Skip to main content

As car prices hit record highs, finding a vehicle that won’t blow your budget is challenging. You don’t want to sacrifice quality and reliability for affordability. But you won’t have to make that tradeoff with two new cars under $20,000. After surveying hundreds of thousands of vehicle owners, Consumer Reports recommends the 2023 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Kia Soul.

The 2023 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Kia Soul are excellent new cars under $20,000

A blue 2023 Kia Soul subcompact SUV is parked.
2023 Kia Soul | Kia

Affordability is an essential factor for most car shoppers. Getting a cheap vehicle that’s also reliable is ideal. But higher quality typically means a heftier price tag. However, you can benefit from affordability and reliability with the 2023 Subaru Impreza ($19,795) and 2023 Kia Soul ($19,890). They are the only new cars under $20,000 that Consumer Reports recommends.

CR is one of the most trusted sources for automotive evaluations, so its recommendations for the Impreza and Soul carry significant weight. The nonprofit has decades of experience analyzing cars, and many shoppers make buying decisions based on CR’s recommendations. Also, the fact that Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend many vehicles in the lowest rung for affordability makes the nods for the Impreza and Soul especially impactful. 

How did the Subaru Impreza and Kia Soul rate in Consumer Reports’ Auto Reliability Survey?

A red 2023 Subaru Impreza Hatchback model driving on a country highway as the sun sets behind it
2023 Subaru Impreza Hatchback | Subaru of America, Inc.

Consumer Reports analyzes multiple aspects of vehicles when determining its recommendations, but it strongly emphasizes reliability. A car can rate highly in other areas, such as performance and comfort, but CR typically doesn’t recommend unreliable models. 

Consumer Reports bases car reliability and its resulting recommendations on its annual Auto Reliability Survey. CR analyzes 17 potential problem areas from owner surveys submitted for over 300,000 vehicles in the past 12 months. Problem areas include paint, leaks, engines, noises, brakes, and electrical systems. 

Survey respondents say the 2023 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Kia Soul had minimal issues in those problem areas. Thus, both earned recommendations. CR also recommends the 2022 Impreza, while the Soul is a newly recommended model.

What are other good cheap new cars?

The affordable 2023 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Kia Soul are the only new cars under $20,000 with Consumer Reports recommendations. However, several other new models are worth considering.

Drivers seeking a competent subcompact SUV should consider the 2023 Nissan Kicks ($20,290) and 2023 Subaru Crosstrek ($23,645). Want a sedan instead? Check out the reliable 2023 Toyota Corolla ($21,550) and the spirited 2023 Mazda3 ($22,550).

You don’t have to destroy your bank account for a reliable vehicle. The Impreza, Soul, and other affordable new cars won’t disappoint.