Even as many of today’s customers are opting for the latest in crossovers, SUVs and trucks—and even some minivans—the best new cars under $35,000 still offer advantages not found in other body styles. And speaking of style, dramatic design is just one of the benefits you’ll find in our latest expert rankings of owner-friendly vehicle choices. These 10 Best new cars Under $35,000 are relatively inexpensive, yet they also offer some of the latest infotainment and connectivity technologies, along with a surprising amount of performance. Also worth noting: What we’re talking about here are “new” new cars; that is, ones that have been significantly redesigned for the 2016 model year. They include some big names, too.
10 Best New Cars Under $35,000
Photo Credit: Holly Reich
2017 Fiat 124 Spider: Abarth MSRP - $28,195
Many people had concerns when they heard the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider would be based on the Mazda MX-5, but a dash of Italian seasoning has created one of the tastiest roadsters to hit the road since the Miata itself. Helping matters is a different engine; the distinctly styled Fiat 124 Spider has a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 that makes 164 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque—that's 9 more horsepower than the Miata's naturallly aspirated 2.0-liter, with 36 more lb.-ft. of torque. Even the high-performance Abarth edition—with an MSRP of $28,195—fits easily into our Autobyel roundup of 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro: Base MSRP: $25,700
Thanks to the auto industry’s recent trend toward “lightweighting,” some of our 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000 the push the ol’ performance envelope like never before. The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is a prime example: Engineers carved more than 200 lb. of curb weight off some models, and as a result, the Bowtie Brand’s next-generation muscle car is faster and more agile than ever. In fact, the Camaro’s standard V6 packs 335 horsepower and 284 lb.-ft. of torque. Chevy says that's “the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V6 in the segment.” The current Camaro also will mark another new high point for V6 models later this year, when the 2017 model arrives: The performance-enhancing 1LE package, which makes the car suitable for high-speed racetrack lapping, will be available for the first time on a V6 Camaro. For 2016, the base model Camaro starts at $25,700.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2017 Subaru Impreza: Base MSRP - $22,595
Although it’s not due until later this year, the 2017 Subaru Impreza will be the only compact vehicle in the US to provide standard all-wheel drive, and it's the only one of our 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000 that can make that claim. Of course, the current 2016 Subaru Impreza—like all Subaru vehicles—has standard AWD as well, and it also distinguishes itself as a rare compact with a Top Safety Pick+ recognition. The upcoming Impreza targets the same level of occupant-protection, and it will be backed by the latest Subaru EyeSight driver-assistance measures and enhanced connectivity tech such as smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Customers also can look for a new design language and more power, for both the Impreza sedan and Impreza hatchback.
Photo Credit: Honda
2016 Honda Civic: Base MSRP - $18,640
Our list of the 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000 would be incomplete without the North American Car of the Year: the redesigned 2016 Honda Civic. Technically, the Civic sedan earned that honor, and the four-door model is a more than worthy choice that’s bigger, faster and more efficient than the previous-generation version—and with more technology, too. The Civic’s infotainment offerings, for instance, include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. But customers need to keep in mind that the sedan was merely the first bodystyle from the 10th-generation Civic roster. A sporty coupe debuted earlier this year and the Civic hatchback will return to the U.S. marketplace later in 2016. Civic's base model starts at $18,640.
Photo Credit: Ford
2016 Chevrolet Volt: Base MSRP (after tax credit) - $25,720
The Bowtie Brand has a number of candidates for this roundup of 10 Best Cars Under $35,000 because it has launched new or refreshed versions of not just the Camaro, but also the Spark city car, Sonic subcompact, Cruze compact and Malibu midsize sedan. And let's not forget about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, the extended-range electric vehicle that comes in below $35,000 even without without the federal government’s income tax credit of $7,500. That, for the record, will reduce the net starting point of the car to a practical $25,720. Also adding to the practicality of the Volt? Its EPA-certified 53-mile all-electric driving range is complemented by 367 miles of available travel using the Volt's gasoline-fueled hybrid system.
2017 Ford Fusion: Base MSRP - $25,185
The midsize-sedan category is super competitive, and many of the models in that class fought hard for a spot on our list of 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000. And one of them, the 2017 Ford Fusion, has a slightly bigger financial advantage this year. Yep, the Blue Oval reduced the price of its popular Fusion—by $140—to bring its MSRP to $22,120. The big news does come a bit higher up the roster, although the new 2017 Fusion Hybrid ($25,185) and all-wheel-drive Fusion Sport ($33,475) are well within our guidelines. The former furnishes EPA grades of 43 mpg city/41 mpg highway/42 mpg combined, while the latter packs a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that’s good for 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque.
Photo Credit: Honda
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid: Base MSRP - $29,605
Coincidentally, another of the 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000 comes from the midsize sedan segment and has launched fresh Sport and Hybrid models. The 2017 Honda Accord—which, to be clear, is on sale now—emphasizes that its $29,605 hybrid version isn’t just well equipped, it’s also both the most powerful and most efficient in the class, courtesy of 212 total horsepower and EPA ratings of 49 mpg city/47 mpg highway/48 mpg combined. Providing that capability is a second-generation two-motor hybrid-propulsion system that also leverages a compact lithium-ion battery pack and an efficient 2.0-liter gasoline engine. The Sport Special Edition package, on the other hand, delivers nifty style upgrades, along with heated front seats, for a very reasonable $22,355.
Photo Credit: TJ Keon
2017 Toyota 86: Base MSRP - $23,987
Toyota’s decision to transition its Scion brand back into the rest of its mainstream lineup, as announced earlier this year, came at a good time, since two of those erstwhile Scion vehicles fit in with the 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000. The first, the 2017 Toyota 86, is an evolution of the rear-wheel-drive Scion FR-S sports car. The 86 name honors classic sporty Toyotas of years past—and aligns with the car’s name elsewhere around the world—but that won’t be the only change when the updated version is introduced this fall. Customers also can look forward to more horsepower and torque, plus aggressive new style cues like a more prominent center air intake and twisted-spoke alloy wheels. Pricing on the current Scion FR-S starts at $23,987, so we will likely see that range remain in the 2017 Toyota 86.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
2017 Hyundai Elantra: Base MSRP - $17,150
Autobytel experts are always on the lookout for win-win buying situations for our customers, such as the one presented by the 2017 Hyundai Elantra: Despite being all-new, the 2017 Elantra has arrived at dealerships with an MSRP $150 less than for the 2016 edition. Nor is the new entry-level Elantra lacking for content; its starting price of $17,150 includes standard items such as air conditioning, six-speaker audio with a USB port, and power windows/door locks/exterior mirrors. This compact Hyundai also has plenty of luxury options, everything from a hands-free trunk and smartphone-integration technology to a bevy of pro-active driver-assistance measures.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: Around $21,625
Volkswagen gets into the rugged-wagon sweepstakes with the 2017 Golf Alltrack, a new model that Autobytel experts have included in our roundup of 10 Best New Cars Under $35,000. Pricing for the 2017 Golf Alltrack will be announced soon, but it will likely fall to a point above the MSRP of the current Golf SportWagen, at $21,625. But even with an inch of ground clearance, 4Motion all-wheel-drive technology, rugged body-side cladding and a more premium cabin, the new Golf Alltrack will not push past our $35,000 spending limit. It will, however, be able to push some gravel aside, as the new Golf Alltrack boasts a dedicated Off-Road Mode designed to optimizes traction on off-road terrain.