Paying less than $25,000 for a car no longer means accepting compromise as one of the vehicle's biggest features So many competent new cars for under $25,000 are out there that it seems like no matter what category you are looking in, you will be able to find something that doesn't just fit your budget but also your lifestyle and your personal driving preferences. Compacts, family cars, crossovers, and even sports cars are all available for under that magic $25k price point. Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best new cars under $25,000.
1) 2015 Scion FR-S - MSRP $24,900
The 2015 Scion FR-S has attracted a ton of attention in the sports car community, and a big part of that is due to its affordable starting price. Not only is the Scion FR-S one of the most exciting new cars under $25,000, it's actually a bit less expensive than its Subaru BRZ counterpart. The FR-S features a lightweight, rear-wheel drive design that is perfect for tackling twisty roads, and the small coupe also boasts eye-catching styling. Under the hood, the FR-S comes with a 2.0-liter, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower and is managed by a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Combined with the car's low-mass design, this is enough motivation to make the Scion a genuine thrill ride.
2) 2015 Honda Fit - MSRP $15,650
The 2015 Honda Fit is one of the most unassuming cars to ever develop a cult following. What is it about this little five-passenger hatchback that has charmed so many loyal customers? In a word, practicality. The Honda Fit's Magic Seat system allows owners to configure the car's interior in any number of ways, opening up vast cargo storage possibilities that belie the automobile's small exterior dimensions. With room for up to 52.7 cubic feet of gear underneath its roof, the Fit is a cargo hauling monster in its class. Throw in a 130-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 33 mpg city and 41 mpg highway when paired with its available continuously variable transmission (a six-speed manual is also offered) and you have a clear subcompact winner on your hands.
3) 2015 Ford Focus ST - MSRP $24,370
The 2015 Ford Focus ST is a compact hatchback takes the brand's EcoBoost technology and tunes it for performance rather than fuel economy. The result is a blazing 252 horses and 270 lb-ft of twist from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This output is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, and the vehicle's electronically-controlled limited-slip differential and anti-torque steer feature help it hit 60 mph in roughly six seconds. Underscoring the Ford Focus ST's exceptional acceleration is its equally impressive handling, made possible by a completely returned suspension system when compared against the standard version of the small five-door.
4) 2015 Chevrolet Sonic RS - MSRP $19,945
The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic RS is a hot hatch that isn't quite as scalding as the Focus ST, but it isn't nearly as expensive, either. The Chevrolet Sonic RS doesn’t mess with the turbocharged drivetrain that is available with the regular Sonic, as that 1.4-liter, four-cylinder unit delivers 138 horsepower, 148 lb-ft of torque, and fuel mileage of 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Instead, the RS focuses on tweaking the suspension of the Sonic, adds bigger brakes, installs an attractive and sporty body kit, and offers a few extra goodies inside the cabin for good measure. Preserved is the Sonic's choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, plus its 30.9 cubic feet of total cargo space with the rear row of accommodations folded forward.
5) 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata - MSRP $23,970
The 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an absolute sports car bargain at its starting MSRP of $23,970. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a pure roadster that prides itself on providing drivers with a direct connection to the road via unparalleled steering and suspension feedback. The most affordable version of the Miata comes with a cloth top and a five-speed manual transmission, and its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. While that might not sound like a lot, it's more than enough to hustle the extremely lightweight convertible from point A to point B with enough forward thrust to keep a smile on one's face, especially if there happen to be curvy bits of road to traverse along the way.
6) 2015 Hyundai Sonata - MSRP $21,150
The redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata proves that spending less than $25k can land you a whole lot of car. The Hyundai Sonata is one of the most stylish mid-size family sedans around, and it also comes with a respectable amount of standard equipment for the price. Fuel efficiency is up in the base trim Sonata, with its 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower engine offering 25 mpg in stop and go driving and 37 mpg on the highway by way of a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers will also be pleased by the generous amounts of interior room afforded those riding both front and rear inside the sedan.
7) 2015 Ford Fusion - MSRP $22,500
If one had to pick a family sedan that was even more glamorous-looking than the Sonata, it would have to be the 2015 Ford Fusion. The Ford Fusion sports a host of intriguing drivetrain options, although sticking with the entry-level 2.5-liter, four-cylinder mill keeps us well under our $25k price ceiling, and it makes 178 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque available. Fuel mileage for this engine, shifted via a six-speed automatic transmission, is listed at 22 mpg around town and 34 mpg on the highway.
8) 2015 Nissan Rogue - MSRP $23,040
The 2015 Nissan Rogue offers good safety and class-leading fuel economy ratings in a stylish package. And on top of that, this crossover provides some of the most comfortable seating accommodations in the class, despite a tight third row. Not bad for its sub-$25k price of entry. The 2015 Rogue comes powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired to a continuously variable transmission, good for 170 horsepower. Acceleration isn’t exactly thrilling, but the front-wheel drive Rogue does offer 28 mpg combined. And if you’re careful with the other options, it’s also possible to score an all-wheel drive Rogue under our price threshold.
9) 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth - MSRP $22,395
Compact hatchbacks can be fun, practical, and economical little cars, but it’s even better when there’s an affordable performance option. The 2015 FIAT 500 Abarth features a powerful 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, yielding 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission helps this car gain some performance street cred, and the Abarth also features a stiff suspension system for better handling than the base Fiat 500.
10) 2015 Hyundai Veloster - MSRP $18,000
The 2015 Hyundai Veloster allows buyers to squeeze into a sporty hatch for well under $20,000. The Veloster’s exterior profile might be polarizing, but the shape is optimized for practicality and versatility. Under the hood of the base Veloster sits a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that puts out 138 horsepower, and offers a choice between a dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Hoping for a bit more power? Well, even with the $25k cap, the turbocharged version of the Veloster is still within reach, providing 201 horsepower from a boosted version of the same engine.