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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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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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