Before heading to used car dealerships to see what’s available, learn about top-performing sedans, compact cars, SUVs, and minivans below.
Find Quality Cars at Affordable Prices
New cars are expensive, but buying used can feel risky. Learning what to look for at used car dealerships can help drivers avoid problems farther down the road.
Every used car has a unique history. The vehicles on this list have good reputations, but you should still buy them from reputable dealers and check for major mechanical issues before signing on the dotted line.
1. A Used Accord Is the Perfect Midsize Sedan
Most used car dealerships have at least a few Honda Accords, which is good news for drivers looking for a quality midsize sedan. The Accord often outperforms its competitors in IIHS safety testing, gets great gas mileage, and is surprisingly fun to drive.
Most recent base-model Accords feature 2.4L 4-cyl engines, but models are also available with the upgraded 3.5L V6. If you’re looking for maximum fuel efficiency, the 2.4L gets a combined 30 mpg. The 3.5L models are more fun to drive.
2. Save at the Pump With a Used Prius
A new Toyota Prius is out of many drivers’ price ranges. Thankfully, used models are surprisingly affordable. Drivers can find older models for under $10,000 at some used car dealerships that still get around 50 combined mpg.
One significant concern when buying a used Prius is the battery. Ask before signing on the dotted line whether it is still under warranty. Hybrid car batteries can be expensive to replace, and the 1.8L I4 gas engine won’t be driveable without it.
3. Try a Kia Sportage for a Quality Used SUV
Looking for something a little bigger and willing to sacrifice fantastic fuel economy? A compact SUV might be a better option. The Kia Sportage has a reputation for reliability, so it’s a good SUV to buy used.
The Sportage has a maximum cargo volume of 60.1 cu-ft and enough seating for five, so it can accommodate a wider variety of uses than a compact car or midsize sedan.
Newer models can be expensive. Since they’re known for being reliable, it’s fine to buy one that’s been around the block a few times. A 2017 Kia Sportage with reasonable mileage is a good buy for under $20,000.
4. Families Love Used Toyota Sienna Minivans
Minivans are less popular than they used to be, but they’re still perfect family haulers. The Toyota Sienna is one of the best in class for buyers on a budget.
You won’t generally find recent models for under $20k. A 2012 Sienna with low mileage is still a good buy, though, even in 2024. The model year was known for stellar safety ratings, impressive fuel efficiency, and overall reliability.
Drivers on a budget don’t have to compromise. There are plenty of high-quality sedans, SUVs, minivans, and more at used car dealerships for under $20,000.
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