New cars under $20,000
Base price: $16,375 (coupe)
28 mpg city/39 mpg highway (automatic)
A favorite since 1972, the Civic enters its ninth generation with barely noticeable changes. As such, its not the best compact car anymore. But a smooth ride, lots of room, and fuel-efficient engines — including a hybrid and another powered by natural gas — are its saving grace. The Si coupe is the one standout, with its ultra-sleek body and excellent 204-horsepower engine and six-speed manual.