According to several sources – Edmunds, Kiplinger’s, AOL, MSN Autos, and Consumer Reports – consumers looking for the best used cars under $20,000 have numerous choices available. The key is to find the car with the most features with the least amount of miles for the lowest price. Of course, getting appropriate used car reports and a thorough vehicle inspection prior to purchase is important as well.

Here are a few of the Best Used Cars Under $20,000, with Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) quoted for each:

  • 2008-2009 Hyundai Azera The full-size 2008 Hyundai Azera is a terrific choice for a family sedan and provides a long list of standard features, respectable performance, long warranties, and attractively low prices. Consumer Reports lists the 2008 Hyundai Azera as one of its best used cars under $20,000. Edmunds TMV for the 2008 model ranges from $16,697 to $18,875, and $20,192 to $23,220 for the 2009 model. Consumer Guide comments: “Azera delivers an eye-opening array of standard safety features while furnishing impressive room, refinement, amenities and build quality.”
  • 2005-2006 BMW 3-Series The top-selling BMW in the United States, the 3-Series for 2005-2006 also offers consumers a great value, available at starting prices ranging from $14,173 (2005) to $17,058 (2006), according to Edmunds TMV. Consumer Guide named the 2006 BMW 3-Series a Best Buy, commenting: “More power and interior room yield a redesigned 3-Series that matures without losing its sporty character.”
  • 2001-2003 BMW M3 Edmunds Inside Line listed the 2001-2003 BMW M3 as one of its 10 Best Cars for Under $19,999 in 2009. That still holds true today, with Edmunds TMV for M3s in those model years ranging from $14,152 (2001) to $19,323 (top-end 2003 model).  Edmunds comments: “Every road test of this M3 sang the car’s praises in terms of its incredibly balanced handling, prodigious grip and telepathic communication between car and driver.”
  • 2005-2008 Mazda Miata Consumer Reports tags the 2005-2008 MX-5 Miata as one of its best used cars under $20,000. Ditto Edmunds. Car and Driver named MX-5 Miata one of its 10Best Cars, saying, in 2008: “It adds up to a car that is not only irresistible to anyone who likes to drive but can also put a smile on your face on your daily commute.” Edmunds TMV ranges from $14,484 to $19,320 (2007) to $15,974 to $21,410 (2008).
  • 2006 Infiniti G35 Enthusiast consumers who are savvy shoppers consider the Infiniti G35 the answer to BMW’s 3-Series. Why? Infiniti G35 is rear-wheel drive, has a terrific V6 engine and sporty suspension tuning. Edmunds says: “While the sedan will make the most sense for most folks, the rakish coupe offers Nissan 350Z (the G35’s platform mate) intenders more practicality with virtually identical performance.” Look for base or X model sedan or base model coupe from the 2006 model year. Edmunds TMV for this year’s model ranges from $16,817 to $18,538.
  • 2006 Acura TL Kiplinger noted the 2006 Acura TL in its 10 Best Values for Used Cars in 2009, saying: “Honda’s entry luxury nameplate delivers quality and reliability. The TL won Best in Class two years running with stellar resale values, standard safety features and fuel-efficient performance.” Edmunds TMV for the 2006 Acura TL ranges from $18,186 to $20,181.

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