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Best cars under $25k in Canada

Get moving with the best cars with budget-friendly price tags in Canada.

Finding a car under $25,000 isn’t a difficult task, but choosing the best car for your needs could have you browsing car websites for days. The cars in this list have the safety scores, reliability ratings and price tags to make our list of the best cars under $25,000.

Best sedan under $25,000: 2024 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is a budget-friendly sedan that offers plenty to like. It’s powered by a 2-litre, 147hp engine in standard trim, while inside you’ll find handy features such as heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto. You also get Hyundai’s SmartSense safety tech, which includes Forward Collision Avoidance Assist along with Adaptive Cruise Control.

Price: $21,999 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Elantra is a fuel-efficient performer, delivering a combined economy figure of 6.5L/100km. It’s safe too, with a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. It’s loaded with standard features as well, and you get all that for an MSRP that’s very friendly to your bank balance. That’s why we think the Elantra is the best sedan car under $25,000.

Downsides

  • Not the most powerful
  • Cabin finish feels a little cheap
  • Some road noise

Other top sedans under $25,000

  • Kia Forte
  • Mazda3
  • Nissan Versa
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Jetta

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Best first car under $25,000: 2024 Nissan Versa

The Nissan Versa is a small sedan with plenty to offer to first car buyers. This stylish subcompact features a 122hp engine, an Xtronic CVT transmission and a spacious interior. It’s also fitted with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety tech, which includes Intelligent Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. Best of all, it comes with a price tag to suit a first-time buyer on a budget.

Price: $22,905 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Versa was named the Best Subcompact Car in the 2024 Car and Driver Editors’ Choice List. It also gets a five-star NHTSA safety rating, and delivers impressive combined fuel economy of 6.7L/100km. That’s why it’s one of the best cars under $25,000 in Canada.

Downsides

  • Slow off the mark
  • Some cabin noise issues
  • Some buyers might want something with a little more interior space

Other top first cars under $25,000

  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda3
  • Mitsubishi Mirage

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Best reliable car under $25,000: 2021 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry needs no introduction. This ever-popular sedan is powered by a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine in standard trim, with an 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Its interior is well fitted out with active safety tech, such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency front braking, and it’s practical and comfortable to drive too.

Price: $22,250 – $25,650 (wholesale price from AutoTrader’s Valuations tool for a 2021 Camry with 60,000km on the clock)

Why it’s one of the best

In the J.D. Power 2024 US Vehicle Dependability Study, the 2021 Camry was named the Most Dependable Midsize Car. Toyota was also the highest-ranked mass market brand for dependability, while ConsumerReports listed the Japanese manufacturer among the top three most reliable new car brands. To top it off, the 2021 Camry also has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

Downsides

  • Not an exciting car to drive
  • Not everyone likes its looks
  • Some people may prefer to buy new

Other top reliable cars under $25,000

  • Buick Encore
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Toyota Corolla

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Best family car under $25,000: 2024 Chevrolet Trax

If you’re in the market for a sub-$25k family car that provides plenty of bang for your buck, look no further than the Chevrolet Trax. This entry-level SUV features a 1.2-litre turbo engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, and it’s available in a choice of 5 trims. On the inside you’ll find up to 1,531 litres of cargo space, wireless phone integration, an 11-inch touchscreen and Chevrolet Safety Assist tech such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert.

Price: $21,699 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Chevrolet Trax is loaded with tech features, even in its standard trim. It featured in Car and Driver’s 2024 10Best Trucks and SUVs list, and it also won Cars.com’s Best Car of 2024 award. That’s why it should definitely be on your shortlist if you’re shopping for a family car with a maximum budget of $25,000.

Downsides

  • Slow acceleration
  • No AWD available
  • Seats could be a little more comfortable

Other top family cars under $25,000

  • Kia Soul
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Hyundai Venue
  • Toyota Corolla

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Best value car under $25,000: 2024 Kia Soul

The Chevy Trax featured in the category above is a top contender in the value-for-money stakes as well, but so too is the Kia Soul. This compact SUV features a 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 147hp. Its interior is loaded with features such as an 8-inch display, 6-speaker sound system, heated front seats and plenty of active safety tech. Add in a whole lot of cargo space for a vehicle of this size and the Soul is an impressive all-round package.

Price: $22,795 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Soul boasts a long list of standard features, a versatile interior and ample cargo space. It was named the Best Subcompact SUV in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cars for the Money awards for 2024, while it finished second in Cars.com’s 2024 Best Value New Cars rankings. And with the Soul scoring an 87/100 rating for Quality and Reliability in J.D. Power’s consumer ratings, it’s got a lot to offer for value-hungry buyers.

Downsides

  • Boxy styling isn’t to everyone’s taste
  • No AWD available
  • Only has a four-star NHTSA safety rating

Other top value cars under $25,000

  • Chevrolet Trax
  • Hyundai Venue
  • Kia Forte

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Best hatchback under $25,000: 2024 Mazda3 Sport

If you’re in the market for a stylish and sporty hatch, the Mazda3 Sport is well worth a test drive. It comes with an automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels and a 191hp, 2.5-litre engine as standard. Interior highlights include heated front seats, an 8.8-inch-wide screen, and Mazda’s i-Activsense safety tech.

Price: $24,950 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Mazda3 Sport has come in for plenty of praise from motoring journalists for its refined handling dynamics and premium cabin feel. It also gets a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, and Top Safety Pick+ status from the IIHS. With good fuel economy figures as well, there’s a lot to like about this impressive hatch.

Downsides

  • You’ll pay more than $25,000 once you cover the cost of freight and fees
  • Rear seat legroom could be better
  • Watch out for blind spots

Other top hatchbacks under $25,000

  • Kia Forte5
  • Toyota Corolla

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Best safe car under $25,000: 2024 Mazda3

The Mazda3 sedan is a small car that’s big on features. Powered by a 191hp, 2.5-litre engine in standard trim, it delivers a combined fuel economy figure of 7.5L/100km. Step inside and you’ll find an 8-speaker sound system, an 8.8-inch-wide colour display, heated front seats and Apple CarPlay along with Android Auto.

Price: $24,200 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The RAV4 is quite simply an attractive all-round package for SUV buyers. It has a long list of safety technologies, features a practical interior and sips (rather than guzzles) fuel. The RAV4 earned a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA, so you can hit the road with confidence. To top it off, Toyota was named Canada’s Most Trusted Car Brand in the 2023 AutoTrader Awards.

Downsides

  • Some buyers might want a larger SUV
  • Not the most exciting on-road performer

Other top SUVs

  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Nissan Versa
  • Toyota Corolla

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Best fuel-efficient car under $25,000: 2024 Mitsubishi Mirage

The pint-sized Mitsubishi Mirage is a subcompact hatchback with a budget-friendly price tag. It pairs a fuel-efficient 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine with Mitsubishi’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) and includes safety tech like forward collision mitigation. It also comes with a 10-year / 160,000km powertrain limited warranty for added peace of mind.

Price: $16,998 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Mirage’s fuel economy figures are seriously impressive: 6.6L/100km in the city, 5.6L/100km on the highway and a combined figure of 6.2L/100km. Combine that with a starting price that isn’t going to break the bank and it’s easy to see why the Mirage is a top choice for budget-conscious buyers.

Downsides

  • Not very powerful
  • Interior feels cheap
  • Some competitors have better safety ratings

Other top fuel-efficient cars under $25,000

  • Mazda3
  • Nissan Versa
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Volkswagen Jetta

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Best new car under $25,000: 2024 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has long been a favourite among Canadian drivers. Powered by a 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine, the Corolla features keyless entry, an 8-inch multimedia screen, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It also comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, which includes a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Price: $23,490 (MSRP)

Why it’s one of the best

The Toyota Corolla was the top-selling car (excluding SUVs and pickup trucks) in Canada in 2023, and with good reason. It has a five-star NHTSA safety rating, returns impressive combined fuel economy of 6.7L/100km, and ConsumerReports lists the Japanese manufacturer among the top three most reliable new car brands. If you’re shopping in this price bracket, it’s hard to go past the Corolla.

Downsides

  • Not an exciting car to drive
  • Acceleration isn’t rapid
  • Rear passengers might appreciate some extra headroom

Other top new cars under $25,000

  • Chevrolet Trax
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mazda3

How we chose the best cars under $25,000

We chose the best cars under $25,000 on this page based on vehicles available in Canada. These vehicles are not representative of the entire market. When choosing our picks for the best under-$25k cars, we considered price, safety, unique features, awards, ratings and sales volume. No single car will be the best choice for everyone, so compare your options to find the best fit for your situation.

Bottom line

There are plenty of top-quality options to choose from if you’re searching for the best cars under $25,000. Consider what you want in your next car — safety, comfort, fuel economy, reliability or a combination of all of these features — then test drive several models back-to-back to find your next set of wheels.

Frequently asked questions

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Leanne Escobal as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by

Writer

Tim Falk is a freelance writer for Finder. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, he has reported on a wide range of personal finance topics. Whether you're investing in stocks and ETFs, comparing savings accounts or choosing a credit card, Tim wants to make it easier for you to understand. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full bio

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