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New car prices are raging. Between the natural slope of inflation and the continued supply chain issues, carmakers haven’t made enough cars to meet demand. This has caused many customers to turn to the used car market. This has hurt the used car market as well. But Kelly Blue Book has compiled a list of the best used cars under $20,000. 

This Red Kia Soul on the road is one of the best used cars for under $20,000
Kia Soul | Getty Images

What makes a good used car? 

Kelly Blue Book has picked ten used cars that still cost under $20k. While many cheap used cars are out there yet, not all of them are worth your time and money. 

Many of these are the cars you might expect for a list like this, yet a few might surprise you. The main criterion here is reliability. Used cars are only as valuable as they are reliable. This is why we see super cheap used BMWs and Range Rovers, despite their pricey MSRPs. 

Here are some of the best used cars under $20,000, according to Kelly Blue Book

2017 Toyota Camry (average price: $18k)

A profile view of a brown 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan.
Toyota Camry Hybrid | Toyota

The Camry is one of the staple sedans. This model has sold more units than water bottles in Hell because of its reputation for reliability. This reliability has continued to support strong resale values due to the longevity of the model. The 2017 Toyota Camry is the newest model that buyers can still get for under $20,000. It is roomy, well-equipped, and stacked with standard safety features. 

2016 Honda Accord (average price: $18,048)

The Honda Accord is another staple. The Honda Accord won the Best Family Car award for its versatility and reliability for this model year. The 2016 Honda Accord came in sedan and coupe, had a variety of strong engine options, and good standard safety features. The Honda Accord is smooth, comfortable, and steadfast, no matter the trim. 

2018 Toyota Corolla (average price: $17,995)

The Corolla is also one of the more popular sedans. However, it has never achieved quite the same status as the Camry. The Corolla is a safe and reliable little sedan with killer fuel economy and an attractive price range. It may not get the blood pumping, but these models should get you where you’re going. 

2017 Subaru Legacy (average price: $17,900)

2017 Subaru Legacy
2017 Subaru Legacy | Subaru

The Subaru Legacy may not have the same level of brand recognition or reliability reputation as the others on the list, but it is one of the only used cars you can get in this price range with standard AWD. It is also quite roomy and behaves at the gas pump. 

2018 Kia Soul (average price: $16,999)

The Kia Soul is the only one on this list that isn’t a used car; it’s a used SUV. The Kia Soul has a bit of a polarizing style, but it at least has a style, unlike the others. The boxy look and tall roofline give the Soul a real advantage in the best used cars list. To sweeten the pot still, it also comes with a manual gearbox. 

2017 Mazda 3 (average price: $18k)

The Mazda3 isn’t a luxury car exactly, but it does have a touch of something more luxurious compared to the others on this list. The interior is stylish, and the driving profile is exciting and crisp. 

2017 Honda Civic (average price: $21k)

Although the Honda Civic is a bit harder to find for less than $20k, there are options out there with slightly more miles that dip below the $20k mark. Part of what brings the Civic’s average up a bit higher are all the enthusiast trims like the Civic Si and the Civic Type R. The Honda Civic has a model for all drivers, but if you want to keep it cheaper, you have to dig for a lower trim level. 

2015 Toyota Avalon (average price: $19k)

The Toyota Avalon certainly creeps into luxury territory. It has a variety of powertrain options, trim levels, and a wonderfully appointed cabin. Not only does the Avalon have a nice cabin, but it’s also surprisingly spacious. 

2017 Kia Optima (average price: $18k)

The Optima offers both gas and hybrid powertrains. The interior is roomy and well-equipped. There isn’t much of an argument to be made for excitement, but it ticks all the adult boxes.

2017 Hyundai Sonata ( average price: $16,500)

The Hyundai Sonata is the cheapest used car on the list. It has a comfortable interior and a wide range of options and equipment. The Sonata also comes with hybrid and gas-powered options. 

Which cheap used car is right for you? 

As with all things car shopping, the only way to know which car can work the best for you is by writing down what you need a car to do. Once you’ve established what you need and then what you want out of a car, the next part is simply plugging in your needs to the model best suited to meet those needs. Obviously, the budget must be considered. 

This list of the best used cars under $20k shows a range of prices and car types that should meet the average driver’s needs.


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