Best coupes for £15,
What are the best used coupes for £15, or less? Read our in-depth list to find the best budget coupes stretching from sporty to comfortable.
With £15, in your pocket, you can choose from a range of coupes that are premium, practical and also perfectly enjoyable to drive.
Cars like the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are well within your reach - or you could go down the path marked 'driver pleasure' and pick up a rather tasty Audi TT or Subaru BRZ.
When it comes to desirable coupes, the BMW 4 series is right up there in the sweet spot of boasting both practicality and performance.
Not only is it a great piece of design, it’s also offers a pretty flawless line-up to choose from. Whichever engine you go for, you won’t be disappointed. The d diesel was the bestseller and it’s easy to see why. With PS and Nm of torque, it’s quick and strong, yet will return mpg.
Oh and did we mention it’s great to drive? Yep, whether you’re just popping for a pint of milk or out for a drive, you’ll love every minute behind 4 Series' wheel.
Find your BMW 4 SeriesRead our full BMW 4 Series Review
Much like the E-Class saloon, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe is excellent in almost every way. It’s comfortable to drive, the interior is fabulous, and it still looks the part especially in sporty AMG Line trim (which is handy because it's the only trim level).
Luckily, buyers have a bit more choice when it comes to engines. The best all rounder is probably the litre E d. It’s got enough punch to keep you engaged and also offers decent fuel economy. If you can, hunt out one with the upgraded inch touchscreen as the entry level inch was, well, rubbish.
Out on the open road, this car isn't that happy being pushed through the corners. It’s not that agile the steering’s dead and it feels like it is – a big heavy coupe. That said, there’s plenty of room up front for two and litres of boot space - more than enough for a weekend away.
Find your Mercedes-Benz E-Class CoupeRead our full Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Review
If you fancy a coupe that offers a bit more in terms of driver engagement and a bit less when it comes to creature comforts and practicality, then have a look at the Subaru BRZ.
Jointly developed with Toyota (which has its own version in the shape of the Toyota GT86), Subaru brought its A-game to the table with an excellent engine and keen handling. As such, it’s a joy to tool around in. There’s no turbo so you have to work the engine hard to get the best from it, but it’s a rewarding steer, that’s for sure.
It’s possibly not for the feint hearted (or those with a bad back) as it’s only mm tall and sits every low to the ground. It’s definitely a 2+2, though, and luggage space is adequate rather than generous.
Find your Subaru BRZRead our full Subaru BRZ Review
When it comes to coupes, the Audi TT is a great all-rounder. It’s a fine looking motor car that’s light, fast and offers decent economy. Inside, it’s just as good thanks to Audi’s ‘virtual’ cockpit (it’s real, don’t worry, it’s digital…)
This third-generation of the Audi’s coupe retains the familiar look and feel of the original TT shape (think sculpted bonnet and rounded wheelcarches) but also gets larger side air intakes and razor-sharp headlights that give it a more purposeful look.
Engine wise, we’d actually opt for a litre TDI with front-wheel drive - it’s got a ton of get up and get gone but will still return mpg. To put it another way: you can drive it like you stole but won’t have to rob a bank to put fuel in it.
Find your Audi TTRead our full Audi TT Review
Despite first being launched in , the Audi A5 is still a contender thanks to constant tweaks when it comes to engines and equipment.
Perhaps where it most shows its age is inside. The cabin feels very well made but the centre stack and infotainment make it feel outdated nest to the sleek layout of the others car on this list. The rear seats are big enough for small children, and there’s ample space for you and your passenger.
But it’s still a high-quality car that’s great to drive. It’s quiet and refined and if you go for something like a litre diesel with PS you’ll have some power to play with and a decent level of fuel economy. You also probably won’t notice it's a diesel - such is the refinement on offer. It’s sporty to a point, but too much about comfort for some driver’s tastes.
Find your Audi A5Read our full Audi A5 Review
A coupe is a car with two-doors and sporty looks. Coupes tend to have sportier handling than the four-door saloons they are (usually) based on.
The point of a coupe is that it looks sportier than a four-door car, but still offers a reasonable amount of practicality.
Is a coupe a sports car? No, it is not. Coupes are often based on a four-door car, whereas a sports car will usually be a standalone model. Sports cars tend to be even more engaging to look at and drive than a coupe.
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Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £, Customer Deposit: £2,, Total Deposit: £2,, Total Charge For Credit: £1,, Total Amount Payable: £16,, Representative APR: %, Interest Rate (Fixed): %
A limited budget doesn't need to spoil your dreams of owning a fast car. You can find several pre-owned sporty models for less than $15, Take a closer look at these bargain buys to find fast cars under 15k that fit your driving preferences and your budget.
Cadillac CTS-V (First Generation)
According to Testing Autos, the first-generation Cadillac CTS-V is an affordable sports sedan with a powerful motor. It's relatively cheap because its underwhelming sales figures never reflected its quality. Its specs include:
- LS6 V-8 engine (later models have an LS2)
- Six-speed manual transmission
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi developed its Lancer Evolution for rally driving, so you know it has pace. Recent models tend to maintain their value. However, early Evolution Xs often sell for less than $15,
Porsche ( Generation)
Owning a Porsche on a tight budget doesn't have to be a dream. Just zero in on a generation vehicle. Admittedly, this Porsche's specs aren't quite as impressive as some of the other s, according to Road and Track. However, it's worth making compromises if a Porsche is your dream vehicle.
Porsche Boxster ()
The generation isn't the only budget-friendly option for Porsche fans. The Porsche Boxter also has what it takes to impress people who love driving fast, and its convertible body lets you feel the breeze on your face for a fun and enjoyable ride. This second-generation Boxster is as reliable as it is good looking.
Lexus IS (early s)
What the Lexus IS lacks in looks it makes up for in performance. Its impressive specs include:
- 2JZ straight-six engine
- Rear-wheel drive
- Five-speed manual or automatic transmission
Lexus SC ( or )
The Lexus SC is another bargain buy from the Lexus lineup. The Lexus SC gets its power from the same naturally aspirated 2JZ motor as the IS In comparison, the SC has a gutsy V-8 motor, which is also seen inside the Lexus LS Both SC models are excellent choices for budget-conscious fans of performance cars.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
Many pre-owned Ford Mustangs are under the magic $15, mark, but the SVT Cobra is one of the best. It looks great and has the kind of style that turns heads. Its independent rear suspension also serves you well when cornering on twisty roads. According to Car Engineer, you can also upgrade to a titanium exhaust and dramatically improve the sound of this sports car.
The Nissan Z is largely unchanged since its inception. That means that there's very little difference between a new, expensive version and an earlier model. You'll find pre-owned Nissan Z cars with a few miles on them for less than half the price of one that's brand new.
BMW M5 (E39 or E60 Generations)
The E and Egeneration BMW M5s are some of the world's most acclaimed sports sedans. Their performance capabilities can satisfy anyone who loves speed. The E39 was the first M5 with a V-8 engine, says AutoBlog, and the E60 has an even beefier hp V motor. So why are these cars from one of Europe's most prestigious automakers so affordable? Unfortunately, they are notoriously unreliable.
When you're spending just $15, on a vehicle, you should at least have some money left over for those inevitable repairs. Keep in mind that the six-speed manual transmission M5s have simpler systems than the ones with automatic transmissions. With fewer parts and functions, less can go wrong, so they're usually more reliable.
BMW M3 (E46 Generation)
Like the BMW M5s, the Egeneration BMW M3 is another budget-friendly choice for fans of the brand's early s automobiles. It's lighter and sportier than the M5, so you'll make a strong impression behind the wheel. Don't worry about seeing high mileage on the speedometer. With proper care, they can happily travel thousands of miles, making it an even better bargain.
The Honda S ticks all the boxes for speed freaks on a budget, per HotCars. It handles like Mazda's famous Miata, and Honda's celebrated VTEC power system helps it perform. There's very little to fault, and you may be surprised to hear that there isn't a catch. Honda just overestimated demand and made far too many Ss. Since they're not rare, you can find them at much more reasonable prices than some other pre-owned sports cars.
Chevrolet Corvette (C5 Generation)
It doesn't matter whether you choose a little, red Corvette or one in another shade. The C5-generation Corvettes have one of the auto market's best performance-to-price ratios. If you're looking for value for your dollar, you'll find it in these Corvettes.
Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, and Toyota 86
These cars are essentially the same vehicle with different badging. They're all very user-friendly, so they're perfect for new drivers. However, the motors give a bit of extra power that drivers can explore once they get more confident on the road. This car trio's all-round capabilities make them great options for auto seekers on a budget.
Volkswagen GTI (Mark VII)
A pre-owned Volkswagen GTI represents great value for lovers of fast cars, no matter what generation you choose. They're fun to drive, well built, and very affordable. As the Mark VII cars are clocking up the miles, their prices have started to fall below $15,
A Pontiac GTO isn't the flashiest car on the road. However, its real beauty sits underneath the hood. Its powerful motor stands out against your favorite muscle cars, including Camaros and Mustangs. Don't be surprised if you even grow to love its unconventional looks over time.
The Subaru WRX is a sure-footed speed demon that is as comfortable tearing up the highway on a bright, clear day as it is during the rain. Do your research and you can easily find a high-quality WRX for less than 15k.
Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST was released in , so the first cars sold have depreciated dramatically since they drove away from dealerships. While their value may have fallen, this hatchback hasn't aged a great deal. It can still compete with modern vehicles, and its looks haven't dated either. Private sellers and dealerships have many great examples of this modern Ford classic priced at less than $15,
A tight budget won't buy a brand new sports car, but it can buy you a pre-owned gem. Be patient in your search, and you can afford the high-performance vehicle you've always hoped for.
Information and research in this article verified by ASE-certified Master Technician Duane Sayaloune of YourMechanic.com. For any feedback or correction requests please contact us at [email protected].
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Top 10 sporty cars for under 15K
Acura TL, RL
Volkswagen GTI/ Golf R32
Honda Civic Si
Subaru Impreza WRX
Reader's choice: Nissan Z/Z plus
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, Ralliart X came second. The plus Hyundai Genesis Coupe won the third place in our poll.
Worth Mentioning:Honda S– hot small roadster, but hard to find and not very practical.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe– rear wheel drive coupe with a L 4-cylinder turbo or L V6 engine. Currently not many are available for this price.
Mazda MX-5 Miata– great little two-seat roadster. It's widely available, reliable and easy to maintain, but not very practical for daily commuting. You can spot a 6-foot-plus driver by a bump in the soft top.
Dodge Challenger plus– excellent cruiser, but not many are currently available for under 15K.
Dodge Charger– sporty, but not very reliable.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo/Ralliart– either one is very rare to find: we only found a few Evo IX and several plus Ralliart models.
Chevrolet Camaro– few models are already available for under 15K, but the visibility issues make it not very practical.
Cadillac CTS– mid-size luxury sports car. Reliability is not the best, but crisp styling and upscale interior make it very appealing.
Porsche Boxster– very few are available within this price range.
Mazda RX8 – perfectly balanced, handles like a dream, but the rotary engine has no low-end torque and is too sensitive to driving style/poor maintenance; parts are expensive too. Anyone who drives it has to know how to de-flood the engine.
Acura RSX– we have already included the Civic Si, which is a very similar car.
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The best used sports coupes for under £15k
Coupes are the poster stars of the motoring world. Sleek, compact and designed with style in mind, it’s little wonder why so many people strive to get their hands on the keys to one. And though they’re usually expensive to buy new, they can prove tempting on the used market.
We’ve set ourselves a budget of £15,, and scoured the classifieds to find some of the very best sports coupes you can find for this figure or under.
Back in the ‘80s, Toyota nailed the budget sports coupe formula with the now legendary ‘AE86’ Corolla. It had the perfect balance of low weight, compact dimensions and enough power to get a little sideways on demand, making it an automotive icon in the years to follow.
After years of teasers, it followed up with the GT86, taking the same formula, developing it with Subaru (which sells the car as the BRZ) and creating a modern car for the enthusiast. It’s now in its seventh year of production and has gained huge popularity, resulting in plenty of clean, well-maintained examples available for good prices. For £15k you can pick up a seriously good condition, pre-facelift machine.
Nissan’s Z took on the firm’s legendary ‘Z’ moniker, continuing a line of much-loved performance cars. Though in production for some time, the sleek two-seater managed to fend off many rivals, and represents a good option in the used market.
A litre V6 engine is one of the best aspects of the Z, providing the car with plenty of punch and a great soundtrack too.
Though now sold exclusively as a convertible, there was a time when BMW had a fixed hard-top roof on its Z4 sports car — and let the engineering minds of its performance-focused M division loose on it too.
With a litre straight-six engine sending almost bhp to the rear wheels via a manual gearbox — yes, a manual M car — it had the crisp driving experience to match its drop-dead gorgeous looks. Though £15k just about brings cars that could do with some TLC into the fray, values are only heading one way, so now might be the time to cash in on this future classic.
The humble Ford Puma may have featured sporty styling, but it was the Racing Puma which really lived up to the car’s go-faster design. Thanks to a wider front and rear track, the Puma was both more accomplished in the bends than the standard version, while looking meaner too.
Just were made in total – but some examples can still be purchased for under our £15, budget. Get in there quick, though – these prices are likely to rise.
It’s a bit mad to think that a Porsche , widely regarded as the benchmark for all sports cars, can be had for such a low price. But the is something of an ugly duckling here, disregarded by many Porsche purists for its ‘fried egg’ headlights, move away from air-cooled engines, and its ability to grenade its own powertrain at any given moment.
The result though is a car that’s not appreciating and can be had for a very good price. It still offers that trademark Porsche driving experience, blending perfect handling with genuine daily usability. Before purchasing though, check the car has had its factory IMS bearing switched out for a more robust unit — or there’s a lengthy repair bill waiting to happen.
Jaguar knows a thing or two about making sleek, performance-orientated two-doors, and the XKR was a fine example of this. Building on the already pacey XK8, the XKR brings with it a litre supercharged V8 packing bhp. It’s more than enough to give the Jaguar acceleration that’ll scare most supercars.
Running costs will be high owing to the car’s poor fuel economy, as well as the cost of maintenance, but get yourself a well-cared-for example and you’re unlikely to regret the decision.
Though the Volkswagen Golf R is often regarded as the ‘do-it-all’ hot hatch that now has a huge following, its coupe-hatch sibling in the Scirocco R is one that’s often overlooked.
It’s not too hard to see why — though using the same engine, it puts out less power at bhp and sends that to only the front wheels rather than all four, making it a bit more of a handful to drive. That said, it still offers an engaging experience once tamed — and still outclasses many rivals. Prices for good examples are comfortably within our £15k budget today.
Peugeot’s curvy, bubble-domed RCZ made quite the impression when it was released, and broke the mould in terms of the way ‘regular’ coupes should look. The interior may have been standard-fit Peugeot, but the exterior looked like few other cars on the road – and remains that way.
The RCZ is a great buy on the used market, too. You’ll be able to find plenty of examples for our £15, budget – and running costs won’t be too scary, either.
The CR-Z is a striking coupe from Honda, and features a hybrid powertrain too. It means that as well as costing well under £15, used, the CR-Z will cost very little to run – and it has a proven track-record when it comes to reliability, too.
It’s nippy and fun to drive, and could be the ideal choice for those who want to inject a little bit of fun into their daily drive, without adding an increase in running costs.
Think that an all-Italian sports coupe would be well out of reach at £15,? Think again. Maserati’s elegant can be had for under our budget, and it’s easily one of the most striking cars to feature on this list.
It uses a twin-turbocharged V8 engine, and it’ll hit 60mph from a dead stop in around six seconds. Of course, reliability and running costs will likely prove to be headache-worthy, but find a well-looked-after example and there’s no reason why the can’t be enjoyed in a (relatively) small budget.
Cars 15k coupe best under
Best Used Cars Under $15, For
Its possible to stroll down to a dealer today and drive home in a brand new base-model Chevrolet Spark for less than $15, It’s cheap and cheerful, and comes in cool colors like “Passion Fruit,” but it’s also a tiny machine with crank windows and no active safety features. But the same amount of cash can also buy you a vast array of used cars that are bigger, faster, flashier and come with more features.
The effects of Covid on the automotive supply chain have caused used car prices to increase over the last year, but buying a used car is easier and less risky than ever before. Thanks to improvements in quality and technology, the average age of cars on U.S. roads is now years, according to data from IHS Markit. What’s more, $15, is a budget large enough to include some Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles, which carry extended manufacturer or dealer-backed warranties.
Glancing at $15, used car listings yields everything from tail-finned DeSotos to Porsche parts cars, but the majority of buyers are interested in squeezing the most value out of their dollar for a daily driver. Using a combination of owner feedback, reliability ratings, average transaction prices and expertise from the Forbes Wheels staff, we compiled a list of 20 of the best used vehicles $15, will buy.
To meet our criteria, cars had to be newer than the model year and commonly available nationwide for under $15, We prioritized newness, reliability scores, low costs of ownership and the likelihood of being able to find a vehicle with a meaningful warranty. Against these priorities we factored in available safety and convenience features, style and performance. There is some overlap with our list of the Best Used Cars for $10,; and vehicles on that list can often be found in better condition at this higher price point. We always recommend a mechanical inspection before purchase as even the most historically reliable cars suffer over time without proper maintenance.
1. to Mazda3
Why we picked it: Introduced in late , the third-generation Mazda3 transformed what was already a good compact car into a truly great one and helped start Mazda’s upmarket journey. Pretty to look at inside and out, its slick style is matched with lots of tech. A modern infotainment screen sits atop the dash, and Touring and Grand Touring trims offer blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts. The third-gen 3 is powered by a pair of peppy four-cylinder engines, a liter with horsepower or a liter unit with , with an available manual transmission. Like earlier 3s, it’s fun to drive and available as a sedan or a more practical hatchback, but it also layers on better reliability ratings than the previous designs.
- Sporty handling, involving performance
- Practical available hatchback body
- Modern design and features
- Fewer features on base models
- Hard to find CPO examples at this price
- Sedan lacks trunk space; not the biggest back seat
2. Lexus CT h
Why we picked it: As a compact commuter car, it’s hard to top the CT h. A relative of the Toyota Prius, the CT inherits superior fuel economy (up to 42 mpg combined) but layers on the Lexus experience. It has a plush, quiet and comfortable interior with up to cubic-feet of cargo space and many available tech features, including navigation and a dated but functional infotainment system. It also enjoys Lexus’ reputation for quality, with high marks for long-term durability and low costs of ownership. The only thing it lacks is real performance. The CT handles well, but despite racy styling and “F-Sport” body kits, it has just horsepower on tap, and is more sedate to drive than it looks.
- Good looking and luxurious
- Excellent fuel mileage, low costs of ownership
- Reputation for quality
3. Honda Civic
Why we picked it: A fun car to drive even in its base trim, the tenth-generation Civic was a proper return to form after Honda took criticism for the unengaging design of the previous Civic (). Though and newer models, and Type R and Si models, cost more than $15, in good condition, the earlier Civic sedan and coupe from this generation all make great used car buys. Dependable, fun and roomy for a compact, some models can also be found with 7-inch infotainment screens and safety systems like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings and forward automatic emergency braking. Most affordable Civics are powered by a horsepower liter engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission.
- Dependable and safe
- Fun to drive and fuel-efficient
- Many available features
- Well-equipped and high-performance versions are pricey
- Clunky infotainment system; no touchscreen on base
- Over-aggressive lane keep assist
4. to Mazda6
Why we picked it: The current generation of the Mazda6 launched in and was refreshed in All-new models are still on in its current form and it continues to be one of the best midsize sedans on the market. The 6 prioritizes curb appeal and driving dynamics but is as practical as a Camry. These earlier years don’t have some of the later models’ features, but they’re just as stylish and fun to drive. Power comes from the same liter, horsepower engine used in the Mazda3. Like that car, Touring and Grand Touring models came with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts from the start, and all models got them by the end of and models have an older infotainment screen, and and ’s newer unit can be clunky, but the 6’s cabin and controls are user friendly. Reliability scores lag the Camry and Accord, but the 6 is still a quality choice.
- Stylish, fun and family-friendly
- Many modern features, design still on sale in
- Comfy, premium-feeling cabin
- Not as powerful as V6 rivals
- Firmer ride than most family sedans
- Not the biggest back seat or trunk
5. to Toyota Prius
Why we picked it: The Prius dominates the Lyft lane at the airport because it blends roomy practicality with almost unbeatable low costs of operation. Solid durability and all-star fuel economy are baked into the package even if driving fun is not. Many have been pushed into gig driving service, but these years cover examples of both the third () and fourth ( to present) generation models. Plenty of clean models can be found priced at or under $15, With these newer cars, there’s no need to worry about replacing the battery pack, which is still under warranty and long-lived anyway. The downside of the Prius is that it’s built to be a workhorse, with a basic interior and a dull driving experience.
- Cheap to buy and own
- Lots of room for people and gear
- Very reliable
- People will think youre their Uber
- Boring to drive
- Few amenities, lots of road noise
6. to Chevrolet Impala
Why we picked it: The final (so far) iteration of Chevrolet’s famous full-sizer, this generation of Impala only went out of production in It was redesigned in and was better looking and dynamically superior to the previous-generation Impala. It also repeatedly drew accolades from typically harsh critics like Consumer Reports. The sleek styling is matched with a contemporary and roomy cabin as well as a relatively modern infotainment system. Its large body incorporates an cubic-foot trunk. Power comes from a pair of four-cylinder engines, a horsepower liter unit with hybrid assist ( only) or a horsepower liter, with a horsepower liter V6 optional, all driving the front wheels. The Impala’s reliability ratings lag the Toyota Avalons, but it’s also a more affordable car with more space and power.
- Roomy interior and trunk
- Powerful engines
- Comfortable and quiet, with a smooth ride
- Poor four-cylinder fuel economy
- No active safety features
- Limited rear visibility
7. to Toyota Camry
Why we picked it: The seventh-generation Camry, introduced in , offered a design overhaul and overall improvements, including more interior room and superior fuel economy got better in almost all models. It also earned slightly higher marks for reliability than the sixth-generation version, though both are very high quality cars. Though the infotainment system is dated, the Camry’s cabin is practical as ever, and some models options including navigation, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts. There are four-cylinder, V6 and Hybrid models returning up to 28, 25 and 40 mpg, respectively. The driving experience is bland, but for transportation the Camry is hard to beat.
- Famously reliable
- Popular and easy to find in different trims
- User friendly and easy to live with
- Not exciting
- Early models and lower trims may lack features
- Base engine, hybrid not very powerful
8. to Scion iA/Toyota Yaris iA/Yaris
Why we picked it: Very cheap subcompact cars don’t have to be unpleasant, and the iA is proof. It’s fun to drive, capable of delivering up to 35 mpg combined, fairly well equipped and earns good safety scores. The iA was introduced as a Scion in , became the Yaris iA in and then finally just “Yaris” in It’s actually built by Mazda and is sold overseas as the Mazda2 (an earlier version made our best used cars for $5, list). The iA/Yaris is powered by a horsepower liter four-cylinder engine and comes in automatic or manual-transmission form. A 7-inch infotainment screen and low-speed automatic emergency braking come standard. Nearly-new examples, including CPO cars, can be found for $15,
- Good looking inside and out
- Fun and reliable
- Likely to come with a good warranty
- Small inside, particularly in back
- Hatchback model only added in , hard to find
- Lacks active safety features beyond automatic emergency braking
9. to Lexus ES
Why we picked it: All generations of the ES rate very highly as used vehicles, with excellent reliability records and a slate of JD Power awards. The ES, Lexus’ upmarket sister to the Toyota Camry, is now in its sixth generation. Its current-form debut in mirrored some of the changes to the Camry, including larger and more bolder styling, with themes that continue on today’s Lexuses. In these years the ES came as the V6 ES , with plenty of oomph, or the frugal four-cylinder ES h Hybrid, which was slower but could return up to 40 mpg combined. As on the Camry, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts were available, but some cars also have lane departure warnings or adaptive cruise control. As with earlier ES models, the driving experience is quiet and refined but not very exciting.
- Comfy, luxurious and stylish
- V6 or Hybrid power
- Lots of technology and features
- Sedate driving experience
- Well-equipped cars hard to find for $15,
- Hybrid underpowered
to Chevrolet Camaro
Why we picked it: After an eight year absence, Chevrolet’s famous pony car returned in with an all-new design that directly referenced the original to Camaro. Unlike Camaros of old, the reborn design put as much of an emphasis on handling finesse as it did raw power, resulting in a car that was as fun to drive on twisty roads as drag strips, and still is. At $15,, most used examples will be V6 models, but that’s no bad thing. Unlike the underpowered V6 Camaros of the s and s, the new twin-cam liter version made horsepower to start and later , mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The stylish Camaro is lots of fun and boasts a good reliability record too, but its interior is a well of cheap gray plastics.
- Stylish and fun
- Available convertible
- Even the V6 model is quick
- Dark, plasticky interior
- V8 models very hard to find at this price
- Potentially abused
to Volkswagen Golf
Why we picked it: The seventh-generation Golf, like its predecessors, is a no-nonsense practical compact hatchback served with a healthy helping of driving fun. Production of this generation of Golf only just ended and you can still buy new examples, but these earlier years featured more variety, as the Golf was offered as a three- and five-door hatchback as well as a four-door station wagon, and as the fully-electric e-Golf. Our review can shed some light on what the Golf is like to drive and live with, and most versions came with a liter, horsepower four-cylinder engine. The e-Golf is just as practical, offered only as a five-door hatch, and offers both good reliability and performance, but has a range of just 83 miles. A variety of active safety features were optional, though they may raise the price on used units.
- Practical and comfortable
- Fun to drive
- e-Golf range limited
- Well-equipped examples may be expensive
- Basic interior
to Kia Soul
Why we picked it: The more refined and better-equipped second generation of Kia’s upright, funky not-quite-a-crossover Soul arrived in Affordable and practical, this Soul is a small machine, just inches long, but packs in SUV room: even tall folks can sit comfortably in back and there are cubic-feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, with them folded. Base models feel basic and make due with a horsepower liter four-cylinder engine, underpowered for the car. Fancier versions get better infotainment systems, cool wheels and a horsepower liter unit. Its not exciting to drive but it’s amazingly practical. We’ve left off model year as its reliability ratings are lower than later years. Kia also offered an EV Soul in these years, which is a practical choice and often better equipped than the gas-powered Soul, though range is limited to 93 miles.
- Cool and practical
- Lots of room
- Available EV and many nice optional features
- No active safety features
- Underpowered, underequipped base model
- So-so fuel economy
to Toyota Corolla
Why we picked it: After many years of minimal change, Toyota completely redesigned the compact Corolla for into a striking new design that preserved all of the model’s traditional virtues. Far more modern inside and out, this Corolla featured a modern infotainment system with a inch screen, optional at first but later standard, and from a suite of advanced driver-assist gear. A long options list means equipment varies by model, but all Corollas are high-quality machines. Power derives from a pair of liter four-cylinder engines at or horsepower, with either a manual, conventional automatic or continuously variable transmission, though the regular automatic was dropped in The Corolla is an ace commuter, but not fast or much fun to drive, and owners report that it’s noisy at speed.
- Practical and reliable
- Lots of nice available features
- Excellent marks for safety
- Underpowered and noisy on the highway
- Boring to drive
- Base models lack equipment
to Hyundai Azera
Why we picked it: Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala, the Azera is a big and roomy V6-powered sedan that was Hyundai’s fanciest mainstream model in the mids. Though it falls short of the reliability of the Avalon or the size and speed of the Impala, the Azera gets high marks for reliability and owner satisfaction. Earlier Azeras were both dull to drive and look at, but the second-generation model is much more visually appealing. This generation also came with a standard 7-inch touchscreen with navigation (later enlarged to 8 inches with more functions) and from standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, with more safety features optional.
- Lots of room
- Many desirable features
- Quiet and comfortable
- Indifferent handling
- Newer and better-equipped models push price cap
- Slow, despite V6 power
to Honda Accord
Why we picked it: When the midsize Accord sedan and coupe were redesigned for into their ninth generation, they brought back some of the sportiness of earlier Accords while adding lots of new technology. From the start these Accords came standard with an 8-inch infotainment screen and had optional safety features that included forward automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and, on the highest-spec models, adaptive cruise control. In , the Accord got standard Apple CarPlay. The sporty handling makes for an engaging drive, backed by a or horsepower liter four-cylinder engine or a horsepower liter V6, the former also coming with a manual transmission option. A rare plug-in hybrid was offered for and , but isnt easy to find.
- Engaging driving experience
- Packed with tech features
- Coupe and manual transmission options
- Forgettable styling
- Reliability ratings lag Camry
- Top trims and best options may cost more than $15,
to Ford Mustang
Why we picked it:Ford gave the circa Mustang design a major refresh in , with updated interior and exterior styling, and then added a powerful new V6 engine in While $15, will probably not be enough to swing a clean, low-mileage or liter V8 Mustang from these years, the and-newer liter V6 offers horsepower and pound-feet of torque, numbers far in excess of the s Mustang. The Mustang’s interior is nicer than the Camaro’s and it has a little more cargo room, though both cars are plasticky and have tiny back seats and poor rear visibility. Fun to drive and practical, the Mustang is an excellent entry-level enthusiast car that can double as a commuter and has a solid reliability record.
- Fun to drive and be seen in
- Powerful V6 engine, capable handling
- Nicely designed interior, convertible option
- model V6 rougher and less powerful than later V6
- Clea V8 models hard to find at this price
- Base models lack equipment
to Volkswagen Passat
Why we picked it: Branching off from the global design, this generation of the Passat was designed specifically for North American buyers, who favor lots of interior room and a smooth ride. Though its been updated a couple of times, this Passat is still on sale in The Passat’s cabin is accordingly comfortable and premium-looking, and over time it gained modern infotainment and driver-assist gear, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts (from ). Most Passats are powered by the horsepower liter four shared with the Golf or a horsepower liter V6, though some pre models used a liter diesel four that was part of Dieselgate. Ownership costs are a little higher than on the Camry or Accord, but Passat owners give it high marks for value.
- Comfortable and roomy
- Potent optional V6
- Optional driver-assist gear
- Base engine underpowered
- Soft ride comes at the expense of handling and steering feel
- Older models lack features
to Subaru Outback
Why we picked it: The Outdoorsy Outback has been providing owners with all-wheel drive fun since , and offers genuine go-anywhere capability and SUV-like room for people and cargo. These years cover the tail end of the fourth-generation and early fifth-generation Outbacks, which have higher reliability ratings than some older models. Both get top marks for safety and are broadly similar in look and feel, but and newer models have more active-safety features that are part of the then-optional Subaru EyeSight safety suite. These newer models also have nicer infotainment controls and more connected features. Six-cylinder models are out of this price range and even later four-cylinder models can be pricey. The base liter, horsepower four-cylinder engine feels a little underpowered in the Outback, but it’ll go lots of places other cars can’t.
- Off-road capability and standard all-wheel drive
- SUV-like passenger and cargo space
- Top marks for safety
- Higher than average maintenance costs
- So-so fuel economy
- Underpowered base engine
to Acura ILX
Why we picked it: Based on the Honda Civic as the original Acura Integra was, the Acura ILX returned the luxury brand to the compact car space. This design is still on sale in , though it’s been facelifted a couple of times since it debuted. The ILX originally came with three four-cylinder engine choices, a liter with horsepower, a liter with horsepower, and a liter hybrid model with horsepower and a hybrid assist, but in all but the liter were dropped. The ILX is fun, reliable and pretty to look at, with a modern interior not so different from ’s Acuras, but rear seat and trunk space are tight and it doesn’t feel luxurious. Apart from , when optional extras like adaptive cruise control were added, these years also lack active-safety features.
- Fun to drive
- Reliable and safe
- Many available tech features
- Nonliter engines underpowered
- Small back seat
- Pre models lack active safety features
to Lincoln MKZ
Why we picked it: Lincoln’s fancied up version of the midsize Ford Fusion, the MKZ enjoys higher reliability ratings than than it’s humbler sister while also offering lots of style and many additional features. From the beginning this second-generation MKZ was offered with optional features like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist as well as luxury items like panoramic sunroofs and heated rear seats. A very stylish machine, its pretty and minimalist interior also houses a modern infotainment system, though its clunky by today’s standards. There are two liter four-cylinder powertrains, a horsepower turbo or a system-horsepower hybrid offering up to 38 mpg combined. The MKZ isn’t very engaging to drive and the sloping roof constrains rear head room, but offers a real luxury experience at a bargain price.
- Sleek and stylish
- Luxury interior and features
- Big and comfy front seating area
- Cabin materials not as fancy as they look
- Limousine-like handling
- Dated, clunky infotainment
To determine our list of the best vehicles under $15,, we cross-referenced a broad range of reliability and quality scores, evaluations by vehicle testers, thousands of long-term reports and reviews from owners and factored in our own long-term experiences with these vehicles as new and used cars. In addition to these criteria, the vehicle had to have average transaction prices under or near $15,, be manufactured after , and be easy for shoppers to find irrespective of their region or city.
Many of the models fetured in our list of the best $10, used cars are available in even better condition for $15,, and the Honda Fit, Toyota Avalon, and to Honda Insight nearly reappeared on this list. We recommend looking at those entries for shoppers on a budget. Some models with insufficient data, such as the BMW Z4, which had very high reliability and quality scores, were left off the list due a lack of information or widespread availability.
We focused specifically on providing maximum value and reliability for the price, prioritizing models which are known for durability and low cost of operation, but also tried hard to provide a variety of models to suit different tastes. We also left off some models due to higher-than-average rmaintenance costs, such as the Mercedes-Benz C-class.Although we can generally provide guidance on which models may be the best value or the most reliable, we cannot make any guarantees about how individual cars will perform. We did the research, but we still recommend you investigate your choices further before purchase and we advise pre-purchase inspections whenever possible. Theoretically, that’s easier than ever as there are now many mobile mechanic services that can come to the vehicle directly.
What’s the best place to buy a used car under $15,?
The most cost-effective route to buying a used car is usually buying from a private seller, as they don’t have the overhead costs of car dealerships and they tend to have service records that can provide valuable insight into your purchase. However, for $15, most cars under eight years old will come with some form of meaningful warranty, and some may qualify for extended warranties or CPO (certified pre-owned) programs, and here buyers are better served visiting a franchise dealer, including new-vehicle stores, which often stock a variety of late-model used cars. Dealers are in a better position to provide assistance with extended warranties and financing, though consumers still have the option to line up these parts of the transaction on their own.
Whats the best used car for $15,? Are there ones that are more reliable than others?
That depends on your needs. We’ve tried to provide a wide array of choices to suit enthusiasts, commuters, families and shoppers who’d rather have a newer vehicle with a warranty and are okay skimping a little on size or features. We’ve ranked our choices by multiple factors, with an emphasis on reliability ratings and owner’s perceptions of the value they got out of their purchases. Each of these vehicles is a good choice, though we did find that the most reliable cars on the list were the Mazda3, Lexus ES, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, and Acura ILX.
Is it better to buy a new car or a used car? Can I buy a new car for $15,?
You can buy a new car for $15,, but at this price point, a used car is a better bet for long-term satisfaction and for getting the features you want. Only one or two of the most basic vehicles of fall into that price range, and they often peak past it with destination fees. Opting for a used car instead opens up much more purchasing power and is in some respects a more sound investment.
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