Which Used Sedans Have the Best Value?

August 11th, 2023 by

A blue 2018 Chevy Volt is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has cheap used cars for sale.

A good value is a great thing, but the best value is the best thing. Value comes in all shapes and sizes, but today, value comes in the shape of four wheels, seats, and a steering wheel—you get the idea.

We here at McCluskey Chevrolet have come up with a list for those looking for cheap used cars for sale, cherrypicking a handful of the most affordable sedans on the market that’ll get you the best value for every dollar. If you’re on a budget, there are many reasons why you should consider a sedan—one being efficiency. Many sedans are also full of features and amenities that boost comfort and make a commute feel like you’re still relaxing in bed on your way to your job.

Some of the sedans we’ve selected here include the Volt, Versa, Fusion, Malibu, and Leaf. This is a decent spread ranging from all corners of the globe, so the question is, which of these used sedans offers the best value? Keep in mind that a vehicle that intrigues one person might not intrigue you, and vice versa; this means that, out of the list of sedans we mention here, if nothing catches your eye at first, something comparable just might. Narrowing down our choices wasn’t easy, but we believe these models are the best places for prospective buyers to start.

The Chevy Volt

There are two reasons why we recommend the Chevy Volt to customers looking for a cost-effective sedan. Firstly, the Chevy Volt is a money-saving machine because its hybrid powertrain will keep you on the road for longer than its contemporaries. Secondly, the Chevy Volt is no longer in production, which may sound like a bad thing, but if you’re hoping to save some money on the used market, this means you’ll be saving a ton of money since the last of its kind was the 2019 Volt.

What makes a hybrid like the Volt tick is a gasoline-powered engine matched with a battery, but the Volt features a plug-in battery; this means the battery is refueled separately, and thus you can travel solely on electricity if you want, which is a great way to save money if you’re driving down the street to the store before returning home and plugging the vehicle back in. With the 2019 Volt, for example, you can travel 53 miles exclusively on electricity—but combined with the fuel-efficient 1.5L I-4 engine, the Volt can usher you for 420 miles before needing a charge and a top-off.

The Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is another great sedan you should consider if you’re looking for a less-costly vehicle. The Versa has been in active development since the release of the 2007 model, and by this point, it’s a staple in Nissan’s lineup for its low starting price. What it lacks in sheer raw power, it makes up for with stellar fuel efficiency. We can’t understate how competitively the Versa is priced as the 2023 model starts under $16k, so pre-owned models can easily be found under $10k.

The Versa isn’t shy of features either: the 2019 Versa added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on models with the SV Special Edition Package, and models like the 2020 Versa onwards include a hearty amount of advanced safety features at no extra cost, like Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, and more. Your Nissan Versa may also have Nissan Safety Shield 360 if you want more safety features. Of all the vehicles on the market today, the Versa is one of the best per-dollar values.

A red 2020 Ford Fusion is shown from the front at an angle.

The Ford Fusion

Ford’s repertoire of vehicles is legendary; whether you’re driving a new or used one, there’s nothing like a Ford. The Ford Fusion is like the aforementioned Chevy Volt in a few ways: it’s no longer in production, it’s fairly priced, and there’s a plug-in hybrid variant. There’s also a regular hybrid variant of the Fusion, but the regular models will net you something else, like a turbocharged or regular I-4 engine.

The 2020 Ford Fusion was the last Fusion model before Ford discontinued it, and its performance is always great for its price. A 2.5L I-4 engine comes standard on all Fusions as far back as the 2014 model, which generated 175 hp. You can also find a great deal on Ford Fusion models with something more powerful, like the turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine, and the 2019 and 2020 Fusion models include the coveted Ford Co-Pilot360 safety suite, which makes them more like the most recent Ford models from a safety-feature perspective.

The Chevy Malibu

With the Chevy Malibu, you’ll be driving one of the most recognizable namesakes in Chevy’s lineup dating back to the 1960s—albeit the sedan we know it as now was rechristened for the 1997 model year. The Chevy Malibu has the distinction of being Chevy’s only sedan. At the same time, the rest of its lineup includes performance cars like the Camaro and Corvette, SUVs like the Trax, Blazer, Trailblazer, and Suburban, trucks like the Colorado, Silverado, or Silverado HD, or Chevy’s latest selection of electric vehicles—so the Malibu stands out among them.

You can save money by purchasing models like the 2016 Malibu, and it not only performs on par with the latest Malibu model, but you can outperform it too with a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine that’s not available on the newest Malibu. This means older Malibu models can cost less than more recent models, and the 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque it can produce are on a different level than the 163 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque the 2024 model outputs at most.

A red 2019 Chevy Malibu RS is shown from the front at an angle.

The Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF is one of the more technologically sound of the bunch, and that’s because Nissan is one of the leaders in automotive tech. For its EVs—like the Nissan LEAF—there are fascinating ways to save money while driving. An example of this is the e-Pedal, which—of all on this list—is the feature that most changes the fundamentals of how driving a vehicle feels.

Here’s how it works: if the e-Pedal is activated and your foot isn’t on any pedal, your vehicle will stay in place, but once you begin to push your foot on the accelerator pedal, the vehicle will begin to gain speed smoothly; instead of pushing on a brake pedal to stop the LEAF, you will raise your foot off the pedal. A simpler explanation is that the Nissan e-Pedal technology allows you to drive with only one foot on one pedal—and it gets better: using the e-Pedal will save you money because, when the vehicle stops as you lift your foot off the pedal, energy from the brakes is transported to a regenerative motor and will renew the energy stores.

Pick Your Car and Make It Happen

We’ve spoken about five fantastic values in the pre-owned market, so for drivers who want a vehicle with more modern conveniences but at a fraction of newer vehicles’ prices, these five sedans are all marvelous. However, five vehicles are only the beginning, so you should always keep an open mind when shopping at a dealership—especially if their lot is jam-packed with popular automobiles at discount prices.

A great option to start with would be one of the five vehicles mentioned above: the Volt, Versa, Fusion, Malibu, and LEAF. Perhaps take them for a test drive—and then go from there with the exciting selection of pre-owned sedans you’ll find at McCluskey Chevrolet.