mark V GTI. Trust me.

  • avatar

    My best based solely on the name – the Dodge Charger Daytona Turbo Z. How cool is that? A good friend just gave his away because he couldn’t sell it.

  • avatar

    Best smog exempt car to keep running until the end of time as a daily driver.

    Plymouth Valiant Wagon?
    76 Cadillac?
    65 mustang?

  • avatar

    Best car to solicit comments from a casual car guys that you are mistaken about the size of the engine in your car: Anything with a GM 3.3 V-6 (’89-’93)

    Best car for those that like to jump into things too early: 2010 V-6 Ford Mustang

    Best car for those insisting they want to replace their Buick Skylark with something ‘a little sporty’: Corolla S

    Best car for those who want to give the wrong impression to people when they say they drive a Scion: Scion xA

  • avatar

    Car with the worst seats: Any pre 2005 Mitsubishi excluding Evos

    • 0 avatar

      Also, the Crapalier – I mean Cavalier and Sunfire.

      Though they are comparable to a certain ubiquitous pest insect, but I can’t name which one without paying a royalty to “Geozinger”…

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Lots of good submissions so far. Three of the leaders at this point are…


    The night is still… well… middle-aged. So feel free to keep posting.

  • avatar

    Best Dead Car Companies

    • 0 avatar

      Dead after November of 2008

    • 0 avatar

      Saab. Yeah, I know, but lets be honest, they’ve been Dawn of the Dead material since the 99.

      Sure, they twitch and moan and can occasionally pull off something exciting and terrifying, but there’s been no brain activity for a loooong time and are no danger to anyone who isn’t criminally, Darwinically stupid (eg, like General Motors)

  • avatar

    The Teutonic vehicle 2nd most likely, Volkswagen is 1st by default, to need a new wiring harness at 100,000km.

    Why? Because EVERYONE and I do mean EVERYONE I know who has owned one of these overrated, overpriced pieces of junk has ended up playing electrical system whack-a-mole from 100km on until they trade it in (for pennies on the dollar) or sell it to some rube who they hope won’t come back and poison their dog.

    The Teutonic vehicle most likely to make you a winner on ‘A Minute to Win It’ if the contest involves changing a blown light bulb.

    Why? Because the one time I had the misfortune to buy a Benz I stocked the console with 4 types of bulbs and got so good at changing them I could do it at a red light without getting honked at (no, I am not colouring my story).

    The Teutonic dealership experience most likely to find you standing in front of a judge pleading ‘No Contest’.

    Why? Because, seriously, has anyone had an experience that suggests they give a damn?

    The British luxury car maker most likely to prove that your ratio of money to brains is close to infinite.

    Why this category? Toronto.

  • avatar
    Volts On Fire

    Best vehicle to flaunt your sub-500 beacon score: 2009-2012 Mitusbishi Galant, with three or fewer hubcaps still in place.

    Best vehicle to immediately notify bystanders they are in the presence of a complete f*****g imbecile (White Trash category): Fifth-generation Camaro

    Best vehicle to immediately notify bystanders they are in the presence of a complete f*****g imbecile (New Money category): Volt, duh

    Best vehicle that even I can’t really say anything bad about just because it’s so damn competent: 2006-2012 Impala

    Most flagrant failure to identify a current vehicle’s strengths, and not go ridiculously overboard with the redesigned model: 1996 Taurus/2013 Impala (tie)

  • avatar

    The best car killed off after finally getting it right….Pontiac Fiero V-6

  • avatar

    Best cars made horrible by redesign? I don’t really have an answer, but I’ve seen about 1,000 TTAC reader posts on the subject.
    Best model name sullied be sticking it on a totally different car? Mustang/Mustang II, GTO, Cutlass, too many to count.

  • avatar

    best model of used car according to me is 2012 Ford Mustang GT
    when i was searching the best model of used car, i got this site, here you will get thousand of options of used cars at affordable prices..really its great site….

  • avatar

    Best sleeper car at the rental agency:

    Dodge Avenger/Chrylser 200 with 283 Hp V6. Can you say Camry V6 beater. With break in miles in place these things are 0-60 in 5.5-5.6 second cars. Everybody who raced us in our rental Avenger V6 lost including said 2010 Camry XLE V6 with a hyper kid behind the wheel that thought he could take us.

  • avatar

    Most Fun Car That Is Also Most Likely To Bring Your Sexuality Into Question For No Actual Reason: Mazda MX-5/ Mini Cooper S (Tie)

    Best Dealer Profit Margin: Suburban LTZ

    Car Most Likely To Beat Your Civic Si Off A Stoplight So Badly You Sell It And Buy A WRX Because “HOW DID I GET SMOKED BY A RENTAL CAR?”: 2012 Impala LS with 3.6L 24v V6

    Best PT Cruiser That Isn’t a PT Cruiser: Chevrolet HHR

    Best Automotive Impersonation Of A Dog Defecating: Chrysler Crossfire Coupe

    Most Disappointing Successor Award: Nissan Sentra SE-R, 2009+ Mazda 6, Ford Thunderbird

    Hottest Car Of The Year (Literally) Award: Ferrari 458 Italia, and Chevy Volt After Being T-Boned at 50mph and Parked For Two Weeks In Your Garage (tie)

    Least Appropriately Named Vehicle Award: Dodge Sprinter, Ford Aspire, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mini Countryman

    Proctologist’s Car Of The Year (1993 Edition): Ford Probe

  • avatar

    Great writing as always Steve. I guess your following will learn “the truth about steve in Atlanta very soon!!

  • avatar

    #1 car in Mendocino county before the folks from the cities moved up there. Mostly found on back roads and muddy tracks. 77 to 91 Subaru DL/GL preferably with rust, mushrooms growing out of the floor, smelling of musky wet dog and skunky pot.

    #2 Car in Mendocino county driven by the locals before the yuppies moved in. Any Volvo that was made before 1989. Must have rust, and preferably is a pre 1973 model.

    #3 Car … see above SAAB 900

    #4 Car …. See Above BMW 2002

    #5 …

    #1 car that everyone has owned, or known someone that has owned one.. 3rd generation Honda Accord.

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