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The Best SUVs, Cars and Trucks You Can Actually Buy for Under $25,000 Right Now

The Best SUVs, Cars and Trucks You Can Actually Buy for Under $25,000 Right Now

Good cars can still be cheap, even amid the current market madness

  • Car prices are sky-high right now, and that means decent inexpensive cars are hard to find.
  • We pulled together a list of the best cars for less than $25,000.
  • Using Edmunds data, we can see that, even with dealer markups, you can buy these cars for under $25,000.

The car market is in a weird place right now. Dealerships are asking way more than MSRP for hot ticket items, with no relief in sight. So what's a new-car shopper on a tight budget to do? Start with Edmunds' top-rated cars and SUVs for less than $25,000, of course.

Not only do these vehicles all carry a sub-$25,000 suggested retail price by the manufacturer, but Edmunds data shows that these vehicles actually sell for under that price point too — including dealer markups. Sound too good to be true? Let's take a look at the roster.

2022 Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 hatchback might start at a $23,765 MSRP, but it has an interior that befits a much higher price tag. Its upscale looks and premium feel make it the perfect first car, plus it comes with great standard features including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The Mazda 3 sedan with a less powerful engine and no smartphone integration is just a little bit cheaper at a $21,815 MSRP, but we'd go for the hatch thanks to the added utility.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
2.0 sedan: $22,310
2.5 S sedan: $23,181
2.5 S hatchback: $24,009
Select sedan: $24,590

2022 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is one of the best cars you can buy regardless of price. The Civic is fun to drive, spacious, full of useful tech, and a frugal commuter, too. The base LX model carries a slightly higher MSRP of $23,365 compared to the Mazda 3's entry-level model, but for many shoppers, the Civic's extra room might make that money well spent. We prefer the more feature-heavy Civic Sport, which carries an MSRP lower than our budget cap, but we've seen dealers marking up the Sport past this limit. The EX is our preferred trim thanks to its turbocharged engine, but both the MSRP and typical selling prices are above our target. Still, if you have wiggle room in your budget, the EX is the best choice here.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
LX sedan: $24,568
Sport sedan: $26,225
EX sedan: $27,535

2022 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte isn't quite the all-rounder that the Civic is, but the Forte's feature-rich trim lineup means that Kia still puts an emphasis on value. The 2022 version of this compact sedan features a sharply restyled to give it a slightly sportier look than in years previous. The Forte deserves mentioning here because every single one of its trim levels start at under our $25,000 magic number. However, Edmunds has seen that dealer prices for GT models powered by the spicy turbocharged engine routinely exceed our budget.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
FE: $21,947
LXS: $22,700
GT-Line: $24,983
GT: $27,063

2022 Kia K5

We're giving the Kia K5 a special mention because its starting MSRP is just $24,815 — quite affordable by the standards of the midsize sedan class. Its peppy turbocharged engine is pretty fuel-efficient, and you also get Kia's famously lengthy bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties. However, the K5 is a fairly hot commodity, with even entry-level models going for thousands above MSRP.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
LX:  $27,428

2022 Mazda CX-30

The Mazda CX-30 is, in essence, a lifted Mazda 3 with SUV-like plastic body cladding and a slightly reworked front fascia. However, what that really means is the excellence from the Mazda 3 hatch carries right over to the CX-30, and its starting MSRP of $23,425 means the CX-30 is just as affordable. It's quiet and comfortable, it comes with standard all-wheel drive, and thanks to a little extra height, it's easier to get in and out of than its hatchback sibling.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
2.5 S:  $23,541

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The 2022 Trailblazer might carry an old name, but this isn't some rehash. The new Trailblazer is a small crossover with a stylish cabin, handsome good looks and a variety of trims to pick from. It's also spacious given its class and affordable, too. The base Trailblazer's MSRP stands at $22,795 and features forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The Trailblazer's healthy list of features and high placement in our ranking of extra-small SUVs help explain why it routinely sells above MSRP.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
LS: $23,469
LT: $26,687

2022 Hyundai Kona

The Kona might have a funky design, but it's what under the skin that counts. The Kona is fun to drive, well-built, chock-full of features and affordable. This first Kona generation has been on sale since 2018, but a revised exterior design for this year and a number of newly available features keep the Kona feeling fresh. Its starting MSRP of $22,395 is pretty affordable, but unfortunately, dealer markups push the SEL model (MSRP of $24,195) above our budget ceiling.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
SE: $24,301
SEL: $26,762

2022 Ford Maverick

Surprise! It's not a car or an SUV, but the new Ford Maverick truck is based on the Escape crossover. Even though it's a small pickup, the Maverick deserves a mention because its base MSRP is an eye-catching $21,490. For that money you get a hybrid powertrain that pairs an electric motor with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that returns up to 42 mpg in the city, according to the EPA. Aside from having the utility of a truck bed and a functional interior, the Maverick is affordable and frugal. If you're tired of the glut of small sedans and SUVs in this price range, the Maverick is a great wildcard choice. However, dealer markups and limited inventory of the hybrid powertrain skew the prices we're seeing customers pay.

Edmunds' observed average selling price
XL: $23,482
XL hybrid: $23,824
XLT: $27,327
XLT hybrid: $28,450

Edmunds says

Edmunds' data shows that you can get a well-regarded sedan, SUV or pickup truck for under $25,000 even in these wild times when dealer markups are common.