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7 Good Used Compact Cars Under $10,000 for 2020

Finding a good used car on a budget doesn’t have to be overly stressful. As long as you exhibit a little patience, learn about different options and invest some time into the process, there’s no reason you won’t wind up with a vehicle that will serve you well for years to come — even if you don’t spend a lot. Here are seven good compact cars under $10,000 that would make a smart, sensible purchase for just about anyone.

2012-2016 Subaru Impreza

2012-2016 Subaru Impreza

A used Subaru Impreza is a great SUV alternative, thanks to its standard all-wheel-drive system. This is especially true for the hatchback model, which combines sedan driving dynamics and efficiency with the space-maximizing profile of a sport utility. Right now on Autotrader, there are close to 400 2012-2016 Imprezas available for around $10,000 or less. Around 100 of these are practical hatchback models. Regardless of body style, each one comes with AWD, which you won’t find in any other used compacts at this price point. The Impreza hatchback is also offered as the Crosstrek, which has a slightly increased ride height and added body cladding. There are currently around 75 Crosstreks listed for $10,000 as well. Find a Subaru Impreza for sale

2013-2015 Honda Civic

2013-2015 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a staple in the compact car segment. It offers dependability, a quality interior and segment-leading driving dynamics. While the 2011-2012 model year Civics were a bit of a disappointment, the 2013-2015 models earn our recommendation here. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 140 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with either a 5-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual. Fuel economy with the automatic comes in at 33 miles per gallon overall — about par for the course, given the segment and the era. Right now on Autotrader, there are close to 800 2013-2015 Civics listed for around $10,000. The Civic was offered as both a sedan and a coupe during these years, and about 150 of those 800 Civics listed for sale are two-door models. Find a Honda Civic for sale

2014-2017 Mazda3

2014-2017 Mazda3

Introduced for the 2014 model year, the third-generation Mazda3 offered attractive styling on the outside and an upscale, high-quality interior on the inside. It’s currently one of our favorite used compact cars under $10,000. An update for 2017 kept things fresh and introduced a revised dashboard layout and tweaked front and rear exterior styling. Power comes from a pair of 4-cylinder engines making 155 and 184 hp. Altogether, a Mazda3 from these years will offer a more refined driving experience and a nicer overall design than any other vehicle on our list. Buyers interested in a used third-generation Mazda3 currently have around 300 to choose from on Autotrader for around $10,000 or less. Around 80 employ the more practical hatchback body style. Find a Mazda3 for sale

2014-2017 Toyota Corolla

2014-2017 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is another leader in the compact car segment. Always conservative and never flashy, the Corolla is about getting you from point A to point B with as little fanfare as possible — and certainly without any surprises, good or bad. As a basic means of transportation in its purest form, the Corolla touts excellent reliability, good safety ratings and a generous interior as its main selling points. Like the other vehicles on this list, the Corolla comes with a basic 4-cylinder engine good for around 31 or 32 mpg combined, depending on trim level. Right now on Autotrader, there are currently over 700 2014-2017 Corollas to choose from for around $10,000 or less. Find a Toyota Corolla for sale

2017-2018 Hyundai Elantra

2017-2018 Hyundai Elantra

The sixth-generation Hyundai Elantra was introduced for the 2017 model year. It’s available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Under the hood of most models is a basic 4-cylinder engine, putting out 147 hp, paired with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. There’s also an efficiency-minded Eco trim that makes 128 hp from a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and comes paired with a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Expect to earn around 35 mpg combined from the Elantra Eco. Finally, the Elantra Sport puts out 201 hp from yet another turbocharged engine and can be had with either a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic or a 6-speed manual. The Elantra is also available in the GT Hatchback form for added practicality. Right now on Autotrader, buyers have over 700 2017-2018 Elantras to choose from for around $10,000 or less. Find a Hyundai Elantra for sale

2017-2018 Kia Forte

2017-2018 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte shares its platform and many of its components with the Hyundai Elantra. Like the Elantra, it’s available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, with the latter branded as the Forte5. Also like the Elantra, it offers three different powertrains. LX and S trims come with a basic 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 147 hp, while in the EX trim, the engine makes 164 hp. The top-spec Forte is the SX model, which uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 201 hp. Altogether, the Forte offers great value and is a good alternative to the Elantra. Chances are, if you like one, you’ll like the other. There are currently over 300 2017-2018 Fortes listed on Autotrader for around $10,000 or less. Find a Kia Forte for sale

2015-2018 Ford Focus

2015-2018 Ford Focus

On sale in its final generation from 2011 all the way to 2018, the Ford Focus was one of the most popular small cars in America during its heyday. As Ford has opted to discontinue the Focus in favor of an increased emphasis on SUVs, it’s possible to find a gently-used example for not a lot of money. We’d recommend targeting an updated 2015-or-newer model. With a few different 3- and 4-cylinder engines available, any 2015-2018 Focus you buy will return between 30 and 33 mpg overall. The Focus is offered in both sedan and hatchback body styles, and as usual, we’d recommend the hatchback for the added practicality. Right now on Autotrader, there are well over 1,000 Focuses to choose from that fit within our budget — over 600 of which are hatchbacks. Find a Ford Focus for sale

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