Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Best used AWD car for under 10K

I currently hve a 2012 VW Jetta 2.0(Slow) 115 horse power 125 torque. I live in the New Engalnd area so im looking for a more sporty, awd, manual transmission reliable used car brand. I’ve always liked the look of Audi but every is trlling me to get a suburu wrx specifically. Im not stuck on these two specific cars but thats all i see out here. I’m looking for Speed, Reliability, AWD, and w/ a Manual Transmission. Any recommendations?

The best used car–AWD or not–for under $10k will be one whose maintenance you can verify through hard copies of maintenance records, and that is inspected prior to purchase by your own mechanic and given a clean bill of health.

With AWD vehicles, one of the most important things to beware of are vehicles whose tires are not “matched” as to brand, size, and amount of tread wear. Seeing precisely-matched tires on the car at the time of purchase should help to reassure you that the center viscous coupler isn’t about to self-destruct, but–unfortunately–if the car had mismatched tires at any time in the past you would not be aware of it, and the AWD system could be like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in your wallet.

I am now driving my third Subaru, and this marque has been the most reliable one that I have ever owned, and that means that my Subarus have been more reliable and more durable than my Honda, my Ford, my VW, my Chevy, or my Dodge. However, I maintain my cars better than the mfr specifies. With any AWD vehicle–obviously including Subarus–sloppy maintenance and failure to rotate tires on a consistent basis can easily turn a historically-reliable vehicle into a money pit.

Either an Audi OR a Subaru will work but I’d be concerned a $10K Audi would be more worn and need more expensive $ervice than the Subi. And not cheap service, Audi dealer $ervice.

That said, make sure that Subaru was owned by someone who didn’t know its performance potential. I.e. the “little old lady” car. In my experience these cars tend to be babied or hooned to within an inch of their life. No in-betweens.

In my neck of the woods, it seems that most owners of WRX models are younger guys who are of the pedal to the metal variety. Personally, I would not want to be the second or third owner of a “hot” vehicle that was frequently driven like a race car.

I would advise the OP to avoid used WRX and STI models.

1 Like

Road and Track puts the Jetta 0 to 60 at 6.8 seconds. They put the WRX at 0 to 60 at 5 seconds. In every day driving that just does not seem like a big deal to me. On a daily basis how many times are you going full throttle anyway?

As for AWD, new I might but purchasing used not something I would do.

If you find that underpowered, then you want a lot more than you can get for $10k. And if you push your cars to the limit, you need to budget a lot for repairs.

Speed, reliability and AWD don’t go hand in hand. AWD and 4WD will always have more repairs than 2WD. Power and reliability are inversely proportional.

115 Horse power 125 Torque… 0-60 in 12.3 seconds. That’s fast to you?

it’s adequate. No need for any more.

Someone in another thread from Montana recently posted he liked bought a Volvo XC70 AWD for winter driving and liked it.

Have you tried pushing the accelerator pedal all the way down?

I owned 5 Subarus before, 2 of them from new, all were very economical on maintenance and were not of any disappointment.

Before buying my first Subaru, initially I wanted to get a Volvo wagon, V70 or XC70 and somehow in the price range of “under 5K” I had for myself at the time, all Volvos were beaten to the ground. I do not want to tell Volvo is a bad maker, but on my search I was unlucky to see only such clunkers. In the end, I bought 8-years old / 115K miles 2.2 Legacy Wagon, where dealer asking price was something around 6K, but final one was in the range of 4K, took me around $500 in parts plus my labor to get it running very nicely. Sold this car at mileage of 165K for $5K - it was the only car I ever sold for more than I spent on it :slight_smile:

My next 2 used Subies were both in “under $10K” range, much newer and better state, one for me, one for my wife, both were good reliable vehicles, we ended up trading for new Outback and Impreza later.

I loved this brand, so if not my back not getting along with Impreza seats and me not liking new Outback seats, I would buy the 6th one for sure.

1 Like