If you have decided to spend your tax refund on a car, there are outstanding choices for under $20,000. Investing your tax refund on a vehicle that can make your life simpler, especially if you’re a student. Of course, you’ll want to consider many different factors, including the vehicle’s size and style, its engine, and safety features. Since not all car models are perfect for every person, this list is in no particular order. All you need to do is decide which one meets your needs the best.
2019 Mazda3 ($17,500-$20,000+)
If you’re looking to maximize your tax refund, it’s hard to go wrong with the Mazda3. The Mazda3 is available as a five-door hatchback or a four-door family sedan. Four trim levels are available, and this year is the first one to offer an all-wheel-drive option. Additionally, this is the first year that this model had a tablet-like infotainment system. This model comes with a 13.2-cubic-foot trunk, which is exceptionally long. You will get plenty of power from the 186-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that comes with a six-speed automatic transmission.
2018-2019 Honda Fit ($10,500-$18,000)
The Honda Fit is a five-door hatchback. This car was redesigned entirely in 2015 and is available in three different trim levels. The second seat folds down, giving you 47 inches of useable space between the floor and ceiling. While those made in 2015 through 2019 look identical, Honda changed the suspension, making it stiffer in 2018. This five-passenger vehicle comes equipped with a 130-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine, and a continuously variable or six-speed manual transmission.
2013-2015 Honda Civic ($11,500-$16,000)
A purchase of a Honda Civic is a great way to optimize your tax refund. Honda produced the ninth generation of Civics between 2012 and 2015. These cars are available in three trim levels, with the EX coming standard with a power sunroof. This car offers 95-cubic-feet of interior space, including ample rear legroom. This model comes with the 1.8-liter SOHC 16-valve i-VTEC four-cylinder engine paired with either a five-speed automatic-or-manual transmission. Refinements in the ninth generation, including using higher-grade aluminum, make both the sedans and coupes extremely quiet.
2013-2014 BMW 5 Series ($16,000-$20,000)
The BMW 5 Series is available as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. This model has four available engines, including the 2.0L turbo I-4, 3.0L turbo I-6, and 4.4L twin-turbo V-8. These models come with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Ten different models are available. These luxurious cars look like miniature BMW 7 Series vehicles, including leatherette-covered seating in the base models and Dakota leather in the upper trim levels.
2014-2017 Kia Cadenza ($13,000-$20,000)
A 4-cylinder V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission powers the midsize Kia Cadenza. This combination allows you to go from zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds and zero to 100 in 15.9 seconds. Numerous features, including a 12-speaker audio system, heated leather seats, auto-folding outside mirrors, backup camera, and an easy-to-use navigation system, come as standard equipment. Consider vehicles with added packages, such as the luxury package, which has upgraded seats, or the technology package, which offers many additional safety features.
2017 Honda Civic ($13,900-$20,000+)
The 2017 Honda Civic got a significant upgrade over previous models, including Honda’s Sensing suite. This suite of safety features includes collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. It comes with either a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine or a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and is available as a two-door coupe or a four-door sedan. Six-speed manual and continuous variable timing transmissions are both available.
2013-2014 Ford Mustang ($13,000-$20,000+)
The 2013 and 2014 Ford Mustang is available as a coupe or convertible. Choose between a 305-horsepower V6 engine, 420-horsepower V8, or a Shelby supercharged V8 engine paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. These sports cars have 13.4 cubic feet of trunk space as a coupe and 9.6 cubic feet as a convertible. Some options have MyKey, allowing you to set the top speed the vehicle will go. Dual-climate control, a USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity are some of the features you will find inside these four-seat cars.
2018-2019 Chevrolet Spark ($11,500-$15,000)
Small, but mighty, the Chevrolet Spark is a smart way to invest your tax refund. The 2018 and 2019 Chevrolet Spark are subcompact hatchbacks loaded with features, including 15-inch steel wheels and hidden second-door door handles. Upgrade to the LS and get a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system, while upgrading to the 1LT gets you steering wheel audio controls and cruise control. At the upper end, choosing the ACTIV or the 2LT has heated front seats, push button start, and leather steering wheel. This vehicle comes standard with a 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission.
2013-2018 Toyota Camry ($12,500-$19,500)
The Toyota Camry is a family sedan available in seven different trim levels. Consider options with the 3.0 infotainment system installed to see real-time maps and turn-by-turn directions. An inline-four-stroke and a V6 are both available, along with a hybrid. These cars have an eight-speed automatic transmission. Numerous safety features, like forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, automated braking, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert, are built into these cars.
2018-2019 Nissan Leaf ($17,500-$20,000+)
The 2018 and 2019 Nissan Leaf vehicles are electric vehicles powered by a 40 kWh battery pack. It charges in 40 minutes at a fast-charging station or eight hours with 240 watt electricity. Expect to get about 150 miles on a complete charge. Even at the base S level, this car has many built-in safety features, like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Possible upgrades include the e-Pedal, allowing you to take your foot off the brake pedal once the car is at a standstill.
2018 Subaru Legacy ($16,000-$20,000+)
The 2018 all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy is a midsize sedan available in five trim levels. At least a 6.5-inch information display featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is found at all trim levels. There is ample storage space in the door pockets, glove box, and center storage unit, and it has 15 cubic feet of trunk space. This vehicle comes with either a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission. Except for the base trim, EyeSight driver assistance and collision avoidance technology are available in all Legacy vehicles.
2015 Nissan Frontier ($19,000-$20,000+)
The 2015 Nissan Frontier offers extended and crew cab versions. Nissan made rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. Powering these trucks is either a 4.0-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and they have either a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. Most trim levels come with NissanConnect with Navigation with at least a 5.8-inch touchscreen. Depending on the exact trim level chosen, features often include a spray-in bed liner, manual sliding rear window, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, aluminum wheels, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
There are many top choices in vehicles under $20,000, so you can use your refund to buy yourself a car that works for you. Be sure to look at all of the available features, so you can find the one that meets your needs the best.