Report: Top Safest Cars Under $21,000 in 2021


When you think of the safety features of cars today, all the sensors, LED displays and other high-tech features may come to mind. The problem though? Those cars are typically expensive!

U.S. News & World Report recently released a list of the safest cars you can buy, and some of them are pretty affordable. In this article, I’ve focused on the vehicles under $21,000 that made the list.

It’s based on the publication’s U.S. News Safety Score, which factors crash test data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety into the ratings for new cars.

Here Are the Safest Cars for $21,000 or Less

Let’s take a look at the safest cars priced around $21,000 or less identified by U.S. News & World Report. I’ve included the base prices and safety scores, which were graded on a 10-point scale.

VehiclesSafety ScoreBase Price
2021 Nissan Versa9.5/10 $14,930
2021 Nissan Sentra9.6/10$19,410
2021 Toyota Corolla9.7/10$20,025
2021 Hyundai Veloster9.7/10$18,900
2021 Subaru Impreza 9.8/10$18,795
2021 Mazda39.9/10 $20,650

Read the complete list from U.S. News & World Report.

Money expert Clark Howard says the auto industry has made great strides in vehicle safety over the years.

“Cars just keep getting better and better and better,” he says. “For the first time ever, the average age of a vehicle has risen to 12.1 years. Today, because of tremendous improvements in technology and intense competition, the quality is so, so, so much better.”

That’s one of the reasons why Clark prefers buying used cars, although many are, as of this writing, rising in price. He says used vehicles are typically a better deal because the first owner has born the brunt of the depreciation that typically occurs in the first three to four years.

Right now, though, there’s an anomaly in the market because of a nationwide shortage of cars, brought on by various factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Clark recommends that you wait a while, if possible, to buy any car.


He says he expects the current market to continue for some time but that things will eventually return to normal. “I know it’s an ugly market right now,” Clark says. “The ugly will fade, and supply and demand will come back into balance.”

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