The Best Used Cars to Buy for Short Commutes

If you’re lucky enough to have a short commute to work, then you need to consider different factors when buying a used car than someone with a lengthier drive (or more time stuck in traffic). Chances are good that while fuel economy matters, it’s not that important. You’re probably more concerned with size, handling and the like. We’ve assembled a list of the top five cars for short commutes below.

  • Toyota Prius: The undisputed champ of the hybrid category, the Toyota Prius manages to combine good looks with outstanding fuel economy and decent handling. You’ll get 51 mpg in town, which means you might only have to fill the tank once every couple of weeks. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor also produce a respectable 134 hp, so it’s quicker than you might assume. Of course, it’s small, so getting in and out of city traffic is no big deal.

  • Honda Insight: The Insight has actually been on the market longer than the Prius, but it hasn’t gained quite the same widespread adoption by drivers. It offers 48 mpg in the city and 58 mpg on the road, and it’s pretty nimble as well. The small size also makes it a great choice for tight urban roadways and parking spaces.

  • Buick Encore: The Encore is a super-compact SUV that measures even smaller than the Ford Escape. It’s actually only a few inches longer than the Versa Note, and manages to deliver 23/25 mpg. There’s a decent amount of cargo space so urban road warriors can carry their luggage or gear with ease, too. The high seating position also means that you get a commanding view of your surroundings.

  • Scion iQ: Looking for something small, compact and yet very drivable? The Scion iQ might be the answer. It shares the boxy style of other Scion models, combined with Toyota’s legendary reliability. It also delivers an average 36 mpg and can take very tight turns, making it one of the best-suited cars to be your in-town runabout.

  • Smart Fortwo: Yes, the Fortwo has been around for a while and it’s racked up both praise and criticism. It still makes a decent car for anyone with a short commute, particularly if you don’t need to carry any passengers. It offers 33/41 mpg, and it’s one of the nimblest little cars on this list, making turns and parking in urban environments a cinch.

Whether you need an SUV or an ultra-compact model, there’s a used car out there perfect for your needs.


Next Step

Schedule Pre-purchase Car Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Pre-purchase Car Inspection. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Pre-purchase Car Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(4,969)

Rating Summary
4,638
179
36
38
78
4,638
179
36
38
78

Chris

22 years of experience
2086 reviews
Chris
22 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 L4-2.4L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Irvine, California
Very pleased with the communication. Had a late appt book but Chris called and was able to come much earlier to do a Pre Purchase inspection. He called right after to verbally share the inspection report and it was consistent to what he stated on the online report. Overall great experience. Very professional and satisfied with the service we asked for. Thank you!
Audi RS5 Sportback - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Menifee, California
Good communication before and after appointment. Called shortly after the appt and talked through his review. Much appreciated.

Miguel

21 years of experience
203 reviews
Miguel
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-2.0L Turbo - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Teterboro, New Jersey
I booked a pre-purchase inspection through YourMechanic.com and Miguel Medina did the inspection. Miguel was very thorough and professional and answered all of my specific questions promptly and completely. I am completely satisfied with Miguel's service and advice and with the YourMechanic.com service.
Infiniti G35 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Totowa, New Jersey
Miguel is professional he arrived to the appointment early and did a through inspection of the vehicle we are interested in purchasing.

Victor

35 years of experience
192 reviews
Victor
35 years of experience
Ford Fiesta L4-1.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Victor showed up right on time. He was very polite and very knowledgeable. Excellent first time experience using yourmechanic.com.

Chris

18 years of experience
447 reviews
Chris
18 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.4L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Richardson, Texas
Very, very thorough and reliable! I feel much safer knowing that a true professional with tremendous attention to detail gave my car a pre-purchase inspection that brought to my awareness all sorts of issues I would never have otherwise addressed. You won't believe how many things you'll realize you need to fix! I'll most definitely have Chris have my other cars looked at as well.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Understanding the Honda Maintenance Minder System and Lights
Car symbols, or dashboard lights, are a car service reminder. The Honda Maintenance Minder codes indicate when and what service your car needs.
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You're On a Budget
If If you’re on a budget and need to purchase a car it can feel as though it’s slim pickings. Thankfully, there are plenty of great options available even to those on a tight budget. Let’s take a look. The...
How to Effectively Deal With a Car Salesman
When it comes to buying a new or used car, some car salesmen and women like to use high-pressure tactics to make their sales. Their job is to get as much money as they can for the vehicles they sell,...

Related questions

Car won't start sometimes

The vehicle and engine would decide on the actual cost to repair the problems. The no start may be more than a battery or starter. I recommend having a pre-purchase inspection done on the car to ensure that the correct...

How do I put on a seat belt correctly?

Wearing a seat belt can save lives, but only if it’s put on correctly. Otherwise, it can be dangerous in an accident. Pull the shoulder belt forward so that it extends over the shoulder but not touching the neck....

Car won,t start.

You mention the car being "parked". If, by chance, the car has sat unused for "months", the gasoline in the tank is usually bad and that alone will cause a no start condition. In a scenario such as that, the...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com