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Best new cars under $20,000

Why pay more than you need to for a new car?

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Looking for a new car under $20,000? This guide will help you learn what cars are available for $20,000 or less, driveaway.

Which are the best new cars under $20,000?

At this price point, your choice of cars is somewhat limited. In fact, in 2021, there are 10 fewer options than when we last updated this list – with only 4 new car models in Australia costing under $20,000. Almost all of them are light, micro cars, though there is a small car in the form of the Suzuki Baleno.

Check below to see how you could stretch your budget further. You can either click the price to see your repayments or find a deal.

ManufacturerModelClick price for repaymentsFind a deal
KiaPicanto S Manual, S Automatic and GT-Line ManualFrom $17,990
Price from Kia
Find a deal
on OnlineAuto's website
MGMG3 Core, Core with Nav and ExciteFrom $17,990
Driveaway price from MG
Find a deal
on OnlineAuto's website
MitsubishiMirage Manual or AutomaticFrom $17,490
Price from Carsales
Find a deal
on OnlineAuto's website
SuzukiBaleno GLFrom $19,490
Price from Suzuki website
Find a deal
on OnlineAuto's website

What features should I look for in a new car under $20,000?

When you're buying a car on a $20,000 budget it's still important to know which features you want from the outset. Here are some items to look out for when you head to the dealership:

  • A 5-star ANCAP rating. Make sure the vehicle you're purchasing is rated highly by Australia's vehicle safety rating agency, ANCAP. Find out more about these ratings here. Some of the models in the above list did not receive the highest possible ANCAP rating, some have no crash ratings and others have scores that are several years out of date.
  • Parking sensors or a reverse camera. A lot of new vehicles come with either reverse parking sensors or a camera (or even both) installed. These features help you spot unseen obstacles and back into spaces you might otherwise have been unable to park in. They are most useful in tight, multi-storey car parks.
  • Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If a car has Bluetooth phone connectivity, this will make your journeys pass quicker and reduce the hassle of getting where you want to go. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are particularly useful, as they extend your smartphone's UI onto the car's infotainment system, allowing you to use apps like Spotify and Google Maps natively. As a bonus, if you have a compatible phone, you don't need to go for a trim that has sat nav built in by default.
  • Satellite navigation. GPS is a nice feature, but if you have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you don't especially need it. Live traffic is a useful thing to have – Google Maps and Apple Maps possess this feature, while some satellite navigation systems come with a limited-time subscription for it.
  • AUX/USB input. It's such a small component that probably costs car makers a few cents to install, but it'll transform a budget-spec model. With one of these fitted, you can hook your phone up to the car using an auxiliary cable or USB plug and play your music or navigation instructions through the sound system.
  • Warranty Part of a new car's attraction is getting a long warranty to cover you for premature mechanical failures and faults. The longer the warranty, the more peace of mind you have. Some of the sub-$20,000 cars on our list have 5 years unlimited-kilometre factory warranties. Others have 7 years unlimited-kilometre warranties, while one is on offer with a 10-year warranty!
  • Excellent reviews. Don't buy a car based solely on its purchase price. Make sure you check out as many car reviews of that specific model as you can. Furthermore, take time to read the experiences of verified owners who have put tens of thousands of kilometres on their models. Also, you should visit Product Safety Australia to see if the car manufacturer has published any recalls for the vehicle you're interested in.
  • Low maintenance & running costs. To avoid buying a cheap car then getting hit with high maintenance costs, check out the prices of servicing before you sign the contract. Most car brands will offer multi-year, capped-price servicing packages, which may work out cheaper in the long run. If you know a mechanic, ask them what parts prices and availability are like for the car you're researching. You can use websites like the Green Vehicle Guide to estimate annual fuel bills.
Thanks to its "bulk buying power", OnlineAuto.com.au is able to help you buy the car you want and potentially save you money too.
Promoted Find a Deal on OnlineAuto.com.au's website

How can I save money buying a car?

Here's how to make your $20,000 budget stretch even further, perhaps even getting you into a higher-spec model.
  • Buy a demo or nearly new car. Buying a dealer demo (a car the dealer used for test drives) or a model that's around a year (or two) old could save you quite a bit of cash. As a plus, you let someone else pay the bill for the first year's depreciation. With demo cars, in particular, dealers often spec these out to a decent standard, so you could get a higher trim for less money.
  • Use a car buying service. Once you know which model you want, use a car buying service to help you access fleet-level, bulk-buy pricing. On average, these services can save their customers up to 10% of the purchase price.
  • Shop around for offers. To find the best $20,000 car deal around, you're going to need to do some digging. Previously, we've found some great deals when we looked through the offers pages on car makers' websites. However, with chip shortages affecting supply, you'll have to trawl through the car sales sites and consider out of state dealers. They might be able to deliver the car, all for a reasonable price.
  • Stick to the rule of 3. If you're buying in person, visit at least 3 dealerships before making your purchase. That way, you'll be able to play the dealerships' offers against each other and have leverage when negotiating. It helps to have found some similar cars you've found online too, so you can show the dealer what you're expecting and see if they will price match.
  • Avoid unnecessary insurance add-ons. A 2016 report from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) found that many insurance plans sold by car dealers weren't valuable to consumers, so be careful what you sign up for. Types of insurance to question if they are offered include tyre insurance and loan protection insurance.
  • Get the timing right. There are favourable and less favourable times to purchase a car. One is visiting a dealership at the end of the month when salespersons are trying to hit their targets. Another is that you should visit on a Monday or Tuesday when dealerships tend to be less busy and there's more time to negotiate. One well-known time to snap up a bargain is the end of financial year sales, as dealerships offer cut-price specials. A final tip around timing is to wait until a dealership is having a model runout sale when the current generation of a vehicle is about to be replaced by an updated version. Car dealers try to clear out the older stock to make way for the new build and may be more willing to strike a bargain.
  • Come down a level. Higher trim grades, with all their cushy passenger comforts and extra tech, are tempting. But lower specification levels are cheaper. If you can live without things like leather upholstery and large alloy wheels, you could save thousands of dollars. That might just make a car that you thought was out of your $20,000 price range, easily affordable.
  • Ditch the options. Another way dealers make money is by up-selling the optional extras. These quickly add up, inflating the purchase price of a car. One of the easiest sells for them is metallic paint, which usually costs around the $500 mark. If you're willing to go for one of the limited free paint colours (typically only 1 or 2 solid colours like White and Red), you could save money.
  • Shop around for finance. By shopping around and comparing deals from multiple car loan lenders, you could save hundreds of dollars over a car finance agreement.
  • Negotiate. Finally, negotiate with a dealer – doing so could save you money. At the least, you could get some nice freebies thrown in. Even if a dealer won't agree to a lower price, you could ask them to throw in metallic paint, floor mats or just a full tank of fuel, as a little cherry on top.

What are cheap cars like to drive and own?

Mitsubishi Mirage: Cars under $20,000

It depends on the make and model. If you go for a sub-$20k Mitsubishi Mirage, for example, it's going to have a small 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine, with 57kW. That means it's not going to be super speedy, but for around-town driving, it should prove pretty economical, using 4.7L/100km combined. With a base model ES, you'll get a 5-speed manual transmission and 14-inch steel wheels. Nothing ground-breaking there.

The spec is reasonable, considering the price:

  • 7-inch color touchscreen, featuring DAB and a USB socket
  • Apply CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Bluetooth, with steering-wheel-mounted phone and sound controls
  • Forward collision mitigation (FCM) – with pedestrian detection
  • Central door locking and keyless entry
  • Daytime running lights
  • 6 airbags
  • Rear view camera

Overall, not a bad spec, consider the Mirage is Australia's cheapest car. Even the top-spec Mirage LS costs less than $20,000. That model has things like cruise control, alloy wheels (15-inch), privacy glass, climate control air-conditioning, lane departure warning, front fog lamps and auto high beams – plus an automatic transmission.

Comparing the Mirage with the MG3, which is $500 more costly, is interesting. On the MG3, you get a 1.5-litre petrol engine, with a 4-speed automatic transmission. This car has a larger 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, 15-inch alloy wheels, plus a 4-speaker audio sound system with something called Yamaha 3D Soundfield. The seats are tartan-inspired fabric. MG offers 3 free paint options: yellow, white and black (the metallic paints in December 2021 were on offer too!). In summary, you get a bit more "bling" for your money. Fuel use is higher, at a claimed 6.7L/100km combined. The MG3 has a shorter, 7-year (instead of 10-year/200,000km) unlimited-kilometre warranty. A car journalist stated the MG3's engine was a bit soulless, without any life.

Additionally, the MG3 hasn't received an ANCAP crash rating, whereas the Mitsubishi Mirage has a 5-star rating (from ANCAP – rated in 2013).

In summary, at this price point, cars aren't going to be super luxurious and cushy, but they do have some surprising creature comforts.

Car loans you can use to purchase a vehicle under $20k

By entering your desired loan amount and term below, you will be able to see how much your monthly repayments on a car loan could be. But the savings don't have to stop here. You should also compare car insurance, whether you are looking for comprehensive car insurance, third party fire and theft or just CTP insurance, we have a number of comparisons and comrephensive guides that can help you make a decision.

1 - 15 of 15
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
6.34%
(fixed)
7.18%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 6.34% p.a. to 13.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $79,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 6.34% p.a. to 13.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $79,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.
loans.com.au - New - Fixed Rate Prime Special
5.69%
(fixed)
6.24%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.69% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.69% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.

Credit Concierge Car Loan - Prime (Credit Score 800+)
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.9%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 5.9% p.a.
Must have a high credit score and excellent previous repayment history to qualify. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 5.9% p.a.
Must have a high credit score and excellent previous repayment history to qualify. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
RACV New Car Loans
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.59%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NRMA New Car Loan
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.59%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
5.39%
(fixed)
6.98%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.39% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with.
Apply for up to $300,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.39% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with.
Apply for up to $300,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
6.25%
(fixed)
6.87%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 6.25% p.a. to p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 6.25% p.a. to p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
loans.com.au - New - Variable Rate Prime Special
4.74%
(variable)
5.29%
You'll receive a variable rate of 4.74% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees.

You'll receive a variable rate of 4.74% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees.

NRMA Used Car Loan
From
7.99%
(fixed)
8.6%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 7.99% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 7.99% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
loans.com.au - Variable Rate Used Car Loan (6 to 7 years)
5.54%
(variable)
6.09%
You'll get a variable rate of 5.54% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 for a used car for 6+ years, with no monthly fee.

You'll get a variable rate of 5.54% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 for a used car for 6+ years, with no monthly fee.

NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and p.a. (7.91% p.a. to p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and p.a. (7.91% p.a. to p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
Credit Concierge Car Loan - Mid Prime (Credit Score 500-800)
From
5.99%
(fixed)
6.9%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 6.9% p.a.
Must have an above average credit score and no defaults or late payments in the last 6 months. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 6.9% p.a.
Must have an above average credit score and no defaults or late payments in the last 6 months. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
loans.com.au - Variable Rate Used Car Loan (8+ years)
9.44%
(variable)
10.01%
You'll get a variable rate of 9.44% p.a.
Borrow up to $50,000 for a used car for 8+ years, with no monthly fee.

You'll get a variable rate of 9.44% p.a.
Borrow up to $50,000 for a used car for 8+ years, with no monthly fee.

Credit Concierge Car Loan - Sub Prime (Credit Score Below 500)
From
14.99%
(fixed)
17.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 14.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 17.99% p.a.
Must have stable employment longer than 3 months with no recent missed payments or overdrawn bank accounts. Defaults are assessed on individual circumstances and amounts on credit file must be paid or under arrangement. Good savings history may assist overcoming a low credit score and any unpaid defaults in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 14.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 17.99% p.a.
Must have stable employment longer than 3 months with no recent missed payments or overdrawn bank accounts. Defaults are assessed on individual circumstances and amounts on credit file must be paid or under arrangement. Good savings history may assist overcoming a low credit score and any unpaid defaults in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
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Compare car insurance side by side and get quotes

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value Pay Monthly at No Extra Cost
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 off your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths has some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You can also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.33 per month.

⭐ Current offer: Save up to 15% when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
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Prices are for base models. Prices from manufacturers and accurate as at time of publishing.

Looking for a new car? Check out our time-saving comparison car reviews. If you already know the exact make, model and trim you want, you should compare car loans, as well as car insurance quotes to see how much you could save overall.

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