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Best Used Cars To Buy Under 20000

Prices for late-model used cars have recently jumped in part because of a dearth of new cars on dealer lots in the wake of the inventory shortage, but safe, reliable used cars still exist at a reasonable price. has assembled a healthy list of choices available for a budget of about $20,000; tap the links below to see our picks in other price tiers.

best used cars to buy under 20000


It's no secret that car shopping is a challenge right now. Inflation is raising the prices of everything, including cars. Supply chain issues continue to ripple through the automobile market, and inventories for both new and used cars are still below their normal levels. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or buy the first used car you find with a price tag that fits your budget.

Vehicles are getting more expensive every year, making it more and more difficult to find a well-regarded car or SUV for under $20,000. That said, there are actually quite a few budget-friendly new and lightly used vehicles out there if you know where to look.

To that end, Edmunds is here to help with a guide that highlights the best new and used cars and SUVs for under $20K, based on both our proprietary vehicle testing program and the extensive owner feedback in our consumer reviews. Especially in the COVID-19 era, which has underscored the value of affordable and reliable transportation, zeroing in on the best cars under $20,000 can help you get a great car and the peace of mind that comes with it.

While most subcompact sedans and hatchbacks start well below our budget cap, they generally aren't top performers in our vehicle testing, and their diminutive dimensions mean they aren't practical for all buyers. Accordingly, our picks for the three best cars under $20,000 belong to the roomier and more passenger-friendly compact class. Note that the starting MSRPs (manufacturer's suggested retail prices) below include destination and handling charges, and while we may recommend a trim that costs a bit more money, savvy negotiators should be able to whittle the price down to fit their budget.

If you don't mind starting with a few miles on the odometer, there's an entire world of lightly used cars that will fit a $20,000 budget. In our search for the three best used cars under $20,000, we whittled down our choices to an all-around excellent family cruiser, a thrilling sports car and even a luxury sedan. All three are widely available with relatively low mileage for under $20K. Additionally, all three have earned high marks in our consumer reviews from owners who drive them every day.

There are many fun used vehicles in this price range, but the current Ford Mustang (2015+) takes the cake as arguably the best sports car under $20K. It's easily one of the coolest cars under $20K too. The Mustang morphed from muscle car to sports car when it switched from a live rear axle to an independent suspension in 2015. Not content with merely upgrading the 'Stang's ride comfort and handling prowess, Ford also graced the redesigned Mustang with an interior that, while still heavy on plastics, delivers a more premium feel than previous Mustangs. You'll be hard-pressed to find a V8-powered GT with low miles under $20,000, but the Mustang is still one of the best fast cars under $20K with the V6 engine or the turbocharged four-cylinder. If you're looking for a model with a touchscreen, we recommend starting at the 2016 model year, when the terrible MyFord Touch infotainment system was replaced by the far superior Sync 3 system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity was added to all Sync 3-equipped Mustangs in 2017, but owners of 2016 models can get that compatibility with a Sync 3 system update.

If you're willing to go with a lightly used SUV, you'll find your dollar goes a lot further than if you limit your selection to new crossovers. Included in our selection of the best used SUVs under $20K is a sporty compact, a roomy midsize SUV and even a well-rounded luxury crossover. The models listed below are widely available with relatively low mileage for under $20K, and we've vetted them against our consumer reviews to make sure there's not a lemon in the bunch.

Can you really get a luxury SUV for under $20,000? Yes, and a recent one with low miles at that. The BMW X3 was last redesigned in 2018, which isn't that long ago, but the previous generation (2011-2017) is now quite affordable while still relevant thanks to cutting-edge tech for its time. The X3's inclusion shouldn't come as a shock since it shares a common platform with the 3 Series already named here as the best luxury car under $20,000. While not quite as sporty as its sedan sibling, the X3 offers far more passenger and cargo room, making it a practical choice for a small family. From a technology perspective, advanced driving aids were available throughout the previous X3's lifespan, with more features added in later years. In typical luxury-brand fashion, these aids were included in packages, so it might be difficult to tell at a glance whether a specific piece of inventory has the safety features you want. Note too that Apple CarPlay was only available during the 2017 model year, and it was an optional extra.

While a vehicle budget of $20,000 doesn't go as far as it used to, there are still lots of choices if you're looking for a new or used vehicle that won't cost an arm and a leg. From a mint small sedan to a lightly used luxury SUV, you can easily find one of the best cars under $20,000 right here on Edmunds.

Earning top honors as the best used car under $20,000 is the Honda Civic, which has enjoyed a longstanding tenure as one of the most popular compact cars in America. The 2018 Civic is available in sedan and coupe body styles. The versatile Civic, which appeals to both sporty and practical drivers alike, is known for its comfortable drive quality, high safety scores, and fuel efficiency. It comes standard with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is also offered. The Civic comes with a base 158-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and many powertrain options are available. A 2018 used Honda Civic can be found for an average price of $19,062.

The Subaru Impreza ranks fourth. The compact Impreza offers standard all-wheel drive and is considered among the most affordable and best AWD cars on the market. Along with being reliable, it earns high safety scores and offers a spacious cabin. A used 2018 Subaru Impreza costs an average of $18,902.

The Subaru Legacy ranks fourth. The Legacy is one of the only cars in its class that comes with standard all-wheel drive, making it a practical choice for all-weather driving. A rearview camera is the only standard active safety feature, but adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and pre-collision braking at speeds under 30 mph are available on higher trims. The Legacy has a spacious interior, offering two comfortable rows of seating. A 2016 Subaru Legacy for sale costs an average of $16,438.

The Chevrolet Impala is the best used large sedan that can be found for under $20,000. The Impala provides a comfortable ride with roomy front and rear seating. A 196 horsepower four-cylinder comes standard, but a 305 horsepower V6 is also available. As the only large sedan that has a front-row bench seat, it can seat up to six passengers. A five-year-old Chevrolet Impala for sale can be found for $17,453.

The best used SUV that can be found for under $20,000 is the Subaru Outback. Although the Outback is technically classified as a wagon and resembles a hatchback, it offers standard all-wheel drive and competes with vehicles in the compact SUV category. Perfect for adventure seekers and iSeeCars pick for the Best Small SUV, the Outback can handle light offroading, has class-leading cargo space, and comes standard with a roof rack. It also has above-average towing capacity for the class, at up to 3,000 pounds. A 2014 Subaru Outback for sale costs an average of $15,064.

The Honda Odyssey is the best used minivan under $20,000. The 2014 Honda Odyssey seats up to eight passengers and has a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The Odyssey is praised for its quick acceleration and responsive handling. It also achieves great gas mileage for the class at 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Standard features include Bluetooth connectivity and an 8-inch infotainment display screen. While only a rearview camera comes standard, a suite of driver assistance features are available, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning. A 2014 Honda Odyssey for sale has an average cost of $17,588.

Aside from lower prices, buyers can avoid the initial depreciation that comes with new cars by buying a used model several years older. Remember that you may have to compromise on some cutting-edge features and technology. But with a $20,000 budget, budget-conscious consumers should be able to find a vehicle that can keep pace with newer models.

When you shop for a new or used car, CoPilot helps you know more. We search every car at every dealer so you don't have to, we give you data and insights you won't find anywhere else, and we rank every car so it's easy to find the best car at the best price.

Many of these are the cars you might expect for a list like this, yet a few might surprise you. The main criterion here is reliability. Used cars are only as valuable as they are reliable. This is why we see super cheap used BMWs and Range Rovers, despite their pricey MSRPs.

The Subaru Legacy may not have the same level of brand recognition or reliability reputation as the others on the list, but it is one of the only used cars you can get in this price range with standard AWD. It is also quite roomy and behaves at the gas pump.

The automotive search engine recently commissioned a study to look at the used car industry, where they found the best used-car deals out there. But the study also took a more specific measurement of which are the best used cars that can be had for the very lowest cost. 041b061a72


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