Skip to main content
  • The 2018 Toyota Camry is the obvious cheap car choice
  • $20K gets you a near-luxury car in the Mazda6
  • The Subaru Legacy offers standard AWD on the cheap

This might sound pretty obvious, but your best bet for a cheap used car in this crazy market is a lightly used one. In the best of circumstances, something like the 2018 Toyota Camry will still come with some kind of warranty in tact. More to the point, you can make a budget of around $20,000 stretch much, much further with a used car like a Camry or Corolla than a leased car.

A 2018 Toyota Camry, one of the best used cars right now, shot from the front 3/4
The 2018 Camry is perfectly reliable | Toyota

The 2018 Toyota Camry is the best cheap used car

So, let’s start our list of cheap used cars with the 2018 Toyota Camry. Variety is the spice of life, and the Camry offers that in spades. There’s a multitude of Camry trim levels to choose, from a hybrid (above), to a budget 4 cyl. FWD model, to a fully loaded Toyota Camry V6 with AWD. $20,000 gets you all the reliable Toyota goodness you need.

A 2017 Honda Accord is a perfect used car

A 2017 Honda Accord, one of the best used cars to buy right now, shot from the front 3/4 in blue.
Honda’s Accord also comes in a Hybrid variant | Honda

Let’s keep with the midsize sedans for a moment. If the Camry isn’t your jam, maybe its competition is. Just like the Camry, the 2017 Honda Accord is a cheap used car with plenty of trim levels to choose from. There’s even a stick shift coupe if you want it. Of course, the Accord hybrid is the polar opposite, and it’ll kiss 50 mpg if you’re careful. If you’ve got a family, you’ll also appreciate the Accord’s suite of safety features.

Subaru’s Legacy offers AWD grip

A 2017 Subaru Legacy shot from the front 3/4 in snow
The Legacy offers all-terrain grip | Subaru

Speaking of safety, we’d be remiss to skip over the 2017 Subaru Legacy. As KBB points out, the Legacy has incredible safety scores, and the car’s AWD system helps things stay pointed in the right direction in any weather. Obviously, Subaru’s reputation for reliability goes without saying here, and you can expect maintenance costs to be low.

The 2018 Ford Fusion looks like an Aston Martin

A white 2018 Ford Fusion shot from the front 3/4
Ford’s Fusion comes in a staggering number of trims | Ford

The 2018 Ford Fusion might look like an Aston Martin, but it’s at least three times as reliable. Plus, these are often overlooked as cheap used cars, even in this market. Ford also offered hybrid trim levels and a Platinum trim that offers modern tech and safety features.

The 2017 Mazda6 is a reliable pseudo-luxury car

A grey 2017 Mazda6 shot from the front 3/4
A Mazda6 is surprisingly luxurious | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

If you want to lean a little more into the luxury side of things, the 2017 Mazda6 is the car for you. This one came out right as Mazda was beginning their upmarket shift, and it definitely shows on the interior. The Mazda6 is also the sportiest car on the list, but note there’s no manual transmission available. Regardless, the luxury-leaning interior should help assuage that. Happy hunting.


The 5 Best Cheap Used Cars to Buy Instead of a 2022 Honda Accord