U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs 41 mins

Best Used Cars for Under $20,000

Best Used Cars for Under $20,000

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Buying a pre-owned car is more than just a great way to save money—it could get you into a model that has safety and luxury features you couldn’t afford in a new car.

We dug through years of test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses to find the best used cars for under $20,000.

Consider the models listed below (alphabetically by segment) to be the vehicles that we'd recommend to our friends and family members who want to buy a used car on a $20,000 budget. Each performed well in our tests when it was new and has consistently demonstrated multiple years of much-better-than-average reliability for the 2008-2017 model years. Years are excluded when reliability did not meet this high standard or there was insufficient data.

Of course, even for used cars we recommend, there can be outliers—maybe a former owner didn’t care much for car maintenance, or there was a problem at the factory the week the car rolled off the line. Before you buy, make sure to pay for a thorough inspection by a certified mechanic so there are no surprises down the road. 

Click on the model names to access road tests, pricing, and more.

Small Cars

Honda Civic '09-15
Honda Fit '09-13, '16-'18
Mazda3 '09-17
Pontiac Vibe '09-10
Scion xB '09-10, '15
Toyota Corolla '09-18
Toyota Corolla iM '17
Toyota Matrix '10
Toyota Prius '09-15
Toyota Yaris iA '17

Midsized & Large Cars

Honda Accord '09-16
Mazda6 '09-12, '14-17
Toyota Avalon '09-15
Toyota Camry '09-17 

Luxury Cars

Acura TL '09-12, '14
Acura TSX '09-14
Infiniti G '09-13
Lexus CT 200h '11-15
Lexus ES '09-13
Lexus LS '09-10

Sports Cars

Mazda MX-5 Miata '09-15
Scion FR-S
Subaru BRZ '13 


Toyota Prius V '12-15
Toyota Venza '09-15


Honda CR-V '09-15
Lexus RX '09-12
Mazda CX-5 '13-17
Subaru XV Crosstrek '15
Toyota 4Runner '10-11
Toyota Highlander '09-13
Toyota RAV4 '09-16
Toyota Sequoia '10 

Pickup Trucks

Honda Ridgeline '09-12
Toyota Tundra '09, '11-12 

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the April 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2019, Consumer Reports, Inc.