As once overlooked brands like Hyundai, Kia, and Scion continue to throw out inexpensive nameplates that provide competitive quantities of performance and luxury as compared to their higher priced rivals, shoppers have more choice than ever- and a more complicated decision to ponder.
The market has always separated affordable models from upscale makes, but if you know where to look, you can find some blur between the two segments and grab great value in a vehicle that costs up to thousands less than its big name counterpart. Which economical options have the goods to provide high owner satisfaction at low cost? Take a look below at some of the most vaunted alternatives.
One option that’s still beyond the reach of competition is the best way to buy a new car: CarWoo!
You love the Porsche Cayman. You should look at the Scion FR-S
Price Cut: $26,945*
The FR-S is an attractive performance coupe that proves 200 horsepower worth of athleticism, but the best part is that it begins at a lithe $24,955. We all know that the Porsche Cayman is a blueprint for precision handling and balance, but FR-S provides its own leverage with a boxer engine and rear-wheel drive. You lose 65 horses and 70 lb.-ft. of torque right off the bat, but the money you save allows for more track time.
Envious of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class? Try the Suzuki Kizashi
Price Cut: $16,351*
Before you dismiss this as a joke, consider this: the Suzuki Kizashi gives you lively handling and decent power for a sedan, especially if you tack on a sport suspension, all-wheel drive, and paddle shifters. Interior luxuries include leather & navigation upgrades, and you get eight airbags standard. Sure, you’re toning down some opulence, but you’re also saving some much needed cash. The only problem is finding a dealer who can provide this elusive unicorn.
The BMW 7-Series is heaven. The Hyundai Equus is heaven on Earth.
Price Cut: $14,050*
Let’s face it; if you’re browsing this segment, you’re already planning on shelling out at least $50,000, so why not prove your business acumen by going for the value pick? That’s Equus, a car that is easier described by what luxuries it doesn’t have. A rear console fridge, reclining seat, and 429 horsepower for the driver leave you muttering, “Dude.” (Mr. Bridges has one).
The Audi Q5 is very nice. So is the Mazda CX-5
Price Cut: $16,275*
Those in the know say that the Mazda CX-5 provides exceptional performance, liberating fuel economy, and that crossover versatility we all crave. Plus, part of the fun comes in knowing that you are able to enjoy those winding drives without constantly counting what’s in your wallet. It’s even got a smiling front end that welcomes you into every morning.
Lexus makes it hard to ignore the CT200h. Don’t look past the Ford C-Max Hybrid
Price Cut: $6,650*
The monetary gap isn’t, massive here, but know that there are options beyond the Prius. And here’s a number that gets bigger every time you look at it: the C-Max Hybrid gets an estimated 47 combined MPG; 5 more than both CT200h and Prius V. Who needs luxury when you’ve got superior MPGs?
When’s the last time the car buying process made you yell Woo!?
*Numbers are based on starting MSRP for each model. Extras and trim upgrades not included.