Buying a pre-owned car is more than just a great way to save money. It could get you into a model that has safety and luxury features you couldn’t afford in a new car.

That is, if you can find a new car or SUV. While the new-car shortage may be slowing down somewhat, there’s still the problem of high prices and limited availability of some trims or types of vehicles. This means new-car dealers are charging a premium, taking advantage of the shortages.

In order to focus your search better, we dug through years of test data and hundreds of thousands of survey responses to find the best used cars that cost $15,000 to $20,000.

The models below (listed alphabetically by segment) are the ones we’d recommend to our friends and family. Each has standard electronic stability control, an important safety feature. Many are also available with active safety features such as forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind spot warning (BSW), and/or rear cross traffic warning (RCTW) as optional or standard equipment.

These vehicles performed well in our tests when new and consistently demonstrated multiple years of much better-than-average reliability in our Annual Auto Surveys for the 2013 to 2022 model year.