When buying a car, there are only two possible choices. The first is to buy a brand new car, which is safe and the second one is to buy a used car. Maybe buying a new car is safe, but keep in mind that for the same amount of money, you can get a used car that is simply much better and comes from a higher class. But, in this field, you will have to be careful and you will need help, our help! That’s why we have compared and ranked the best used cars under $20,000. For this amount of money, you can actually get a lot of decent, and well-maintained cars. You will see that some choices are more than just interesting.
2011 BMW Series 3 $20,000
If you can find BMW 3 series, from the year 2011 or newer, buy it! This is one of the best used cars under $20,000 you can get right now. It is extremely reliable, it can be used as a sports car (with tuning) and a family car and it has a design that will always look modern and fresh. The preferred model is 328i or 328 Xdrive. Both models are powered by 2.8L engines and they produce 230HP. However, Xdrive version has 4 wheel drive. It is a permanent drive, meaning that all 4 wheels will be responsible for movement.
Something even better is the list of sequent you will get with a car. These models have, so automatic air conditioning, automatic lights and etc. are standard. The fuel economy is 18-25 mpg, which is more than just great if you take into account that this is a powerful, reliable, and a big car in the class. Every time you want, you can begin with tuning and these cars love it. Increase the power up to 300HP in just a few hours and add a few spoilers, you will get a car that is $10,000 more expensive!
2011 Audi A4 $20,000
Audi A4 is the direct rival of the BMW 3 Series. We ranked it second, just because it looks older than the BMW and it has less power. Nevertheless, this is a valuable and respected choice to make. The engine will produce 211HP and it will achieve 22/30mph. Most cars will come with CPO warranty and with a service book. 2011 model is recommended simply because it looks like a newer one. There are no a lot of differences and it still looks reasonably modern. Inside, you get plenty of equipment, which is standard for German cars.
Premium package includes 17-inch wheels and plenty of equipment, but if you can find a Prestige package, it is a lot better. You get 7-inch display and additional speakers, so this car can be suitable for younger owners. It also includes 18-inch wheels, but still, this car needs 19 inches, available only with S4 version (3.2L engine, all-wheel drive and far more expensive).
2013 Nissan Murano $18,500
Nissan Murano still has a fresh look and a lot to offer. We liked the design. This SUV looks different than most models which make it a bit original. Performances are enough, but don’t expect something too much. The engine you definitely want is V6 with 3.5L and 260HP. It is the reliable engine that is also one of the best-known Nissan units. The transmission is a CVT. It is suitable for long and city drives, but it isn’t something you will choose for sporty or rough drive. Fuel efficiency is 18/24 mpg, for most versions. There are front-wheel and all-wheel models to choose from.
As one of the best used cars under $20,000 Murano is definitely a valuable choice. It comes with parking assist, fog lights, radio and etc. In essence, you will have everything a car should have. Still, we liked the most the front end and the comfortable drive. This may be one of the most comfortable SUVs in the class. One of theadditional reasons why we chose 2013 model is the Value package that is added in the year in question.
2015 Mazda 3 $18,000
Maybe it isn’t the most luxurious car on the list, but the Mazda 3 is one of the extremely popular cars. It is a real pleasure being able to get a model from 2015. The main reason, why this is one of the best used cars under $20,000 is the fact it will have a low mileage and it will be properly maintained. Mazda cars are well-known for reliability, so this may be the safest option. Don’t forget that models with a high mileage should be avoided, as usual. In addition, models from 2014 are a valid choice and they are desirable as well.
A base model will have 2.0L engine, producing 155HP at 6.000RPM. It is a very durable engine and it is economical. The front wheel drive is cheaper to maintain and it is still fun to drive. As a city car, this is one of the best Mazda cars ever made. Additional things you should know is that this is a safe car and it offers plenty of space inside.
2012 Volvo S60 $19,500
Volvo S60 is reliable, comes with decent performances, great fuel economy and it even looks modern, meaning that it will still look great in the near future. You can have it as a front wheel drive, but a much better choice is all-wheel drive model. It is known as Instant Traction version and it is one of better 4-wheel drives you can buy today. Engines vary, but you can choose between 2.5L with 250HP and 3.0L with 300HP. Both of them are economical and they will achieve 20/30mpg (2.5L) and 18/26mpg (3.0). Transmission is 6 speed.
Inside, Bluetooth, power driver’s seat, leather and modern interior are standard, no matter which version you choose. Being a Volvo, this is a safe car and in that matter, may be one of the best used cars under $20,000. Tip: Try to find a decent T6 redesign model with all-wheel drive and 3.0L engine.
2009 Lexus RX 350 $20,000
If you are looking for a luxury car under $20,000 this model is perfect for you. It was developed as a luxury SUV that will deliver comfortable and quiet ride, in all conditions. Even today, this car is much better, when it comes to comfort than most SUVs in the range. What we liked is the durability and the safety this model offers. The design isn’t perfect, and the price will vary between $10,000 and $20,000. It may be slightly difficult to get a desirable model, but there is always one or two that will fit perfectly.
The engine in this car is 3.5L, V6 producing 260HP. The transmission is 5 gears automatic and the front wheel drive is standard (all-wheel drive is optional and it reduces fuel consumption for 1 mpg). For front-wheel drive cars, fuel economy is 18/23mpg. As you would expect, inside you get a lot of gadgets and toys. A must be mentioned are the front seats with excellent lumbar support. Interesting: An Rx 450 Hybrid is still available in this price range, but it is difficult to find one.
2008 Mercedes E-Class (E350) $13,500
2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the best used cars under $20,000 you can buy right now. In a matter of fact, it is extremely affordable for its specifications and performances. The best part is the fact there are a lot of these cars on the market, so getting one isn’t a problem. Just, try to find a well-maintained one, with a proper service book. Repairs are expensive for this car! Luckily, it is well-made and it is one of the most reliable cars Mercedes made.
Engines will vary between 3.0L and 3.5L, all V6 producing about 268HP and all of them have 7 gears transmission. A more affordable version, E350 will have a rear wheel drive, but there is also a 4MATIC model with 4WD, which we prefer. Don’t expect to find E-Class of newer generation for this amount of money. The fuel consumption is 17/24mph, inside you get all that has been used in older S-Class and you get high safety rankings. If you can find a low mileage model, it is probably one of the best cars you can buy right now.
2010 Ford F-150 $18,000
The Ford F-150 has been one of the best-selling cars of this type since the day it was launched. It is known for extremely reliable engine and drivetrain. This is the main reason we place it on the list. Don’t forget that this model is available in different versions, cab, truck and etc. When it comes to the safety scores, this is one of the best used cars under $20,000 money can buy. Other advantages you should know are a comfortable drive, nice design, and modern interior. We will also add the fact it is very quiet inside while driving.
Different engines are available, all of them are V8 and all of them are massive. You can choose between 4.6L (248HP), 4.6L (292HP) or 5.4L with 320HP (we recommend). The first model here is paired with 4 speed transmission, something you should avoid. Other two have 6 gears automatic. Fuel economy is 15/21mpg, and it can be even lower. On the other hand, towing capacity is 11.300 pounds, one of the highest in the class. The bottom line is that this is the best workforce car here.
2007 BMW Z4 $19,000
One of the best sports cars under $20,000 you will want to buy is BMW Z4. The look, the style, and the performances are top of the range. It is a modern car with a lot to offer. When it comes to a fun drive, this car is to buy. It has rear wheel drive and the model you will get, a 3.0L, inline 6 cylinder model, with 215HP and 6 gears transmission is a beast. It is a lightweight car, so it doesn’t require a lot of power. The engine in question is perfectly sufficient. All models will do 20/30mpg.
On your list, you can put coupe or a roadster version. All of them will cost you the same, but the later roadsters are slightly more expensive. An interesting addition is that Models with ‘’I’’ letter are more affordable and they represent a lower level of equipment. Models with ‘’SI’’ are a lot better and you will even get leather, better air conditioning and a lot of gadgets. This car has a high chance to become a classic, so in the near future, it may become more expensive than it is now.
2011 Infiniti G37 $20,000
The 2011 Infiniti G37 is one of the great cars available on the market right now. Sadly, it may be hard to get. A plus side is that most cars will have a low mileage and they will be properly maintained, thanks to a high class and the MSR price when this car was new. The look is questionable, but it can be treated as a more original and interesting in the lack of a better word. What we liked, even more, is the engine. It is 3.7L, V6 producing 328HP. It is all except underpowered. The fuel economy is around 18/25mpg. But, this is an all-wheel car and there is no rear nor front wheel drive version available.
What you can choose is the type of chassis. There are coupe and sedan versions, which are more than just good, but we prefer Sport Appearance edition. It combined the best features and the best gadgets from both versions and it is more race-focused. Another thing that should be mentioned is the noise the exhaust system makes. It is better than most sport cars make, and it can be easily improved with aftermarket exhaust system. Important: Pay attention that your car has 18-inch wheels. They have been available as optional extra and they are perfect for this car.