There are so many good, affordable sedans out there that it's often difficult to make a definitive list of the best options at a particular price point. Compounding the issue is that fact that the word 'affordable' means different things to different people, depending on where one might be in life, and what one chooses to prioritize in an automobile. That being said, we've forged ahead with a list of 10 of the best affordable sedans out there that cover the gamut from entry-level all the way up to full-size, with a little bit of near-luxury thrown in for good measure.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best affordable sedans that might appeal to budget-conscious buyers, focusing on the least expensive editions of each.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 01 - 2014 Ford Taurus
The 2014 Ford Taurus is a dashing full-size sedan that just happens to be available with a wide range of drivetrain choices. In addition to its bold styling, large interior, and extensive list of standard equipment, the Ford Taurus can also be had in four and six-cylinder editions. The base version of the Taurus features a 288 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood, but there's also the option of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost mill that introduces 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of twist. Not only does this particular engine provide more torque than the larger six-cylinder, but it also delivers 22-mpg in city driving and 32-mpg on the highway - a marked improvement over the entry-level drivetrain. All-wheel drive is also optional with the Taurus.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 02 - 2014 Mazda Mazda6
The 2014 Mazda Mazda6 is another four-door looker, although this family car is aimed at the more modest mid-size segment. Flowing body work and respectable interior styling help to define the Mazda Mazda6, but its real ace in the hole is its engaging handling: the Mazda6 is one of the few cars in its class that is actually fun to drive. The Mazda6 is also remarkably thrifty given its rewarding chassis and affordable pricing, as it turns in fuel mileage figures of 26-mpg around town and 38-mpg on the highway when found with its base 2.5-liter, 184 horsepower four-cylinder engine. Upgrading to the car's unique i-Eloop energy recapturing system adds a couple of miles per gallon to each respective measure.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 03 - 2014 Chrysler 300
The 2014 Chrysler 300 is a full-size sedan that, like the Taurus, relies on making a strong first impression with its imposing sheet metal. Unlike the Ford, however, the Chrysler 300 full-size sedan is available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive editions, giving it somewhat of an edge when it comes to driving dynamics. Nipping at the heels of the premium segment the 300 can be loaded with luxury features if your budget allows, but sticking with the entry-level edition still provides the kind of spacious passenger compartment large families need. You also get a 3.6-liter, 292 horsepower V-6 (that additionally produces 260 lb-ft of torque), matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is one of the few in its segment to surpass the six-speed barrier. This helps the 300 offer a fuel efficiency rating of 19-mpg city and 31-mpg highway.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 04 - 2014 Buick Regal
The 2014 Buick Regal is another near-luxury entry on our list of the best affordable sedans, and it provides better-than-average handling and a quiet cabin when compared to other mid-size contenders. For 2014, the Buick Regal makes a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine standard across the board, which means all buyers get 259 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque sent to either the front or all four wheels (if optional all-wheel drive is selected). Also included free of charge with the base Regal: heated leather seats with power adjustments, an eight-inch LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and the OnStar telematics system. Fuel economy for the Buick checks out at 21-mpg in stop and go driving and 30-mpg on the highway.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 05 - 2014 Hyundai Sonata
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata has been given a raft of improvements for the current model year, which represents the last edition of the existing generation car before a complete redesign is unleashed for 2015. You now get a driver-selectable steering system, additional safety options, and revised LCD touchscreens inside the car, which manages to maintain its attractive styling (augmented by available LED tail lights). The car continues to feature a 190 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder as its most affordable drivetrain option, and this motor is also good for 179 lb-ft of torque. During highway cruising the base Sonata returns 35-mpg, while in city driving it posts 24-mpg.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 06 - 2014 Ford Fusion
Although not quite as entertaining as the Mazda6, the 2014 Ford Fusion is another mid-size sedan that engages drivers as soon as they slide behind the wheel. A pleasing chassis is only one part of the Ford Fusion's package, however, as it boasts an array of fuel efficient engine options as well as available all-wheel drive (something that the Mazda doesn't offer). The entry-level 2.5-liter, 175 horsepower four-cylinder engine in the Fusion offers 22-mpg city and 34-mpg highway, and while the 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder upgrade introduces more torque and the promise of better fuel mileage, in real-world driving it typically matches the 2.5-liter's performance - so save your money and stick with the base engine.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 07 - 2014 Volkswagen Jetta
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta becomes that much more appealing as an affordable sedan this year because it replaces 2013's uninspired - and noisy - five-cylinder motor with a much smoother 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Capable of producing 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, this engine represents the mid-tier for the Volkswagen Jetta, which starts out with a 115 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill. All versions of the sedan also feature an independent rear suspension system for the first time, which gives the Jetta a much more planted feel in corners and removes some of the roughness from the 2013 model's ride. Fuel mileage for the turbocharged sedan is listed at 26-mpg city and 36-mpg highway.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 08 - 2014 Mazda Mazda3
The 2014 Mazda Mazda3 sedan continues the brand's tradition of out-performing most other members of its segment once the road turns twisty. Completely redesigned for the current model year, the compact Mazda Mazda3 is affordable while offering an upscale feel inside and out thanks to the efforts of Mazda's stylists and engineers. Keeping the Mazda3 frugal is a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine in the base version of the car, replacing last year's less-efficient motor while still producing a very usable 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the sedan checks in at 30-mpg around town and 41-mpg on the highway.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 09 - 2014 Hyundai Elantra
The 2014 Hyundai Elantra is another compact car on our best affordable sedans list, only this one makes a play for buyers seeking the maximum return on their investment. The Hyundai Elantra is known for its long list of standard features, along with its classy styling and upscale interior design. The Elantra is motivated by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that has been tuned to provide 145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque, and fuel economy for the small sedan is listed at 27-mpg in stop and go driving and 37-mpg on the highway.
10 of the Best Affordable Sedans 2014 - 10 - 2014 Ford Focus
The 2014 Ford Focus is an all-around performer in the compact segment, as this sedan rides nice, looks good, and offers access to technologies that most of its rivals don't have on their options sheets. Notably, the Ford Focus can be ordered with the MyFord Touch vehicle interface, as well as a system that can automatically parallel park the car. 160 horsepower are on tap from the Focus' standard 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine (which also produces 146 lb-ft of torque), and fuel mileage for the Ford shows as 27-mpg city and 38-mpg highway. Opting for the SFE package improves the latter figure to 40-mpg.