Unless you’ve recently inherited bags of money, buying a luxury car probably isn’t an option. That, however, doesn’t mean you have to settle for a potential lemon either. With automakers vying for increased market share (i.e. your business), reliable and well-equipped cars are becoming increasingly more affordable.
For under $25K, you can drive off in a great car. Whether you crave the sexy looks of a two-seat convertible or the all-terrain capability of an SUV, automakers have your fix. Check out the following list of eight cars that are exceptional values.
2011 Ford Fiesta
MSRP: $13,320 - $17,120
Finance Deal: 4.9% for 36 months; Expires 9/30/2010
Ford gives city slickers a reason to celebrate with the all-new Fiesta. In addition to its mini-car proportions and chic Euro-styling, the Fiesta features one of the nicest interiors in its class. The SEL and SES trims even come with Ford’s highly-acclaimed SYNC infotainment system. But that’s not all -- the Fiesta is zippy and fuel-efficient too. Ford says it nets an impressive city/highway fuel economy of 30/40 mpg. Combined with seven airbags and room for five passengers, it’s no wonder why critics are calling the Ford Fiesta a success. AutoWeek writes, "Against more familiar models -- the Chevrolet Aveo, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris -- the Fiesta rises above this competition and every other segment."
2011 Hyundai Sonata
MSRP: $19,195 - $25,295
Finance Deal: 2.9% APR for 60 months; Expires 6/30/2010
Lease Deal: $199 for 36 months with $2,399 due at signing; Expires 6/30/2010
Thanks to a complete redesign, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is better than ever. It looks sharp, handles well, features loads of standard interior features and packs more cargo than most competitors. The new Sonata is also the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car in its class -- boasting an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 24/35 mpg. Add in Hyundai’s solid five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the 2011 Sonata is an exceptional value. According to Edmunds, “This is, quite frankly, a tremendous amount of car for the money.”
2010 Jeep Wrangler
MSRP: $21,165 - $32,050
Finance Deal: 0% APR for 36 months; No expiration date listed
Though originally designed for WWII combat, the Jeep Wrangler has since become an American icon. It’s not particularly luxurious or good looking, but its class-leading off-road capabilities sure impress. In fact, Car and Driver calls the 2010 Wrangler “the quintessential rugged Jeep.” Perfect for everyone from hikers to surfers, and every adventurer in between, the Jeep Wrangler features a rugged all-purpose design and three convertible top options that allow drivers to choose between different levels of exposure. For fun in the sun, snow, sleet or ice, the Wrangler makes the perfect ride.
2010 Chevrolet Camaro
MSRP: $22,680 - $26,875
Deal: See dealer for current offers
In terms of curb appeal, there’s no better choice than the all-new Chevrolet Camaro. Its modern take on a classic American style locks eyes, turns heads and drops jaws faster than just about anything at this price point (and even above it). The Camaro even has the moves to back up its bad boy image. Equipped with a 304-horsepower V6, it’s got the chops to keep other ponies at bay. "If you want a great-looking car that expresses your personality without forcing you to take out a second mortgage on the declining value of your home, you have to like the Camaro," writes Kelley Blue Book.
2010 Toyota Prius
MSRP: $22,800 - $28,070
Finance Deal: 2.9% APR for 60 months (in some regions); Expires 6/30/2010
Lease Deal: $179 per month for 36 months with $1,799 due at signing (in some regions); Expires 6/30/2010
The undisputed queen of hybrid vehicles, the Toyota Prius nets a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 50 mpg -- with many drivers reporting even greater results. Best of all, these figures don’t come at an expense to the Prius’ performance abilities. Test drivers report that it’s adequately powered and comfortable to drive. Plus, the Prius’ spacious cabin and 15.7 cubic feet of cargo room make it easy to live with on a daily basis. If green commutes top your priority list, there’s still no better choice than the Toyota Prius. "When gas prices go back up, you'll wish you had one," comments the New York Times.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
MSRP: $22,810 - $29,350
Lease Deal: $269 per month for 36 months with $3,364 due at signing; Expires 6/30/2010
Not only is the drop-top Miata sharp looking, but it has the performance chops to leave more expensive cars in the dust. According to Consumer Guide, "This Best Buy delivers as much driving enjoyment -- if not outright power -- as two-seat sports cars costing thousands more." While other roadsters may blast from 0 to 60 mph in less time, few come close to matching the Miata’s thrilling handling dynamics -- especially at this price point. The cherry on top is its superb history of reliability and optional automatic retractable hard top. The Miata only seats two, so it may not be ideal for everyone. But for those who can live with its limited passenger space, there’s nothing more satisfying.
MSRP: $22,995 - $30,995
Finance Deal: 2.9% APR; Expires 6/30/2010
Lease Deal: $285 per month for 42 months with $1,985 due at signing; Expires 6/30/2010
Known for its quirky styling, the Subaru Outback balances a car-like ride with SUV utility like few vehicles can. And because all-wheel drive is standard, it’s more sure-footed and versatile than most of its competitors. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Outback’s rugged all-purpose design makes it perfect for adventure seekers. However, its five-passenger cabin and 71.3 cubic feet of cargo room make it well-suited for soccer moms too. Autoblog describes the 2010 Subaru Outback as “a terrific piece of equipment that offers the fortitude of a bison wrapped in the appeal of a pony.”
MSRP: $24,250 - $31,300
Finance Deal: 6.9% APR for 72 months; Expires 6/30/2010
Lease Deal: $329 per month for 39 months with $2,179 due at signing; Expires 6/30/2010
The all-new GMC Terrain adds one heck of a value package to the class of affordable compact SUVs. It shares its underpinnings with the highly-acclaimed Chevrolet Equinox, but looks much bolder. “Where the Chevy is sort of soft-looking and inoffensive, the Terrain is a louder, more look-at-me vehicle,” writes Jalopnik. “It can be had with more chrome than any GM vehicle in recent memory, and decked out in a suit of black, it looks pretty dang sharp.” It also features loads of snazzy yet practical interior gadgets. Among them are a standard rearview camera, an iPod interface and a sliding rear seat. Even better, the Terrain leads its class with a highway fuel economy rating of 32 mpg.