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 a microchip shortage, but safe, reliable used cars still exist at a reasonable price. Cars.com has assembled a healthy list of choices available for a budget of about $20,000, but tap the links below to see our picks in other price tiers.
We avoided anything before the 2012 model year, as such examples are likelier to have higher mileage and more potential for mechanical problems. With a budget of $20,000, good choices are myriad: Whether you need more seats, cargo capacity or gas mileage — or even something more upscale or fun to drive — you can find a smart choice at this price.
The vehicles on our list have decent overall safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as well as respectable reliability marks in the U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study by researcher J.D. Power. Finally, the vehicles and model years below rate highly in the collective judgement of Cars.com’s expert reviewers.
Cars.com crunched the prices in our used-car listings as of June for vehicles that met our criteria and also came in with median listed prices of about $20,000 for these model years, so you should be able to find one for about $20,000. The picks below include all body styles and powertrains offered in these years unless otherwise specified. Tap the link to each vehicle’s model years, details and reviews to find everything you need to know by model year on the trim levels and features available.
One last bit of housekeeping: Our listed EPA mileage comes after the agency issued revisions in early 2016 that affect stated mileage on some cars back to the 2011 model year. As such, certain earlier models here may have mileage that doesn’t align with original window-sticker numbers.