The Best Used Family Cars With Minimal Maintenance Cost: Top Picks for Budget-Friendly Rides

Are you looking for a used best family car that won’t break the bank with maintenance costs? You’ve come to the right place.

Car driver woman
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

We’ve examined some of the best pre-owned family cars with a focus on low maintenance expenses and safety ratings just for you.

This article highlights vital facts and features that make these vehicles a must-have – reliable, budget-friendly, with decent gas mileage, and brands proven as the best cars for you and your loved ones.

With plenty of spacious, feature-filled options, rest assured your family will ride comfortably while your wallet remains happy. YES. You can’t go wrong with these top lists as you go car buying.

Top Used Family Cars

Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is undoubtedly one of the much-loved family car models on the market. It is designed with two-row seats to contain five people easily, so it is an excellent choice for families looking for a reliable, fuel-efficient sedan. Amazingly, you can run on an average of 22 MPG in the city and 31-33 MPG highway.

With its comfortable ride and roomy interior – an average of 97-100 cubic feet depending on the model year – you and your family will love the long-lasting durability of this car, proven as one of the top family sedans.

The Camry is known for its minimal maintenance costs, making it an affordable option for those on a budget.

Do you have a toddler you want to take along outdoors? The Camry has ample space to easily fit in a car seat on either side of the rear seat for your adorable baby.

Have you seen the 2022 and 2023 Toyota Camry? All the mentioned beauties, including safety, inside space (with roomy front and second-row passenger areas), and variable transmission performance features, are much improved; even the new exterior color is loved by many families!

Honda Accord

You’ll find a solid reputation for reliability and a stylish design when considering the Accord. Its excellent fuel economy and comfortable interior make it a perfect choice for your family sedan.

Known for its low maintenance costs, the Accord will keep you and your loved ones worry-free on the road. The good news, the 2023 Honda line has taken all benefits derived from Accord models to a new high.

However, while we admit a station wagon provides more cargo for family outdoors, we recommend against buying a used Accord wagon as it has long been discontinued.

For lovers of battery-powered cars, the Honda Plugin Hybrid model should meet all requirements for your family vacation; unfortunately, it is unsuitable for a long trip. Instead, consider Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), generally known as electric cars, for long trips within your city.

Subaru Outback

The Outback offers a unique blend of car-like handling and SUV capability. Its all-wheel drive system, spacious cargo area, and well-organized center console make it perfect for family adventures.

With a reputation for longevity and low maintenance costs, the Outback is ideal for those seeking a family vehicle that can handle off-road adventures with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

And, with a bit more investment, a used 2023 Subaru, with a generous 32.6 cu ft, will deliver more longevity and engine performance, all within an impressive 23 MPG / 26 MPG city and 30 MPG highway.

However, you may want smaller dimensions but bigger inside to contain baby car seats. Subaru Forester is highly recommended in that case, or a smaller interior Ford Bronco provides better site viewing via its large windows.

Toyota RAV4

Regarding compact SUVs, the Toyota RAV4 stands out with its reputation for reliability and minimal maintenance costs.

The roomy inside and versatile cargo area make it a practical choice for families, while its fuel-efficient engine keeps your wallet in mind.

As well as having a plethora of pleasant color ranges, its dependable nature ensures you’ll have fewer worries and more fun on family road trips, especially the 2018, 2019, and 2023 versions.

We recommend cheaper but equally impressive competitors like Santa Fe with a third row of seats and the Nissan Rogue four-wheel drive option.

Honda CR-V

The CR-V is a compact SUV that offers comfort, space, and fuel efficiency and is highly heralded as a much-liked family car.

With a reputation for reliability and low maintenance costs, you’ll find the CRV model an intelligent choice for families needing a practical yet stylish vehicle.

The CR-V’s versatile cargo area can easily accommodate your family’s belongings while providing a cozy ride for everyone on board. If you desire a bigger SUV with more power and space, the Ford Expedition, a full-sized SUV with a larger middle seat, is right up your alley.

Hyundai Sonata

Lastly, the Hyundai Sonata offers a stylish, spacious cabin with many standard features. This midsize sedan is known for its reliability and low maintenance costs, making it an excellent choice for cost-conscious families.

Its fuel-saving and pleasant ride will make every drive enjoyable for you and your passengers. Even more, the 2023 Hyundai Sonata has an added performance worth every extra dollar, and the Sonata station wagon version is popular for camping.

If you prefer a weightier and costlier alternative, a close ally is the famous Dodge Charger, and many adventurous families love driving a Charger on a secured road track as it can go from 0 to 60 mph in a few seconds.

Budget-Friendly Options

When searching for reliable family automobiles with minimal maintenance costs, there are some budget-friendly options you should consider.

These vehicles offer an affordable purchase base price while requiring fewer repairs and routine maintenance, helping you save money in the long term.

This section looks at five popular budget-friendly options:

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is known for its affordability and reliability. With a solid build and fuel economy, you can expect the Corolla to have a lower ownership cost than other cars in the same category. Key features you’ll enjoy in a Toyota Corolla include:

  • High fuel-saving
  • A reputation for reliability
  • A comfortable cabin for your family

Honda Civic

Another excellent choice for a budget-friendly used household car is the Civic. With a history of outstanding fuel-efficient and a strong reputation for reliability, the Civic offers superb value for your money.

Some advantages of owning a Civic are:

  • Remarkable fuel economy
  • High resale value
  • Ample cargo hold for family needs if you choose the Civic Hatchback version

Toyota Yaris

Next up is the Toyota Yaris. This affordable subcompact car is known for its dependability, low running costs, and excellent fuel usage.

It also has a reputation for minimal maintenance requirements, making it an attractive option for families on a budget.

When you go for a Toyota Yaris, you can expect the following:

  • Minimal maintenance costs
  • Excellent energy-saving
  • A comfortable and easy-to-drive experience

Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is another budget-friendly option worth considering. This subcompact car is among the most affordable vehicles in its class, offering low maintenance costs and good fuel economy.

The Nissan Versa is an excellent option for families with its spacious cabin and ample trunk space. Features of the Nissan Versa include:

  • Affordability
  • Good fuel-efficient
  • Big interior for its class

Mitsubishi Mirage

Lastly, the Mitsubishi Mirage offers a low purchase base price and similarly low maintenance costs. While the Mirage may not be as feature-rich as some competitors, it provides the essentials for a car.

With its better fuel economy and low running costs, it’s an option worth considering. When you go for a Mitsubishi Mirage, you will find:

  • Low cost of ownership
  • Amazing fuel consumption
  • Easy maneuverability in tight spaces

Fuel Economy and Efficiency

Excellent fuel consumption and efficiency are crucial when choosing an older car. Here, we will discuss three well-known models offering minimal maintenance costs and are impressively energy-efficient:

Toyota Prius

The Prius is widely known for its outstanding fuel efficiency, typically ranging from 50 to 56 mileage. As a hybrid vehicle, it easily saves you money at the pump while keeping your carbon footprint low.

Additionally, the Prius is exceptionally reliable and has lower maintenance costs than other vehicles. Its ample interior allows for a homey ride with plenty of room for your family and belongings.

Honda Fit

Another excellent option for fuel savings is the Honda Fit. It boasts up to 35 mpg while still offering a spacious interior and flexible cargo option, thanks to its unique “Magic Seat” design.

The Fit has a reputation for having an affordable maintenance cost and good dependability, making it an attractive choice for family rides.

Lexus ES

If you’re looking for a more luxurious option with energy-efficient, the Lexus ES may be the right choice for you. Although it’s a larger sedan, the ES still provides up to 31 mpg combined, making it an outstanding balance between style, comfort, and efficiency.

The ES also benefits from Lexus’ renowned reputation for reliability and lower maintenance costs than many of the best luxury cars on the market.

By considering the fuel economy and efficiency of these three models, you can confidently choose a used car that meets your needs while saving you money on fuel and maintenance in the long run.

Remember, the Prius, Honda Fit, and Lexus ES all offer exceptional fuel usage and reliability, helping your family drive comfortably and affordably.

Comfort and Cargo Space

Midsize SUVs

In the world of midsize SUVs, the 2023 Kia Telluride is a great option, offering three rows of spacious back seat settings and a powerful V6 engine.

Its standard comfort and safety features make it perfect for families looking for a comfortable and fuel-efficient ride.


Minivans are the classic choice for families needing extra space for occupants and cargo. The 2015 Toyota Sienna is a fantastic choice, showcasing a functional, spacious, and feature-filled interior.

Sienna provides ample room for your belongings, and this vehicle makes road trips a breeze. It’s no wonder the Sienna has established itself as a go-to option for a group Autocar. However, the less popular Chrysler Pacifica provides a more extensive interior.

Lincoln Town Car

If you’re seeking a touch of luxury in a sedan, the Lincoln Town Car is worth considering. It’s known for its refined design and relaxed ride; this vehicle offers plenty of luggage space to accommodate your family members and their belongings.

Plus, the Lincoln Town Car has earned a reputation for reliability, which means you can trust it will serve your family well on the road without incurring high maintenance fees.

Safety and Reliability

Among the top performers in this category are Honda and Toyota, known for their high safety and reliability ratings.

These brands offer vehicles that can keep your family secure on the road. Thanks to their well-maintained service records, you can trust they’ll stand the test of time with minimal maintenance cost.

So, when choosing your next household car, prioritize reliability and safety to ensure a comfortable and worry-free driving experience.

Maintenance and Running Costs

Save Money on Older Vehicles

Choosing an older vehicle can help you save money on upfront costs, as they are often less expensive than their newer counterparts. However, it’s crucial to remember older vehicles may require more frequent maintenance, which could impact your overall savings.

One way to avoid excessive maintenance costs is to pay attention to the car’s maintenance records. A well-cared-for older vehicle can cost less maintenance than a neglected newer one.

Getting a pre-purchase mechanical inspection is a good idea to ensure you know of potential issues.

Research and Compare

It would help if you started by researching different makes and models. Websites like CarEdge and other automotive resources can help you identify cars with low maintenance costs. Keep an eye out for vehicles with a reputation for reliability, as they are likely to require less maintenance overall.

When comparing vehicles, consider the cost of routine maintenance tasks, like oil changes, and any known issues with the specific make or model.

When you have narrowed your search, talk to local mechanics to get a general idea of maintenance costs for the cars you’re interested in.

Once you’ve selected a few potential vehicles, take the time to test-drive each of them. Pay close attention to how each car handles and whether you notice any unusual sounds or issues, as these could indicate potential maintenance problems.

By thoroughly researching and comparing different older cars, you can find the perfect vehicle that fits your needs while keeping maintenance costs low. Remember, a little research upfront can save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Patrick Oziegbe

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