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10 Used Cars to Check Out Before Buying New

4. Toyota Highlander
Trim: Sport utility four-door
Original MSRP: $27,370
KBB private party value: $8,910
Retained value: 32.6%
If there was a sign the SUV tide was turning, the Toyota Highlander was it.

Toyota has a whopping eight cars among KBB's Top 20 2002 models, but the Highlander was just a year old when its 2002 version was released. In its sophomore year, however, the midsized Camry-based crossover was already tasked with weaning Americans off the gas-guzzling truck-based 4Runner.

Mission accomplished. The Highlander drives like a sedan and gets a sedanlike combined 22 miles per gallon out of its 3.0-liter V6 engine. Unlike the Camry, however, it provides 38.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and a cavernous 81.4 cubic feet of room when the 60/40 seats are knocked down.

Seeing that it had a family blockbuster on its hands, Toyota equipped the Highlander with standard ABS, skid control, "snow mode" for slick surfaces and child seat anchors. Throw in standard air conditioning, CD/cassette combo stereo with six speakers, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, bottle holders and grocery bag hooks standard and the Highlander starts to earn its high resale price.

One thing to note if you're considering one, however, is that the Highlander came in standard and four-wheel-drive configurations. If you can find the latter for less than $9,000, jump on it.
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