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.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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