Best Used Cars for $15,000 to $20,000

These cars, SUVs, and trucks performed well when new and have above-average reliability records

Best Used Cars for between $15,000 and $20,000 includes the Mazda3.

Buying a pre-owned car is more than just a great way to save money. It could get you into a model that has safety and luxury features you couldn’t afford in a new car.

We dug through years of test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses to find the best used cars that cost $15,000 to $20,000.

The models below (listed alphabetically by segment) are vehicles we'd recommend to our friends and family members. Each has standard electronic stability control, an important safety feature. Many of them are also available with features such as forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), and/or blind spot warning (BSW) as optional or standard features.

They also performed well in our tests when new and consistently demonstrated multiple years of much better than average reliability in our Annual Auto Surveys for the 2011-2020 model years.

Of course, even for the used cars we recommend, there can be outliers; maybe a former owner didn’t care much for car maintenance, or there was a problem at the factory the week the car rolled off the line. Before you buy, make sure to pay for a thorough inspection by a certified mechanic so that there are no surprises down the road. 


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 of 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 home 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.

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2017 Chevrolet Bolt
2017 Chevrolet Bolt