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6 New Fun Small Cars for $20,000 in 2019

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author photo by Chris O'Neill July 2019

While cars have gotten more and more complicated over the years with huge engines and loads of luxury features, some people just want a simple, affordable, efficient small car. With so many options out there, though, it can be hard to sift through the weeds and find the models that speak to both your needs and your emotions. Here we've outlined six of our favorite small cars for $20,000 that are both fun and sensible.

2019 Nissan Kicks

2019 Nissan Kicks

The Kicks is a sporty subcompact SUV. It looks fun, because it's meant to be fun, and it's also affordable, with a base price of just under $20,000. Standard features on the sub-$20,000 base trim include an automatic transmission, a 7-in infotainment screen with Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth and automatic emergency braking. If you can swing it, stepping up to an SV model gets you a 7-in gauge cluster display and 18-in wheels, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Kicks SV comes in at around $21,400. If you're wondering how Nissan is able to offer the Kicks at such a low price, part of the reason is that it's only available with front wheel drive (FWD) -- no all-wheel drive (AWD) version is offered. Find a Nissan Kicks for sale

2019 Honda Fit

2019 Honda Fit

The Fit earns praise for offering great practicality along with a refined interior and numerous available safety features. While an automatic transmission is available on every trim, the Fit is a blast to drive with a manual transmission, so if you enjoy driving, we think the stick shift is worth consideration. The manual fuel economy comes in at 31 miles per gallon in combined driving, while the automatic yields an impressive 36 mpg overall. A variety of active safety features are available, but only with the automatic transmission. These consist of automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and radar cruise control. The Fit starts at around $17,000 and tops out at just over $21,000, giving buyers a lot to choose from while staying under $20,000. We like the EX trim optioned with the continuously variable transmission (CVT), which comes with all the aforementioned safety features along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, all for a few dollars shy of $20k. Find a Honda Fit for sale

2020 Kia Soul

2020 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul stands out for its funky, boxy proportions, and it's also been fully redesigned for 2020. With a starting price of around $18,500, buyers have a lot of options when it comes to the Soul. While it still doesn't offer available AWD, there's a lot to love about the new Soul. It offers great interior room, efficient powertrains, awesome infotainment and loads of safety tech. If you're looking for a Soul for around $20,000, we recommend the S model. While at $21,000, it'll force you to stretch your budget a bit, but the Soul S comes with forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection with braking assist. Additionally, the Soul S comes with an efficient 4-cylinder engine that returns 30 mpg combined, and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As far as small cars for $20,000 go, the Soul is tough to beat. Find a Kia Soul for sale

2019 Hyundai Veloster

2019 Hyundai Veloster

The Veloster's calling card is its not-very-OCD-friendly 3-door design. There's one door on the driver's side and two on the passenger side. The idea here is that the bigger driver's side door makes getting in and out easier for the driver, while the back door on the passenger's side makes things easier for back seat passengers. The Veloster has also been fully-redesigned for 2019, and comes with great standard features, including forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, a 7-in infotainment screen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A 6-speed manual comes standard, while the automatic adds $1,000 to the price. Equipped with the auto, a base Veloster comes in at $20,430. Find a Hyundai Veloster for sale

2020 Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla is all new for 2020, and like a lot of the vehicles on this list, offers a lot of value thanks to a generous inclusion of standard features, even on the base model. And that's a good thing, as buyers wanting to stay around $20,000 will want to look to a base Corolla L. A Corolla L comes in at $20,430 and offers standard features like a 7.0 infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration along with 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability, LED lighting and great active safety features like lane-tracing assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, road sign detection and full-range dynamic radar cruise control. Luckily, even in its base trim, the new Corolla wears attractive new styling with a forward-sloping greenhouse and sharp lines front and rear. Find a Toyota Corolla for sale

2019 Subaru Impreza

2019 Subaru Impreza

With a base price of $19,480 when factoring in destination fees, the 2019 Subaru Impreza is the least expensive new vehicle on sale today in the United States with AWD. That said, even if you're on a tight budget, the Impreza you should strongly consider buying comes a sticker price of slightly over $21,000. This is because we recommend selecting two options; the automatic transmission, which adds $1,000, and Subaru's suite of active safety features, known as Eye-Sight, which includes items like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, and adds an extra $845 to the price, bringing the grand total to $21,325. Even at slightly over our budget though, the Impreza provides good value, especially for those living in a snowy climate and likely to realize the benefits of AWD. Find a Subaru Impreza for sale

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New 2020 Kia Soul S
New 2020 Kia Soul
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New 2020 Kia Soul LX
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MSRP $20,530
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New 2020 Kia Soul EX
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New 2020 Kia Soul LX
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
6 New Fun Small Cars for $20,000 in 2019 - Autotrader