Who says that speed needs to be expensive?
You may end up surprised when you discover what sort of performance you can buy for $20,000.
While many of the world’s top performance cars and racers can come with price tags well into the six figures…
…there are still options out there for the every person on a budget.
That is right:
For $20,000, you can find lots of options on the market for a fast and reliable vehicle.
Of course, you won’t be finding any 200-mile-per-hour supercars or roadsters that can strike from nothing to 60 miles per hour in under 4 seconds.
However, there are lots of models that can offer you a lot of jump on city streets, and provide enjoyable if not thrilling driving experiences all on their own.
We took a look at the cars currently on the market, and put together a list of the top 10 fastest new cars under 20k dollars.
While many of these models come in a variety of trims,….
…usually the base or lower-level variants can be found for under $20,000, and in most cases are well worth it.
Positioned by respective 0 to 60 miles per hour, read on to see 10 of the fastest new cars that go under $20k:
10. Volkswagen Golf 1.8T 2-Door
The German car maker Volkswagen, as well as its family, is world famous for creating some of the world’s best performing and consumer friendly cars.
Volkswagen creates reliable, quick, and most importantly…
…not very expensive cars.
That is the way how the Golf got its spot on our list — more specifically, the Golf 1.8T 2-door.
Having a starting price of right under $18,000, this car comes with a 1.8-liter inline-four cylinder engine that creates 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
Reports put this car’s zero to 60 mph between 8 and 8.5 seconds.
9. Dodge Dart Aero
After some years of building boring and small cars…
Dodge has refocused itself as a builder of performance-based cars, and made sure to bring some of that excitement in the compact Dart sedan.
You will find the mid-level Aero‘s with a base price just 5 dollars short of the $20,000 mark…
…but it comes standard with a backup camera, touch screen infotainment system, and active grille shutters to improve aerodynamics and fuel economy.
Energized by Dodge’s 160 horsepower 1.4 liter turbocharged Tigershark inline-four, the sporty Aero can move from 0 to 60 in 8.2 seconds.
8. Fiat 500 Turbo
Several years back, you’d need to spend six figures for a sporty Italian car.
Among the most exotic compacts on the market today, few compacts offer the style and personality of the Fiat 500.
While the range-topping 500 Abarth is a bona-fide hot hatch:
the 500 Turbo offers many of the same performance characteristics of the Abarth at an entry-level price.
For a price of $19,600, the 500 Turbo arrives by having a 135 horsepower turbocharged version of the Tigershark inline-four engine (similar to the one found in the Dart), and can travel from 0-to-60 mph in 8.1 seconds.
7. Honda Fit EX
Honda’s smallest as well as a fuel efficient subcompact, the Fit EX, is also surprisingly quick…
…striking from a zero to 60 miles in 8 seconds flat.
Along with a starting price of just $18,000, the Honda Fit can be a very economical selection.
Offering a small 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine, the Fit makes just 130 horsepower, but puts all of it to good use.
The Fit’s true claim to fame is probably the fuel economy, which rates at 35 miles per gallon combined.
For its combination of reliability, and economy, few cars can match the Fit.
6. Chevy Sonic LTZ Manual
With a run from 0 to 60 in 7.9 seconds:
Chevy’s sporty compact Sonic LTZ drives its way onto our list.
For the Sonic, Chevy engineers created an ECOTEC 1.8-liter motor that gives 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, well balanced with exceptional fuel economy, up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
In luxury LTZ trim, the Sonic comes with upscale features like backup camera, satellite radio, heated leather seats and fog lamps.
With a five-speed manual transmission, the Sonic LTZ can be purchased for $18,835.
If you like the automatic version, the car goes in at just over the $20,000 mark.
5. Kia Forte EX
Not permitting to be beaten by its competitors from Chevy and Honda…
…Kia’s Forte EX has posted an amazing 7.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph in the testing.
The 173-horsepower EX trim, that runs on a 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine, costs $19,390.
Also, it can come in another variant:
the cheapest base model, the LX, for those willing to sacrifice some speed and power to save a couple of thousand bucks.
4. Ford Focus SE
The Ford Focus really was able to evolve and made some progress over the years:
From relative afterthought to one of the most popular and efficient consumer cars driving on the road.
Since it was refreshed in 2015, the newer models are capable to put up some pretty good performance numbers as well.
Energized by a 2.0-liter Ti-VCT flex-fuel four-cylinder engine, it can generate 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque.
3. Scion tC
When it comes to performance at a low price, you do not need to forget about Scion.
The company’s tC, a sporty and sleek hatchback-coupe hybrid, has the capability to make from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.
Outfitted with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the tC can generate 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque.
It’s also very easy on the wallet in terms of fuel economy…
…being rated at 27 miles per gallon.
2. Volkswagen Jetta SE
You need to give the credit where credit is due…
…and the Volkswagen Jetta has definitely earned some credit.
The Jetta is among the most popular consumer cars in the world, is quite affordable, trustworthy, refreshed for 2015, but also can perform quite well.
The Jetta SE’s accelerates from zero to 60 mph at right around 7.3 seconds…
…many thanks to a 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged motor.
What is the best part?
The Jetta SE is only $18,995.
At the moment, we can call it the king of the sub-$20,000 cars (in terms of quickness, however):
the Mazda3, strikes from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
The Mazda3 has been lauded by critics as one of the most cost-effective vehicles available, having an affordable price tag of $16,945.
The Mazda3 model comes packed with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, making up to 184 horsepower.
For your money, it’s hard to bet against the Mazda3 being your best choice.
However, there are plenty of other quick and relatively cheap cars out there, so go with your gut.