As Congress debates cash-for-clunkers legislation, we reviewed our data to determine what worn out old cars make the most sense to junk and what qualifying cars we think would make better replacements—featured in another post.
The used cars we’ve listed are the newest vehicles likely to be available for less than $3,500, the minimum voucher value. For this to be worthwhile to the consumer, the vehicle’s trade-in value would need to be less than the voucher. Older versions of these vehicles are likely to be worth less, making the vouchers even more appealing. Many of the models have mechanical twins sold by another brand that may qualify, but we have not listed them here.
|Make||Model||Older than model year||EPA combined mpg||Category|
|Chevrolet||Blazer 2dr 4WD||1995||16||Truck|
|Chevrolet||Blazer 4dr 4WD||1999||16||Truck|
|Ford||F150 V8 4WD||1995||14||Truck|
|Jeep||Grand Cherokee V8||1997||14||Truck|
|Mitsubishi||Montero Sport 4WD||2001||17||Truck|
Keep in mind that spending money on a new car can buy you more than just improved fuel economy. A new car will have a warranty to cover repairs. And a decade (or more) of improvement in safety and reliability.
The past 10 years have brought big gains in safety engineering and technology, including better structure to cushion the impact while maintaining the integrity of the occupant space and safety features such as front-side and curtain air bags and electronic stability control (ESC). In particular, many older SUVs have a higher inherent risk of rollover than newer car-based designs with ESC.
In addition to casting the spotlight on eligible clunkers, we will soon present a list of Consumer Reports recommended vehicles that could serve as a replacement. To see a complete list of Consumer Reports recommended models check out our ratings, available to online subscribers.