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10 Best Used Cars Under $15K: Reviews, Photos, and More


PUBLISHED MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2021
10 Best Used Cars Under $15K: Reviews, Photos, and More: Hero | CarMax

Cars that fit your budget and lifestyle.

When you're shopping for a new car it's easy to dream about the latest technology or luxury touches. However, if you're like many shoppers, finding a car that fits your budget is near the top of your priority list. Shopping on a budget doesn't mean you need to compromise on style; you can still prioritize the features that are most important to you.

To help get you started, we've compiled a list of the best-used cars under $15,000 for 2021 shoppers, based on CarMax sales data from March 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021.1 Please be aware that upper-trim configurations and select model years may bring the prices of some of these vehicles over $15,000.

  1. Kia Rio

  2. Fiat 500

  3. Chevrolet Sonic

  4. Chevrolet Spark

  5. Chrysler 200

  6. Hyundai Accent

  7. Ford Fiesta

  8. Nissan Versa

  9. Ford Focus

  10. Chevrolet Cruze

10.

Kia Rio

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio will stand out if you're looking for some pep, considering its brisk engine, available manual transmission (2018 and earlier), and available hatchback body across all model years, as well as a sedan. Either body type seats five people and has front-wheel drive. The Rio has two complete LATCH systems in model years 2012–present, although the small back seat can be tight for car seats. In 2019, power windows, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth® connectivity became standard on the Rio. In 2020, a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay®, and Android Auto integration became standard. Here's what else you should know about models from 2018:

  • 120-hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine (2020–2021)

  • 130-hp 1.6L four-cylinder (2018–2019)

  • 13.7 cu-ft of cargo space (2017–2021)

  • Available leather seats

9.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

If you're looking for a car that can fit into the tightest city parking spaces or down the narrowest allies, the Fiat 500 is for you. The 500 is a two-door coupe that seats four people, in model years 2015–2019. The rear seats have two LATCH connections in those model years, although the coupe body style and small back seat are tough for large car seats. The Fiat 500 is great for drivers looking for a bit of fun. The 500 is available as a convertible in all model years, and peppy engine options make it appealing to drive. Here is what you should know about standard features on the Fiat 500, which was discontinued after the 2019 model year:

  • 135-hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder (2018–2019)

  • 101-hp 1.4L four-cylinder engine (2014–2017)

  • Available 157-hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine (2014–2017)

  • Available 160-hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine (2018–2019)

  • Manual transmission (2014–2019)

8.

Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevrolet Sonic offers lots of standard features, seating for five, and plenty of space, without breaking the bank. In model years 2017–2020, the Sonic is available as a sedan, which has 14.7 cu-ft of cargo space, or a hatchback, which increases cargo space to 19 cu-ft. The Sonic in model years 2017–2020 comes available with two engine options, both of which have the same horsepower, but one that has a turbocharger. Here's what you'll find standard on all 2017–2020 Chevrolet Sonics:

  • 138-hp 1.8L four-cylinder engine (or an optional turbocharged engine)

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

  • Two LATCH connections and car seat tethers in all three rear seats

7.

Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet Spark

If you're looking for plenty of tech features in a small package, the Chevrolet Spark might be for you. The Spark is a front-wheel drive hatchback that has seating for four people. It has two LATCH connections in the back on model years 2014 and later, but the rear seats are small for large car seats. The Spark stands out for the tech features that come standard on model years 2017–2020, including a touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. Here's what you'll find standard on the 2017–2020 Chevrolet Spark:

  • 98-hp 1.4L four-cylinder engine

  • 11.1 cu-ft of cargo space

  • Manual transmission (available automatic transmission)

  • Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

6.

Chrysler 200

Chrysler 200

The Chrysler is a midsize sedan, with seating for five and 16 cu-ft of cargo space on the 2017 model. Parents will appreciate that the 200 has two sets of LATCH connections and a middle rear seat that can accommodate car seats. The Chrysler 200 was discontinued after the 2017 model year, but shopping for that year still offers lots of great features including a roomy interior and lots of engine options. Here's what you should know about standard features for the 2017 Chrysler 200:

  • 184-hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine (available 295-hp 3.6L V6 engine)

  • Push-button start

  • Five trim options available

5.

Hyundai Accent

Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent is a five-passenger sedan that has 13.7 cu-ft of cargo space. If you need a bit more room, look for the hatchback version of the Accent, available on model years 2017 and earlier. The hatchback comes with 21.2 cu-ft of cargo space, making it a good option for families, musicians, or sports enthusiasts. The Accent has two LATCH connections and a car seat tether in the middle rear seat. Here's what you'll find standard on the Hyundai Accent in model years 2018–2020:

  • 130-hp 1.6-L four-cylinder (2018–2019)

  • 120-hp 1.6L four-cylinder (2020–2021)

  • Touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity

  • Available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

4.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is full of choices: there are two body styles, three engine options and three trims available for model years 2017–2019, the last year that the Fiesta was manufactured. With this many options, you can find a Fiesta that works for you. The 2017–2019 Fiesta ST trim (only available as a hatchback) gives the best of both worlds, with a 197-hp 1.6L four-cylinder EcoBoost® engine that gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined fuel economy on the 2017 model.2 Here's what you'll find standard on the Ford Fiesta in model years 2017–2019:

  • Base 120-hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine

  • 10.1 cu-ft of cargo space in the sedan; 14.9 cu-ft in the hatchback

  • Backup camera (2018 and 2019)

  • Manual transmission

3.

Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is a five-passenger vehicle available as a sedan or as a hatchback, which is sold as the Versa Note. Both body styles have good cargo space for a small car, with 14.9 cu-ft on the sedan and 18.8 cu-ft on the hatchback, for model years 2017–2019. In 2020, the Versa was redesigned with a fresh new look. The Versa comes with two sets of LATCH connectors. If you're traveling with car seats, consider opting for the previous generation Versa (model years 2012–2019), which had 37 inches of legroom in the back compared to 31 inches on model years 2020 and later: Here's what you should know about standard features on the Nissan Versa:

  • 109-hp 1.6L four-cylinder (2017–2019)

  • 122-hp 1.6L four-cylinder (2020–2021)

  • Manual transmission

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

2.

Ford Focus

Ford Focus

If you want a budget-friendly car that will still give you a thrill when you drive it, the Ford Focus is a good bet. In 2017 and 2018 (the last year of production), the Focus comes standard with a 160-hp 2L four-cylinder engine; three additional EcoBoost engine options mean you can choose the power that you need. The 2017–2018 Focus is available as a hatchback or a sedan; either body style fits five people. Here's what you should know about standard features for the 2017–2018 Ford Focus:

  • 160-hp 2L four-cylinder engine

  • 13.2 cu-ft of cargo space in the sedan; 23.3 cu-ft in the hatchback

  • Touchscreen and infotainment system

1.

Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze comes with tons of standard features across 2017–2019 models. The base trim comes with a seven-inch display screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a backup camera. The Cruze also stands out because it has a diesel engine option. The Cruze is available in all trims as a sedan while the hatchback option is more limited; in 2017 and 2018 it was available only on the LT and Premier trims, but in 2019 it became available on all but the base trim. Here's what you should know about standard features for the Chevrolet Cruze in model years 2017–2019:

  • 153-hp 1.4L four-cylinder engine (available 173-hp 1.6L four-cylinder turbodiesel)

  • 13.8-14.9 cu-ft of cargo space in the sedan, depending on trim

  • 24.7 cu-ft of cargo space in the hatchback

Shopping for cars under $15,000 still gives you plenty of options: you can choose a small or midsized sedan or a hatchback with plenty of space to carry passengers and all your gear. With great standard tech features and powerful engine options, you can have a world of choice—without going over your budget.

Want to learn more? Check out these related articles:

1Based on prices on carmax.com from March 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021. 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.
2Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to 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.​

We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.