Choices for your lifestyle and budget.

Best Used Cars Under $15K | CarMax

If you're shopping for your next vehicle with your lifestyle needs and a set budget in mind, you'll find there are many great options from which to choose. From city dwellers and first-time buyers needing a compact with parking prowess, to families and ride-sharers wanting a smooth sedan or hatchback, your next vehicle can tick all your boxes, and meet the budget too.

To help you find your perfect fit, we've compiled a list of the 10 best used cars under $15,000 for 2021 shoppers, based on CarMax sales and average pricing data from April 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020. 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. Nissan Versa
  2. Kia Forte
  3. Volkswagen Jetta
  4. Ford Focus
  5. Chevrolet Cruze
  6. Kia Soul
  7. Hyundai Sonata
  8. Toyota Corolla
  9. Hyundai Elantra
  10. Nissan Sentra


Ford Fiesta

Research or Buy a Used Ford Fiesta | CarMax

The head-turning styling of the Ford Fiesta makes it an intriguing choice. You can acquire a used Ford Fiesta for sale equipped with a capable and efficient engine (an estimated** 29 city/37 hwy mpg for the 2013 Ford Fiesta Titanium, for example), smart PowerShift auto transmission, and iconic styling cues. You’ve got engine choices here that include the 1.6L, four-cylinder that you’ll find in the 2017 Fiesta S. A wide variety of body styles ensures you can configure this vehicle to your needs without sacrificing performance. The Fiesta’s eager stance and bright exterior paint colors make this vehicle look perpetually ready for adventures.


Toyota Yaris

Research or Buy a Used Toyota Yaris | CarMax

For nearly 20 years, the Toyota Yaris has offered customers a budget-friendly blend of comfort and features. You can drive a used Toyota Yaris for sale equipped with the latest entertainment goodies, including Toyota’s Entune® infotainment setup, which transforms this car into a multimedia powerhouse. Although the 2015 Yaris LE’s 1.5L engine won’t pin your ears back in the horsepower department, its output supports the tiny build of this five-door hatchback. Customers love the great gas mileage, too (like an estimated** 32 city/40 hwy for the2017 Toyota Yaris iA). If you’re in the market for a Yaris, check out the SE model—its two-tone exterior styling cues will put a smile on your face.


Fiat 500

Research or Buy a Used Fiat 500 | CarMax

The ultra-cute Fiat 500 is dressed to impress with athletic engine options and other high-end performance features. The 101-horsepower, four-cylinder engine you’ll find in models like the 2012 Fiat 500 makes enough power to push this vehicle through the corners with ease. The standard five-speed manual transmission lets you downshift on demand to wring more power from the engine as needed. And, if you look carefully, you can find a used Fiat 500 Abarth for sale with a snarling little turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Easy Collection 2 trim package found on some models adds a plethora of entertainment and comfort features, including a Beats® audio system equipped with SiriusXM® satellite radio.


Dodge Avenger

Research or Buy a Used Dodge Avenger | CarMax

The Dodge Avenger took a page from the Charger’s playbook to create a powerful combination of style and performance. This mid-sized sedan comes in nearly a dozen different trim levels to give you a chance to customize your ride to your liking. At the upper trim levels, a used Dodge Avenger for sale like the 2014 Avenger SXT features a powerful, 283-horsepower 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Other trim levels come equipped with one of six four-cylinder or V6 engine configurations that produce up to 200 horsepower. The MyGig® entertainment system and speakers at every corner will expertly blast your tunes or podcasts.


Mitsubishi Mirage

Research or Buy a Used Mitsubishi Mirage | CarMax

With an impressive estimated** 36 city/42 hwy mpg (2015 Mitsubishi Mirage), the Mirage is always ready for a fun road trip. Since its 1.2L engine only produces just under 80 horsepower at full power, you should elect for the five-speed manual for the peppiest drive experience. The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage sedan offers excellent leg and head room to keep passengers comfortable on long treks or bumping around town. And the 2015 Mirage ES hatchback offers great versatility thanks to its fold-down rear seats and ample cargo room. The newest generations of the used Mitsubishi Mirage for sale have sporty styling that makes the vehicle appear quick just sitting in your driveway. And, we gotta say it, this car is just plain cute.

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Nissan Versa

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Nissan Versa | CarMax

The Nissan Versa is a compact sedan with some serious rear-seat roominess. All 2017–2019 Versa models are powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. The 2017–2019 base model S offers five-speed manual transmission, with the higher trims fitted with continuously variable automatic transmission, and all models delivering power to the front wheels. From 2017, the base trim S model has:

  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Four-speaker sound system
  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Power mirrors
  • Seven-inch touchscreen (mid-2018 onwards)


Chevrolet Cruze

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Chevrolet Cruze | CarMax

Another vehicle on our listing that features two body styles, the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback and sedan models are both comfortable and roomy five-seaters. The 2017–2018 Cruze hatch is powered by a 1.4L turbo four-cylinder engine that pushes out 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. A 1.6L turbodiesel engine is also an option for the Cruze sedans from 2017, and hatchbacks from 2018. A 2019 ground-up refresh brought onboard a seven-inch infotainment screen, and improved smartphone integration as standard features for the Chevrolet Cruze.

The 2017–2018 hatchback base LT trim benefits from:

  • Steering wheel mounted phone and audio controls
  • Front and rear cup holders
  • Heated mirrors
  • 18.5 cu-ft of cargo space
  • Six-speaker audio system with USB port


Ford Focus

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Ford Focus | CarMax

Available as a commuter-minded compact sedan, or a four-door hatchback (with gas or electric powertrain), the 2017–2018 Ford Focus is an easy driver with smart handling, a comfortable interior, and a pleasing level of entertainment and driver-assistance tech. The standard engine for the 2017–2018 gas-powered hatchback and sedan models is a 2.0L four-cylinder delivering 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. An optional 1.0L turbo three-cylinder engine is an option for the SE trim sedan in 2017 and 2018, too. The 2017–2018 base S trim sedan features:

  • 60/40-split folding rear seats
  • 4.2-inch screen display
  • Post-collision safety system
  • Rearview camera
  • MyKey secondary driver system


Kia Forte

Best Used Cars Under $15,000: Kia Forte | CarMax

For body options and interior tech, the Kia Forte should be on the must-see list if you're looking for generous cargo space and plenty of trim options to personalize your next ride. The Forte's notable body types are the sedan (2010 –present) and hatchback versions (2011-2018). All 2017–2019 Kia Forte sedans are powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and have up to 14.9 cu-ft of cargo storage. The 2017–2019 Forte sedan base trims (LX, FE) feature:

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
  • USB connectivity
  • Front cup holders
  • Tire pressure monitoring


Hyundai Sonata

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Hyundai Sonata | CarMax

The spacious interior of the Hyundai Sonata makes this midsize sedan a real contender for drivers that enjoy days out with family or friends. The 2017–2019 Sonata has a trunk offering 16.3 cu-ft of cargo storage and an EPA-estimated 122.4 cu-ft of interior volume, so if you enjoy traveling, this is both a comfortable and convenient choice. The 2017–2018 Sonata has seven trim levels (2019 models have six) and three engine choices, with the base, SE, and SEL trims driven by a 2.4L four-cylinder engine supplying 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. The 2017–2019 SE Sonata features:

  • Automatic headlights
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Overhead console with storage
  • Rearview camera
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

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Toyota Corolla

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

Coming in high on our list for good reason, the Toyota Corolla is a compact sedan now in its 12th generation. With six regular trim levels, 13.0 cu-ft of trunk space and an impressive array of driver assistance features, the Corolla appeals to shoppers wanting a progressive and functional all-rounder. All 2017–2019 Corollas are powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine with 132 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque. The Corolla has plenty of fun color options, with the 2017 50th anniversary special edition featuring an exclusive color, the head-turning Black Cherry Pearl. All 2017–2019 base L trim Toyota Corollas have as standard:

  • LED headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Siri® Eyes Free voice control system
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection


Kia Soul

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Kia Soul | CarMax

The vibrant Kia Soul is all about personality: its unique boxy shape, colorful exterior options, and spacious interior make this a fun and versatile choice for your active, busy lifestyle. The Kia Soul is a wagon with people-moving skills. Its three trims each feature a different engine choice, with the top Exclaim trim powered by a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Want to pack for a weekend of activities or a longer road trip? With rear seats in place, all 2017–2019 Kia Souls have 24.2 cu-ft of cargo space, expanding to 61.3 cu-ft with the second row folded down. Standard features on the 2017–2019 base trim Soul include:

  • Six-speaker sound system with satellite radio
  • Overhead airbags
  • Dual illuminating vanity mirrors
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Bluetooth connectivity


Volkswagen Jetta

Best Used Cars Under 15K: Volkswagen Jetta | CarMax

The Volkswagen Jetta is a stylish compact sedan that's roomier than its "compact" label might suggest. Seating five passengers, it's a great choice for regular road trips, or heading cross-country to college or visit family. The 2017–2018 Jetta features three four-cylinder turbocharged engine choices: a 1.4L, 1.8L, and a range-topping 2.0L GLI edition. From 2019, the refreshed Jetta features one engine option, a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. In addition to 15.7 cu-ft of cargo space, the 2017–2018 mid-range SE Jetta features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Simulated leather upholstery
  • Emergency braking assist
  • 6.3-inch touchscreen
  • Sunroof


Hyundai Elantra

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

A four-door, five-passenger compact sedan that benefited from a full redesign in 2017, the Hyundai Elantra is a smooth driving choice for long journeys and regular highway commutes. The 2017–2019 Elantra's standard engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. If you're looking for upgraded acceleration try the Sport trim - its 1.6L turbocharged engine delivers 201 horsepower, has 18-inch alloy wheels, and flashy chrome exterior accents. The 2017–2019 Elantra SE base trim offers these standard features:

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • 60/40-split folding rear seat
  • Air-conditioning
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • USB port (2018 onwards)


Nissan Sentra

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

Taking the top spot on our list is the Nissan Sentra, a compact five-seater sedan that increases its amount of standard features year after year; so if you're looking to make the most of your budget, the Sentra is a worthy choice. The 15.1 cu-ft of trunk space and generous rear legroom means this is a car that can grow with your family in the years to come, or be particularly accommodating for trips with friends. The Sentra's standard engine (S, SV, SR, SL trims) is a 1.8L four-cylinder powertrain matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The 2018–2019 Nissan Sentra S base trim offers:

  • Central touchscreen
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic headlights

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Whether you are enjoying your college years, making a daily commute, or choosing a family vehicle, there's certain to be a used car on this list that will work for you and your budget. With lots of the latest tech available as standard and cabin space for your passengers to relax and enjoy the journey, this could be your easiest decision yet.

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1Based on CarMax average prices between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020. 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 related 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.