When you write about cars, you can expect people to ask for your advice on which car they should buy. But when the question is actually “which used car should I buy,” many of us go quiet; driving an ever-rotating string of low-mileage new models leaves you unprepared to comment on long-term reliability or the like. Last week, a friend posed an even harder variant, asking for suggestions for a used plug-in electric vehicle. And my default suggestion of a sub-$20,000 BMW i3 wasn’t going to cut it.
As luck would have it, I noticed that Kelley Blue Book—which does keep track of things like long-term reliability and depreciation—just published a list of its best affordable used hybrids and EVs for 2021, with top-10 lists for cars that cost less than $15,000 as well as those under $20,000.
As you might expect at those price points, the lists are dominated by parallel hybrids like the Toyota Prius. No Teslas, I’m afraid—the cheapest used Model 3 that shows up in a brief search this morning still costs $28,000, and the rest all had prices that started with a three. But some battery EVs do make the KBB’s top-10 list.