Looking for a used family car that is not only practical but has decent power? This is the list for you. We have researched the US used car market and selected several V6-powered sedans based on the reliability, fuel economy, ownership costs and other factors.
Our requirements for this list:
1. Mid-size or larger V6 sedan
2. Available in reasonable numbers for under 10K in the U.S.
1999-2006 Acura TL
Acura TL is a premium front-wheel drive V6 sport sedan. For under 10K, you can buy the second (1999-2003) or third (2004-2008) generation TL. Acura TL is well equipped and has plenty of power; the 270-hp Honda V6 engine of the third-generation will get you from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. A manual transmission is available, but very rare. Crash-test scores vary between 4 and 5 stars. There were some issues with an automatic transmission in 2004 and earlier models, but overall, Acura TL is very reliable. Ownership costs are a bit higher than average for the class. The EPA rates the 2004 Acura TL auto at 18/26 MPG on premium gasoline.
2002-2008 Toyota Camry V6
The best-selling car in the US is most known for its reliability and comfort, but the V6 Camry is actually quite fast. The 0-to-60 mph time for the 2008 3.5L V6 Camry is around 6 seconds. There are plenty of V6 Camry models available for under 10K. The Camry has front-wheel drive; it’s very roomy and offers very soft and quiet ride. The V6 Camry is the most fuel-efficient V6-powered family sedan on this list. The 2007 Camry automatic is rated at 19/28 MPG city/highway. The 2007-2010 Camry scored perfect five out of five stars in frontal and side-impact government crash tests.
2004-2007 Honda Accord V6
The V6 Accord is the safe bet for a fast family sedan. Compared to its arch rival, Toyota Camry, the Accord offers firmer ride and sportier handling. The Accord’s 244-hp V6 is very smooth and has plenty of power. The 5-star frontal crash test rating is a big plus. The interior is roomy and stylish. The 2003 models should probably be avoided due to transmission problems, but other than that, the Accord is very dependable and holds its value well. Maintenance costs are fairly low despite the fact that the V6 engine has a timing belt. For under $10,000, we even found a few V6 hybrid models.
2003-2008 Nissan Altima V6
The Altima is a front-wheel drive mid-size sedan. We found several hundred 3.5L V6 models for under $10,000. The Altima’s interior is not very roomy, but fairly quiet and comfortable. The 2007+ models offer better interior quality. What makes the Altima stand out is its sporty styling, excellent handling and comfortable quiet ride. The continuously-variable transmission (CVT) is the only automatic option in 2007-plus models. The reliability is not bad, but not spotless. The city fuel economy is rated near the top among V6 sedans.
2003-2007 Infiniti G35
The G35 is the most sporty V6 car in this list; it’s even available with a manual transmission. The G35 offers rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (G35X). It handles beautifully and comes with a very strong 3.5L VQ-model V6. The interior is roomy and nicely finished. The 2004 G35’s 0-to-60 time is rated at 5.9 seconds. Reliability is well above average, although parts are quite expensive. Infiniti is a luxury brand owned by Nissan. The EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2003 Infiniti G35 automatic is 17 MPG city, 24 MPG highway.
2004-2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L V6
The sharp-looking CTS is a rear-wheel drive sport luxury sedan powered by a V6 or V8. Out of the V6 options, the 255-hp 3.6L V6 is probably the better engine, but you need to make sure that it has been maintained well by previous owners. The reliability is not the best, but not too bad. Crash-test scores are between 4 and 5 stars. The CTS V6 models are even available with a manual transmission, but they are very rare. The V6-powered CTS is not the most sporty sedan, but it drives pretty well. The 3.6L V6 2007 Cadillac CTS is rated at 16/25 MPG.
2005-2008 Chrysler 300 3.5L V6
The 300 is a product of the joint efforts of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler; it shares many components with the Mercedes-Benz E-class. This large rear-wheel drive sedan surely has a bad-ass image and can be easily modified to suit your style. All-wheel drive is offered but rare. Two V6 engines are available, the 2.7L dual-cam (DOHC) and the 3.5L single-cam (SOHC). The 250-hp 3.5L V6 is a better choice even though it has a timing belt that needs to be replaced at around 105K. The gas mileage is not great; the reliability is about average, but no major problems.
2000-2006 Lexus ES
The Lexus ES is essentially a luxury version of the Toyota Camry; it rides on the same front-wheel drive platform and only comes with an automatic transmission and 3.0L or, from 2004, 3.3L V6. Similarly to the Camry, Lexus ES is a very comfortable car to drive. The ride is soft and extremely quiet. The sound system is excellent. Parts are quite expensive, but Lexus is the most reliable brand. Another big plus is that it’s very likely to be well maintained by its original owner. The 2002-2006 Lexus ES is rated at 18/27 MPG.
1998-2005 Mercedes-Benz E-class
Even the older models of this German cruiser are very good, but for the sake of technicality, only the 1998+ models come with a V6; earlier models had an inline-6 engine. The E-class is a well-built comfortable rear-wheel drive luxury car with unmistakably-German interior and soft ride. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The E-class is actually pretty reliable, but parts and service could be expensive. You won’t have troubles finding this vehicle for under 10K in the US. The 2003 Mercedes-Benz E320, which is the most popular model, is rated at 22/28 MPG.
Chevrolet Malibu V6 2008-2012 – looks stylish, handles well, rides comfortably, pretty good highway gas mileage, but it’s not exceptional in any way. The interior space is tight, the trunk opening is narrow and the reliability is average at best. Should we include it? Vote!
Dodge Charger 2006-plus – the Charger is pretty much the same car as the Chrysler 300, but in a different body. Same as with the 300, the 3.5L V6 is the better choice. Should we include it too? Vote!
Ford Fusion V6 2006-2009 – drives well, looks good, but not very fast and the interior is a bit plain. Should it be on this list? Vote!
Volvo S60, S80 – very stylish upscale cars with available advanced safety features and great handling. Some models are pretty fast, reliability is not bad too. You won’t have trouble finding this vehicle in the US for under 10K. On the downside, repairs and maintenance could be costly. Technically, Volvo does not have a V6 engine to qualify for this list; they come with a 5-cylinder or inline-6 engine. If you think it still deserve a spot, vote!
Nissan Maxima 2003-2006 – a sporty premium front-wheel drive sedan available with a manual or automatic transmission. The 3.5L VQ-model V6 engine propels the Maxima from 0 to 60 mph in around 6.4 seconds. Transmission issues kept it off this list. Cast your vote!
Mazda 6 V6 2003-2008 – not as quick as the others and the fuel economy is not very good. The cabin space is fairly tight too. On the plus side, Mazda 6 handles very well on the highway and the interior is nicely finished. The reliability is about average.
BMW 5-series – performance and luxury in one package. Excellent car, widely available, but in this list we only included V6 sedans; the Bimmers within this price range have an inline-6 engine. In addition, parts and service are expensive and the reliability isn’t great. Should it be among top ten? Vote!
Interested in buying a used BMW? Read more Used BMW models, ratings, common problems
Chevrolet Impala – lots of space, strong engine, but the styling is outdated and the reliability isn’t great.
Audi A4, A6 – both are great cars, high-quality interiors, excellent handling. Why is it not on this list? At this age, it will need frequent repairs and those are costly.
Volkswagen Passat V6 – a very nice car to drive when new; will disappoint you with expensive repairs when old.
Toyota Avalon – good reliable, very roomy car, but it just doesn’t have that sporty image.