10 Best CPO Cars under $25,000

Certified pre-owned cars offer a lot of bang for your buck

If you can put together $25,000 you can choose from among a very enviable array of cars this year from our Driving Today list of the 10 Best CPO Cars under $25K. Included on the list are some luxury sedans, a luxury coupe, a thrifty hybrid model and several tried-and-true large sedans that offer plenty of comfort. Also on the list are a domestic sports coupe with heritage dating back to the Sixties and even a legendary two-seat sports car. Of course, by buying a certified pre-owned car you’ll get a warranty similar to a new car at the price of a used vehicle. So take a look.

  1. 2017 Toyota Camry

Fair warning: Toyota completely changed its popular Camry five-passenger sedan for the 2018 model year. But even so, we think the 2017 version as a certified pre-owned car is an excellent value, so excellent that we picked it as number one on this list. For less than $25,000 you can get one of the most reliable sedans on the planet in at least a mid-level trim and equipped with some nice options. While the Camry is reasonably equipped as a base model, it’s even nicer with some added amenities like remote entry, dual-zone climate control and power-adjustable seats. Though a V6 is available, we suggest the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine for its rugged economy.

  1. 2015 Acura RLX

The Acura RLX offers subtle style, substantial comfort and a high degree of exclusivity. Frankly, Acura would prefer that the RLX were not so exclusive, because sales of the luxury sedan have never taken off, but you can benefit by buying a certified pre-owned example chockfull of great stuff. Even the base-level RLX boasts 18-inch alloy wheels, remote entry, pushbutton ignition, LED headlamps, sunroof, heated power-adjustable front seats, backup camera system and three-zone automatic climate control. Careful shopping might net you an uplevel version with goodies like an 8-inch touchscreen. With plenty of power on tap from its 310-horsepower V6, the RLX is a pleasant surprise at less than $25K.

  1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz completely redesigned the C-Class for 2015 with the understanding that it was no longer its lowest-priced car in North America, so the 2014 C-Class is filled with upscale amenities in anticipation of the change. The C250, for example, is equipped with a wide variety of comfort, convenience and safety features. Included among the electronic safety features are anti-lock (ABS) braking, electronic stability control and brake assist. The 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivers 201 horsepower, so acceleration and passing are never a problem. Of course, Mercedes-Benz also offers more expensive versions of the C-Class, but we think the 2014 C250 is a genuine bargain.

  1. 2017 Kia Cadenza

A high level of equipment is one of the Kia brand’s hallmarks, which means the five-passenger Cadenza sedan has bells-and-whistles galore. The 3.3-liter V6 engine delivers 293 horsepower, which is more than enough to haul around the scads of good stuff like an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, universal garage door opener and real wood interior accents. Climate control, heated power-operated seats, leather upholstery and tilt/telescoping steering wheel make the sizable Cadenza’s interior a very pleasant place to be. Shopping a bit might help you land some optional equipment like collision-mitigation system and rear-parking camera system.

  1. 2016 Toyota Avalon

If you want a large sedan whose demeanor skews toward comfort, the 2016 Toyota Avalon is a CPO car superstar. If it weren’t for the Toyota badge you’d mistake it for a big luxury sedan, because it is stuffed with thoughtful features. Even the base model features seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with Entune interface and voice command, Bluetooth/iPod integration, parking camera system and eight-speaker audio system. On the comfort and convenience list are heated power-operated side mirrors, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, heated power-adjustable seating, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery. Behind the wheel you won’t mistake the Avalon for a BMW 5-Series, but the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine makes the driving experience very pleasant.

  1. 2015 Infiniti Q60

While some might call the Infiniti Q60 Coupe a four-passenger vehicle, we think it is a classic 2+2 with the front-seat passengers getting much the better of the experience. In fact, for those up front the experience is blatantly luxurious — remote entry and start, dual-zone climate control, heated power-adjustable front seats, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment complete with Bluetooth/iPod/USB integration, HD and satellite radio, and six-speaker audio. On top of that the Q60 is a dramatically styled car that will separate you from the sea of crossovers on the highway. Ride comfort is excellent yet this is classy coupe can take advantage of the 330 horsepower whirring from its 3.7-liter V6 engine.

  1. 2017 Toyota Prius V

Station wagons have declined in popularity as consumers switched to SUVs, minivans and crossovers, but the station wagon is still a very useful vehicle type. Case in point is the Toyota Prius V, a compact wagon that seats five and offers more versatility than the venerable Prius hatchback. Of course, fuel economy is the Prius’s calling card, and the Prius V delivers EPA fuel economy estimates of 43 miles per gallon (mpg) city and 39 mpg highway. There was a time all Prius models were very Spartan, but these days the Prius V offers a good assortment of standard equipment – remote start, parking camera system and six-speaker sound – plus a variety of upscale options.

  1. 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata

We can virtually guarantee that the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata will give you far more than $25,000 worth of fun, while also proving to be a reliable driving machine for years to come. The Miata recalls the great (and not-so-great) two-seat sports cars of the distant past while offering at least a smattering of modern amenities like push-button ignition and Bluetooth/USB integration in the sound system. Yes, the soft-top is manually operated, but it is light enough to be raised with one hand. The real delight comes when you drive the car. The 155-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine won’t blow anyone’s doors off, but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t care.

  1. 2017 Nissan Maxima

The Nissan Maxima isn’t as popular as it once was, so Nissan has added additional amenities to up its value-quotient in these crossover-dominated times. With plenty of room for five, the Maxima is filled with valuable features — alloy wheels, fog lamps, automatically activated headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seating, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with Bluetooth/iPod/USB integration and eight-speaker audio system. Under the hood is a well-regarded 3.5-liter V6 whose 300 horsepower make clear that the Maxima is not ready to give up its title as “the four-door sports car.”

  1. 2017 Chevrolet Camaro

Okay, the Chevrolet Camaro isn’t the most practical car on the planet. It does have four seats, but the rear seats are almost purely for show, though you can fold one adult back there for short trips. But that isn’t the point. The point, instead, is driving enjoyment for two, and the Camaro delivers that very well. For $25K you can have your choice of the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine or the 3.6-liter V6. The 4-cylinder offers more torque and better fuel economy. The V6 delivers more horsepower. Fact is either version will deliver tons of fun, and the icing on the cake is Chevy’s MyLink infotainment interface, one of the best in the business.

by the Editors of Driving Today

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About Tom Ripley 54 Articles
Born in Boston, Tom Ripley has been writing about the automotive industry and the human condition for more than a decade. He's a frequent traveller but nominally resides in Villeperce, France.