Kiplinger's Jessica Anderson rounds up the 10 best used car picks for 2011. Best Used Cars 2011
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Best Used Cars 2011

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Bargains in used cars are increasingly harder to find. Fewer new-car sales over the past couple of years meant fewer trade-ins and vehicles coming off lease.

Plus, in the wake of the recession, buyers turned to used cars in a big way, tightening supply even more.

We picked ten vehicles -- seven sedans, two SUVs and one convertible -- that received top scores in Kiplinger's rankings for performance, value and safety, get high marks for reliability, and won’t drain your wallet at the gas pump.

Dealer and private-party prices are based on actual transactions reported by Edmunds.com for previously owned vehicles considered to be in "clean" condition and driven an average of 12,000 miles a year. We also include the certified used price of each vehicle, based on actual sales. Certified vehicles pass a rigorous inspection and include a warranty that goes beyond the car's original warranty.

Take a look at our best used car picks for 2011.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 2 of 11

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Courtesy of Honda

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Price when new: $21,370

Dealer used price: $16,438

Private-party price: $15,359

Certified used price: $17,556

MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Known for reliability, Honda's CR-V has always scored well on the Kiplinger value scale. The 2008 model won Best in Class Small Crossover for its spacious interior, loads of cargo room and great fuel economy. A 2008 LX now costs $4,900 less, on average, at dealers than the original sticker price.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 3 of 11

2009 Ford Fusion SE

Courtesy of Ford

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Price when new: $21,775

Dealer used price: $16,055

Private-party price: $14,352

Certified used price: $16,843

MPG (city/hwy): 20/28

Redesigned for 2009, the Fusion earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety when equipped with optional stability control. The family-friendly sedan has six airbags, plenty of legroom and a spacious trunk for road trips. It also handles well around town.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 4 of 11

2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Courtesy of Toyota

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Price when new: $33,135 (base model)

Dealer used price: $20,553

Private-party price: $19,059

Certified used price: $22,371

MPG (city/hwy): 28/25

Introduced for the 2006 model year, the Highlander Hybrid hit its stride for reliability a year later. With the optional third row of seats, it accommodates seven. It boasts top-notch safety with standard stability and traction control, plus it gets nearly 65% better city mileage than the gas-engine Highlander V6.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 5 of 11

2007 Volvo S60 2.5T

Courtesy of Volvo

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Price when new: $31,580

Dealer used price: $15,051

Private-party price: $13,550

Certified used price: $17,243

MPG (city/hwy): 19/28

With a 2.5-liter, turbocharged engine, the S60 puts out 208 horsepower but still gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. Even better, the 2007 model has stellar reliability ratings, the safety that's synonymous with Volvo -- and a steep markdown from the original sticker price.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 6 of 11

2008 Hyundai Elantra SE

Courtesy of Hyundai

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Price when new: $17,845

Dealer used price: $12,026

Private-party price: $10,969

Certified used price: $13,317

MPG (city/hwy): 25/33

Upsized in its 2007 redesign, the compact Elantra offers more interior room than pricier rivals Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and it has six standard airbags (optional on the Corolla). Hyundai's five-year/60,000-mile warranty will still be in effect, too (but the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't transfer to new owners).
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 7 of 11

2009 Nissan Altima 2.5 S

Courtesy of Nissan

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Price when new: $22,260

Dealer used price: $16,259

Private-party price: $14,791

Certified used price: $17,316

MPG (city/hwy): 23/31

Rocketing from zero to 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds, the Altima gets the jump on its competition in the sporty driving category. It also gets our vote as a family sedan with six airbags, good crash-test ratings and 31 mpg on the highway.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 8 of 11

2008 Honda Fit

Courtesy of Honda

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Price when new: $14,620 (base model)

Dealer used price: $11,051

Private-party price: $10,276

Certified used price: $11,667

MPG (city/hwy): 28/34

The Fit might look small from the outside, but inside it has plenty of legroom and cargo space -- its 21 cubic feet matches that in the Ford Taurus. J.D. Power rated the 2008 tops for reliability in the subcompact segment. Its stellar fuel economy makes it popular as gas prices soar.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 9 of 11

2008 Toyota Prius

Courtesy of Toyota

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Price when new: $21,610 (standard model)

Dealer used price: $15,231

Private-party price: $14,257

Certified used price: $16,677

MPG (city/hwy): 48/45

America's best-selling hybrid will always be in demand when gas prices rise. But saving $6,400 over the original price should give you some peace of mind upfront, never mind your savings at the pump. The Prius offers best-in-class legroom and plenty of cargo space, too.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 10 of 11

2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

Courtesy of Mazda

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Price when new: $23,500 (manual, soft top)

Dealer used price: $18,501

Private-party price: $16,967

Certified used price: $20,197

MPG (city/hwy): 22/28

The third-generation Miata roadster is available with a soft top or a retractable hard top. Its four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission, puts out 167 horses, and it gets 28 mpg on the highway. Plus, zoom-zoom driving dynamics are baked in.
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Best Used Cars 2011 | Slide 11 of 11

2009 Mercedes-Benz E350

Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

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Price when new: $54,075

Dealer used price: $34,155

Private-party price: $32,710

Certified used price: $36,437

MPG (city/hwy): 17/24

Mercedes' most popular sedan is sleek, boasts lap-of-luxury appointments inside and has a used price that's nearly $20,000 less than its new-car price. Plus, you get a full complement of safety features, including Mercedes' Pre-Safe, which anticipates an impending crash and cinches seatbelts and closes windows.
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