Used Cars: Midsized Sedans Under $20,000 With the Best Fuel Economy

With a microchip shortage limiting new-car production, these reliable, reasonably priced used cars are smart choices

2016 Honda Accord Honda

Buying a well-maintained used vehicle can be a smart move, because used cars have gone through the most significant part of their depreciation cycle by the time they’re 5 years old. That means you’ll get many of the modern convenience and entertainment features found in brand-new models but at a significantly lower price.

They were also designed and built recently enough that their performance in our tests—such as those for acceleration, braking, and fuel economy—is still on a par with brand-new cars. But they can be had for thousands of dollars less than new versions.

Plus, with the global shortage of microchips, automakers haven't been able to build enough new cars to meet demand. As a result, there are fewer new cars on dealer lots, and prices have skyrocketed.

To help steer you to the best choice, we’ve assembled a list of the six most fuel-efficient 5-year-old nonhybrid midsized sedans. All performed well enough in our tests to be recommended when new. And all have average or better reliability, according to CR’s Annual Auto Surveys, where we ask CR members to tell us about what went wrong with the cars they own.


If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access the list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances.

CR members can search our Used Car Marketplace for vehicles for sale in their area, sorting by the factors that matter most. The listings include CR reliability and owner satisfaction ratings, and most vehicles include a free Carfax report. Members can also access ratings and information on used vehicles going as far back as 20 years.

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.