Help me find a car please: under $20k safe sedan

Could you please recommend cars for me to look into?

I currently have a 99 Oldsmobile eighty eighty. I have a one year old daughter and am looking for a sedan that is incredibly safe and good in the snow. My husband drives a Subaru Forester, which we love. So we are currently looking at Subaru Imprezas. We are looking at used cars under $20,000.

Could anyone suggest makes and models we should be looking at?

very high safety ratings
good in snow (love AWD)
under 20k

Since safety is a major priority, you might check out this web site. It ranks cars based on overall safety ratings:
You could also buy the Consumer Reports car buyers guide, it’ll have a lot of information both about safety and about reliability, along with recommendations for used cars within your budget.

All cars are incredibly safe compared with your 99 Olds 88. I would buy a vehicle that’s easy for you to drive and control.

Unless you live in a very snowy area, you don’t really need all wheel drive. Having good winter tires is essential and more important and cheaper than having all wheel drive.

My choice would be a vehicle that’s easy to see out of with big windows. A small SUV would be a good choice, but I would skip the all wheel drive. The Volkswagen Golf has large windows and is easy to park and drive. You can actually get a new one for under $22,000.

Taking a defensive driving course from the AAA is a very good investment, as it will avoid you getting into an accident in the first place.

Don’t be spooked into buying a car that’s highly rated but you don’t really feel good driving!!!

Good luck!

For that price you can get a new car, and any new car will be safer than any older car solely due to the improvements in safety related design.

Get a Consumer Reports and the bookstore and peruse the choices. Then spend a few weekends test driving.

Truecar says the list price on a base Impreza 4 door ,automatic, is less than $22000 and the average paid is $20800.
Since the interest rate is cheaper on new cars that on used ones I think you should buy a new one.
Used Subarus are overpriced like most other Japanese cars.

Safety is a very complicated subject. The differences between current cars can be subtle and the odds you will ever get into an accident where one car will be significantly safer than another are tiny. Assuming she is the back seat in a good car seat your child will be safer than you are in the front seat. As for model recommendations, the Impreza is a good car and if you like it, by all means consider it. The Consumer Reports car buying guide lists other recommended models and is a good place to start. I’d avoid any cars that are worse than average in their ratings as there are so many that do better. I’d also look at how a makes Cara do as they age, not just at how reliable recent models are. Even some pretty lousy cars do OK for the first few years, but start to fall apart after that. I wouldn’t buy a used car unless it is at least two or three years old. Very new used cars aren’t much savings over new and may have been traded in because they were troublesome. After a couple of years the savings are more noticeable and the risks can be worth the savings. Former rental cars are. Typically two or three years old and can be a good deal. The big rental agencies run their own sales lots and you can easily check out the inventory on the Web.

Also, I’m unclear on why you love your current AWD, as you should only be aware you have it in very rare circumstances. Modern stability control systems are very good at keeping all cars pointed in the right direction and right side up on any surface with any traction to speak of, so most people can get around perfectly well in a car without AWD, though it is a nice feature to have if you often drive on unpaved surfaces or have to drive on unplowed roads. Unfortunately, it can give drivers a false feeling of security so that they drive too fast for conditions or get stuck in places they never should have gone.

MarkM, very good summary.

Edmunds says you can get a new 2015 Impreza 2.0 PZEV with the CVT automatic and cruise control for $19,000 after discounts. You should consider a new one if this model appeals to you. There is also $1000 left over for options if you want some. Other AWD sedans cost more, like the Ford Fusion.

Ford Fusion
Mazda 6
Chevy Cruze

If there are 2016 models on the lot, and you see a 2015 that might be a little over your budget, don’t be afraid to haggle a bit on the 2015 model, you might just luck out and get it for your price; the dealer wants to move the old models to make room for the new ones