12 modern, collectible vehicles under $20,000

pontiac solstice front three-quarter rendering

Let’s not kid ourselves: Being a car enthusiast can be a pricey endeavor. Like any hobby that involves expensive gear and gadgets (golf, photography, skiing, boating …), keeping a fun weekend car is often dauntingly expensive.

We’ve found 12 vehicles made in 1993 or later, each of which costs less than 20 grand in running and driving condition. Each has plenty of creature comforts, and some have real handling prowess. All are vehicles that you can enjoy owning, tinkering with, and possibly showing off at your local car show or caffeine-adjacent cruise-in.

We know that $20,000 is not cheap, but we’ve selected vehicles that are well-preserved for their age, with values based on the Hagerty Price Guide’s 1-to-4 vehicle-condition rating system. (For the full breakdown of our scale, click here.) Vehicles in #3, or Good, condition are very well maintained and ready to hit the road, though they will have cosmetic flaws visible to the naked eye. #2 condition, or Excellent, vehicles drive and present like new.

Let’s get started.

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8

#3 (Good) value: $16,900

It sure doesn’t feel like Dodge returned to Hemi-powered muscle cars 17 years ago, but here we are. The 6.1-liter Hemi in the early Chargers is down a bit on power compared to the current crop of 6.4-liter beasts, although the 425-hp output and snarling exhaust are enough to make you forget the comparison rather quickly. Also, the tall, aluminum intake manifold on the 6.1-liter easily makes it the best-looking third-gen Hemi to ever go into a Charger, so pop that hood every chance you get.

The earlier Charger models have just the right amount of brawny flair to make them stand out in a sea of FWD sedans. They’ve got to be some of the best buys in muscle sedans today.

1995 Subaru SVX L AWD

Subaru SVX

#2 (Excellent) value: $16,600

There were many strange and interesting vehicles to come out of Japan in the ’90s, so we’ll forgive you if you’ve forgotten—or never even knew—about the Subaru SVX.

The two-door, four-seat grand tourer was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also penned the DeLorean DMC-12 and original Golf. The SVX has a striking greenhouse dominated by curving side windows that necessitated a rather unique solution to allow the vertical portions to roll down. We drove one of these quirky coupes and enjoyed the smooth, 240-hp 3.3-liter flat-six and the stares that the rare coupe drew from confused onlookers.

Considering the SVX was a low-volume car and the sole recipient of its flat-six engine, this car might be expensive to maintain long-term. On the other hand, it does turn a lot of heads for 16 grand.

1993 Ford Taurus SHO

1993 Ford Taurus SHO front three quarter

#2 (Excellent) value: $10,300

Who doesn’t love a sleeper? Ford pumped out hundreds of thousands of boring, reliable Tauruses every year, making it the most popular car in America from 1992–96. The majority of them were equipped with an automatic transmission and a 140-hp, pushrod, 3.0-liter Vulcan V-6. Optional on sedans and standard on the heavier wagon, the 3.8-liter Essex V-6 brought additional torque (but no additional power) thanks to increased displacement.

The SHO (Super High Output) model, on the other hand, featured a DOHC version of the 3.0-liter with an improved block and an all-new top end developed by Yamaha. Doubling the number of valves meant the V-6 could breathe a whole lot better, allowing it to rev to a peak of 220 hp at 6200 rpm. The additional 80 horsepower completely transformed the SHO and enabled it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under seven seconds when equipped with the manual transmission. In 1993, an automatic was optional for the first time and nearly 3 out of 4 buyers preferred it, with contemporary reviews from Motor Trend praising the automatic version’s smoothness.

Whichever SHO you pick, five-speed or auto, expect it to fly under the radar and bring a smile to your face.

1999 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT


#3 (Good) value: $16,000

The Ford Mustang GT has been a great performance bargain for years. For that reason, it’s easy to forget that, in the early days of the Modular V-8, the standard GT wasn’t terribly exciting. With its “Performance Improved” two-valve cylinder head, the 1999 Mustang boasted 260 hp, an increase from 225 hp the year before.

There was clearly more in Ford’s Modular V-8, and the 1999 SVT Cobra unlocked it thanks to DOHC, four-valve heads. The massive heads and imposing intake, topped with a coiled cobra, looked great under the hood, but owners were disappointed with the model’s performance. Ford recalled the cars and replaced the intake manifold, stating that the initial run of manifolds had been miscast and didn’t flow as intended. The factory made good with a new intake, cat-back exhaust, and a new tune, making the 320-hp 4.6-liter the most powerful naturally aspirated Mod motor to go into a factory Mustang until the fabulous Coyote debuted for 2012.

We’ve got good news for fans of convertibles: The droptop Cobra is even more affordable, with a #3 (Good) condition value of $14,900.

2000 Chevrolet Corvette

2000 Chevrolet Corvette

#3 (Good) value: $17,400

Corvette made several big moves when the fifth generation (C5) launched for the 1997 model year. Not only did chassis and layout improve by leaps and bounds, with the switch to a torque tube and rear-mounted transmission, but the fifth gen ushered in the LS1 V-8. This was the first application of the third-generation small-block, the only engine that had any chance at dethroning the original Chevy small-block as the go-to V-8 for the average Joe’s engine swap.

Low-mileage, well-preserved Z06s of this generation still provide excellent value, but enthusiasts have known about them for quite a while. It’s no secret that this 2023 Bull Market pick is a fantastic track machine. However, the base C5 still offers plenty of road-hugging grip, and it has a hatch that makes it a practical grand touring machine. (The trunk is pretty well known, at this point, for its ability to swallow two golf bags.) Plus, if you are so inclined, the Z06 suspension goodies are a bolt-on affair. Prices have softened a bit on the entry-level C5s, with values down 11 percent since October of 2022.

1991 Honda Civic Si

1991 Honda Civic Si Hatchback

#2 (Excellent) value: $15,600

With a standard manual transmission and manual steering, the original Civic Si was a pure, mechanical joy. Later models added more finesse, but even with smoothed edges, they are still a visceral experience. We’ve seen prices for Honda hot hatches and coupes skyrocket over the last several years, and the prices for the 1991 model have gone up 25 percent since this time last year. For buyers of a certain age, these are prime collectibles. Get behind the wheel and you’ll understand why.

2004 Porsche Boxster S

2004-Porsche-Boxster-S front three quarter

#3 (Good) value: $18,000

Let’s not put too fine a point on this: It’s a droptop, mid-engine Porsche that you can drive for less than $20,000.

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP

2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP
General Motors

#2 (Excellent) value: $18,500

The Pontiac Solstice was made during a time when General Motors was taking risks and putting quite a lot of low-volume vehicles into production. Enthusiasts should take advantage of the spoils.

Yes, there’s a serious lack of luggage space thanks to some interesting packaging decisions that make this car rather impractical for a long trip, much less a daily driver; but the Pontiac Solstice and its Saturn Sky platform-mate are quite fun to drive, often described as smaller Corvettes. The Solstice GXP and its cousin the Sky Redline are powered by 260-hp, turbocharged Ecotec 2.0-liter inline-fours and their generous wheelwells can fit a decent amount of tire to provide lots of grip.

Values for these attractive convertibles are holding steady and a #3 (Good) condition GXP can be had for just about half ($10,700) of this list’s $20,000 threshold.

2006–2007 Subaru Impreza WRX

2006 Subaru-Impreza_WRX
2006 (“hawkeye”) Subaru Impreza WRX Subaru

#3 (Good) value: $15,300

Subaru finally gave American buyers the chance to own a rally-bred WRX in 2002 and a generation of buyers has reveled in the nimble, AWD performance compact in both sedan and wagon versions.

WRX fans have lots of opinions on whether the Bugeye (2002–3), Blobeye (2004–5), or Hawkeye (2006–7) version looks best, and we can make arguments for all three of them. However, it was only the Hawkeye that got a displacement boost, using the 2.5-liter EJ255 rather than the 2.0-liter powerplant used by its predecessors. There’s a downside to the increase in displacement and torque that came from this new engine, as the mill is notorious for head-gasket issues. Hopefully by now these cars have enough miles for their owners to have sorted those out, and you’ll be able to find a driver-condition (or #3) car and enjoy AWD turbo motoring.

If you prefer a different look, and a bit more luxury, the badge-engineered Saab 9-2X Aero wagon uses the same 230-hp turbo four and has an identical price tag.

2002 BMW Z3 3.0


#3 (Good) value: $15,500

Sometimes Miata is not the answer. The most powerful non-M version of the classic BMW roadster, the 3.0-liter iteration of the Z3 packs an M54 inline-six that delivers a smooth 228 hp suitable for spirited driving or for road-tripping. Where else are you going to get an inline-six roadster at this price and with looks this striking? Prices are up just over five percent compared to a year ago, perhaps pulled in that direction by the less common Z3 coupe, whose values are up by more than 25 percent.

2006 Pontiac GTO

2006 Pontiac GTO Coupe front three-quarter

#3 (Good) value: $19,800

Imported from Australia, the 2004 GTO brought a capable chassis with independent rear suspension, a powerful V-8, and a comfortable interior—available in quite the color palette—to fill in while the Camaro was on hiatus. The GTO’s detractors bashed it for being a hot-rodded two-door version of a family sedan with some hood scoops thrown on, completely forgetting that the original 1964 GTO was a hot-rodded two-door version of a family sedan with some hood scoops thrown on.

Contemporary reviews from buff books were positive and the rather sedate design has aged nicely. While the car was launched in 2004 with a 350-hp, 5.7-liter LS1, 2005 and 2006 models received a 400-hp, 6.0-liter LS2, making them the most desirable models in the short production run. This one barely squeaks onto the list: Enthusiasts know a good thing when they see it, and prices have remained steady.

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon original first

#3 (Good) value: $19,300

Not everyone’s idea of a weekend drive includes a road, so we couldn’t finish this list without a 4×4. The inaugural Jeep Wrangler Rubicon seemed like the perfect vehicle to wrap things up.

The 2003 model year saw not only the introduction of the Rubicon package, with its beefier Dana 44 axles, dual lockers, and 4:1 low-range, but also a mid-cycle update across the TJ Wrangler lineup that included an automatic overdrive transmission replacing the prior three-speed auto. Of course, a five-speed manual was also optional and the Rubicon’s deep low-range would make three-pedal crawling a much simpler affair. It’s been 20 years since Jeep launched the Rubicon trim, and the prices on the TJ (1997–2006) Rubicons continue to scramble up, so it might not be long before spending $20,000 on a TJ Rubicon means a trail-battered example that requires serious repair.

For those of you who want to spend less than $20,000, there are still plenty of viable project vehicles, especially if you don’t mind sacrificing some late-model conveniences. If you prefer to do some wrenching and restoring of your own, your options are even more vast. Scored a good deal on a modern collectible such as these? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Read next Up next: Long live the GR Corolla, VW Scout could be U.S.-built, Lordstown’s quality woes


    I can’t believe four pages of comments and nobody has voted for the 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird. Some on here are saying the vehicles on the list won’t turn heads. The retro-bird is a head turner. The only thing is you don’t know what’s going on in viewers’ heads. It was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first T-bird in 1955, so 2005 was the final year. Made only 60,000 of them with 2002 being the most production. They are appreciating and many have very low miles because they were bought as a third car and parked a lot. Two seat convertible with optional hard top with porthole window and mostly Jaguar underneath the Chevron cartoon ad body. 2002 was 260hp out of the 2.7 Jag V8, and in 03 it went to 280 and they started putting a V8 badge on the side. Several of the color combinations are unique and attractive.

    The last Tbird where I lived seems to have mostly been bought by people who assumed it would be a massive collectible and kept them in a garage barely driven to ask really high prices. I suspect original sales were in an age group that has mostly left the hobby now as well.

    Maybe they sell for it (the high asks), the listings stay up a long time though.

    At this time, I’m not sure they were the success they could of been mostly due to the throat-lozenge retro body and high original pricing.

    I personally would rather seen the next Thunderbird be a successor to the “supercoupe” era in approach.

    Corrections and additions: they made 68,000 with 31,000 in 2002. That first year the engine was 252 hp and went up to 280 for the other three years mostly due to variable timing on the intake camshafts. The Jag-designed engine was 3.9L but made by Ford in Ohio and several major parts are unique to Ford. The chassis was used on the Lincoln LS and S-type Jags.

    If you’re going to pick the ‘91 Civic Si, why wouldn’t you instead nominate the ‘91 “Civic” CRX Si? Don’t you know it’s much more desirable, rare and performance oriented?
    Don’t tell me it already over the $20K cutoff too…

    Bewildered by the inclusion of the Pontiac Solstice. I can’t think of any other car that’s worse to drive from that era, other than perhaps the Smart Fortwo. The Solstice came out when I was working as an auto writer and our entire editorial staff HATED that car, despite having such high hopes for it. Absolutely awful. Slow, ridiculously complicated top procedure, road noise. Utterly ghastly. Looked cool but absolutely TERRIBLE to drive.

    You forgot about the awful gear ratios. The ratios were insanely tall and long, the shift from 2nd to 3rd was so weird. The shifter was shit, as well.

    Great compilation. I would note that the Subaru XT coupe in the late ’80’s was also available with the flat six (I owned one). The flat six wasn’t exclusive to the SVX. Both are great cars and I would love to own an SVX today.

    What, no Jaguar Convertibles? Sexy, fun drives, certainly no more expensive to maintain than a Porsche. 2008 should be around $15,000, right?

    Jags are not on the radar of the “alphabet” generation. But old guys know better that’s why I have an ‘03 S-type R. Supercharged 400 hp V8, great handling and brakes and ladies love the smooth curves. Schooled some guy in a newer Camaro on the Interstate last week. He was probably thinking “What is that in my mirror – is that an animal on the hood?” It wasn’t racing, just entertainment😉.

    Well, another top-20 affordable modern classics list, and yet another complete whiff on the 01-05 Toyota MR2 Spyder. True mid-engine, Toyota reliability, and the best handling short of a Lotus Elise. Plus you don’t see yourself everyday. I have an ’03 and cannot help smiling every time I take it out. Great low-mileage examples are well under $20K even in today’s inflated market…

    I have to agree with Frank C – the Chrysler Crossfire – especially the SRT roadster has collectibility and good performance under 20K. My brother just bought a great example for 14k – comfy seats / runs low 12s in the quarter mile and low production numbers means you won’t see one on every corner.

    Some of these prices are pretty optimistic for what are essentially just used cars well on their way to zero value. Ford Taurus? Really? If there is a single car on the planet destined to NEVER be a classic, take a hard look at the Ford Taurus.

    I ordered a 93 SHO in Blood Red ( I remember that is what the color was called) with gray leather, loaded, and the automatic for my wife, it was her car, and our family car since I always had GM pick ups. It was the first automatic SHO in Canada, after a month of enjoyment the transmission started acting up, the dealer replaced it, apparently the first few automatic transmissions had issues. It was a great car, lots of room for the kids and adults including the trunk, handled excellent, and was a very deceiving car for speed when driving it. Since it was really a car for my wife, she used it to come into our business office daily, the first time she wasn’t paying attention to the actual speed she was going, she got airborne over the railroad tracks on the way to work, she paid attention for a while after that one, then forgot again and received a speeding ticket for 20 mph over the speed limit, the cop gave her a break and wrote it for 15 mph over so she would not lose points on her license. ( that’s how it works in Ontario) I think we had the car for 3 years, then traded it for a new Cadillac, in that car the speed wasn’t so deceiving LOL.

    Completely disagree with a Honda Civic being on this list. Boring car then, boring car now. A Geo Metro has more character.

    I think that’s the whole point of this article. Tell me you wouldn’t look twice if you saw a spotless yellow Metro convertible. It’s not about the type of car, more so a time capsule of 25 year old vehicles. I remember seeing a well preserved Sunbird convertible over the summer. Gave the guy the thumbs up. Not that I would want one, but I appreciate that it’s still in existence.

    I agree with your sentiment exactly. Saw a Nissan Access a few months ago in great shape. Just thought it was so neet to see it and in that condition. They only sold them here for one year 1990. I think it was Mecum that recently auctioned off a Chevette “Scooter” for a little over $6000.00! Also in great shape.

    Taurus SHO is a great sleeper but a better one is a Maxima SE stick from the 90s as it’s more reliable and more luxurious, (both generations, especially the 95-96 version with the original VQ engine and lightweight chassis before extra pieces of metal were welded to the frame).

    There are some appealing choices here.

    But for almost E-Type looks, even better performance and daily driver potential, an under $10,000 Jaguar XK8 is a great option.

    The convertible is nice: Peter Egan’s “voiture d’occasion”, but the coupe with not a straight line on it that can cruise in silence and comfort at 80 plus is the “ne plus ultra”.

    Once certain high cost maintenance items are addressed, it is the coolest machine for a bargain price on the market.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *