For most young people and their parents, buying a first car is a major step.

One great option is to look at used cars, which can often be had for a fraction of the cost of brand-new versions.

We came up with 20 used cars we think are the best for the young car buyer on a budget.

To make our list, we focused on cars that are available on the market right now for under $20,000. We looked for ones that are reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, attractive, economical, practical, and most of all, safe.

For safety, we checked out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) moderate front overlap crash test ratings for the cars we selected. Prices are based on current prices on Autotrader.com and reflect the lowest price we think a decent example may cost.

2005-present Honda Civic

2005-present-honda-civic

Honda

Starting price: $7,000 and up

IIHS crash test rating: Good

Why buy it: The Honda Civic is bulletproof. If properly maintained, the car can go for well over 250,000 miles without any issues.  However, at this price point, it shouldn’t be hard to come across examples will far fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer. As one of the most popular cars in the world, spares are easy to come by and repairs are relatively affordable.

Being popular means that there is large aftermarket support for the car, so kids can customize a Civic to their liking for not much money. Also, the sporty and practical Si hatchback from the early 2000s is now available for under $10,000. And since it was only available with a manual gearbox, it teaches a good lesson.

 

2009-Present Honda Fit

2009-present-honda-fit

Honda

Starting price: $7,000 and up

IIHS crash test rating: Good

Why buy it: The Honda Fit has been an unqualified success across the globe for the automaker. The Fit offers fun, versatility, and reliability in a compact package.

Honda’s second generation Fit, sold from 2009 to 2012, is powered by the company’s trusty 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 117. Since 2013, the third-gen Fit has been offered with a 130-horsepower, 4-cylinder unit.

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