(iSeeCars) — New and used car prices are at record highs, with the average new car costing $47,878 and the average used car costing $30,384 according to iSeeCars data. But even in the current market, new and, used car buyers can still find affordable cars that meet their budget. 

Whether you want a new car under $20,000, or a used car or SUV under $15,000 or $10,000, we have compiled a list of the best cars to choose from. 

Criteria for Best Cheap Cars

The best cheap cars are ranked by an iSeeCars Quality Score that takes into account a car’s longevity, value retention, and safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

Best Cheap New Cars Under $20,000

For under $20,000, these are the best new cars to choose from. 

Best Cheap New Cars Under $20,000
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreStarting MSRP
1Subaru Impreza8.6$18,795
2Nissan Versa8.2$15,080
2Kia Rio8.0$16,150
3Hyundai Accent7.9$16,645
4Kia Forte7.9$19,090
5Nissan Sentra7.9$19,510
6Hyundai Elantra7.9$19,850

1. Subaru Impreza

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.6

  • Reliability Score: 8.0
  • Retained Value Score: 8.7
  • Safety Score: 9.0

Average New Car Price: $23,610

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $23,238

The Subaru Impreza ranks first and is available as a sedan or hatchback. Unlike most compact cars, all-wheel drive comes standard on the Impreza. The Impreza achieves Subaru’s characteristic high safety score and includes standard safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Standard infotainment features include a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth.

2. Nissan Versa

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2

  • Reliability Score: 7.5
  • Retained Value Score: 8.2
  • Safety Score: 8.9

Average New Car Price: $18,880

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $18,554

The subcompact Nissan Versa ranks second. The Versa comes standard with forwarding collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. The next trim up from the base, the SV, starts at $17,890 and adds a rear-seat reminder, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The top SR trim is still under $20,000 at $18,490 and adds proximity keyless entry, remote start, and a six-speaker stereo. A $400 convenience package adds heated front seats, automatic climate control, and adaptive cruise control.

3. Kia Rio

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0

  • Reliability Score: 7.9
  • Retained Value Score: 8.1
  • Safety Score: Not Available

Average New Car Price: $17,725

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $17,821

The subcompact Kia Rio ranks third. Available as a sedan and as a hatchback on the upper S trim only, the Kia Rio offers an upscale interior and provides excellent fuel efficiency. Both bodystyles have functional cargo space for the class, and the hatchback has an extra 3.7 feet of cargo capacity compared to the sedan. The base model does not come with any standard safety features, but both body styles in the upper S trim also cost below $20,000 even with the added $1,800 entertainment package. The S trim adds split-folding rear seats, additional USB ports, cruise control, and keyless entry, and the technology package, which is only available on the S trim, adds forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, driver drowsiness monitoring, and a rear-seat reminder.

4. Hyundai Accent

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9

  • Reliability Score: 7.7
  • Retained Value Score: 7.9
  • Safety Score: 8.0

Average New Car Price: $18,123

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $17,829

The subcompact Hyundai Accent ranks fourth. It is similar to the Kia Rio and shares many of the same features, but the Accent is not available as a hatchback. The Accent ?? comes with standard infotainment features including a 5-inch touch screen, Siri Eyes Free voice control, and Bluetooth. For buyers needing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, opt for the SEL trim at $18,000. The top trim is still below $20,000, at $19,500, and adds standard features including a sunroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

5. Kia Forte

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9

  • Reliability Score: 7.6
  • Retained Value Score: 8.0
  • Safety Score: 8.1

Average New Car Price: $21,534

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $20,396

The compact Kia Forte ranks fifth. The Forte features a roomy cabin and excellent fuel economy. It comes standard with driver assistant features including forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, driver attention monitor, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touch screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity.

6. Nissan Sentra

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9

  • Reliability Score: 7.7
  • Retained Value Score: 7.5
  • Safety Score: 8.4

Average New Car Price: $22,670

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $22,211

The Nissan Sentra compact sedan ranks sixth. The Nissan Sentra ?? has a 149-horsepower four-cylinder engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and gets an EPA estimated 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. It comes standard with safety features including lane departure warning, forward collision warning, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, driver drowsiness monitoring, and blind-spot monitoring.

7. Hyundai Elantra

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9

  • Reliability Score: 7.7
  • Retained Value Score: 7.9
  • Safety Score: 8.0

Average New Car Price: $23,326

Average 3-Year-Old Used Car Price: $19,917

The compact Hyundai Elantra rounds out the list. Redesigned for the 2022 model year, the fun-to-drive Elantra features attractive exterior styling and comes with Hyundai-Kia’s standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.  Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and Bluetooth. It also offers an extensive list of standard safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights, rear-seat alert, and safe exit warning. 

Best Used Cars By Price

Here are the best-used cars and SUVs by price:

Best Cheap Used Cars Under $10,000

Here are the best-used cars on the market for under $10,000. The vehicles on this list include used versions of the cheapest new cars and add the recently discontinued Chevrolet Sonic small car.

Best Used Cars Under $10,000
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreAverage Used Car Price
12015 Nissan Versa8.2$9,426
22014 Chevrolet Sonic8.2$8,880
32014 Kia Rio8.0$9,157
42013 Kia Forte7.9$8,071
52014 Hyundai Accent7.9$9,688
62014 Nissan Sentra7.9$9,666

Best Used Cars Under $15,000

Here are the best-used cars on the market for under $15,000. Bumping your used car budget to $15,000 adds a number of dependable compact and midsize sedans, including the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and the Toyota Camry. 

Best Used Cars Under $15,000
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreAverage Used Car Price
12014 Honda Civic9.4$14,978
22013 Honda Accord9.0$14,774
32014 Toyota Camry 8.9$14,749
42015 Toyota Corolla8.8$14,653
52014 Mazda Mazda68.6$14,127
62014 Subaru Legacy8.6$13,365
72016 Volkswagen Jetta8.5$14,658
82015 Kia Optima8.4$14,747
92015 Nissan Altima8.3$13,608
102015 Ford Fusion8.2$14,303
112015 Chevrolet Malibu8.0$13,921

Best Used SUVs Under $15,000

With a budget of $15,000, there are also high-quality used small and midsize SUVs to meet your needs. Here are the best-used crossover SUVs on the market for under $15,000.

Best Used SUVs Under $15,000
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreAverage Used Car Price
12013 Subaru Outback8.8$13,523
22013 Subaru Forester8.7$12,970
32013 Hyundai Santa Fe8.5$14,775
42014 Hyundai Tucson8.4$14,162
52013 Mazda CX-98.4$13,484
62013 Nissan Pathfinder8.4$14,350
72013 Mazda CX-58.3$13,451
82013 Nissan Murano8.2$13,385
92014 Kia Sportage8.1$14,267
102015 Mitsubishi Outlander8.1$14,126

Bottom Line:

When looking at the cheapest cars on the market, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to meet your budget. Even the most affordable new cars on the market come with modern safety and technology features, which make them smart purchases for value-oriented shoppers.  

This article, the Best Cars for Cheap, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.