Looking for a used EV under $20,000? Here are some ideas

shiny car for sale in summer weather, parked with a red vibrant color exterior.

Enlarge / What’s the cheapest used electric car you’d take a punt on? Let us know in the comments. (credit: Sakkawokkie/Getty Images)

When you write about cars, you can expect people to ask for your advice on which car they should buy. But when the question is actually “which used car should I buy,” many of us go quiet; driving an ever-rotating string of low-mileage new models leaves you unprepared to comment on long-term reliability or the like. Last week, a friend posed an even harder variant, asking for suggestions for a used plug-in electric vehicle. And my default suggestion of a sub-$20,000 BMW i3 wasn’t going to cut it.

As luck would have it, I noticed that Kelley Blue Book—which does keep track of things like long-term reliability and depreciation—just published a list of its best affordable used hybrids and EVs for 2021, with top-10 lists for cars that cost less than $15,000 as well as those under $20,000.

As you might expect at those price points, the lists are dominated by parallel hybrids like the Toyota Prius. No Teslas, I’m afraid—the cheapest used Model 3 that shows up in a brief search this morning still costs $28,000, and the rest all had prices that started with a three. But some battery EVs do make the KBB’s top-10 list.

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