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10 of the Most Powerful New Cars Available Under $20,000

Sharply drawn lines and angular aerodynamics help make the nose of the Chevrolet Cruze appear aggressive

Sharply drawn lines and angular aerodynamics help make the nose of the Chevrolet Cruze appear aggressive Sharp lines and angular motifs help make the nose of the Chevrolet Cruze look more aggressive | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Who says speed needs to be expensive? If you have $20,000 in your pocket, you can have a powerful cheap car. Unfortunately, this price point eliminates performance powerhouses like the wildly entertaining Dodge Challenger, the nimble Ford Focus RS, or virtually any vehicle with more than 200 horsepower. But muscle cars and hot hatchbacks aside, there are still plenty of engaging options out there if inexpensive fun is your goal.

They may not be torque monsters, but by offering enough jump on city streets, certain vehicles can provide just enough performance to keep commutes interesting. You know the “slow car that’s fun to drive fast” mantra? That’s what we’re talking about.

After perusing a slew of inexpensive automobiles currently on the market, we came to a unified conclusion. While they may not be insanely powerful, horsepower can still be found for under $20,000. Keep in mind that the cars we found, though available in a variety of trims, are priced in their base specifications, and before destination, fees, and taxes are taken into account.

So while power numbers may not be mind-blowing to some, each of the following vehicles has its own merits in regard to driver enjoyment and inexpensive performance. Here are our 10 top picks for when you need a little horsepower to go with that $20,000 price tag.

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