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want a cheap car? Your choices seem pretty grim, at least on the surface. For the 2023 model year, there are only three new vehicles with sticker prices below $20,000. And *spoiler alert* you probably don’t want any. Fortunately, as we pointed out in a consumer-focused story highlighting the shortage of low-end automobiles, it’s not terribly difficult to find something that’s a few model years older and still has plenty of life for a similar price. But I would say that’s not the best way to go if you want to stretch your automotive dollar as far as possible.

Large sedans were once the pinnacle of automotive desirability. For several reasons, this is no longer the case. Overall, people prefer the versatility and higher seating position of crossings, and it’s good. For the buying public, however, that means low-cost used crossovers are few and far between. On the other hand, used sedans, especially large sedans and especially the ones you almost forgot existed, are everywhere. Here are several examples, all of which cost less than $20,000 and which I located a few hundred miles from my own zip code with about 30 minutes of searching:

  • 2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD with 55,000 miles

  • 2015 Cadillac XTS AWD with 62,000 miles

  • 2016 Chevrolet Impala with 54,000 miles

  • 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited with 54,000 miles

  • 2013 Hyundai Equus Signature with 54,000 miles

  • 2015 Hyundai Genesis with 65,000 miles

  • 2017 Kia Cadenza Premium with 44,000 miles

  • 2015 Lincoln MKS AWD with 14,000 miles

  • 2020 Nissan Maxima SV with 45,000 miles

  • 2020 Volkswagen Passat with 22,000 miles

It’s not an exhaustive list, but it was one that was easy enough to put together. Each of these vehicles (listed in alphabetical order instead of something more meaningful) offers buyers a significantly better driving experience than they could get new for the price, not to mention a lot more space inside. interior for people and goods. A few of them have V8 engines, a few are from premium brands, and a few get over 30 miles per gallon on the highway. All-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive? Make your choice.

One can lament the death of the cheap car all one wants, but so prices move slowly in a more rational sense, the asking price of the models in demand should not drop enough to make them look “affordable” for people who are really looking for a few pennies, either because that’s all they can afford or because that’s it what they are willing to spend.

Opening the search a bit, we found other intriguing options, including EcoBoost-powered Lincolns, an Infiniti Q70 or two, and a handful of 425-hp Chrysler 300 SRT8 sedans. If you can muster around $5,000 more, it’s not hard to find a 2015 Lexus ES300h hybrid sedans with around 60,000 miles that gets around 40 miles per gallon combined and likely has a remaining life expectancy that meets or even exceeds that of a cheap economy car.

There are relative offers if you want to broaden your search a bit. So why not take a look into America’s not-too-distant past and consider parking a large, comfortable sedan in the garage?

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