The auto press usually focuses on new cars this time of year, but another reason the midwinter months can be exciting is from the used car perspective. Around this time of year, some of the cars that were brand new last year are starting to appear on used car lots. 2014 models have had their time in the spotlight, and now’s your chance to try to find one for a bargain. There likely won’t be a hugely significant price change, mind you, but you can (we hope) expect a barely year-old vehicle to be in decent shape. Even if these cars are still on new lots, you can expect the dealerships to offer some great deals to move that inventory and make way for the plethora of ’15s and ’16s they’re receiving.
So for all those new cars you were excited about a year ago but couldn’t quite afford, now’s the time to start looking for those deals. A good place to start looking into which cars you might like is J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS) rating. This study looks at owner-reported problems as reported in the first 90 days of ownership and then compiles them into the company’s IQS Award winners. These are the best cars you can buy based on actual owner experience, and they certainly should continue to be quality vehicles on the used market.
8. (tie) The 50th iteration of the Porsche 911 starts off this list of quality vehicles. Chances are, if you’re in the market for a Porsche, you already know the automaker doesn’t mess around when it comes to quality, but the metrics used by J.D. Power only support that line of thinking. (Spoiler alert: There are a couple more Porsches on this list.) Porsche offers the 911 in a variety of flavors, and though the trims can vary wildly (varieties of the Carrera, GT, and Turbo trims), you’ll be happy owning any of the 16 variants. The 911 offers plenty of power, leaving plenty of owners happy with its 475 hp and 374 lb-ft of torque. The 911 offers an absolutely powerful and smooth ride and should be on the radar of anyone who can afford it. You might as well check what deals you can find on newer used ones.
8. (tie) Of course, expect nothing less from Lexus than 2014’s highest rated entry-level luxury sedan with the Lexus LS 460. Don’t fret about the price tag—Lexus delivers on what you pay for. As such, the LS 460 offers one of the most spacious and comfortable interiors available. Along with the comfort, the LS provides its owners with some great power (386 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque) and the tech you hope for in a newer luxury vehicle. The LS 460 comes decked out with all the infotainment and safety features you’d expect. You can be sure that a used 2014 LS 460 will be a quality investment.
8. (tie) It really is no surprise that one of the most popular American vehicles would fall somewhere on this list. The Ford F-150 has built a reputation over the decades of consistently being one of the highest quality products on the market, and J.D. Power’s IQS rating solidifies that for the 2014 model. The F-150 set the standard in 2014 with its 11 different trim levels (varying greatly in price, of course) and offers some fantastic power and features. The best-selling full-size pickup promises to continue as a quality vehicle for years after its initial sale and would be a great pickup to look at if you’re in the market.
6. (tie) For the second Porsche on the list, J. D. Power chose the Porsche Cayenne. The Cayenne, of course, has everything that makes Porsche’s products forever loved by car fanatics. This 5-passenger midsize SUV also has the power you should expect from any Porsche. (The Turbo S Cayenne can get up to 550 hp—ridiculous for an SUV.) People always like to focus on power when it comes to Porsches, but the Cayenne comes with plenty of safety features and tech. So if you need a lot of space but still want to go fast, the Cayenne is the best option in terms of speed and quality.
6. (tie) The 2014 Hyundai Genesis is a solid vehicle. There really isn’t any other way to put it. This 5-seat full-size sedan has some great offerings for its relatively modest price. It doesn’t have the speed of a sports car, but it doesn’t have the price of one, either (not to say the hefty V8 it’s packing is in any way weak). The Genesis has some true luxury feel to it, offering a wide variety of comfort, entertainment, and safety features. The Genesis is a sedan that will continue to be reliable as it ages.
5. Named an IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Lincoln MKX offers loads of utility wrapped up in a luxury package. Not only can the MKX seat 5 adults comfortably, it also offers 32.3 cubic feet of cargo space in the back (69 cubic feet with the seats down). The 2014 MKX doesn’t offer as much in the way of technology as its closest competitor, the Buick Enclave, does, but sets itself apart in just how well it’s put together. If you’re looking for a solid, well-built crossover, the MKX could be just the ticket.
4. If you do serious hauling, there aren’t many better choices than the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD. Chevy’s pair of heavy-duty pickups are the stuff of legend. From the base Work Truck all the way up to the top-of-the-line LTZ, the Silverado HD has something for everyone. Engines range from a 6.0-liter gasoline-powered 8-cylinder to a 6.6-liter diesel V8. If you’re looking for fuel efficiency, there are also available packages to run the trucks on CNG or LNG. If you’re buying something to be tough, you want it to be well-built. Chevy has done just that.
3. Looking for a (very) small but fun-to-drive hatch? The MAZDA2 could be your ride. While the car’s 4-cylinder engine pumps out only 100 hp, thanks to its small dimensions, that’s all you really need to enjoy this puppy. Mazda is famous for the quality and reliability of its cars, and the MAZDA2 is no exception. If a small car is your style, the MAZDA2 is a great pick.
2. The Hyundai Accent is a solid compact car that won’t let you down. Hyundai has stepped up the quality of its cars majorly in recent years, and perhaps no car represents this better than the Accent. Introduced for the 1995 model year, the Accent has ascended the rankings recently, ultimately reaching second place in this year’s study. That’s no accident. The Accent pumps out 138 hp, delivers 37 mpg on the highway and even boasts 47.5 cubic feet of cargo space in hatchback form. Step up to the higher-end trims and you’ll even get goodies like Bluetooth hands-free calling and voice recognition.
1. Have you ever wanted to own a sports car, but had concerns about family and practicality? No need to worry anymore, the Porsche Panamera has you covered. Depending on just how much hooning you want to do with your new family hauler, you can choose from a variety of engines, ranging from a 310-hp 6-cylinder all the way up to a 520-hp 8-cylinder. In true Porsche fashion the Panamera feels solid and well-built and comes with a plethora of options. Given the sheer amount of available options, Porsches tend to be fairly unique, making shopping for them on the used market a lot of fun. Happy hunting!
Have you driven any of J.D. Power’s ten best 2014s for initial quality?
-jharrington and zwaller
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Used Porsche 911
Used Lexus LS 460
Used Ford F-150
Used Porsche Cayenne
Used Hyundai Genesis
Used Lincoln MKX
Used Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
Used Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
Used Mazda MAZDA2
Used Hyundai Accent
Used Porsche Panamera