Best Cars Under $25,000

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Find new and used cars for sale at the leading automotive marketplace, Autotrader. The best luxury cars of 2016 cost more than most Americans can afford new—they start at about $30,000—but these excellent models are available used. The best way to get a good deal on an affordable car is through reservation price negotiation. Research the latest new car prices, recalls and deals with Kelley Blue Book’s expert reviews and ratings. Discover information including pricing, ratings and reviews on new trucks for sale in your area.

Best Cars Under 25000 Australia

When searching for the best new cars and SUVs for under $25,000, you’re most likely going to be looking at the lower trim levels of compact sedans and hatchbacks, as well as the lower trim levels of subcompact and midcompact SUVs. This list will focus on those (plus a new compact pickup), but if you’re more interested in maximizing feature content for your money, you could easily consider the better-equipped upper trim levels of our choices in our best cars for under $20,000 list. 

Note that all the cars we’ve chosen have prices that start under $25,000 when the mandatory destination charge is included. It’s always left out of the MSRP, effectively making the car in question seem cheaper than it actually is. We’ve also considered equipment levels and whether you’d actually want a particular car at that trim/price level. There’s no point in recommending something if it’s really only appealing with $6,000 worth of options and therefore pricier than $25,000. 

Best Cars Under 25000 Used

Honda Civic

Why it stands out: Attractive and well-made cabin; sharp driving manners; excellent engines; ample space; sedan and hatchback body styles
Could be better: Infotainment system not as good as Hyundai’s

The Civic was completely redesigned for 2022, taking everything that worked so well for its revolutionary predecessor (ample interior space, sharp driving dynamics, efficient engines) and amplifying with a more grown-up appearance, a slick new cabin, superior technology and general refinements everywhere you look. The Civic is just a terrific car. And the great thing is, it’s still a terrific car when priced under $25,000. The car pictured above is the Sport trim level, which starts at $24,095. It looks great and is nicely equipped. Now, the Sport Hatchback is just a hair over $25,000, but it’s close enough to tout the Civic as offering both sedan and hatchback body styles. Both are also available in base LX trim levels. We may be doing this list alphabetically, but we’d probably start our search in this price range with the Civic anyway.  

Hyundai Elantra

Why it stands out: Hybrid option; very well equipped for under $25,000; excellent tech; outlandish styling
Could be better: Outlandish styling inherently not for everyone; not as good to drive as Civic or Mazda 3

Read our most recent Hyundai Elantra Review

If you’re looking to get a lot of bang for your buck (and when talking a price tag under $25,000 these days, you probably are), the Hyundai Elantra has always been a great choice. And it’s not just a matter of its generous features list and warranty coverage, the Elantra’s outlandish exterior styling and strikingly modern interior prove that you don’t have to drive something bland and characterless just because you don’t have a ton of money to spend. True, the Elantra isn’t as characterful to drive as our previous selection or the next, but as a commuter car, it brings more driver connection than a Corolla or Sentra, for instance. There’s also the Elantra N Line, which brings more verve and is just a little bit over our price threshold here but still packed with fun-for-you-money value. Ultimately, though, our powertrain choice is the Elantra Hybrid. It gets exceptional fuel economy in a package that’s more stylish and refined than Hyundai’s dedicated hybrid, the Ioniq, while being cheaper than a Prius or Honda Insight

Mazda3

Why it stands out: High-quality and high-fashion interior; beautiful styling; fun to drive; two body styles
Could be better: Back seat space; hatchback rear visibility; some may not like lack of a touchscreen

This is perhaps the best proof yet that you don’t have to drive a car that screams “economy car” when paying less than $25,000. Even at this price point, the Mazda3 interior could make a play at the entry-level luxury segment with its handsome minimalist design, high-quality switchgear and convincing faux leather that covers the seats, dash and doors. Driving the Mazda3 offers a similar high-end experience, as its responses to driver inputs through the steering, throttle and transmission are so exceptional that we once again must roll out the descriptor of “budget Porsche” when referring to driving a Mazda. It really is that good. We’re also quite fond of the two body styles: the stylish sedan that boasts a surprisingly large trunk (it can actually hold more than the mechanically related CX-30 SUV) and the Mazda3 Hatchback that really turns up the style dial, albeit at the expense of rear visibility. This is a great car, regardless of price. 

Best Cars Under 25000 Australia 2021

Hyundai Kona

Why it stands out: Fun to drive for a subcompact SUV; stylish exterior and interior; easy-to-use tech
Could be better: Small back seat and trunk even for its segment

The Kona continues to prove that a subcompact SUV can be fun to drive. It’s certainly not the most spacious model, but its sharp handling, distinctive styling and attractive cabin with user-friendly tech help it stand out from the crowd. Because of the price point, we must leave out the surprisingly punchy 175-horsepower turbo engine upgrade and the agreeable Kona Electric, but the engine you’re left with is surprisingly punchy and delivers better-than-average acceleration. We’ve now driven a number of Konas at this price point and have consistently been surprised at how fun to drive it remains despite the lack of big power and how compelling the interior is despite a lack of leather or extra-fancy doo-dads. 

Kia Soul

Why it stands out: Ample space and abundant features for the money; unique style
Could be better:
All-wheel drive is not available

Our most recent full Kia Soul Review

The Kia Soul definitely didn’t start off as a small SUV, and the term “crossover” is probably better applied to it. Still, what started life as an undefinable funky tall hatchback now finds itself in its third generation with numerous vehicles of similar shape and size that are dubbed “small SUV” or “small crossover.” If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … call it what you will, but the Soul delivers the goods with a spacious interior, an agreeable driving demeanor, and far more equipment and available trim levels than other subcompact SUVs offer. We also think it’s pretty cool. All of the above helped it win our subcompact SUV comparison test. Now, if there’s one area where the Soul does not satisfy a typical SUV requirement, it’s the lack of available all-wheel drive. 

Kia Seltos

Why it stands out: Surprising space; user-friendly tech; distinct design details
Could be better:
Some cheap interior bits

Like most choices on this list, the surprisingly good Seltos proves you don’t have to spend a lot of money for both function and fashion. Its price and exterior dimensions fall in between the subcompact and compact SUV segments (we call it the midcompact segment), yet it boasts more interior volume than is expected and an abundance of special design details throughout that successfully counter some of the cheaper bits applied to keep the price down. We especially like the blue-accented dash trim and wool-look gray cloth found on the Seltos S. Basically, it provides even more value beyond Kia’s usual extra-long features list and warranty. Note that at this price point you’ll be considering the base LX trim, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, or the similarly priced Seltos S that swaps in front-wheel drive in favor of extra comfort, convenience and tech equipment. Adding all-wheel drive to the S just barely ticks you over the $25,000 threshold. 

Mazda CX-30

Why it stands out: Luxurious interior; best-in-class driving dynamics
Could be better:
Interior space is more hatchback than SUV; those plastic fender flares have to go

Like the Seltos, the CX-30 is a midcompact SUV. It also similarly punches well above its weight class, in this case in regards to driving fun and luxury. Although upper trim levels make for a compelling alternative to BMWs and Audis, the base trim level in this price bracket obviously can’t make the same claim. Still, you get the same captivating modern interior design accented in blue faux-leather trim and constructed of high-quality materials. We especially like the sporty steering wheel, and the buttons and knobs that solidly click like a luxury car’s. It’s important to note that the CX-30 is mechanically related to the Mazda3. Although you can get it with all-wheel drive at this price point, it’s similar in size, quality and design to the Mazda3 Hatchback. So, if you can’t find a CX-30 you like for the price (or dislike its unsightly plastic fenders), there’s a very strong alternative that also resides on this list.

Nissan Kicks

Why it stands out: Tons of space and features for the price; costs less than $25,000 fully loaded; best-in-class fuel economy; well-executed safety tech
Could be better:
It’s really slow

We wouldn’t blame you for not getting excited about the Kicks. It doesn’t have much horsepower, it’s not exactly fun to drive, and its tall hatchback body is still pretty gawky despite an attractive styling update for 2021. That said, the Kicks does a really great job at the basics. It supplies a massive amount of space for a vehicle its size, comes with a wealth of safety features for a vehicle with its modest price, and doesn’t feel like a penalty box to sit in or drive. The interior is handsome and well-equipped with impressive materials in upper trim levels. For those seeking an efficient, inexpensive urban runabout that can swallow enough stuff for a weekend getaway, it just makes a lot of sense. Oh, and unlike everything else on this list, you can get a fully-loaded Kicks for less than $25,000. 

Best new truck under $25,000

Ford Maverick

Why it stands out: It’s a pickup; it’s cheaper than all other pickups; distinctive interior design; exceptional hybrid fuel economy
Could be better: Some cheap interior materials; basically unavailable until 2022

There would not have been a truck available at this price point a year ago, but thanks to the new Ford Maverick there is! Not only does it slide under our $25,000 price threshold, but you can get one that’s not a bargain-basement base model. The mid-level XLT, albeit without options, is well below $25,000 with the standard hybrid powertrain, while adding the turbo inline-four and therefore all-wheel drive, only goes over by about $500. And either way, you’re getting an intriguing new entry in the automotive landscape: a pickup at a price that competes with a Honda Civic or Kia Seltos. Yes, it has crossover architecture and therefore can’t lug that stump out of grandma’s front yard or tow a small house. Its interior, although interesting to look at, also isn’t as well-equipped or well made as most of the other vehicles on this list (specifically in terms of materials quality). Nevertheless, you’re getting a pickup for less than $25,000 that isn’t extremely used or a stripped-down work truck with all the creature comforts of an ox cart. Really, the main problem with the Maverick is availability: It’s already sold out for 2022. So while deserving of its place on this list, it’s also a bit theoretical until ordering opens again in summer 2022 for the 2023 model.

The Least Boring Cars, Trucks, and SUVs Under $25,000

Don’t settle for a lifeless econobox, grab one of these affordable and interesting rides instead.

Yes, it is still possible to buy a new car, truck, or SUV for under $25,000 in 2020. You’ll find plenty of stylish, fun-to-drive, and reasonably equipped vehicles at this price point, particularly if you’re looking for something small. Some of the vehicles listed here aren’t fun in the traditional sense—they’re no sports cars—but bring uncommon character to a price point typified by lame, value-driven design-by-committee econoboxes. Whether sporty or interesting, we’ve gathered the least boring cars, trucks, and SUVs on the market that start at under $25,000 here for your perusal:

2020 Hyundai Kona | Base Price: $21,420

With agile handling and a compliant ride, Hyundai’s Kona subcompact crossover is fun to drive in the city or on twisty roads. While the entry-level 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is fine, the optional turbocharged 1.6-liter four is much more entertaining and squirts the Kona around with gusto. Despite the crossover’s small proportions, we were able to fit enough gear for an extended camping trip in the back. And even if you’re not adventuring around, well, just look at the Hyundai! It certainly isn’t boring, with funky detailing and chunky body armor giving an urban-assault-vehicle vibe.

2020 Jeep Renegade | Base Price: $23,770

Jeeps are (almost) never boring. Even as the baby of the Jeep lineup, the adorable Renegade boasts real off-road capability, so if you can’t swing the ever-more-expensive Wrangler (which long ago used to be priced in this space!), this might be the cheap 4×4 for you. Buyers can choose between a 2.4-liter engine with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque or, for more money, a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine with 177 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. While we lament the Renegade’s recent loss of its standard six-speed manual transmission, which could be paired with four-wheel drive, the tiny Jeep remains one of the only truly dirt-capable vehicles in this price space.

2020 Volkswagen Golf | Base Price: $24,115

The Volkswagen Golf, MotorTrend‘s 2015 Car of the Year winner, has held up well over time. It’s a stable thing, both in terms of its handling and its continuity with previous Golfs, all of which were understated, boxy things. Boring? You’re not looking closely enough. The VW blends practicality, tidy driving manners, and Audi-like refinement into a single, forever-car-style package. Everything exceeds expectations, from the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine punching above its weight to the suspension delivering sharp handling to the confident brakes. Oh, and the interior is beautifully assembled. Volkswagen recently debuted a new generation Golf hatch, but it’s unclear if this model will make its way to the U.S. market. Enjoy this stylish hatch while you can, or upgrade to the next-gen GTI (for more money, of course).

2020 Mini Hardtop | Base Price: $24,250

The two- or four-door Mini Hardtop is packed with British panache. It’s just as adorable inside as out, with circular displays and controls in the cabin. There are countless ways to customize the hatch, from stripes on the exterior to Union Jack logos on the mirror caps and interior dashboard. Careful how much you spend on all that kitsch, of course, because the option sheet is as long as one from Porsche. Base models are powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, and you can step up to the S model’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for extra scoot.

2020 Hyundai Elantra GT | Base Price: $21,605

Dig the basic idea of Volkswagen’s Golf, but want for slightly more visual interest? Enter the Hyundai Elantra GT, which is actually a separate model from the Elantra sedan and is plucked from Hyundai’s European lineup. It’s slightly less tame-looking than the Golf, yet the Elantra GT maintains the same tasteful understatement. A 161-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, and the steering is nicely weighted and precise; this isn’t your typical economy hatchback. The optional 1.6-liter turbo engine, which makes 201 hp, is even more rewarding.

2020 Hyundai Veloster | Base Price: $19,755

You’ll often hear the Hyundai Veloster referred to as “quirky.” While it might not appear all that strange at first blush, the hatchback earns its reputation by way of its oddball door layout. There is one long door on the left side, like on a coupe, while on the right there are two shorter doors, like on a typical four-door hatchback. It is almost as if the Veloster can’t decide whether it is a coupe or a hatchback. Well, it’s sort of both. The base engine feels a bit underpowered, in stark contrast to the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower on Turbo models. If you want the quickest version, opt for the Turbo R-Spec with the six-speed manual transmission—it’s a steal at $24,305.

2020 Honda Civic | Base Price: $21,605

Many people may deem the Honda Civic common and uninteresting, given its pervasiveness on the road. But, in our opinion, there’s nothing boring about a benchmark-setting secret performance car for a reasonable price. The Civic offers best-in-class driving dynamics, abundant standard safety features, and plenty of interior space to please buyers looking for both performance and practicality. Sedan, hatchback, and coupe versions are available to suit the tastes of different buyers. We’d recommend grabbing the Sport trims, available on every body style, as they bring niftier styling and, on the hatchback, a little more power.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado | Base Price: $22,395

You can easily spend $70,000 on a pickup truck today. You won’t—actually, you can’t—drop that much dough on a Chevrolet Colorado. That’s what makes the midsize Colorado so refreshing—it is a competent, modern pickup whether you opt for a no-frills model or a fully loaded one. It benefits from car-like handing and a quiet, well-controlled ride—something you can’t say about many other trucks in this class. Sure, the Toyota Tacoma might look more brutish and offer sweet off-road versions to match the Colorado’s available ZR2 trim, but no version of the Toyota can be purchased for less than $25,000.

2020 Hyundai Venue | Base Price: $18,470

It says something that Hyundai has so many products on this list. The all-new 2020 Venue gets on by way of its charming style and hip interior options (including a “Denim” version with an all-blue interior with jean-like seating material!). Slotting underneath the already small Kona crossover, the subcompact Venue is geared to first-time car buyers but overshoots that modest goal by being far more interesting and refined than the typical economy car. The itty-bitty crossover even comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission (a CVT is available).

2020 Subaru Crosstrek | Base Price: $23,155

Boasting solid off-road chops, rugged looks, and plenty of cargo room, the Subaru Crosstrek is a great small crossover for taking on weekend adventures (or just making your commute feel a bit more adventurous). The base model is well-equipped and comes with a manual transmission(!), but buyers can always upgrade to a power moonroof, navigation, or leather upholstery with blue or orange contrast stitching. Every Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive, a rarity in a class filled with wannabe SUVs that offer AWD as an option and come standard with front-wheel drive.

2020 Mazda CX-30 | Base Price: $23,000

Mazda’s new CX-30—not to be confused with the smaller, less-new CX-3—is so nice, you’d never know it starts at only $23,000. Stylish inside and out, with premium materials throughout and classy detailing, the Mazda is a subcompact crossover in size and name only. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s A stout 186-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine gives it more muscle than anything else in the class, and the suspension delivers a smooth, quiet ride. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional and adds $1,400 to the price.

2020 Honda Fit

It may not be a looker, but the Honda Fit is a hoot to drive relative to its subcompact class-mates. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder is mated to a buttery smooth, fun-to-shift six-speed manual transmission (a continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT, is optional). Despite making only 130 horsepower, the Fit is zippy in the city or on the highway, and the extracting maximum thrust from the little requires absolutely hammering on it. Thanks to multiple seat configurations from its multi-way-folding “Magic” rear seats, it can carry surprisingly big objects like paintings, tables, and surfboards.

Starting below $20,000, the Nissan Kicks is a great value. A 7.0-inch touchscreen, three USB ports, keyless entry with push-button start, auto headlights, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection are standard equipment. Get it with a special two-tone paint color if your heart desires. On top of all these features, Nissan Kicks boasts a smooth ride and engaging steering. Load one up with options—including heated seats and a Bose stereo—and you won’t even come close to our $25,000 price cap here.

2021 Hyundai Elantra | Base Price: $TBD

Arriving later this year, the all-new seventh-generation 2021 Hyundai Elantra sedan appears to be much more upscale than before. Along with an attractive (or, at least, highly eye-catching) exterior and interior design, the new Elantra gets available features such as a super smart voice recognition system, large digital displays like those in a Mercedes, and even a mobile phone key that replaces a physical key. Prices haven’t been announced, but it stands to reason it will start below $25,000, considering the 2020 model is priced from $20,105.

The Least Boring Cars, Trucks, And SUVs Under $25,000

When searching for the best new cars and SUVs for under $25,000, you’re most likely going to be looking at the lower trim levels of compact sedans and hatchbacks, as well as the lower trim levels of subcompact and midcompact SUVs. This list will focus on those (plus a new compact pickup), but if you’re more interested in maximizing feature content for your money, you could easily consider the better-equipped upper trim levels of our choices in our best cars for under $20,000 list.

Note that all the cars we’ve chosen have prices that start under $25,000 when the mandatory destination charge is included. It’s always left out of the MSRP, effectively making the car in question seem cheaper than it actually is. We’ve also considered equipment levels and whether you’d actually want a particular car at that trim/price level. There’s no point in recommending something if it’s really only appealing with $6,000 worth of options and therefore pricier than $25,000.

Because a Cheap Car Doesn’t Have to Feel Cheap
$25,000 doesn’t go quite as far as it used to. It’s a drop in the bucket for most home mortgages and a fraction of what many adults pay in student loans. Even so, $25,000 can still buy a great new vehicle. The following 25 new cars and SUVs are ranked based on their U.S. News overall score, which reflects five major categories: critics’ rating, performance, interior, total cost of ownership, and safety.

Bear in mind that our scores frequently change as we receive new data, so the scores in this slideshow may not match those you find elsewhere on our site. Read on to see the best vehicles under $25,000.

Best Cars Under $25,000

When searching for the best new cars and SUVs for under $25,000, you’re most likely going to be looking at the lower trim levels of compact sedans and hatchbacks, as well as the lower trim levels of subcompact and midcompact SUVs. This list will focus on those (plus a new compact pickup), but if you’re more interested in maximizing feature content for your money, you could easily consider the better-equipped upper trim levels of our choices in our best cars for under $20,000 list.

Note that all the cars we’ve chosen have prices that start under $25,000 when the mandatory destination charge is included. It’s always left out of the MSRP, effectively making the car in question seem cheaper than it actually is. We’ve also considered equipment levels and whether you’d actually want a particular car at that trim/price level. There’s no point in recommending something if it’s really only appealing with $6,000 worth of options and therefore pricier than $25,000.

When searching for the best new cars and SUVs for under $25,000, you’re most likely going to be looking at the lower trim levels of compact sedans and hatchbacks, as well as the lower trim levels of subcompact and midcompact SUVs. This list will focus on those (plus a new compact pickup), but if you’re more interested in maximizing feature content for your money, you could easily consider the better-equipped upper trim levels of our choices in our best cars for under $20,000 list.

Of course, you can get a solid new car or SUV for under $25,000, but you need to choose wisely. This list will focus on vehicles that we feel are compelling in the base trim level, having amenities that would make the typical U.S. buyer happy without a long list of expensive options. Assume the ones chosen will all be comparable and you may not be getting everything you want or need. Even if you’re aiming high with $20,000 to spend or less, there are still some choices we feel should be considered.

Fact: you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (or a couple hundred grand, for that matter) to get an amazing car or SUV. Pricey it ain’t, but these 10 great cars under $25,000 don’t compromise on power and performance. All base-model MSRPs are current as of publication date.

Best Cars Under 25000 Uk

Buying a new car for less than $25,000 generally means having to make a few compromises. After all, this price range puts you at the entry-level end of the spectrum, which translates to either compact sedans or subcompact SUVs. Still, if you’re patient and savvy about options, it’s possible to get most features you want. And if you can live without some things or opt for aftermarket accessories, there are defintely plenty of good…

Crossovers and SUVs are the dominant vehicles on this list, but if you’re after something with a lower center of gravity, there are still plenty of all-wheel-drive compacts and two-row mid-sizers on offer. The list will mention the starting price where standard items such as all-wheel drive, leather trim, and navigation infotainment systems aren’t included in the base price of the car. Just remember that these special interiors come at a premium cost.

When shopping for a new compact or compact-plus crossover SUV, the standards by which these highly touted people haulers are judged haven’t drastically changed. The popular, tried-and-true crossovers continue to ace most, if not all of them.

Note that all the cars we’ve chosen have prices that start under $25,000 when the mandatory destination charge is included. It’s always left out of the MSRP, effectively making the car in question seem cheaper than it actually is. We’ve also considered equipment levels and whether you’d actually want a particular car at that trim/price level. There’s no point in recommending something if it’s really only appealing with $6,000 worth of options and therefore pricier than $25,000.

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