Used doesn’t have to mean old when it comes to buying a car on a budget

Used doesn't have to mean old when it comes to buying a car on a budgetIt may be hard to believe, but it is possible to buy a car that was made fairly recently without breaking the bank. Cars.com recently published its list of the best cars for $10,000, providing a good jumping off point for people who are shopping with a bad credit car loan.

Family drivers can find affordability and the space they need with the 2006 Ford Freestar. The minivan starts around $6,800, but Cars.com recommends looking for one with Ford's Safety Canopy. The safety feature improves the side-impact crash-test scores and can be found in about one in five Freestars. The van, with this added feature and roughly 60,000 miles, will likely cost around $10,000.

If minivans don't fit the bill, used 2009 and 2010 Nissan Versa base models are available starting around $9,400, according to Edmunds.com. The compact sedan gets roughly 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 26 in the city, which saves the driver more money at the pump.

The 2006 Hyundai Sonata, with its spacious interior, offers a lot of standard safety features – such as side and curtain airbags – and used prices start around $7,000. The four-cylinder engine gets 31 mpg on the highway, which is impressive for a 2006 model. The car is also available with a V6, which loses a few miles-per-gallon, but still remains under the $10,000 mark.

Sedans are well and good, but some people prefer bigger vehicles, such as the Hyundai Tuscon. The 2005 crossover doesn't have the greatest mileage, but it does come standard with heated mirrors, which is a fun, almost-futuristic amenity. The used car can sell for anywhere betweeon $8,000 and $9,500 depending on the size of the engine. It is available with a four-cylinder or a V6.

Cars.com did not only consider Ford and Hyundai for its list – Kia, Honda and Mitsubishi also made the cut. The 2007 Kia Optima and the 2005 Honda Accord get 31 mpg on the highway and start around $8,000. Mitsubishi's 2006 Galant runs about the same price, but the fuel economy is slightly worse at 27 mpg highway.

There are plenty of affordable options for drivers who are using a car loan to buy a vehicle, regardless of whether it is to pile the family in for a summer vacation or just to get to and from work every day.