The Five Best Cars Under $20,000

Although we all prefer to be cruising around in a Porsche or a Bentley, most can’t gather that kind of money. It’s simple and easy to talk about Paganis and Bugattis all day long, but here’s something somewhat more useful: The Top 5 Cars Under $20,000.

1. Ford Focus

The new Focus really is a capable, refined vehicle. It has a feeling of German stability that makes VW feel jealous and an interior that puts most other cars in its class to shame. It sure doesn’t hurt that you can get a Focus Titanium with some sweet leather seats and still be under our $20,000 cap.

Price: $16,500

2. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

If you need a car that can carry a couch around in a pinch, the Jetta SportWagen is your friend. Being a VeeDub, it’s got a good ride and has a pleasing feel of solidity. Being a wagon, it can fit everything you own in it without the inherent poor handling, sketchy safety, bad fuel economy, and expensive insurance associated with SUVs. Face it: if you really wanted to off-road, you wouldn’t be looking at an Escalade anyway.

Price: $19,995

3. Fiat 500

It’s lively, efficient, and looks suspiciously like a stylish mid-century toaster. What more could a style-conscious city dweller ask for?

Price: $15,500

4. Suzuki Kizashi

The Suzuki Kizashi is one of the most underrated cars in the world. While most of us associate Suzuki with sad little things that look more like Power Wheels than cars, the Kizashi is a nimbly handling, fairly powerful (180-185hp), efficient offering that really is worth considering next to the commonplace Jettas and Corrolas. Take one for a test drive. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Price: $18,999

5. Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai seems to have gone through puberty in the last couple years. The company went from the awkward adolescent years to sophisticated adult faster than anyone could have expected. While the last Elantra and everything else it shared the showroom with was total rubbish, the new Elantra is a well-made, efficient, stylish, semi-well-equipped automobile. What do we mean by “semi-well-equipped?” You can get an Elantra with heated rear seats, but you can’t get power windows.

Price: $16,445

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