Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

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If you are a future first car owner on a limited student budget, if you search for a bargain- present-vehicle for your mother-in-law’s birthday or if you just don’t want to spend more than $20,000 on a car you can find a quick answer to your quest in our special <$20,000 buyer’s guide. Here you can find a “Top 3” for every vehicle class, showing you, which are the best and most popular vehicles for this price range along with detailed information to sustain your choice.

Best Sedan < $20,000

 
 

We call “sedans” four door vehicles with a three-box body shape. The sedan used to be the most common and popular body-style, but these days when all sorts of MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicles) emerge the sedans are considered a rather conservative design. The sedans have a passenger console, with a separate engine space in the front covered by the hood, and an individual trunk for luggage at the rear, to be the 3rd box. By mixing elegance with the practical side, the saloons can be considered the most neutral vehicles. They can serve as family cars, offering in most of the cases five seats and appropriate room for luggage.

 

We found the best car in this class to be the Mazda 3 s Grand Touring 4-Door, followed by the Toyota Corolla XRS and the Subaru Impreza 2.5i Sedan.

 

2006 Mazda MAZDA3 s Grand Touring 4-Door - $19,165

 

The Mazda 3 (called “Axela” on other markets, such as Japan) was introduced as a 2004 model, to replace the previous Mazda 323). The MAZDA3 has been very well received in all markets, and got to be the third best-selling car in Canada in 2004.

 

The MAZDA3 is based on Ford’s C1 platform, developed by Volvo. This platform is shared with the now in production European Ford Focus Ford Focus and the new Volvo Volvo S40. The athletic and emotional styling of the car fits Mazda’s new “Zoom-Zoom” philosophy, and borrows most of its elements from the MX-Sportif concept car.

 

The $19,165 model is equipped with a 2.3 L inline-4 Mazda MZR engine producing 160 bhp and 150 lbf·ft of torque and a manual five speed gearbox. This ensures quite a sporty response with a 0-60 mph sprint in 8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 118 mph.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 

Standard Engine 2.3L I4

Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual

Cylinders 4

Horsepower @ RPM 160@6500

Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 26 / 32

Combined Fuel Economy 28

EPA Class Compact

Number of Valves 16

Torque @ RPM 150@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Displacement 138 cui

Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.70

Cruising Range 391.5

Curb Weight MT 2762

Curb Weight AT 2807
Ground Clearance 5.7
Height 57.7
Length 178.7
Track (Front) 60.2
Track (Rear) 59.6
Wheelbase 103.9
Width 69.1
Doors 4
 

2006 Toyota Corolla XRS - $17,880

 

The Corolla is Toyota’s compact car known worldwide for its extraordinary reliability, conventional sturdy engineering and low fuel consumption. In 1997, the Toyota Corolla Toyota Corolla became the best selling nameplate in the world reaching a total production figure of 30 million cars since the 1966 launch, making it the best selling car of all time.

 

The Corolla might not be enjoyed by tall people, as it lacks front seat legroom. However, the rear room is enough, the trunk is roomy, and Corolla’s long history of providing trouble free operation to its owners recommends it as a reliable vehicle.

The 1.8L engine is a high-rev unit, reaching its peak power at as high as 7600 rpm. Mated with a 6-speed manual it delivers a really enjoyable vivid response with excellent mileage. Independent suspension and responsive steering complete the driver-oriented character of this vehicle.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.8L I4
Standard Transmission 6 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 164@7600
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 26 / 34
Combined Fuel Economy 29
EPA Class Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 125@4400 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Displacement 110 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.23 x 3.35
Cruising Range 382.8
Power To Weight Ratio 16.3

Curb Weight MT 2670

Ground Clearance 5.7
Height 58.1
Length 178.3
Track (Front) 58.3
Track (Rear) 57.5
Wheelbase 102.4
Width 66.9
Doors 4
 

2006 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Sedan - $18,295

 

The Impreza was Subaru’s entry vehicle in the compact car market segment in 1993. As rally competitions were switching to smaller, lighter chassis the Impreza was the Subaru to compete in WRC, and a successful competitor it was. The compact Impreza brought to Subaru three consecutive WRC titles (1995–1997) and a driver’s championships for Colin McRae (1995), Richard Burns (2001), and Petter Solberg (2003). While the rivals have come and gone in WRC, the Impreza has remained one of the only consistent contenders during the past 13 years.

 

The recently face-lift made the Impreza a lot more appealing, but it is still a case of love it or hate it. With one of the most sophisticated drive-trains in its class, the Impreza offers an exhilarating driving experience without sacrificing safety and reliability. The high performance 4WD system and the potent 2.5 L boxer engine bring a glimpse of the WCR racer, for a bargain price.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.5L H4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 173@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 22 / 29
Combined Fuel Economy 25
EPA Class Sub-Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 166@4400 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 10.0
Displacement 150 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.92 x 3.11
Cruising Range 397.5

Curb Weight MT 3016

Curb Weight AT 3067
Ground Clearance 6.3
Height 56.7
Length 175.8
Track (Front) 58.5
Track (Rear) 58.1
Wheelbase 99.4
Width 68.5
Doors 4
 

Best < $20,000 Station Wagon

 

The wagon was one of the first body-styles to derive from the sedan. They offer a similar architecture to the saloon in front, but the rear box was increased as an extension of the roof-line to increase luggage space. They usually offer five or more seats and a lot more luggage room than the sedans. They also feature roof rails for additional cargo support. It is clear that their main targets are family transports and spare-time.

 

Most station wagons are modified sedan-type car bodies, but unlike the hatchbacks, which otherwise meet this description, a station wagon is the full height of the passenger cabin all the way to the back. The popularity of the wagons was diminished by the growing number of MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicles) and SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles).

 

Our first three station wagon choices are the Toyota Matrix 4X2, the Mazda MAZDA5 Sport and the Subaru Outback Sport.

 

2006 Toyota Matrix 4X2 - $15,260

 

The Matrix is the compact Toyota wagon based on the Corolla platform. It is built in joint-venture with GM that sales this model as the Pontiac Vibe Pontiac Vibe . It is rumored that Toyota has chosen the name of the car because of the success of “The Matrix” movies in the US at the car’s debut.

 

Toyota Matrix has filled the gap left by the discontinued Toyota Corolla Verso that was stopped in 1997. The New car received a minor face-lift in 2005 that brought slight revisions to the exterior and the interior, including a new front bumper, taillights, and a stereo.

 

The power unit is the economical 1ZZ-FE, borrowed from the Corolla, which produces 126 bhp and it is mated with a 5-gear manual box.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.8L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 126@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 30 / 36
Combined Fuel Economy 33
EPA Class Small Wagon
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 122@4200 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 10.0
Displacement 109 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.11 x 3.60
Cruising Range 409.2
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2679

Curb Weight AT 2756
Ground Clearance 5.9
Height 61.6
Length 171.3
Track (Front) 59.6
Track (Rear) 58.9
Wheelbase 102.4
Width 69.9
Doors 4
 

2006 Mazda MAZDA5 Sport - $17,435

 

The Mazda 5 (also called Premacy on other markets), is a compact station wagon that came now to the second installment. The first model, built between 1999 and 2005 was not much of the success. The new MAZDA5, launched in the summer of 2005 is considered to be much better. It adds a third row of seats and allows for up to six passengers.

 

The 5 is based on Ford’s global C1 platform, meaning that it shares many of its components with the Mazda 3 Mazda 3 . Some will consider the Mazda 5 to be a minivan, due to the sliding doors, but the sizes recommend it more as a station wagon.

 

The Mazda 5 shares the same 2.3 L MZR I4 used on the Mazda 3. It offers 157 bhp, which is enough for any family trip. The same independent suspension and sporty tuned steering deliver a sharp and crisp handling, although the 5 is higher and heavier than the Mazda 3.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

Standard Engine 2.3L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 157@6500
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 22 / 27
Combined Fuel Economy 24
EPA Class Mid-Size Wagon
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 148@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 9.7
Displacement 138 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.70
Cruising Range 365.7
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3333

Curb Weight AT 3389
Ground Clearance 5.5
Height 64.2
Length 181.5
Track (Front) 60.2
Track (Rear) 59.8
Wheelbase 108.3
Width 69.1
Doors 4
 

2006 Subaru Outback Sport - $19,195

 

TheOutback was the name used by Subaru to define the new invented SUW (sport Utility Wagon) category on the Legacy model line-up starting with 1996. Other companies followed Subaru Subaru ’s example and launched SUW to compensate the lack of an SUV model at the time. This lead to the birth of such cars as the Audi A6 Allroad, Volvo XC70 or Alfa Romeo 156 CrossWagon.

 

In 1998 they also made available the Outback Sport, based on the Subaru Impreza Wagon. This is a slightly modified off-road look version of the conventional 4WD station wagon. It equips the same drive train as the rest of the Impreza line-up, but that is not something to be ashamed of.

 

The 2.5 L 4 cylinder boxer engine delivers 173 bhp without the help of any turbo. The five speed precise manual gearbox and the high performance 4WD system help deliver all of the power to the ground.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.5L H4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 173@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 22 / 29
Combined Fuel Economy 25
EPA Class Small Wagon
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 166@4400 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 10.0
Displacement 150 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.92 x 3.11
Cruising Range 397.5
Valves Configuration Single Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3067

Curb Weight AT 3120
Ground Clearance 6.3
Height 58.9
Length 175.4
Track (Front) 57.5
Track (Rear) 57.3
Wheelbase 99.4
Width 67.3
Doors 4
 

Best < $20,000 Coupe

 

A coupé (the past-tense conjugations of the French verb “to cut”) or coupe (in North American English) is a specific body style with a close-coupled interior offering either 2 or 2+2 seating (room for two passengers up front and for two occasional passengers in the rear). Sin Sin ce the ‘60s the term “coupe” has generally been applied exclusively to fixed-top models. Generally the coupes have two doors, although automobile manufacturers have offered four-door coupes (like the Mercedes CLS) and three- and five-door hatchback coupes, as well.

 

The main distinction between a sedan and a coupe is made by the by interior volume. The SAE J1100 standard defines a coupe as a fixed-roof automobile with less than 33 ft³ of rear interior volume. A car with an interior volume bigger than that is technically a two-door sedan, not a coupe, even if it has only two doors. The tighter rear room of the coupe is usually due to the aerodynamic shape of the body with a descending roof towards the rear of the car. In addition, the more aerodynamic design is due to the performance nature of the coupes that are generally derived or related to competition models.

 

The first three coupes we recommend for the <$20,000 class are the Ford Mustang V6 Deluxe Coupe, Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and MINI Cooper Base.

 

2007 Ford Mustang V6 Deluxe Coupe - $19,250

 

The original Ford Mustang was introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. On April 19 it was presented via all three American television networks, making it the most successful product launch in automotive history. The first Mustang was the car to inspire the term “pony car” and get many imitators afterwards. The Mustang’s successful and clever combination of sporty design, affordable price, and good performance allowed it to sell over one million units in its first 18 months on the market. Though the Mustang badge consists of equine artwork, the car was named after the World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter plane. After more than forty years of production, different generations and redesigns, the Mustang remains available and successful today.

 

A pure sports car with a 4.0L V6 engine, rear wheel drive and a sport chassis at less than $20,000, the Ford Mustang Ford Mustang is a true bargain. All the competition has to offer for this money is generally front wheels drive and a four cylinder engine.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 4.0L V6
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 210@5300
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 19 / 28
Combined Fuel Economy 22
EPA Class Sub-Compact
Number of Valves 12
Torque @ RPM 240@3500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.7
Displacement 245 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.95 x 3.32
Cruising Range 336
Valves Configuration Single Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3300

Curb Weight AT 3345
Height 54.5
Length 187.6
Track (Front) 62.3
Track (Rear) 62.5
Wheelbase 107.1
Width 74.0
Doors 2
 

2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS - $19,699

 

The Mitsubishi Eclipse is a 2+2 seats front-wheel-drive coupe created for the North American and Canadian market and offered starting with 1989. In joint-venture with the Chrysler Chrysler Corporation (Daimler-Chrysler these days), the Eclipse has also been offered as the Eagle Talon or Plymouth Laser.

 

The Eclipse was produced in four distinct generations since 1989. The first two share a lot of common components, but the third model was built on a completely new platform. The fourth generation was made available in June 2005 and offers a completely new exciting design. It features the same 2.4L four cylinder engine that was used on the previous model, offering now 162 bhp. The 2007 Eclipse is offered only in FWD as it shares the Mitsubishi PS platform used for the Gallant.

 

The main reason for the popularity of the Eclipse is the great performance per money ratio as well as the extended offer of after-market components, the car being one of the trendiest tuning vehicles.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.4L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 162@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 23 / 30
Combined Fuel Economy 25
EPA Class Sub-Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 162@4000 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.5
Displacement 145 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.43 x 3.94
Cruising Range 442.5
Valves Configuration Single Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3274

Curb Weight AT 3307
Ground Clearance 5.8
Height 53.5
Length 179.7
Track (Front) 61.8
Track (Rear) 61.8
Wheelbase 101.4
Width 72.2
Doors 2
 

2006 MINI Cooper Base - $17,450

 

The Mini is a famous compact British automobile that sold tenth of millions world-wide and become a true icon among enthusiasts. In 2000 under BMW ownership there has been released the second MINI that is no longer a popular ultra-affordable car, but a life-style vehicle to complete the BMW BMW model range in the lower segment. Many may not consider the car a true coupe, as it is a two door hatchback with four roomy seats. However, the kart-like dynamics, the incredible handling and agility due to the excellent power to weight ratio lead to the MINI’s incredible popularity.

 

The MINI Cooper features a full independent suspension, precision steering and a vivid 1.6L 4 cylinder engine delivering 115 bhp. There is known for the MINI to have given birth to a true phenomenon out on the car markets, as many owners trade their large coupes for an agile Cooper or more radical Cooper S.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 115@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 28 / 36
Combined Fuel Economy 31
EPA Class Mini-Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 111@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 10.6
Displacement 98 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.03 x 3.38
Cruising Range 382.8

Curb Weight MT 2524

Curb Weight AT 2557
Ground Clearance 4.5
Height 55.4
Length 143.1
Track (Front) 57.4
Track (Rear) 57.7
Wheelbase 97.1
Width 66.5
Doors 2
 

Best < $20,000 Convertible

 

The convertibles or cabriolets are vehicle with a car body style that includes a folding or retracting roof (’soft top’). The retractable roof section is usually made from flexible canvas or vinyl, although plastic, aluminum and steel are now used for the so called coupe cabriolets. When the top is built of a rigid material such as a metal it is often referred to as a "retractable hardtop". Generally, convertibles offer two doors, but there are a few known exceptions with four doors. Convertibles that only offer seating for two are usually called “roadsters” or “spyders”.

 

The main qualities of the convertibles are the special open-air trip and freedom feeling they can offer. On the down-side are the lack of sound or weather proofing in comparison with a fixed-top. In addition, due to the lack of a top a chassis looses some of its stiffness and has to be supplementary reinforced, thus making the car more expensive.

 

There aren’t too many convertibles to choose from on a $20,000 budget, but among them is the base model of the most popular convertible ever, the Mazda Mazda MX-5 Club Spec. Other choices are the beautiful Pontiac Solstice Roadster and the not so beautiful Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible Base.

 

2006 Mazda MX-5 Club Spec - $19,935

 

TheMazda MX-5 (or the Miata on other markets) is the car to have invented the affordable roadster concept. The original model was launched in February 1989 and was produced with a generation change up until march 2005, becoming the best selling convertible ever, with over 720,000 units.

 

The popular MX-5 has reached now its third generation and it is a completely new model following Mazda’s new “Zoom-Zoom” design spirit. It shares no components with the previous MX-5, or with other Mazda model. It features a new double-wishbone set-up for the front and a multilink suspension at the rear.

 

The high-rev 2.0L L4 engine offers 170 bhp and it is mated with a short-shift five speed manual gear-box, which are more than enough for a car of this size.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.0L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 170@6700
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 25 / 30
Combined Fuel Economy 27
EPA Class Two Seater
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 140@5000 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 10.8
Displacement 122 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.27
Cruising Range 342.9
Power To Weight Ratio 14.5
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2441

Ground Clearance 4.6
Height 49.0
Length 157.3
Top Type (Standard) Soft Removable, complete
Track (Front) 58.7
Track (Rear) 58.9
Wheelbase 91.7
Width 67.7
Doors 2
 

2006 Pontiac Solstice Roadster - $19,915

 

The Solstice is a new Pontiac roadster introduced at 2004 NAIAS and produced as a 2006 model year. It was the production version of the Solstice concept-car show cased earlier with a less practical design. The Pontiac Solstice uses GM’s Kappa platform and shares it with the Saturn Sky and the Opel GT.

 

The Pontiac roadster was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award and Design of the Year award for 2006. It has been a smashing hit for Pontiac Pontiac , with 7,000 orders in the first 10 days of availability and 6,000 more orders before winter. The first-year planned production was 7,000, but GM apologized to customers for delays and increased production, delivering 10,000 by March. Although the MSRP $19,915 many buyers report paying $5,000 or more over sticker to get a Solstice.

 

The Solstice equips the 2.4L 177 bhp engine shared between several GM models. Independent front and rear suspension sustaining only 2860 lbs of weight complement the “fun to drive” factor of a roadster

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.4L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 177@6600
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 20 / 28
Combined Fuel Economy 23
EPA Class Two Seater
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 166@4800 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 10.4
Displacement 145 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.46 x 3.85
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2860

Height 50.1
Length 157.2
Top Type (Standard) Soft Removable, complete
Track (Front) 60.7
Track (Rear) 61.4
Wheelbase 95.1
Width 71.3
Doors (Standard) 2
 

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible Base - $19,890

 

ThePT Cruiser is a retro-styled wagon introduced by Chrysler in 2001 as an entry-level model. In 2005 a convertible was made available offering room for up to five passengers. The door body also features an integrated “sport bar” for stiffening the chassis and roll-over protection. That affects the open-air and the freedom feel of the car, but is a cheap solution and helps keeping the price low.

 

For 2006 the Pt Cruiser has receive a major face-lift with significant changes to both interior and exterior. Notable exterior changes include the scalloped headlights, a new front grille and bumper, and redesigned taillights. Inside, the dashboard was updated with more upscale materials and new equipment such as the integrated into the dashboard audio system featuring a line-in jack for MP3 player (but, due to that more difficult to replace with an aftermarket unit).

 

The PT Cruiser Convertible is equipped with a 2.4 L, 150 bhp engine that drives the front wheels. It is no racer, and no youth vehicle either, but it is the only five seats convertible available for this amount of money.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.4L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 150@5100
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 22 / 29
Combined Fuel Economy 25

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive SUV

Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 165@4000 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.5
Displacement 148 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.98
Cruising Range 345
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam
Height 60.6
Length 168.8
Top Type (Standard) Soft Removable, complete
Track (Front) 58.1
Track (Rear) 58.2
Wheelbase 103.0
Width 67.1
Doors 2
 

Best < $20,000 Economy Vehicle

 

For this category we tried to find the ultimate cheapest to buy, cheapest to run and maintain new vehicles. The cars in this segment compete in price with used cars but have as advantages the manufacturer warranty, which is usually expired in used cars and the fact that they are also cheap to drive. On the down side, they offer virtually as little as possible in terms of equipment and performance, and they can be a lot less comfortable or powerful in comparison with a used car.

 

Our Top 3 Economy Vehicle includes the Chevrolet Aveo Special Value Sedan, Hyundai Accent GS 3-Door and Kia Rio Base, all available for around $10,000.

 

2006 Chevrolet Aveo Special Value Sedan - $9,350

 

The Aveo is the new entry-level Chevrolet, a rebadged Daewoo Kalos, after the Korean company was purchased by GM. The Aveo is based on the Daewoo Daewoo Flex concept car, showed at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2001 and was styled by The Ital Design Studio, leaded by Giugiario.

 

The US model debuted in January 2006 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is being sold under two different badges in Canada, as the Pontiac Wave and Suzuki Swift +. Most of the Aveos are assembled at the Bupyong plant in South Korea.

 

The Aveo is equipped with a decent 1.6L 103 bhp, four cylinder engine, and five speed manual gear-box and can run up to 35 miles on a gallon of fuel.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 103@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 26 / 35
Combined Fuel Economy 29
EPA Class Sub-Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 107@3600 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 9.5
Displacement 98 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.11 x 3.21
Cruising Range 319
Power To Weight Ratio 22.9
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2365

Height 58.8
Length 166.7
Track (Front) 57.1
Track (Rear) 55.5
Wheelbase 97.6
Width 65.7
Doors 4
 

2007 Hyundai Accent GS 3-Door - $10,415

 

The Accent (known on some markets as the Verna) is a subcompact car produced since 1995 in South Korea, India, Pakistan, and Turkey by Hyundai. It replaced the former Excel model in the company’s lineup.

 

In 2006 Hyundai introduced the third generation Accent, with a new exterior, a larger interior and a new CVVT engine. The US model is available in a single trim level and offers 6 airbags, air conditioning, power steering with tilt, four-wheel disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and a 6-speaker CD stereo.

 

The engine behind the Accent’s bonnet is the 1.6 L CVVT Alpha II I4, with 110 bhp and 106 ft.-lb.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 110@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 32 / 35
EPA Class Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 106@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 10.0
Displacement 98 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.01 x 3.43
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2366

Curb Weight AT 2403
Height 57.9
Length 159.3
Track (Front) 57.9
Track (Rear) 57.5
Wheelbase 98.4
Width 66.7
Doors 2
 

2006 Kia Rio Base - $10,770

 

The Rio is a subcompact car produced by Korean manufacturer Kia Kia , starting with 2000. It was brought up to replace the former Kia Pride and compete with cars such as Toyota Vita, Chevrolet Aveo and Hyundai Accent.

 

In 2006 a second generation Rio was launched based on the redesigned platform shared with the Hyundai Accent. The engine is also shared with the Hyundai subcompact, being the same 110 bhp 1.6L four cylinder.

 

In 2006 the Kia Rio received an award from the automotive press, the "Editors’ Choice Award for Most Improved New Car" from “Autobytel”. Besides from that, the Rio also earned the J.D. Power and Associates award in 2006 for "Highest Ranked Sub-compact Car in Initial Quality"


Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 110@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 32 / 35
Combined Fuel Economy 33
EPA Class Compact
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 107@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 10.0
Displacement 98 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.01 x 3.43
Cruising Range 392.7
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 2365

Ground Clearance 6.1
Height 57.9
Length 166.9
Track (Front) 57.9
Track (Rear) 57.5
Wheelbase 98.4
Width 66.7
Doors 4
 

Best < $20,000 Van

 

Vans are generally called the vehicles used for transporting groups of people. They are usually rather box-shaped vehicles on four wheels with about the same width and length as a large automobile, but taller and usually higher off the ground. They are, either specially designed vehicles or based on a saloon/sedan car. A modern form of vans are the MPVs (Multi purpose vehicles) that have a flexible interior and can transport more than five passengers or, if needed less passengers and a large amount of cargo. Vans are offered in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the ranging from the mini class to those that classify as trucks. The term “van” is considered to be short for “caravan”, that was once used to describe covered vehicles, but know refers to travel trailer or recreational vehicles.

 

The van offer is not very extensive in the under $20,000 price range with only the American models being able to display such a low price tag. Our models of choice are the Dodge Caravan SWB SE, the Chevrolet Uplander LS Regular Wheelbase 1LS and the Ford Truck Freestar Cargo Van Base.

 

2006 Dodge Caravan SWB SE - $18,630

 

The Dodge Caravan is a van manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler starting with 1983. It was also badged as Plymouth Plymouth Voyager (now Chrysler Voyager). As the first modern minivans, the Chrysler company minivans are considered to have created the entire market segment for these vehicles, as they were launched a few month before the first European van, the Renault Espace.

 

Since their introduction Chrysler’s pair of minivans has been the most successful models on the market. The current generation of Caravan uses the Chrysler RS platform, and has received a refreshing face-lift in 2004, for both exterior and interior.

 

The Caravan features the same engine presented on the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible, the 2.4 L EDZ I4 with 150 hp at 5400 rpm and 165 at 4000 rpm.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.4L I4
Standard Transmission 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 150@5200
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 20 / 26
Combined Fuel Economy 22

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive Minivan

Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 167@4000 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.5
Displacement 153 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.98
Cruising Range 440
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam
Seating (Standard) 7
Curb Weight AT 3908
Ground Clearance 5.4
Height 68.9
Length 189.1
Track (Front) 63.0
Track (Rear) 64.0
Wheelbase 113.3
Width 78.6
Doors 4
 

2007 Chevrolet Uplander LS Regular Wheelbase 1LS - $19,930

 

The Uplander is the minivan introduced by the Chevrolet brand of General Motors, to replace the elder Venture and Astro. Although the Uplander was introduced in 2004, it overlapped with the final production year of the Venture (on which the Uplander is heavily based) and Astro.

 

The Chevrolet Uplander is built on the same platform with three other GM minivans the Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza, and Pontiac Montana Pontiac Montana SV6. There are several differences between these four vehicles sharing the same platform. The most important of these is the offering of an integrated child seat for the Chevrolet Chevrolet ’s LS model and that, for the US market, the Chevrolet Uplander is offered in two wheelbases and a cargo version.

 

The Uplander offers for a $19,930 MSRP a 3.9L V6 engine and an automatic four speed gear-box.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 3.9L V6
Standard Transmission 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 240@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 18 / 25
Combined Fuel Economy 21

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive Minivan

Number of Valves 24
Torque @ RPM 240@4800 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.8
Displacement 237 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.90 x 3.31
Cruising Range 525
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam
Curb Weight AT 4104
Ground Clearance 5.5
Height 70.5
Length 191.0
Track (Front) 62.4
Track (Rear) 62.6
Wheelbase 113.0
Width 72.0
Doors 4
 

2006 Ford Truck Freestar Cargo Van Base - $19,650

 

The Freestar is a minivan built by the Ford Motor Company. It was brought up to replace the Ford Windstar for the 2004 model year. Although it was advertised as "all new", it is basically a revamped Windstar. The name change was done in order to accommodate Ford’s strategy to rename their cars to words beginning in F. The Freestar, along with its twin brother, the Mercury Monterey are both assembled in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

 

The sales of the Freestar and Monterey have been slow in the United States, but of a relative success in Canada (despite that the Monterey isn’t available in there). Ford Ford was reported to stop the production of the Freestar after the 2007 model year. Nevertheless, it is expected that Ford will produce the retro-styled Ford Fairlane three-row crossover SUV in 2008.

 

The Ford Freestar gets powered by a 3.9L V6 engine offering 193 bhp. The comfort required by a vehicle of this class is complemented by a four speed automatic transmission.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 3.9L V6
Standard Transmission 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 194@4500
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 18 / 24
Combined Fuel Economy 20
EPA Class Cargo Van
Number of Valves 12
Torque @ RPM 243@3750 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.4
Displacement 238 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.81 x 3.48
Cruising Range 520
Valves Configuration Overhead Valve
Curb Weight AT 4080
Height 68.8
Length 201.0
Track (Front) 64.7
Track (Rear) 62.8
Wheelbase 120.8
Width 76.4
Doors (Standard) 4
 

Best < $20,000 SUV

 

An SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) is a type of passenger vehicle, which combines the off-road capabilities of an off-roader, the load capacity and versatility of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a station wagon. Most SUVs have a roughly square cross-section, a distinctive engine compartment and a combined passenger and cargo compartment (no dedicated trunk). Most of the SUVs offer 5 or more seats, and a cargo area directly behind the last row of seats.

 

In the last quarter century, and even more in the last ten years, the SUVs have become increasingly popular with urban buyers. In order to satisfy these demands the car manufacturers have released SUVs with more luxury features, lower ride heights and unibody construction to better accommodate their use for mainly on-road driving.

 

Our favorites three SUV’s for under $20,000 are the Toyota RAV4 Base I4 4X2, Suzuki Grand Vitara Base 2 and Ford Escape XLS FWD Manual

 

2006 Toyota RAV4 Base I4 4X2 - $20,300

 

The RAV4 (Recreational Activity Vehicle, 4-wheel drive) is a compact crossover SUV built by the Toyota Motor Corporation and sold starting with 1994 in Japan and 1996 in Europe and North America. The RAV4 was intended to attract clients wanting a vehicle that had most of the benefits of SUVs, such as increased cargo room, higher visibility, and the option of four wheel drive, along with the handling and fuel economy of a smaller car. The success of the RAV4 inspired other manufacturers to produce cars such as the Honda CR-V, the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute, and the Subaru Forester.

 

The RAV4 was completely redesigned for the year 2006 and it is built on two wheel-bases. The large wheel-base is exclusively for the North American market. The 2.4L 4 cylinder engine produces 166 bhp, 5 more than the previous model.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.4L I4
Standard Transmission 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 166@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 24 / 30
Combined Fuel Economy 26

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive SUV

Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 165@4000 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.8
Displacement 144 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.48 x 3.78
Cruising Range 413.4
Power To Weight Ratio
20.2
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam
Curb Weight AT 3300
Ground Clearance 7.5
Height 66.3
Length 181.1
Track (Front) 61.4
Track (Rear) 61.4
Wheelbase 104.7
Width 71.5
Doors 4
 

2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara Base 2WD - $18,999

 

The Grand Vitara is Suzuki’s entry level SUV, and is present on North American market since 2004. Wearing the Escudo name on other markets, the vehicle is famous for the rally variant that participated in the annual Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in 1996.

 

The old Grand Vitara was replaced in the late 2005 by a new model built in Japan, but using some components of the GM Theta platform. The 2006 Grand Vitara was developed independently by the same Suzuki Suzuki engineers that developed the Theta platform. Although the Grand Vitara uses some Theta components, especially in the suspension, it is quite different and should not be considered a Theta vehicle.

 

The Grand Vitara is equipped with a 2.7L V6 engine delivering 185 bhp. Mated with a 5 speed manual the engine power the rear wheels for the base model. More expensive variants feature 4WD.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.7L V6
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 185@6000
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 18 / 23
Combined Fuel Economy 20

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive SUV

Number of Valves 24
Torque @ RPM 184@4500 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected

Compression 9.5
Displacement 167 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.46 x 2.95
Cruising Range 365.4
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3452

Curb Weight AT 3505
Ground Clearance 7.9
Height 66.7
Length 176.0
Track (Front) 60.6
Track (Rear) 61.4
Wheelbase 103.9
Width 71.3
Doors 4
 

2007 Ford Escape XLS FWD Manual - $19,380

 

The Escape (Code U204) is a compact SUV, built by Ford Motor Company since 2001 and priced below the Ford Explorer Ford Explorer . It was developed in joint venture with Mazda, in which Ford owns a controlling interest, and shares a lot of components with the Mazda Tribute Mazda Tribute . A more upscale version, of the Ford Escape Ford Escape is the Mercury Mercury Mariner, introduced as a 2005 model year. The Escape was marketed in Europe as the Ford Maverick. It has the role of filling Ford’s compact SUV gap since the discontinuation of the Bronco II in 1990.

 

The Escape is built on Ford’s CD2 platform, which is mainly based on the Mazda GF platform, previously used by the Mazda 6 Mazda 6 26. The Escape and was updated for 2005 with a new base engine the 2.3 L Duratec four cylinders offering 153 bhp.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.3L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 153@5800
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 24 / 29
Combined Fuel Economy 26

EPA Class Two Wheel Drive SUV

Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 152@4250 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.7
Displacement 140 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.44 x 3.70
Cruising Range 429
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3183

Ground Clearance 8.2
Height 69.7
Length 174.9
Track (Front) 61.3
Track (Rear) 60.9
Wheelbase 103.1
Width 70.1
Doors 4
 

Best < $20,000 Pick-up Truck

 

The word pickup generally refers to a small or medium sized truck in the US, rather than to vehicles based on passenger cars as it is in Europe. These light commercial vehicles feature a separate cabin and a separate rear load area. Most of the pickups have short rigid sides and an opening rear gate, while others have a flat tray back. This type of vehicles are known in Australia and New Zealand as ute (from "utility vehicle"), in South Africa as a bakkie (pronounced "bucky"), and in Israel as a tender.

 

The North American pickup range is very extensive and features full-size (large, heavy vehicles often with V8 or six-cylinder engines), mid-size, and compact (smaller trucks generally equipped with inline 4 engines). In the US, pickup trucks are commonly used as general purpose passenger cars. They are popular not only with construction workers, but also by house-wives and office workers, but we can’t explain why.

 

Our first three pick-up trucks of choice are from the light category and are two Japanese and one American model: Ford F-150 Ford F-150 Regular Cab 4X2 145-in. WB XL Styleside, Toyota Truck Tacoma 4X4 Regular Cab I4 Manual and Mitsubishi Raider LS Extended Cab 2WD MT.

 

2006 Ford F-150 Regular Cab 4X2 145-in. WB XL Styleside - $19,225

 

The F-Series is a range of full-size pickup trucks produced by Ford Motor Company and sold for over the five past decades. The most popular variant is the F-150. The ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the world for 23 years and the best-selling pickup truck in the US (and possibly the world) for the last 28 years. Market analysts estimated that the F-Series alone made up half of the Ford Motor Company’s profits in recent years.

 

The new F-150, that has arrived to its eleventh generation has won the North American Truck of the Year award in 2004 and also was Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year for 2004. More than that, the F-150 beat the three-time winning Chevrolet Silverado for Car and Driver magazine’s Best Pickup Truck for 2004 and 2005. More than 912,000 F-Series trucks were sold in 2004, making that a new single-year sales record.

 

The F-150 we propose as best buy for under $20,000 features a 4.2L V6 delivering 202 hp and rear wheel drive via a 5 speed manual.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 4.2L V6
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 202@4350
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 15 / 20
Combined Fuel Economy 17
EPA Class Standard 2 Wheel Drive Pickup
Number of Valves 12
Torque @ RPM 260@3750 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.2
Displacement 256 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.81 x 3.74
Cruising Range 459
Valves Configuration Overhead Valve

Curb Weight MT 4800

Height 73.6
Length 229.8
Track (Front) 67.0
Track (Rear) 67.0
Wheelbase 144.5
Width 78.9
Doors 4
 

2006 Toyota Truck Tacoma 4X4 Regular Cab I4 Manual - $17,925

 

The Tacoma, or Hilux (on other markets) is a compact pickup truck built by the Toyota Motor Corporation. The Hilux name was introduced as a replacement for the Stout in 1969, and is still in use worldwide. In the US, the Hilux name was retired in 1976 in favor of Truck or Compact Truck, until it was renamed the Tacoma in 1995. One popular option package, the SR5 (Sport Rally), also became one and the same with the truck, even though it was used on other Toyota Toyota models as well. The name for the covered version of the Tacoma was changed to the Toyota 4Runner Toyota 4Runner in North America in 1984. The 4Runner that is now a full SUV, shares few styling elements with its brother Tacoma in more recent models.

 

The Toyota Tacoma is equipped with a 2.7L four cylinder engine offering 159 bhp and a manual five gear transmission box.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 2.7L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @ RPM 159@5200
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 19 / 23
Combined Fuel Economy 20
EPA Class Standard 4 Wheel Drive Pickup
Number of Valves 16
Torque @ RPM 180@3800 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.6
Displacement 164 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.74 x 3.74
Cruising Range 420
Valves Configuration Dual Overhead Cam/Twin Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 3550

Ground Clearance 9.4
Height 69.9
Length 190.4
Track (Front) 63.0
Track (Rear) 63.4
Wheelbase 110.0
Width 74.6
Doors 2
 

2006 Mitsubishi Raider LS Extended Cab 2WD MT - $19,180

 

The Raider is Mitsubishi’s mid-size pickup truck that debuted in the fall of 2005 as a 2006 model for the United States market. It was released at the exact same time as its main competitor, the Honda Honda Ridgeline. The Raider can not be sold in Canada because it is a rebadged Dodge Dodge Dakota. It has received the role of filling the gap in the Mitsubishi lineup since the discontinuation of the Mighty Max in 1996.

 

The Mitsubishi Raider is built in the United States by DaimlerChrysler and has a name recycled from the Dodge Raider SUV produced between 1987 and 1990, which was a rebadged Mitsubishi Montero.

 

The Raider is equipped with a 3.7L V6 engine producing 210 bhp. That is excellently exploited by a 6 speed manual gear-box and rear wheel drive for the base model.

 
Best cars under $20,000 - Complete buyers guide

Specs

 
Standard Engine 3.7L V6
Standard Transmission 6 Speed Manual
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @ RPM 210@5200
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 16 / 22
Combined Fuel Economy 19
EPA Class Standard 2 Wheel Drive Pickup
Number of Valves 12
Torque @ RPM 235@3600 (foot/lbs)

Fuel Type/System Gas Engine / Sequential Electronic Fuel Injected

Compression 9.7
Displacement 226 cui
Bore X Stroke 3.6 6x 3.57
Cruising Range 418
Power To Weight Ratio 20.6
Valves Configuration Single Overhead Cam

Curb Weight MT 4317

Ground Clearance 7.9
Height 68.6
Length 219.9
Track (Front) 62.8
Track (Rear) 62.9
Wheelbase 131.3
Width 71.9
Doors 4

2 comments:

The good news is that there are brand new cars nowadays that costs less than 20 grand. It’s awesome news actually as these new cars are equipped with new technology that improves the cars performance in terms of mileage, comfort of driving experience and of course, safety.

Hi everyone from Italy!
I casually find out your site...
I was lookin at these "under 20.000$ cars, it’s simply amazing! Lucky guys!!Unfortunatly in our country you have to spend much more bucks to buy those cars! ( € 23-24.000) smiley

Subaru’s sedan impreza price is a bit less than Seat ibiza FR 1900 TDI (diesel) 130 Hp one!!

or... Corvette chevy c6, in Italy: 70000 € (nearly 83.000 $)

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