Stylish and practical budget-friendly options.

Best Used Cars Under $15K | CarMax

If you're looking for a top-notch daily commuter, a family car, or a first car for a new driver, you'll find a number of great cars with average prices under $15,000. Many sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes come equipped with a plethora of standard features, technology, and comfortable interiors.

To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the 10 best used cars under $15,000 for 2020 shoppers, based on CarMax average prices and sales data from August 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020.Please be aware that some trim levels and select model years may increase the prices of the vehicles on our list to more than $15,000.

  1. Nissan Versa
  2. Volkswagen Jetta
  3. Kia Soul
  4. Chevrolet Cruze
  5. Ford Fusion
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Hyundai Sonata
  8. Toyota Corolla
  9. Hyundai Elantra
  10. Nissan Sentra


Nissan Versa

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Nissan Versa | CarMax

With a streamlined interior and elegant design, the Nissan Versa kicks off our list with style. For model years 2017-2019, the nimble Versa sedan is offered with the same 109-hp, 1.6L four-cylinder engine. The base S trim boasts a built-for-fun five-speed manual transmission, and the S Plus and SV come with a smooth continuously variable automatic transmission.

For model years 2017-2019, the base model Versa comes with standard equipment including:

  • Rearview camera (2018-2019 only)
  • Power mirrors
  • Bluetooth® streaming audio and phone integration
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Four-speaker sound system
  • USB port


Volkswagen Jetta

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Volkswagen Jetta | CarMax

The zippy Volkswagen Jetta delivers great engineering in a compact sedan package. 2017 and 2018 models offer a choice of three turbocharged, four-cylinder engines: a 1.4L with 150 hp, a 170-hp 1.8L, and a 210-hp 2.0L. For model year 2019, the Jetta underwent a complete redesign and added standard Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® connectivity.

The base S model Jetta offers these great features for 2017-2019:

  • Rearview camera
  • USB port
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Cruise control
  • Six-way manually adjustable driver seat


Kia Soul

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Kia Soul | CarMax

The boxy shape of the Kia Soul maximizes every inch of space. With all seats in place, the 2017–2019 Soul has room for 24.2 cubic feet of cargo and an impressive 61.3 cubic feet with the seats down; you, your passengers, and your furry friends will love it from top to bottom. The base model Soul comes with a 1.6L four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission that generates 130 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. Trims for 2017-2019 include Soul base, Soul Plus (+), and Soul Exclaim (!), each featuring a variety of engine choices, features, and options.

The base 2017-2019 Soul comes equipped with standard features including:

  • Automatic headlights
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Rearview camera


Chevrolet Cruze

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Chevrolet Cruze | CarMax

After a significant refresh in 2016, the Chevrolet Cruze emerged sleeker than ever. Available in both sedan and hatchback layouts, the four-door Cruze offers a myriad of standard and optional features for model years 2017–2019, and comes with a 153-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 137-hp 1.6L turbo-diesel four-cylinder. In vibrant colors like Kinetic Blue, Orange Burst, and Cajun Red, the Cruze is more than practical—it's a fun car to own.

Look for standard features on the 2017-2019 Cruze base model such as:

  • Seven-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
  • USB port (two on 2019 models)
  • Cloth seating surfaces
  • Four-speaker audio system


Ford Fusion

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Ford Fusion | CarMax

Tasteful, fresh, and stylish, the midsize Ford Fusion is an excellent choice if you're looking for a classy used car. For model years 2017–2019, you can choose from six engine options, including hybrid and plug-in models. The 2017 Fusion V6 Sport trim includes a turbocharged 2.7L V6 capable of generating 325 hp and a stunning 380 lb-ft of torque. The base 2017-2019 Fusion has a capable 2.5L four-cylinder generating 175 hp, with standard equipment including:

  • Cloth seating
  • Cruise control
  • Six-way manual driver seat with manual lumbar
  • Hill-start assist

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Ford Focus

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Ford Focus | CarMax

The capable Ford Focus kicks off the top five of the best used cars under $15,000 with style. This versatile four-door is available as a sedan and hatchback, and comes standard with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder engine and electric option are also available. Want more zoom? The performance-focused 2017 Focus ST includes a 252-hp 2.0L four-cylinder and all-wheel drive. And the 2017–2018 Focus RS boasts a 2.3L four-cylinder turbo engine generating a zippy 350 hp.

Expect key standard features across 2017 and 2018 models, such as:

  • 4.2-inch center display screen
  • Rearview camera
  • Power front windows
  • Power-operated side-view mirrors
  • Automatic headlights
  • Hill-start assist


Hyundai Sonata

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Hyundai Sonata | CarMax

If you need a larger option, the Hyundai Sonata should definitely be on your shopping list. The Sonata received a major update for the 2018 model year and offers seven trim levels: SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, and Limited 2.0T. This is a road-trip-ready sedan with a generous 16.3 cubic feet in the trunk—plenty of space for a couple of golf bags and a cooler of soft drinks. If Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is important to you, that option is available at the SE trim and higher in 2017 models and standard for 2018 and 2019 models.

For 2017-2019 models of the Hyundai Sonata, base model features include:

  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic headlights
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Seven-inch touchscreen


Toyota Corolla

Best Used Cars Under $15K: Toyota Corolla | CarMax

This compact sedan was updated for 2017 and features six trim levels: L, LE, LE Eco, SE, XLE, and XSE. For model years 2017–2019, the Corolla is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine rated at 132 hp (140 hp in the LE Eco). Prefer a hatchback version? Toyota added that body-style option for the 2019 model year.

Standard features on 2017-2019 base model Corollas include:

  • 6.1-inch touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth wireless technology and USB port
  • Integrated back-up camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Six-way adjustable driver seat


Hyundai Elantra

Best Used Cars Under $15K: Hyundai Elantra | CarMax

Hyundai's compact Elantra lands in the second spot on our list. The feature-rich Elantra got a fresh new look in 2017 and is equipped with a standard 147-hp 2.0L four-cylinder with a manual transmission, or an efficient turbocharged 1.4L engine generating 128 hp in the Elantra Eco. Want to go all out? The Elantra Sport trim (2017-2019 models) is similarly equipped to the plush Limited trim, but it includes a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine making 201 hp with a six-speed manual transmission (or you may opt for the seven-speed automatic). For 2018, Hyundai updated the lineup by adding a hatchback layout for the Elantra GT trim.

Take a look at the base model Hyundai Elantra for model years 2017-2019 and you'll find:

  • Five-inch color display
  • Rearview camera (automatic transmission only)
  • Bluetooth capability
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Cruise control (automatic transmission only)
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls


Nissan Sentra

Best Used Cars Under $15K: Nissan Sentra | CarMax

At the top of our list is the joy-inducing, time-tested Nissan Sentra. For model year 2017, Nissan added the sporty Sentra SR Turbo and Sentra NISMO trims to the S, SV, SR, and SL trim levels. For the 2018 model year, Nissan added several impressive features as standard, including a rearview camera, five-inch center display, and more.

For model years 2017-2019, the base Sentra S comes with standard features such as:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic headlights
  • Rearview camera (2018 and 2019 only)

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1Based on CarMax average prices between June 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees
Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.

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