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Best cars under $25,000

Compare the best new and used models with budget-friendly price tags.

Finding a car under $25,000 isn’t a difficult task, but choosing one that really stands out can leave you browsing car websites for days. These new and used cars have the safety scores, reliability ratings and price tag to make our list of the best cars under $25,000.

The best 5 new cars under $25,000

These five cars earn top scores and have plenty of features included in the base trim.

2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Toyota Corolla

  • MSRP: $19,350
  • L/100km (city/highway): 8/6
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 82 out of 100

The 2021 Toyota Corolla is at the top of the list for good reason: fuel efficiency, safety and reliability are all some of the best in its class. But with a cramped rear seat and a base engine that lacks get-up-and-go power, it may not be the best choice if you plan on having a full backseat or zooming down the highway.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

2021 volkswagen jetta

  • MSRP: $21,595
  • L/100km (city/highway): 7.9/5.8
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 83 out of 100

What the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta lacks in interior luxury and engine power, it makes up for with its great fuel economy. However, it also has one of the higher starting MSRPs and lower reliability ratings on our list.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

  • MSRP: $17,899
  • L/100km (city/highway): 9.1/6.3
  • NHTSA safety rating: N/A
  • J.D. Power consumer rating: 83 out of 100

The biggest drawback to the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is that it hasn’t been tested by NHTSA yet. The 2020 model scored 4 out of 5 stars. On the other hand, Hyundai is becoming one of the more reliable car brands in Canada. The Elantra has a ton of colours and modifications available in addition to a hybrid option.

2021 Kia Soul

Kia Soul

  • MSRP: $21,195
  • L/100km (city/highway): 8.5/7.0
  • NHTSA safety rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 85 out of 100

The Kia Soul often ranks well – and the 2021 model is no different. With high reliability and safety ratings plus a top-of-the-line manufacturer warranty, it’s hard to beat the Soul when you’re looking at cars under $25,000. Add to that a strong engine and plenty of space, and it’s easy to see why the Kia Soul ranks so well.

2021 Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa

  • MSRP: $16,498
  • L/100km (city/highway): 8.6/6.7
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 81 out of 100

The 2021 Nissan Versa is the latest model of this popular car to come to Canada. For being one of the lowest-priced cars you’ll find on the market, the Nissan Versa comes with some impressive features including smartphone connectivity and a roomy interior.

The best 5 used cars under $25,000

These used cars typically come in under $25,000, but you may find some newer models in your area with a higher price tag. Because every used car varies based on mileage, maintenance upkeep and other factors, you might want to read our guide to buying a used car so you know exactly what to look for when you’re ready to buy.

Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has consistently ranked as one of the best cars for the money since 2014. While older models don’t have the world’s best gas mileage, its spectacular safety and reliability ratings mean you’re unlikely to have to pay an arm and a leg to repair it every few months.

Honda Civic

Depending on the year, you might get a car that was ranked top of its class — or you could get one that was only so-so. Either way, the Honda Civic has consistently been named a decent car for the price. And you won’t be disappointed by its fuel efficiency, either.

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla sits a little above average when it comes to reliability, and its fuel efficiency is decent — especially for older models. Base trims had engines that left a lot to be desired for some drivers, though. If you’re thinking of getting a Corolla, it may be worth it to find a more expensive trim with a little more power.

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is well known for its roomy cabin and has consistently ranked well when put up against other cars in its class. While every model year has subpar fuel efficiency, its reliability rating might make up for that.

Hyundai Sonata

Most of the recent Hyundai Sonata models have ranked near the top of the midsize car class, especially for drivers with families. While its fuel economy may not be the best, its high reliability makes it another strong contender for best used car under $25,000.

Compare car loans for models under $25,000

Compare car loans in the table below by checking out details like loan terms, rates and credit score requirements. You can compare two or more providers side-by-side by checking the compare box beneath each provider you’re interested in.

Name Product Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Min. Credit Score Requirements Table description
Loans Canada Car Loans
$500 - $35,000
0% - 29.99%
3 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Compare rates from multiple lenders.
Complete a single application to get quotes from different lenders. Bad credit, CERB and EI borrowers considered.
goPeer Car Loan
$1,000 - $25,000
8.00% - 31.00%
36 - 60 months
600
Min. income of $40,000 /year
P2P platform with competitive rates.
Canada's first regulated consumer peer-to-peer lending platform that connects creditworthy Canadians looking for a loan with Canadians looking to invest.
AutoLoanProviders
$7,500 - $85,000
3.99% - 29.99%
12 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $1,800 /month, 1+ months employed
Available in Ontario only.
Apply online and get your new vehicle delivered to your door anywhere in Ontario free of charge. All credit scores considered.
CarsFast Car Loans
$500 - $75,000
4.90% - 29.90%
12 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Get a new or used vehicle delivered to your door.
Browse thousands of vehicles from dealers across Canada and get matched with financing that meets your needs.
Coast Capital Car Loan
$10,000 - No Max.
Varies
18 - 84 months
650
Able to service debt payment of $300/month
Competitive rates and flexible terms.
Finance new and used vehicles from one of Canada's largest credit unions. No credit union membership required. Available across Canada except SK, QC, NT, NU, YT.
Splash Auto Finance
$10,000 - $50,000
9.90% - 29.90%
24 - 84 months
300
Min. income of $2,200 /month, 3+ months employed
Apply with any credit score.
Get financing for a new or used car. Auto loans for borrowers with fair credit, bad credit, no credit or bankruptcy.
LoanConnect Car Loans
$500 - $50,000
9.90% - 46.96%
3 - 120 months
550
No min. income requirement
Pre-approval in as little as 60 seconds.
Get access to 25+ lenders through this brokerage. Get your funds in as little as 24 hours.
Canada Auto Finance
$500 - $45,000
4.90% - 29.95%
3 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $1,500 /month, 3+ months employed
Get financing from partnered local lenders.
Financing for a new or used car is available for borrowers with bad credit, no credit, CERB, EI or bankruptcy.
Carloans411 Car Loans
$500 - $50,000
1.90% - 19.99%
Up to 72 months
300
Min. income of $1,600 /month, 3+ months employed
High application approval rate.
Get connected with suitable lenders to finance your next car, van or truck. Check eligibility for this loan through LoanConnect.
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Compare up to 4 providers

When is the best time to find a good deal on a used car?

When you’re looking to buy a used car, stick to the summer months. Dealerships often hold sales for each of the major summer holidays. And at the end of the season, manufacturers begin debuting cars for the next model year. This means you may be able to get a good deal on a new car from this year or an even better deal on a used car from the previous model year.

How can I save at a dealership?

Here’s how to make your $20,000 budget stretch even further, perhaps even getting you into a higher-spec model.

  • Use a car buying service. Once you know which model you want, use a car buying service to help you access fleet-level pricing. These services can save their customers money into the thousands!
  • Shop around for offers. To find the best $25,000 car deal around, you’re going to need to do some digging. We found some great deals when we looked through the offers pages on car maker’s websites. Trawl through the car sales sites and consider out-of-province dealers. They might be able to deliver the car, all for a reasonable price.
  • Stick to the rule of three. If you’re buying in person, visit at least 3 dealerships before making your purchase. That way, you’ll be able to play the dealerships’ offers against each other when negotiating. It helps to have info about some similar cars you’ve found online too, so you can show the dealer what you’re expecting and see if they will price match.
  • Avoid unnecessary insurance add-ons. It’s easy to be talked in to signing up for insurance plans or extra warranties from the dealer that aren’t valuable to consumers, so be careful what you sig for. An example of a potentially unnecessary add-on to watch out for is loan protection insurance.
  • Get the timing right. There are a few schools of thought here. One is that you should visit at the end of the month when dealerships are trying to hit their sales targets. Another is that you should visit on a Monday or Tuesday when dealerships are less busy and there’s more time to negotiate. One well-known time to snap up a bargain is the End of Financial Year Sales (EOFY), as dealerships offer specials to reach their EOFY goals. A final tip around timing is to wait until a dealership is having a model runout sale, when the current generation of a vehicle is about to be replaced by an updated version. Dealerships try to clear out the older stock to make way for the new build and may be more willing to strike a bargain.
  • Come down a level. Higher trim grades, with all their cushy passenger comforts and extra tech are tempting. But cars with less extra features are cheaper. If you can live without fancy things like leather upholstery and large alloy wheels, you could save thousands of dollars. That might just make a car that you thought was out of your $25,000 price range, easily affordable.
  • Shop around for finance. By shopping around and comparing deals from multiple car loan lenders, you could save hundreds of dollars over the course of your finance agreement.
  • Buy a demo or nearly new car. Buying a dealer demo (a car the dealer used for test drives) or a model that’s around a year old, could save you quite a bit of cash. As a plus, you let someone else foot the bill for the first year’s depreciation. Demo cars, in particular, often have some nice add-ons, so you could get a higher trim for less money.
  • Negotiate. Finally, negotiating with a dealer could save you money, or get you some nice freebies thrown in. Even if a dealer won’t agree to a lower price, you could ask them to chip in metallic paint, or even just a full tank of fuel, as a little cherry on top.

What should I look for in a car under $25,000?

When you’re comparing your options for the best cars under $25000, keep these five points in mind:

  • Safety features. Safety features like lane monitoring and parking assistance don’t come standard with most base trims, so it may be worth opting for a driver assistance package — or picking a better trim — if you want access to these.
  • High ratings. J.D. Power is a good source for reliability, but you should also keep the NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings in mind when picking a car.
  • Price. Just because a car has a higher price tag doesn’t mean it’s better. Check what features come included. You might find a better deal in a used car than you would with the basic trim of some new cars.
  • Engine specs. If you’re looking for a powerful engine, check out details on the manufacturer’s website as well as car magazine reviews. These can give you a good idea of how a car handles before deciding if it’s even worth a test drive.
  • User-friendly tech. Since most cars come standard with an infotainment system, you’ll want to test it out to ensure you’ll be able to find the settings you want easily. And of course, keep an eye out for basics — power windows don’t always come standard.

New cars vs. used cars

Bottom line

These cars represent the cream of the crop when it comes to a low price tag, but that doesn’t mean you should pay the full sticker price for them. Comparing your car loan options can help you figure out how much you can afford and give you an edge during negotiations.

Frequently asked questions about cars under $25,000

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