Top 10 Used Cars Under $20,000

Cars are one of the most destructive objects in our financial lives. An engine and four wheels too often represents years of monthly payments and blown budgets. This occurs as shiny new models are paraded in front of us each year, while financing gimmicks make almost any deal seem affordable. However, a reliable used car that costs well under $20,000 can protect your budget and family.

In order to find used cars that are cheap, safe, and good on gas, iSeeCars.com recently analyzed over 20,000 vehicles from model years 2011 to 2014, and 4.5 million used car listings in late 2014. To be a contender, passenger vehicles had to have fuel efficiency of 30 mpg or greater and a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) average safety rating of four or more stars. Cars meeting these standards were then ranked by average asking price.

Buying a used car that’s only a couple years old can save you a significant amount of money. After all, we’ve all heard that new cars start to lose value as soon as you drive off the lot. Let’s take a look at the 10 most affordable 2013 models that are also fuel efficient and safe.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

10. Hyundai Elantra

  • Average price: $15,588
  • Average MPG: 32
  • Average safety rating: 5
  • Body type: Sedan

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra ranks as the No. 10 best used car to protect your budget and family. Edmunds.com notes you receive lots of features for the money, and the Elantra often finds itself stealing attention from more popular choices from Honda and Toyota. Pros include a comfortable and well-built cabin, large trunk, and distinctive styling that doesn’t look like every other car on the road. On the other hand, rear headroom is limited, handling is generic, and brake testing proved average.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

9. Ford Fiesta

  • Average price: $14,560
  • Average MPG: 33
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Hatchback

Don’t let its size fool you. The Ford Fiesta’s 1.6L engine provides enough excitement to keep drivers awake, and ranks No. 9 on the list with a sub-$15,000 price tag. While the cabin is small and lacks some functionality, seats adjust enough for people over 6 feet to feel comfortable. Consumers should note the automatic transmission can be problematic and quirky at times.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

8. Hyundai Accent

  • Average price: $14,317
  • Average MPG: 31.4
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Hatchback

With a well-received style inside and out, relatively strong performance, and solid build quality, Edmunds.com describes the Hyundai Accent as a car that can go tire-to-tire with the best in a competitive class. Although the sedan is cheaper, the hatchback ranks No. 8 as the best used car to buy under $20,000, with an average price of $14,317. Cons include limited rear visibility, lack of options, and fuel economy that is perhaps not as good as estimates suggest.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

7. Kia Rio5

  • Average price: $14,012
  • Average MPG: 31.4
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Hatchback

The Kia Rio5 is a solid choice for the budget. Although it doesn’t ride or handle particularly well according to Edmunds.com, it ranks No. 7 as the best used car to buy under $20,000. The Rio5 feels larger than its actual size, and generally receives high reviews from customers. Interior quality is more than expected when dealing with comparative price tags.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

6. Scion iQ

  • Average price: $13,872
  • Average MPG: 37
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Hatchback

At first glance, the Scion iQ may look like a matchbox car. Nonetheless, the minimalist approach allows for smaller price tags, gas savings, and parking nearly everywhere. The Scion iQ ranks No. 6 on the best used car to buy under $20,000. Although there are more practical cars on the market, it gets the job done as long as you don’t need to haul more than a couple passengers with you. Despite the average safety rating of four stars, the Scion iQ received three stars for side-impact protection.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

5. Kia Rio

  • Average price: $13,682
  • Average MPG: 31
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Sedan

The Kia Rio makes its second appearance on the list at No. 5 with the sedan body type and a slightly cheaper price. The sedan has a 13.7-cubic-foot trunk, but if you plan on hauling stuff on a regular basis, the hatchback provides about 50 cubic feet with the seats down. In Edmunds’ testing, the Kia Rio SX hatchback went from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds, while an SX sedan reached 60 in 9.4 seconds — about a second quicker than the class average in either case.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

4. Ford Fiesta

  • Average price: $13,525
  • Average MPG: 33
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Sedan

A Ford Fiesta sedan can save you about $1,000 over the hatchback, which is good enough to rank it No. 4 on the list. The sedan and hatchback both receive the same treatment in regard to trim levels and equipment. In government crash testing, the Fiesta earned five stars for side crash protection. A Fiesta with the Sync Elements package even adds a 911 Assist function, which connects your cell phone automatically to a 911 operator in case of an emergency.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

3. Toyota Yaris

  • Average price: $13,437
  • Average MPG: 32.3
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Hatchback

If you can overlook an outdated four-speed automatic transmission, and its lack of cargo space compared to some rivals, the Toyota Yaris is a solid choice for budgets. Ranking at No. 3, the Yaris is fuel efficient and even fun to drive at times with agreeable handling. On the downside, the Yaris is only offered as a hatchback and the 1.5L engine produces a mere 106 horsepower. Edmunds notes a Yaris SE with a manual transmission can reach 60 mph from a standstill in 9.3 seconds, but the automatic transmission takes almost 11 seconds.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

2. Hyundai Accent

  • Average price: $13,281
  • Average MPG: 31.4
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Sedan

Purchasing the Hyundai Accent sedan instead of the already budget-friendly hatchback can save you about $1,000. The sedan also doesn’t have the limited rear visibility issues. The sedan is offered only in base GLS trim, while the hatchback comes in GS and fancier SE trims. Cargo space is respectable in both body types. The sedan’s trunk offers 13.7 cubic feet of capacity, while the hatchback has 21.2 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats up or 47.5 cubic feet when they’re down.

Source: Edmunds.com

Source: Edmunds.com

1. Nissan Versa

  • Average price: $13,157
  • Average MPG: 33
  • Average safety rating: 4
  • Body type: Sedan

Ranking as the best used car you can buy for under $20,000, the Nissan Versa offers what every cost conscious shopper wants: inexpensive transportation. The Versa has an average selling price barely above $13,000, and comes with impressive fuel efficiency and roomy interior at the cost of a bland performance. It’s powered by a 1.6L four cylinder that produces 109 horsepower. Despite its overall four-star safety rating, the Versa received three stars for frontal-impact protection. Customer reviews are a hit or miss.

Ranking provided by iSeeCars.com

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