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6 Best Used Subcompact Cars Under $15,000

Years ago, compact cars were just that — compact, small and maneuverable. But over the years, in an effort to one-up each other, manufacturers have taken to making their compact offerings bigger and bigger, which left a void in the marketplace for vehicles that were truly small. Enter the subcompact. The subcompact segment blew up in the early 2000s with vehicles that were sized similarly to the compact cars offered just a decade before. Here we’ve outlined six of our favorite used subcompact cars under $15,000 in 2020.

2018 Ford Fiesta

1. 2018 Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta went on sale in the U.S. for the 2011 model year and was offered through 2019, before being discontinued as part of Ford’s decision to focus its lineup primarily on SUVs. An update took place for the 2014 model year, which included slight aesthetic and feature content changes. 2014 also marked the introduction of the performance-oriented Fiesta ST hot hatchback. The ST offered performance typically reserved for larger hot hatchbacks like the Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI and can now be found at a relative steal on the used market. There are currently thousands of used Fiestas to choose from on Autotrader for under $15,000, including over 100 ST models. We’d recommend a 2017-or-newer model, as earlier models were plagued with Ford’s troublesome ‘PowerShift’ transmission. Find a Ford Fiesta for sale

2018 Chevrolet Sonic

2. 2018 Chevrolet Sonic

The Sonic was introduced in its current form for the 2017 model year and packs a nice mix of standard features. The highlight is standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which allow you to connect your smartphone to the car’s infotainment system and use phone apps like Google Maps, Waze and Spotify through the vehicle’s infotainment screen. While it’s offered in both sedan and hatchback form, we’d recommend the hatchback, as it offers greater practicality, not to mention sportier styling and nicer wheels. Under the hood is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, paired with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission, which serves to give the Sonic sprightly driving dynamics. Right now on Autotrader, there are currently around 800 used 2017-or-newer Sonics listed for around $15,000, about 150 of which are hatchbacks. Find a Chevrolet Sonic for sale

2018 Honda Fit

3. 2018 Honda Fit

As far as used subcompact cars under $15,000 go, the Fit offers it all. It’s practical, thanks to its large hatchback design that even includes a flat-folding front passenger seat, allowing you to haul long items that wouldn’t fit in other subcompact cars. It’s also great to drive. Power comes from a small 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 130 horsepower and is paired to either a continuously variable automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. It also offers great fuel economy: The EPA rates the Fit at 29 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Finally, the Fit offers a nicer experience than what you get from most subcompact cars, thanks to great driving dynamics and a high-quality interior. There are currently loads of 3rd-generation Fits to choose from on Autotrader for under $15,000, over 200 of which are updated 2018-or-newer models. Find a Honda Fit for sale

2018 Jeep Renegade

4. 2018 Jeep Renegade

One of just a handful of rugged, pint-sized SUVs still available in the U.S. today, the Renegade blends old-school styling with modern sensibility. Introduced for the 2015 model year and built in Italy on the same platform as the Fiat 500X, the Renegade may look rugged, but underneath is a basic car-like unibody architecture, not unlike the bones that underpin the other vehicles on this list. That said, the Renegade offers available all-wheel drive and a fun ‘MySky’ roof option that features removable panels over the passenger area, allowing for an open-air experience. Those who plan to get out of the city from time to time should look to an adventure-ready Renegade Trailhawk model. In Trailhawk form, the Renegade offers a more sophisticated AWD system, a tougher suspension, more rugged tires and styling that looks the part. Right now on Autotrader, there are loads of used Renegades to choose from for $15,000 or less, over 100 of which are Trailhawk models. Find a Jeep Renegade for sale

2018 Toyota C-HR

5. 2018 Toyota C-HR

While it has the look of an SUV, it’s better to think of the C-HR as a high-riding hatchback, as it’s only available with front-wheel drive and offers just 5.9 inches of ground clearance. Either way, introduced for the 2018 model year, the C-HR offers a great mix of space, style and safety. Visibility is an issue, we’ll admit, as the C-HR’s upward-sloping rear door panels mean looking over your shoulder to check your blind spot is a fruitless endeavor. We recommend making sure any C-HR you’re thinking of buying comes fitted with blind spot monitoring, which was offered on XLE Premium models for 2018 and on XLE and Limited trims for 2019. Given its relative newness, there aren’t a ton of C-HRs currently available at our desired $15,000 price point, with just around 30 currently listed for sale on Autotrader. Expect that number to grow, though, as time goes on. Find a Toyota C-HR for sale

2018 Kia Soul

6. 2018 Kia Soul

The Soul is one of the most expressive subcompact cars out there. With its upright, boxy styling, the Soul blends elements of a hatchback with those of an SUV, but like the C-HR, it’s only available with FWD. But while it won’t offer the capability of an SUV, the 2nd-generation Kia Soul does offer excellent cargo room, thanks to its space-efficient design, and its 19 cu ft. of cargo volume behind its second row is greater than what you get in most midsize sedans. Drop the 2nd-row seats, and you’re looking at a whopping 50 cu ft. Beyond that, the 2nd-gen Soul could be had with a number of surprisingly upscale features, including a potent 201 hp turbocharged engine from the 2017 through 2019 model years. Right now on Autotrader, there are loads of 2014-2019 Kia Souls to choose from for around $15,000 or less, many of which are updated 2017 or newer models, over 30 of which even pack the more powerful turbocharged engine. Find a Kia Soul for sale

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