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Published June 17, 2021

These are the 12 best used cars under $20,000

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Image shows a black Hyundai Elantra driving across a bridge.

When a brand new car does not exactly fit the budget, you may want to look for a used version of your desired model to save on costs. The used market is now supplied with almost brand new cars that cost 20% to 40% lower than buying them new from the dealership.

While looking for a used car, consider factors such as price point, safety, latest technology, convenience and drivability.

At EchoPark, you get to enjoy the convenience that comes with driving the latest body styles, newest safety features, improved fuel economy and upgraded technology only found in late-model vehicles.

We’re here to save you time and money by presenting a list of the best cars, under $20,000, to buy in 2021.

Criteria for our best used car picks
Sales price

Brand new models that make it out of the showroom immediately decrease in value even if they're still in perfect condition. It is just the way the car industry works. Once the vehicle makes it into the street, it enters the used car territory.

The cars we’ve selected cost up to 20% to 40% less than the original price.


A reliable car doesn't need anything more than normal repairs. Vehicles that use top-quality materials and are not prone to breakdowns provide the most reliability.

A reliable car is also safe. That’s why our list of best used cars includes those that score high on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Stay away from cars with low reliability and safety ratings.

Fuel economy

We’ve also selected these vehicles according to their fuel economy and practicality. These latest models provide performance while still being fuel-efficient.

Checking the fuel-economy before buying a car can help save you from unnecessary costs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown that poor fuel-economy can cost thousands of dollars more on fuel than other cars.

Appearance & size

We understand that cars should reflect the drivers’ personalities and lifestyles. Therefore, these selected cars all vary in size, appearance and body styles suited for different situations.

Unique features

These used vehicles’ model years were selected based on our clients’ preference, including mid-size sedans, compact cars, hatchbacks, full-size cars and luxury cars.

The cars are also hand-picked based on price point, miles per gallon (mpg), safety features, styling and practicality.

Even if you’re buying a used car, you should still consider the driving dynamics and cruise control. We also provided cars with different transmission and engine layouts, such as all-wheel drive (AWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD).

12 best used cars under $20k

*Model availability and prices may change without prior notice.

1. Toyota Camry (2011-2018)

General price: approximately $17,234

Equipped with four-cylinder engines, the Toyota Camry is a highly-rated car that is ideal for family or solo driving. The later models, 2017 to 2018 Toyota Camry, have improved fuel economy, ranging from 24/33 to 28/39 mpg, depending on the trim.

The 2017 Toyota Camry LE, in particular, provides the latest features, including remote keyless entry, exterior parking cameras (rear) and heated door mirrors.

This model also offers all the latest convenience and safety features, making it a right candidate for city driving.

Shop Toyota Camry

2. Honda Accord (2011-2018)

General price: approximately $17,569

The Honda Accord is a mid-size sedan with several trim packages, all with improved fuel economy ratings at 26/34 mpg and 27/36 mpg. This model, equipped with an I4 engine, also offers adequate seating capacity, making it suitable for a small family or solo driving.

The Honda Accord has several key features to enhance drivability, such as speed-sensing steering and variable automatic transmission.

Overall, the later models, 2016 to 2017 Honda Accord, provide the latest safety, reliability and convenience features.

Shop Honda Accord

3. Honda Civic (2012-2018)
Image shows a burgundy Honda Civic driving on pavement with a dirt mountainside in the background.
Honda Civic

General price: approximately $16,289

The Honda Civic has several trims and body styles available, including LX and EX Sedan, two-door EX-T coupe, and LX hatchback. The Honda Civic is an ideal model for solo driving in the city.

In terms of fuel economy, the 2017 to 2018 Honda Civic models are equipped with I4 engines with 31/40 mpg to 32/42 mpg ratings. These cars also have a majority of five-star scores in NHTSA’s safety and reliability ratings.

Shop Honda Civic

4. Subaru Legacy (2015 to 2017)

General price: approximately $17,324

Equipped with the Subaru H4 engine, the Subaru Legacy provides a good fuel economy, with an mpg ranging from 22 to 29 (city/highway combined). This model is an AWD vehicle recommended for busy individuals, thanks to extra safety features.

The 2017 Subaru Legacy Limited Sedan, for example, comes with safety features that help keep the driver in the lane. The car also comes with rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot detection, and lane departure warning.

Shop Subaru Legacy

5. Toyota Corolla (2012 to 2019)
Image shows a silver Toyota Corolla on a white background.
Toyota Corolla

General price: approximately $14,439

The affordable price point of the Toyota Corolla makes it an ideal first car for young drivers. Despite its low price, the Toyota Corolla still features cutting-edge technology and unique features that provide the driver with good value and practicality.

The 2015 to 2019 Toyota Corolla’s I4 engines are a practical choice when it comes to fuel economy, with mpg ranging from 28/35 to 32/42.

Shop Toyota Corolla

6. Kia Optima (2015 to 2019)
Image shows white Kia Optima driving down a highway with trees in the background.
Kia Optima

General price: approximately $16,249

Similar to the Toyota Corolla, the Kia Optima is a good candidate for a first car for young drivers due to its affordability.

The Kia Optima’s I4 engine has a good fuel-economy that works for city-driving. The miles per gallon range of the Kia Optima varies between 23/32 mpg to 27/37 mpg, depending on the trim and model year.

Shop Kia Optima

7. Mazda6 (2014 to 2018)

General price: approximately $17,299

The Mazda Mazda6 provides a good fuel economy with 2.5L I4 engines rated at 26/35 mpg. The Mazda6 also scored four to five stars in NHTSA’s safety and reliability ratings.

If you want to expand your choices beyond the Mazda6, you can also include the Mazda3, Miata or Nissan Altima into your options.

Shop Mazda6

8. Hyundai Sonata (2015 to 2018)

General price: approximately $16,444

Fitted with an I4 engine, the Hyundai Sonata provides a better fuel economy than most cars in this list. The 2018 Sonata Hybrid models’ average mpg can go up to 99 when gas and electric power are used.

Individuals who like hybrid cars can opt for the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE Sedan, which had a listing of $14,989.

The 2017 model price is significantly lower than a brand new car of the same model priced at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $27,750 for the 2020 base model.

Shop Hyundai Sonata

9. Volkswagen Passat (2016 to 2018)

General price: approximately $15,594

The 2016 to 2018 Volkswagen Passat models’ fuel-economy is average, which works well for city driving. Equipped with I4 engines, Volkswagen Passat models have mpg ratings ranging from 23/34 to 25/36.

In terms of safety, the 2018 Volkswagen Passat SE Lighting Package provides unique features, such as halogen front fog lights, LED headlights and taillights.

The model also comes with a modern infotainment system with smart device integration, LCD and wireless phone connectivity.

Shop Volkswagen Passat

10. Toyota Prius (2015 to 2018)
Image shows a silver Toyota Prius on a white background.
Toyota Prius

General price: approximately $17,394

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid vehicle that provides excellent fuel economy. As an example, the 2017 Toyota Hatchback is equipped with a gas/electric 1.8L I4 engine with a rating of 50/54 mpg.

Like most Prius models, the 2017 Toyota Prius hatchback has safety features such as cruise control and lane-departure system. The straightforward infotainment system also consists of three LCD monitors, BlueTooth connectivity and wheel-mounted volume controls.

Shop Toyota Prius

11. Ford Fusion (2017 to 2018)
Image shows a white Ford Fusion driving down a city street.
Ford Fusion

General price: approximately $15,994

A good condition 2017 Ford Fusion brings that new car appeal due to the car’s essential features, such as keyless entry, state-of-the-art infotainment system and two-way driver lumbar support.

The 2018 Ford Fusion SE Sedan has available packages that include safety features, such as a lane-keeping system and rain-sensing wipers.

The 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium Sedan provides a good fuel economy with 43/43 mpg. If you’re looking for an AWD option, get the 2017 Ford Fusion with a 2L I4 engine.

Shop Ford Fusion

12. Chevrolet Impala (2016 to 2018)

Price: $17,529

If you’re looking for a used car with safety and reliability, the 2016 to 2018 Chevy Impala Premier, which ranked well in the NHTSA’s ratings, could be the car for you.

Although the 2016 to 2018 models provide less than 30 mpg through their V6 engines, drivers can take advantage of other special features.

In particular, the 2018 model has several new car-like features that may appeal to young drivers, such as a premium audio system, an emergency communication system and automatic temperature control.

Shop Chevrolet Impala

What about luxury cars?

If you’re interested in luxury cars, you may want to consider used luxury cars like the 2017 BMW 320i xDrive that comes with an AWD feature.

Fans of sports cars who don’t like manual transmissions may consider the 2018 Audi A5 Premium Coupe. This model has an automatic transmission with a capacity of 252 horsepower.

If style and comfort are your priority, the 2018 Mercedes Benz CLA Coupe and Lexus ES 350 can be your top candidates.

Shop Used Cars

Where to get the best price on used cars under $20k

EchoPark Automotive provides you with an extensive list of used cars in almost brand new conditions.

Our prices are 20% to 40% lower than the original price of the brand new model and up to $3,000 less than the competition. We also offer financing and protection plans to help you achieve your dream car.

If you are looking for a used car in excellent condition, click here to check our inventory.

Want to learn more?

Chat with us or learn more about EchoPark.

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