5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000

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In today’s automotive landscape, finding an affordable new car can be a discouraging task. With the impending departure of the 2022 Chevrolet Spark, the options for budget-conscious buyers have become even more limited. However, fear not, as there are still a handful of vehicles available on the market with a lower price of under $20,000 – a sweet spot for those seeking to keep their monthly payments manageable. In this article, we’ll explore 5 best cars you can buy for less than $20,000, ensuring you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Hyundai Accent

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

If we were to crown a leader in under the $20K segment for driving dynamics, it would be the Hyundai Accent. While the Accent isn’t inherently sporty, it handles remarkably well for an economy car. The Accent sedan has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,690 and comes standard with a CVT automatic this year. The fuel economy for the Accent mirrors that of the Rio, with an estimated 36 mpg combined.

Even the base model Accent represents a noticeable step up from economy cars of the past, but we particularly favor the midtier SEL trim ($18,945). Among its many upgrades is the suitable set of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, along with a 7-inch touchscreen display. This alone elevates the Accent’s perception, making it feel like a more expensive car, especially when coupled with its comfortable ride and solid build quality.

Kia Rio

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

The Kia Rio is another substantial economical option available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the sedan is $17,275, while the hatchback variant commands a slightly higher $18,215. Both models come standard with a CVT automatic transmission, an optional extra on the Mirage and Versa. Like the Nissan, the Rio shines when you move up the trim ladder, where the car remains relatively affordable while offering a principled suite of active safety technology.

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Fuel economy for the Rio is estimated at 36 mpg, a little bit lesser than the miserly Mirage with its CVT but still impressive. The Kia is a superior package overall compared to its competitors. It’s worth noting that the Rio is mechanically related to the Hyundai Accent. But received a refresh for the 2021 model year, while the Accent has maintained the same design since 2018.

Nissan Versa

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

The Nissan Versa claims the title of the least expensive new sedan on the market with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $16,105. Fuel economy with the manual transmission is an estimated 30 mpg in the EPA’s combined cycle, while buyers opting for the CVT-equipped model can enjoy an impressive 35 mpg combined.

The entry-level Versa surprises with its spacious interior for the segment, and it comes with necessary advanced safety features often found only on higher trims of its rivals. Even a fully loaded Versa SR with the CVT carries an manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $19,515, comfortably within our budget limit. The Versa stands out as one of the more pleasant subcompact cars available today, and it’s far superior to the Mirage hatchback for just $180.

Mitsubishi Mirage (Mirage G4)

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

Leading the charge in affordability is the Mitsubishi Mirage. With the Spark’s imminent departure, the Mirage will assume the mantle of the most cost-effective car on sale. The base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the compact Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan is an impressive $15,925 and $16,795, respectively.

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Mirage duo shines, with the EPA estimating the hatchback to achieve a combined 36 mpg in city and highway driving, while the Mirage G4 sedan sets a benchmark of 35 mpg. These figures are achieved with the standard five-speed manual transmission. Opting for the available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) can further enhance efficiency by 2-3 mpg, although it does come with a slightly higher price tag. However, it’s important to note that the positives for the Mirage end there. In any form, the Mirage lacks high-class style, associated with a noisy interior, underpowered three-cylinder engine, and questionable poor build quality.

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Subaru Impreza

5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, 5 Best Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000, Kevwe Automobile

The Subaru Impreza stands out as the only all-wheel-drive vehicle you can purchase for under $20,000. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for sedans equipped with a manual transmission starts at $19,790, while the optional CVT pushes the price just beyond our budget ratio at $21,090. The fuel economy for this compact sedan takes a noticeable hit compared to the subcompacts highlighted here, with an EPA estimate of 26 mpg combined. However, opting for the CVT improves the combined estimate to a much more reasonable 32 mpg.

Rumors suggest that a fully redesigned Impreza may be on the horizon, potentially arriving as early as next year, so Subaru enthusiasts might want to exercise patience before committing. Nevertheless, the existing Impreza remains a smart choice for buyers seeking an affordable car with the added benefit of all-wheel drive. That said, if all-wheel drive isn’t a priority for you, there are several options that not only offer a lower price point but also boast better fuel efficiency.

Conclusion

In the ever-changing landscape of the automotive industry, finding an affordable new car that meets your needs and budget can be a challenging task. However, there are still a handful of vehicles available on the market with a price tag under $20,000, catering to budget-conscious buyers seeking a reliable and economical mode of transportation.

From the fuel-efficient and well-equipped Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio to the remarkably affordable Mitsubishi Mirage and the all-wheel-drive capability of the Subaru Impreza, the options presented offer a diverse range of choices to suit varying preferences and requirements.

While each vehicle has its unique strengths and weaknesses, the key fact is that with careful consideration and research, it is still possible to find a quality new car that fits within a limited budget. Whether prioritizing fuel efficiency, interior space, or advanced safety features, this segment of the market offers something for everyone.

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As you embark on your search for the perfect budget-friendly vehicle, it is essential to weigh your specific needs and priorities carefully, and to take advantage of resources such as test drives and expert reviews to make an informed decision.

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