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 are available for under $25,000, so no matter what category you are looking in, you will be able to find something that fits your lifestyle and your personal driving preferences as well as your budget. 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.
10 of the Best New Cars Under $25k
Photo Credit: Honda
1) 2016 Honda Fit - MSRP $15,890
The 2016 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.
Photo Credit: Ford
2) 2016 Ford Focus ST - MSRP $24,425
The 2016 Ford Focus ST is a compact hatchback that 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.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
3) 2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS - MSRP $20,095
The 2016 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.
Photo Credit: Mazda
4) 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata - MSRP $24,915
The totally redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an absolute sports car bargain at its starting MSRP of $24,915. 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 manual folding cloth top and a six-speed manual transmission, and its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers 155 horsepower and 148 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.
5) 2016 Hyundai Sonata - MSRP $21,750
The 2016 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.
6) 2016 Ford Fusion - MSRP $22,600
If one had to pick a family sedan that was even more glamorous-looking than the Sonata, it would have to be the 2016 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.
7) 2016 Nissan Rogue - MSRP $23,290
The 2016 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 2016 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.
8) 2016 FIAT 500 Abarth - MSRP $22,575
Compact hatchbacks can be fun, practical, and economical little cars, but it’s even better when there’s an affordable performance option. The 2016 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.
9) 2016 Hyundai Veloster - MSRP $18,000
The 2016 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.
10) 2016 Toyota Prius - MSRP $24,200
The fully redesigned Toyota Prius comes in just under our price cap. Buyers get a five-passenger compact hatchback, powered by a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine that's paired to two electric motors and a continuously variable transmission. Total horsepower is a usable 121, and even better, the 2016 Prius is expected to achieve fuel economy of about 54 city, 50 highway. Styling is completely updated throughout, as evidenced by the more mainstream exterior profile than the previous model, and the much nicer cabin materials. Just the base trim level of the 2016 Toyota Prius is available within our target budget, but it offers plenty at that price.