Every year, automobile companies release their latest models and are subject to consumer reviews that give consumers insight into each auto’s performance and overall grade in reliability. Before you purchase a new car, you want to make sure that the car you buy is worth the investment. Knowing how a car rates among other cars in the same class is one way to help you decide which car is the better automobile for your dollar, and for dependability. If you are looking for an automobile under $20,000 that has received good ratings with consumer reviews and is reliable, researching consumer reports is a great tool to learn about the top performing cars for the coming year. Consumer Reports has already done their research and recorded the grades for the newest models for 2017. They have listed their choices for the most reliable cars under $20,000, and here are their choices for 2017.
Kia Forte EX
If you are looking for a compact car that offers plenty of space in the cabin as well as cargo space for storage and toting equipment or luggage, the Kia Forte Ex offers you both plus much more, for under $15,000. This compact car will surprise you, not only with the amount of space you get, but with its performance. The 173 hp, 2.0 liter four-cylinder manual transmission means strong performance, and with 33 mpg on the highway, you’ll really see this car’s efficiency shine. Other features include satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display and rear-view camera – all features you normally wouldn’t even see on a $20,000 car.
This is a subcompact hatchback that is comfortable despite its small size. The features it offers are features you would more commonly find on a $25,000-plus model. Although the appearance is definitely that of a Prius, it drives more like other related vehicles and because it was constructed on the Toyota Yaris platform, it gives it better handling and stability. The engine that was chosen for this car is a 60 hp electric motor and 73 hp 1.5 liter, four-cylinder. This is not an engine that is known for high performance; it won’t win a race or even give you super pick-up for accelerating onto the highway quickly but it is fuel efficient at 53 mpg in the city. All of this is yours for under $20,000. Can’t beat that.
Fiat 550 Turbo
This is not exactly a sports car but it does have energy and a sporty performance for under $20,000 which is hard to get anywhere else unless you buy a used sports car. The engine installed under the hood is a 1.4 liter MultiAir in-line four, however, you get added pep with the turbocharger that gives the engine quite a boost by 34% in its horsepower and adds 150 pound-feet of torque. Because this is a lightweight automobile with a sport-tuned suspension, this combination is going to give you some real, get-up-and-go. Fuel efficiency is outstanding as well, at 34 mpg. The Fiat 500 Turbo has been deemed an impressive car for under $20,000.
Dodge Dart SE
The Dart used to be considered a budge model car; today the Dart is manufactured under Alfa Romeo roots with Italian engineering. The newer Dart is a sporty, and exceptionally good-looking sedan. You can choose before two versions, the 1.4 liter turbo or naturally-aspirated 2.0 version. Each Dart SE version is available in either 1.4 liter turbo or naturally-aspirated 2.0 versions, and each is equipped with a 160 hp with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. You get 41 mpg for highway and 31 mpg for combined. These Dart SE performance features are all yours for about $19,000. Not a bad deal.
Ford Focus SE
The Ford Focus SE is American made but designed overseas and given a European flare and Aston Martin design. The Ford Focus has been one of the most practical vehicles for years and has proven to be a solid car that offers everyday features. At under $20,000, you get a 2.0 liter, 160 hp engine and five-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic transmission. You get your choice of two models; sedan or hatchback. The handling is well above average in this vehicle, although the pick -up is lacking a bit, especially in the sedan. Inside the cabin you will find all kinds of extras that makes this car well worth the $20,000.
The Mazda 3 is an elegant car with superb handling. With this combination, it’s no wonder it has been on the “best new car” list for multiple years. With two models, it is the “i” model that will keep you under the $20,000 mark, but even so, the “i” model is equipped with plenty of features to make this an excellent automobile that gets great consumer research ratings. The 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine givers you 155 hp while the “s” model runs on a 2.5 liter. Both were designed with plenty of sophisticated interior features, such as, a rea-view mirror camera and heated seats. You will also enjoy having ample storage space, all for a budget of around $20,000.
Honda Civic LX
Honda has always been associated with reliable automobiles and people trust them, which is why Honda lovers tend to always return to the brand, time and again for their new cars. The Honda Civic LX is not only in the brand’s top line-up for reliability, but it is also popular for being affordable despite its newly designed, sportier look and upgraded features. You get automatic climate control and speed-sensitive stereo volume control, just to name a few features that make this car worth the money. One thing you will have to accept with the Civic, is the 2.0 liter four, with a six-speed manual transmission in order to get the $20,000 price, but if you’ve ever driven a Civic, you know it’s worth it.
This is a uniquely designed car that some people may not “get-into” the design, but it is a newer modernized look that several auto-makers are starting to incorporate similar looks into their auto line-up. Despite its funky look, this car has room being that it is actually a station wagon. If you are in the market for a spacious vehicle that offers excellent handling and can be purchased for under $20,000, this is a car that will give it to you. The base model is equipped with a 1.6 liter engine and will not provide much pep, so if you want more, you do have the option to upgrade to the 2.0 liter with 164 hp which does add another $4,000 to the price but will make it a more enjoyable ride.
Nissan Versa SL
The Nissan Versa SL is one of the best, new cars on the market this year that falls under $20,000 and will fit your budget. What you get for this price with the Versa is a 1.6 liter engine that pushes 109 hp, which is a bit on the slow side as far as pep, but the room you’ll find in this vehicle is comparable to many other brands in this price range. It is a fuel economy car, giving you mid-30’s mpg overall.
There’s not much bad you can say about Honda. They’ve been designing and manufacturing reliable cars for years. They are also budget-friendly cars, which makes them one of the most popular brands out there. The Honda Fit is a smaller car, smaller than the Civic, however, this car has quite a bit of pep to it with a 1.5 liter, 130 hp engine, but coupled with the six-speed manual transmission, you can really zip. If you choose the LX model, you will get features, such as the hands-free mobile Bluetooth system among other handy features, plus quite a bit of space that you wouldn’t imagine in this sized car.
One of the most attractive vehicles released this year that falls under $20,000 and is rated as one of the most reliable is the Mitsubishi Lancer. Elegant and stylish, this car sports a four-cylinder 2.0 engine that pushes 148 hp. Although the interior is not especially luxurious and may actually be considered a bit generic, for the price, you really can’t go wrong with this car.
With the Scion, you will be amazed at all the features you get on just the standard model for under $20,000. What you will find in this package is a six-speaker Pioneer sound system along with a large 7” touchscreen. This four-door hatchback is equipped with a CVT automatic transmission that uses a 1.8 four-cylinder engine, that allows for 137 hp. It is a quiet engine and ride, sporty-looking and well worth the price you’ll pay.
The Cruze is a good-looking, four-door coupe that is also available in a hatchback. It looks and feels bigger and this isn’t just an illusion. There is lots of legroom, plenty of storage space, and this isn’t the only impressive aspect of the Cruz. The acceleration is good, which is due to the car’s lightweight construction. The ride is smooth and has great handling. It is equipped with a 1.4 liter turbo four-cylinder engine, which isn’t a whole lot of get-up-and-go, but it is sufficient for the ride, and the price.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Finding an SUV for under $20,000 isn’t always easy, but here’s one. The Outlander Sport has gotten great reviews for reliability and the features it offers. It offers a modern look that really looks more like a hatchback. It was designed with a front-wheel drive system and has a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that pushes 148 hp with a 5-speed manual transmission. There is substantial space in the cabin but the interior is on the cheaper side as opposed to other SUVs for a higher asking price. Despite the two downsides, this is really a great value for the money.
Toyota has long been associated with reliability. Toyotas are popular cars and Corollas are one of their biggest selling models. The Corolla may not be the most exciting car out there, but it is efficient and reliable. It is equipped with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that pushes 132 hp, along with a gearless CVT automatic transmission. Even though the Corolla is still similar to the past models, they have made some upgrades to the vehicle, which they do yearly, and falls on the list of the top 20 most reliable cars of 2017 for under $20,000.
Another name that is synonymous with reliability is Subaru. The Impreza model has been getting increasingly more upgrades over the years to make it a larger, more powerful and yes, better looking vehicle. This year’s Impreza is equipped with a direct-inject 2.0 liter Boxer four-cylinder engine. This Sedan is longer and wider than the past models. It is also an all-wheel drive vehicle, which is a nice feature to have, especially because it is equipped with a fuel efficiency of 37 mpg on highway. The only thing that may be noticeably un-impressive is the interior. It definitely doesn’t have a “wow” factor but for its high rating for reliability and price of under $20,000, who can complain?
The Hyundai Elantra has been upgrading its standards every year till now, it is close in comparison to the Civic and the Corolla in terms of its status. With the Elantra you will pretty much know what you’re getting for a price of under $20,000. The performance is pretty decent with the 1.8 liter, 145 hp engine under the hood. It is attractive with its stylish curves on the outside, however, the interior does lack a little on the “pop”, but it does have some nice technology features. Another good pick for under $20,000.
Chevy has a vehicle selling for under $20,000, and this year it has made the top 20 list for being one of the most reliable vehicles in this price range. The basic model is equipped with a 1.8 liter but you have the option to upgrade to the 1.4 turbo, which will give the Sonic a bit more pep as well as it will increase its gas mileage to an impressive 40 mpg. The Sonic includes in-car Wi-Fi, a variety of awesome exterior colors to choose from, and it has a very strong suspension and corner-hugging control that makes this little car fun to drive.
Another Nissan has made the top 20 list. The Sentra is roomier than past models, especially the rear of the cabin. This is a nice, small family car that drives well, however, it does not quite have the abilities of some of the other cars in this same grouping, however, it is equipped with a new CVT automatic transmission that gives you better acceleration than previous Sentras. All-in-all, this is a great car for the under $20,000 price range.
Kia has a model in the $15,000 range that gives you a lot of car for the money. The Rio is considered a subcompact car the makes use of its 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine that pushes 138 hp and can produce plenty of power for highway and highway ramp acceleration. Lots of legroom, cargo and storage space make this little car a nice ride for multiple passengers. It is also comfortable to ride in with the leather seats, including heated front seats. If you have a budget of under $20,000, you can’t wrong with the Kia Rio.