Only 2 New Cars Under $20,000 Are Recommended by Consumer Reports

With the average price of new cars hitting record highs, it can be challenging to find one that won’t do some serious damage to your budget. Also, to get an affordable vehicle, you might have to sacrifice quality, resulting in lower reliability. However, there are some exceptions. After its annual Auto Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports only recommends two new cars under $20,000: the 2023 Subaru Impreza compact car and the 2023 Kia Soul subcompact SUV.

2023 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Kia Soul are the only new cars under $20,000 that Consumer Reports recommends

Front angle view of reliable 2023 Subaru Impreza, affordable new car under $20,000 recommended by Consumer Reports
2023 Subaru Impreza | Subaru

Affordability is a key factor for an automotive buying decision. It’s also ideal to get a cheap car that’s reliable. Higher quality typically results in a more expensive vehicle, though. However, for the 2023 Subaru Impreza ($19,795 MSRP) and the 2023 Kia Soul ($19,890 MSRP), you can benefit from both affordability and reliability. They are the only new cars for less than $20,000 that Consumer Reports recommends.

CR is one of the most trusted authorities for automotive evaluations, so the recommendations for the Impreza and Soul carry a great deal of weight. The organization has decades of experience analyzing cars, and many people make buying choices according to the recommendations. Also, the fact that Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend many vehicles in the lowest rung for affordability makes the recommendations for the Impreza and Soul especially impactful. 

Recommendations for affordable Subaru Impreza and Kia Soul based on Auto Reliability Survey

Front angle view of 2023 Kia Soul, affordable new car under $20,000 recommended by Consumer Reports due to reliability
2023 Kia Soul | Kia

While Consumer Reports looks at multiple aspects of vehicles in determining the recommendations, it places a strong emphasis on reliability. A car can be good in other areas, such as performance and interior comfort, but if it’s not reliable, CR typically won’t recommend it. 

And Consumer Reports bases the reliability of cars, and the resulting recommendations, on the annual Auto Reliability Survey. For the Auto Reliability Survey, CR analyzed 17 potential problem areas during the previous year — from owner surveys submitted for over 300,000 vehicles. Some examples of problem areas include paint, leaks, engines, noises, brakes, and electrical systems. 

The 2023 Subaru Impreza and the 2023 Kia Soul had minimal issues in the problem areas, so both earned a recommendation from Consumer Reports in 2023. The Impreza was also recommended for the 2022 model year, while the Soul is a newly recommended model.

Cheapest vehicles on CR’s list

The affordable 2023 Subaru Impreza and the 2023 Kia Soul are the only new cars under $20,000 that are recommended by Consumer Reports. However, there are quite a few new models in the $20,000-$25,000 price range that made the list.

Here are the 10 cheapest new cars recommended by Consumer Reports:

  1. 2023 Subaru Impreza: $19,795 MSRP
  2. 2023 Kia Soul: $19,890 MSRP
  3. 2023 Nissan Kicks: $20,290 MSRP
  4. 2023 Volkswagen Jetta: $20,655 MSRP
  5. 2023 Toyota Corolla: $21,550 MSRP
  6. 2023 Ford Maverick: $22,195 MSRP
  7. 2023 Mazda3: $22,550 MSRP
  8. 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross: $23,060 MSRP
  9. 2023 Kia Seltos: $23,340 MSRP
  10. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek: $23,645 MSRP

You don’t have to destroy your bank account to get a reliable car. This is evidenced by the Impreza, Soul, and other affordable new cars that earned a spot on CR’s recommendation list.