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Each week, Boston.com profiles several cars that consumers can find for below a certain price point in an effort to help you find your dream car faster. The cars listed include new and used models and any financial incentives currently available. Prices posted here are either starting MSRPs for newer vehicles or based on Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price for used vehicles.
2017 Honda Civic
Starting MSRP: $18,740
Why it’s worth the price: Completely redesigned last year, the Honda Civic boasts reliable performance and a spacious interior. The base LX model is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It makes 158 horsepower and achieves 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, which is excellent for the class. A 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available.
The Civic aced crash tests by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It comes with automatic climate control and a multi-angle rearview camera. The Honda Sensing suite of safety features, including lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, costs $2,000 extra.
Current incentives: Check offers and incentives with your local Honda dealership.
Starting MSRP: $18,895
Why it’s worth the price: The fun-to-drive Mazda3 compact sedan wins high marks for its driving dynamics and styling. The Sport base trim comes with a 155-horsepower, four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It gets 28 mpg around town and 37 mpg on the highway.
The Mazda3 is also one of the safest cars on the road: It earned five stars in side crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and four stars in rollover testing. The sporty sedan comes with the user-friendly Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch full color touch screen display. All models have Bluetooth, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is not yet available.
Current incentives: Check your Mazda dealership for offers and incentives.
2017 Ford Focus
Starting MSRP: $16,775
Why it’s worth the price: The Ford Focus delivers power and design for one of the lowest prices in its class. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine equipped on the base model makes 160 horsepower. Models with the available six-speed transmission get 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
The compact sedan is roomy and comfortable for passengers up front but may feel cramped in the back. Ford’s latest infotainment system, the voice-activated SYNC 3, is available. A rearview camera is standard, and buyers can upgrade to several advanced safety features including rear parking sensors, cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring.
Current incentives: Check offers and incentives with your local Ford dealership.
2017 Toyota Corolla
Starting MSRP: $18,500
Why it’s worth the price: Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Toyota Corolla gets a minor makeover for 2017. The Corolla comes with a 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine and gets a decent 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
Inside, the Corolla boasts soft-touch materials and a roomy backseat. The standard Toyota Safety Sense P suite of advanced safety features comes with lane departure alert with steering assist and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. A 7-inch touch screen display with navigation and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system is available.
Current incentives: Check your Toyota dealership for offers and incentives.
2013 Audi A4
KBB.com Fair Purchase Price: $18,922
Why it’s worth the price: The 2013 Audi A4 features punchy performance and an upscale interior that still feels modern. Audi’s mid-size sedan comes with a choice of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower or a 333 horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V6. The smaller engine achieves 24 mpg around town and 31 mpg in the city when equipped with front-wheel drive.
Leather upholstery, power front seats, and Sirius satellite radio are standard in the 2013 model. Some models come with Audi’s Driver Assist package with adaptive cruise control and a system to control steering effort and dynamic response.
Current incentives: Kelley Blue Book researchers indicate a 2013 Audi A4 in good or better condition can range from $16,514 to $21,329 and has a typical mileage of about 62,000. Search local used car dealerships to find one.
2014 BMW 3-Series
KBB.com Fair Purchase Price: $18,505
Why it’s worth the price: BMW’s new entry-level luxury sedan starts in the mid-$30,000s, but you can get a three-year-old model for half the price. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the 320i and 328i models makes 180 horsepower. It gets 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway when mated to the eight-speed automatic transmission. Buyers also have a choice of a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2014 BMW 3-Series comes standard with leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a USB port, HD Radio, and a 9-speaker sound system with a 6.5-inch LCD display. Adaptive cruise control, a hands-free power trunklid, and navigation are available.
Current incentives: Kelley Blue Book researchers indicate a 2014 BMW 3-Series in good or better condition can range from $16,930 to $20,079 and has a typical mileage of about 55,000. Search local used car dealerships to find one.