Edmunds.com: Best Used Cars

In the market for a used car? Researchers at auto information Web site Edmunds.com have done the research for you with a new ranking of best used vehicles on the market. The team limited its search to cars originally sold between 2004 and 2009 and ranked cars based on reliability, safety and availability. (The more available, the better, since it means more competitive pricing and better value.)

Here are five fun picks from Edmunds.com's list of "2011 Used Car Best Bets."

2004-2009 Hyundai Elantra

The compact Hyundai Elantra has gone through two redesigns since 2001 and boasts higher-than-average crash test scores. The team likes the car's "peppy performance" and says it offers solid build quality, reliability and operating economy.

Photo credit: MSVG's photostream on Flickr


Next: Mazda Miata
2004-2009 Mazda Miata


If you want a used convertible, this is Edmunds' top pick. "With its communicative steering, ultra-responsive handling, an exuberant engine and a manual transmission with short, precise throws, Mazda's little two-seater wins over even those drivers who don't know a camshaft from a half shaft." The car also gets great mileage.

Photo credit: KingRobertII's photostream on Flickr
Next: Chevrolet Tahoe

2004-2009 Chevrolet Tahoe


This vehicle won best in class among large SUVs, thanks to its strong performance, spacious interior that can seat up to nine and what Edmunds describes as, "fairly nimble handling for such a bulky vehicle." The SUV was redesigned in 2007.

Photo credit: JLaw45's photostream on Flickr
Next: Toyota Prius

2004-2009 Toyota Prius

Edmunds prefers this second-generation Toyota Prius, which provides more ample passenger and cargo space. The hybrid's impressive fuel mileage in both the city and on the highway doesn't hurt, either.

Photo credit: BeigeAlert's photostream on Flickr

Next: Subaru Impreza


2004-2009 Subaru Impreza WRX


The best used car int the sport compact category, Edmunds describes the Subaru Impreza WRX as having a "spirited performance and fun-loving personality." But it's not just fun and games. The car also offers ensures a smooth ride over rough terrain and bad weather.

Photo credit Jami3.org's photostream on Flickr
More on MoneyWatch: