Summer is the perfect car-buying season; warm breeze in your hair blowing though the moon roof and daydreams of kicking back on highway road trips thanks to autonomous driving.
But if you’re looking for a new car and more worried about finances than features, we think that’s kind of a drag. So we decided to do some research for you.
There are many awesome and affordable cars out there. For those of us with a little less to invest, here’s Montway’s top five picks of the 2015 most affordable and awesome autos.
Midsized and Family
Midsize sedans are one of our country’s most commonly purchased cars. The 2015 Mazda 6 and Volkswagen Jetta are first on our affordability list, the two midsized sedans we selected for families and fun. Both are top-rated vehicles in the categories of family and affordability across review sites.
The lower-priced 2015 Jetta’s structural enhancements have solidified the car’s handling and improved safety. This updated design and new electronic features contribute to the 2015 Jetta’s improved frontal impact scores and higher overall safety rating.
The 2015 Mazda 6, while a little higher priced than most “budget” cars, makes the list in part for the fun, offering a much more “sporty” driving experience than expected from the sedate sedan.
Part of what brings these two midsize sedans to our top list is that both feature much better fuel efficiency and a more comfortable and luxurious interior than previously seen in previous affordable midsized sedans cars.
Electric and Efficient
The 2015 Toyota Prius C Hybrid comes in as our top affordable electric car. It’s actually one of the most affordable cars on the market today in general, too. It offers an insanely great highway fuel economy of 50 mpg, but you do sacrifice power and throttle response from the downsized hybrid powertrain. For those looking to go green without a lot of green to spend, the Prius C is a great bet.
For fuel economy, hybrids are still the most affordable options. It was a close call, but the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid won our top pick for the most fuel-efficient affordable car. The 2015 Camry gets a combined 41 mpg. Although the Honda Civic Hybrid (the runner up) gets a little better combined fuel economy, the Camry has a higher safety rating and lower rollover risk, plus, way more space.
The 2015 model is sleeker and more stylish on the outside than previous Camrys. That doesn’t make the driving experience more engaging, however the Camry has great handling, strong acceleration, and a more powerful drivetrain than most hybrids (and a bigger trunk).
The 2015 Toyota Camry is also the winner of the US News and World Report “2015 Best Cars for the Money” in the Hybrid category.
Toyota’s standard Prius gets an honorable mention for both affordability and fuel economy as well.
Coolest for Your Cash
Last but not least, you can be budget-conscious without passing over pizzazz. The 2015 Fiat 500 drives more fun than function, but we are looking at the “cool factor” here. This tiny, European-style car is surprising spacious (except for the headroom) and perfect for zipping around narrow city streets and tight traffic.
The Fiat gets surprisingly good fuel economy, 40 mpg on the highway, but you do really feel the lack of power once you get on the open road. The convertible top (option) is more like a moon roof, similar to the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa (which still owns the “targa top” trademark). But you still get to enjoy the wind in your hair, and we think that’s pretty cool.
Affordability for You
When it comes to picking the best car for your budget, there are many factors to consider beyond price. A low price and great fuel economy are two of the most immediate considerations, but there’s also the long-term factors. When figuring out what will be the most affordable car for you not just to buy, but to drive and maintain as well. What you want in a car and what you’ll be doing with it are personal preference and practically decisions only you can determine.
One last note for our friends and fans; the cars we researched were rated “most affordable” based on the “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price” which reflects the price of base models. Additional options range significantly by make, model, and mode, and can make a seemingly affordable car a lot more pricey.
Happy test driving!