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.
Best Cars Under $20,000
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.