Are you looking to buy a car using your tax refund? Every tax season, there are deals on used cars.

According to a survey posted on the Wall Street Journal, most Americans use their tax refund to buy or make a down payment on a car. The average tax refund for the year ending Jan 2020 was $1,915, according to the IRS. This is enough money to make a down payment on a used car of your choice. Your tax refund check might have more than that, so how do you use it wisely?

Your tax check is not a gift. It is your money, and the government is giving it back to you. You may not have the refund in your budget, and, as such, you treat it as a bonus or a gift. Instead of spending the money on unnecessary expenses, why not plan for it and get a car. So, how do you do that?

Make Down Payment on a Used Car

You are more likely to get an auto loan when you make a significant down payment. This is especially true when you have poor credit. When you use your tax return to pay for a car, you will unlock possibilities that were otherwise out of your reach.

If, for instance, your tax return check gives you $2,000, the amount can show the lender that you are serious about getting a used car. It also makes it easier for you to clear the loan as you will have less to pay with the down payment already made. Because you will be making smaller payments, you will likely get fast approval.

You can go for quality used cars that cost less than $10,000 or for more expensive cars going for more than $40,000. You can also opt to use the tax refund to pay an existing car loan, refinance a current loan, upgrade your current car, or even fix the car you have. If you choose to buy a used car, you have hundreds of choices, so make sure you do your research.

Once you are ready to buy a used car, which model should you go for?

11 reliable used cars to buy with your tax refund
Most Reliable Used Cars

J.D. Power released a list of the most dependable car models of 2020. To get a high dependability rating, a car must have no major problems within the last three years. J.D. Power collects responses from 80,000 owners of vehicles that are at least three years old.

J.D. Power considers the type and frequency of problems a verified car owner experiences with a car in the past 12 months. Cars with the least problems get the highest score. From the ratings, the most reliable cars to buy with your tax refund are:

Buick Encore

This is a compact SUV that gets a dependability rating of 86% from J.D. Power. It offers a great driving experience and a high resale value. The car draws power from a turbocharged I4 engine that generates between 138 and 153 horsepower. This engine pairs with an automatic transmission with either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive options. The transmission of the car is smooth, the interior is quiet, and the styling of the gauges and instruments is impressive.

11 reliable used cars to buy with your tax refund
Mercedes-Benz GLA

With a reliability rating of 79% from J.D. Power, this small premium SUV offers features such as Bluetooth, voice recognition, comfort in its second-row seats, and quietness while on the road. It runs on an Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 engine that generates between 208 and 375 horsepower, depending on the model. The engine pairs with an auto-shift manual with either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive drivetrains.

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is the most reliable small car, according to J.D. Power. Users love its trunk space, ease of folding the rear seats, and great rear visibility. Under the hood, the car has a regular unleaded I-4 engine that generates 130 horsepower. The engine pairs a manual transmission with front-wheel drive. It is also fuel-efficient with a 33/40 mpg city/highway fuel economy.

11 reliable used cars to buy with your tax refund
BMW 2 Series

The BMW 2 Series is a small luxury sedan. It offers great acceleration, great handling when driving on curves, and it has an almost impeccable navigation system. It offers two engine options – a four-cylinder inter-cooled turbo premium, and a six-cylinder intercooled turbo premium. The engine pairs manual or automatic transmission and an all-wheel or rear-wheel drivetrain. You can get 248 horses or 335 horses, depending on the engine you choose. It has a reliability score of 84% from J.D. Power.

Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Equinox is a compact SUV with comfortable front and rear row seats. It has ample interior storage space, and the look and feel of interior controls are great. It has a four-cylinder and V6 engine options to generate either 182 horsepower or 301 horsepower. This engine pairs with an automatic transmission with an all-wheel-drive or front-wheel drive drivetrain. J.D. Power gives the car a reliability rating of 85%.

Porsche Macan

Porsche has some of the most reliable cars, and the Macan is one of them. It offers premium features such as voice recognition and Bluetooth and has a quiet interior and smooth transmission. There are two engine options, a four-cylinder intercooled turbo premium, and a V6 twin-turbo. The engine pairs with an auto-shift manual transmission and an all-wheel drivetrain. Like the Equinox above, the Macan has a reliability rating of 85% from J.D. Power.

11 reliable used cars to buy with your tax refund
Nissan Leaf

With an 80% reliability rating from J.D. Power, this is one of the best compact cars with a quiet engine and a smooth ride. The car is also easy to get into and out of. It is an electric car with a front-wheel drivetrain and an automatic transmission. It is for users who need an inexpensive car with a reduced footprint and efficiency. The car gives you 107 horsepower.

Lexus ES

This is a compact luxury sedan loved for the comfort of its second-row seats and the range of luxury features. It has powerful engines that generate 200 or 268 horsepower, depending on the trim you choose. Some of the standard features in the car include steering wheel controls, alloy wheels, adjustable steering wheel, power mirrors, fog lights, and tire pressure monitoring system. With a reliability rating of 87% from J.D. Power, you can trust it on the road.

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

This is a compact sporty car with a smooth transmission, great maneuverability, and an advanced navigation system. It has the shape and appearance of a sports car, but it is more affordable than most sports cars. It has a four-cylinder engine that generates 155 horsepower. It pairs with a manual or automatic transmission with a rear-wheel drivetrain. J.D. Power gives the car a reliability rating of 81%.

Toyota Avalon

The 2017 Toyota Avalon is a large sedan that delivers smooth transmission, smooth ride quality, and great safety features. It has a range of luxury features, including heated seats, power mirrors, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, and an adjustable steering wheel. You can drive it safely as J.D. Power rates the car 81% reliable.

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevy Tahoe is a large three-row SUV. J.D. Power gives the car a reliability rating of 84% from their research. Some of the impressive features the SUV offers include an adjustable steering wheel, wireless/Bluetooth integration, satellite radio, and heated mirrors. Under the hood is a V8 engine that generates 355 horsepower. The engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission.

There are many more reliable cars that you can get with your tax refund, so be sure to do your research to find the best one for your needs.