Clark Howard

New Report: Here Are the Best Used Cars for 2020

You may be thinking about buying a new car for the new year, but money expert Clark Howard says used cars often offer the best deals.

That's because used cars are cheaper on the front end since someone has already eaten much of the depreciation. To that end, car review site recently released an analysis of the best used cars for 2020.

The lists — which are made up of cars that “have demonstrated long-term reliability, hold their value the best, and have an average safety rating of at least 4.0 stars out of 5.0 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)” — cover a wide range of vehicle types, from SUVs to sedans and luxury cars.

In this article, we’ll reveal the best overall used cars for 2020, as well as breakdowns by two price points: vehicles under $15,000 and those under $20,000.

Some of the key findings from the survey:

  • Overall, four out of the best nine cars for 2020 are Toyotas
  • Among vehicles five years old and under $15,000, Toyota takes four of the top seven spots
  • Among used vehicles under $20,000, Honda has three models that rank among the eight best

Let’s look first at the list of best overall used cars for 2020, according to

Report: Best Used Cars for 2020

Best Used SUVToyota 4RunnerToyota Highlander
Best Used Passenger CarHonda CivicToyota Corolla
Best Used Pickup TruckToyota TacomaHonda Ridgeline
Best Used MinivanToyota SiennaHonda Odyssey
Best Used Sports CarFord MustangDodge Charger
Best Used Hybrid CarToyota PriusToyota Camry Hybrid
Best Used EVTesla Model SChevrolet Volt
Best Used Luxury CarLexus ES 350Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Best Used Luxury SUV Acura MDXVolvo XC90

Now let’s look at two of the more specific lists — the best used cars under $15,000 and best under $20,000 — to see which of those vehicles offer the greatest value:

Report: Best Five-Year-Old Used Cars Under $15,000 for 2020

VehicleTypeAverage Price
Honda AccordPassenger Car$14,242
Toyota PriusHybrid$13,460
Subaru LegacyPassenger Car$13,151
Toyota CamryPassenger Car$13,033
Honda CivicPassenger Car$12,518
Toyota CorollaPassenger Car$11,599
Toyota YarisPassenger Car$8,804

If your budget is a little bigger, more models become available, including luxury cars:

Report: Best Five-Year-Old Used Cars Under $20,000 for 2020

VehicleTypeAverage Price
Honda PilotSUV$19,677
Honda OdysseyMinivan$18,960
Toyota SiennaMinivan$18,523
Ford MustangSports Car$17,226
BMW 3 SeriesLuxury Car$16,766
Audi A4Luxury Car$16,608
Honda CR-VSUV$16,013
Buick LaCrosseLuxury Car$15,680

For the other lists from the survey, see here.

Here’s Clark’s Experience Buying a Used Car

Clark says buying a pre-owned vehicle — even if it’s been out only two years — can save you a lot of money. In fact, he did just that.

“We bought [a minivan] two model years back — I guess four years ago, we bought a 2014 when the 2016s were on the lots and got an enormous discount,” he says.

And Clark says this is the key to making a pre-owned vehicle worth your while:

"The only way it works for you as a consumer is that you keep that vehicle for a very long time because vehicles depreciate quicker based on model year than they do based on the mileage on the odometer," he says.

If you're thinking about buying a pre-owned vehicle, here is all you need to know about buying a used car in seven steps.

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