9 Top Cool Cars Under $20,000 In Used Car Market

cool cars under 20k

Are you in the market for a cool car but don’t want to break the bank? Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a college student, or someone looking to add a fun vehicle to their collection, finding a stylish and reliable car under $20,000 is entirely possible. 

This guide will walk you through some of the best options available, considering factors like performance, reliability, and overall coolness.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Car

Before diving into the list, it’s essential to understand what makes a car cool and what you should look for when purchasing a vehicle under $20,000:

  1. Reliability: A car that frequently breaks down or needs constant repairs can quickly become more expensive than its initial cost.
  2. Performance: This includes the car’s speed, handling, and overall driving experience.
  3. Safety: Ensure the car has good safety ratings and features.
  4. Features: Modern cars come with various features like Bluetooth connectivity, advanced driver assistance systems, and more.
  5. Fuel Efficiency: A car that gets good mileage will save you money in the long run.
  6. Aesthetics: A car that looks good can make a statement about your style and personality.

9 Cool Cars Under $20,000

Note: The prices of all the used cars listed here have been confirmed and deeply researched using top automotive websites like Kelley Blue Book (KBB), Carvana, Carfax, Iseecars.com, and Autotrader. The specifications and engine power were checked on the Ultimate Spec website. 

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata (2012-2016)

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a classic choice for car enthusiasts looking for a fun, affordable roadster. Known for its sharp handling and lightweight design, the Miata offers an exhilarating driving experience.

  • Performance: The Miata comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces around 155 horsepower. It’s not the most powerful car, but its light weight makes it quick and nimble.
  • Reliability: Mazda has a reputation for building reliable cars, and the Miata is no exception.
  • Features: The Miata includes features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 26-35 MPG (miles per gallon).

2. Ford Mustang (2011-2015)

The Ford Mustang is an iconic American muscle car known for its powerful engines and bold design. You can find used Mustangs in good condition for under $20,000.

  • Performance: The base model comes with a 3.7-liter V6 engine producing around 300 horsepower. For more power, look for the EcoBoost model with a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine.
  • Reliability: Mustangs are generally reliable, especially if well-maintained.
  • Features: Look for models with features like a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and advanced safety features.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 17-28 MPG.

3. Honda Civic Si (2017-2019)

The Honda Civic Si is a sporty version of the standard Civic, offering enhanced performance and styling.

  • Performance: It features a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 205 horsepower.
  • Reliability: Honda is known for its reliability, and the Civic Si is no different.
  • Features: Includes a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 28-38 MPG.

4. Volkswagen GTI (2014-2017)

The Volkswagen GTI is a beloved hot hatch known for its balance of performance, practicality, and quality interior.

  • Performance: It comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 210-220 horsepower.
  • Reliability: The GTI has a solid reputation for reliability, especially in newer models.
  • Features: Includes features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and heated seats.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 24-34 MPG.

5. Subaru WRX (2013-2017)

The Subaru WRX is a performance-oriented sedan with all-wheel drive, making it a great option for those who live in areas with varying weather conditions.

  • Performance: It comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 268 horsepower.
  • Reliability: Subaru has improved its reliability over the years, and the WRX is generally considered dependable.
  • Features: Includes features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 20-27 MPG.

6. Chevrolet Camaro (2012-2015)

The Chevrolet Camaro is another iconic American muscle car that combines performance with aggressive styling.

  • Performance: The base model comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing around 275 horsepower. There’s also a V6 option for those who want more power.
  • Reliability: Camaros are generally reliable, with a solid track record for performance and longevity.
  • Features: Includes features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 20-30 MPG.

7. Hyundai Veloster Turbo (2016-2019)

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo stands out with its unique three-door design and sporty performance.

  • Performance: It features a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 201 horsepower.
  • Reliability: Hyundai has a reputation for building reliable and well-equipped cars.
  • Features: Includes a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 25-33 MPG.

8. Mini Cooper S (2015-2018)

The Mini Cooper S offers a blend of British charm, nimble handling, and peppy performance in a compact package.

  • Performance: It comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 189 horsepower.
  • Reliability: Minis are generally reliable, though maintenance costs can be higher than average.
  • Features: Includes a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and premium interior materials.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 23-32 MPG.

9. Fiat 124 Spider (2016-2017)

The Fiat 124 Spider is a stylish and fun roadster that shares its platform with the Mazda MX-5 Miata but has its own Italian flair.

  • Performance: It features a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 160 horsepower.
  • Reliability: The 124 Spider is considered reliable, benefiting from Mazda’s engineering.
  • Features: Includes a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Around 26-35 MPG.

Tips for Buying a Used Car

When shopping for a used car, especially one under $20,000, it’s crucial to do your homework. Here are some tips to ensure you get the best deal possible:

  1. Research: Look up reviews and ratings for the models you’re interested in. Websites like Consumer Reports and Edmunds provide valuable insights.
  2. Check the Car’s History: Use services like Carfax to check the vehicle’s history report for accidents, repairs, and previous ownership.
  3. Inspect the Car: Have a trusted mechanic inspect the car before purchasing. This can help identify any potential issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye.
  4. Test Drive: Always take the car for a test drive to get a feel for its performance and comfort.
  5. Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Used car prices are often flexible, and you might be able to get a better deal.

Conclusion

Whether you’re interested in a sporty roadster like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, an iconic muscle car like the Ford Mustang, or a practical yet fun hot hatch like the Volkswagen GTI, there are plenty of options available. 

By doing your research, inspecting the car thoroughly, and considering your financing options, you can drive away in a car that not only fits your budget but also makes a statement on the road.

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