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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 Volkswagen Golf
Starting MSRP: $19,895
Why it’s worth the price: The sporty, five-passenger Volkswagen Golf packs an impressive list of standard features for a compact car. The S base trim is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It makes 170 horsepower and achieves 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. An infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity are standard.
The Golf earned top scores in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All trims comes with a rearview camera. The new-for-2017 Wolfsburg Edition trim adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
Current incentives: Check your local Volkswagen dealership for offers and incentives.
2017 Chevrolet Sonic
Starting MSRP: $15,145
Why it’s worth the price: Spacious, powerful, and dynamic, the Chevrolet Sonic is one of the best small cars under $20,000. The Sonic’s LS base trim runs on a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 138 horsepower and gets an estimated 38 mpg combined in the city and on the highway. New for 2017, the five-passenger subcompact comes standard with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. A built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is available.
The Sonic earned a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A rearview camera is standard, which is rare for the Sonic’s price point. Rear park assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert are available.
Current incentives: Check your local Chevrolet dealership for offers and incentives.
2017 Jeep Patriot
Starting MSRP: $18,040
Why it’s worth the price: The Jeep Patriot is the Detroit brand’s second-smallest model (after the Renegade), offering off-road prowess at a reasonable price. The five-passenger compact SUV comes in five trims – including a 75th anniversary edition – that offer varying degrees of comfort and capability. The Sport base model runs on a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is also available. Bluetooth, a USB port, and satellite radio are standard.
The Patriot earned four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, falling short in frontal and rollover crash tests.
Current incentives: Check your local Jeep dealership for offers and incentives.
2015 Nissan Altima
KBB.com Fair Purchase Price: $15,552
Why it’s worth the price: A stalwart reliable midsize sedan, the Nissan Altima provides even stronger value a year or two after it’s been driven off the lot. The five-passenger car’s base model comes with a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. It gets strong fuel economy for its class at 27 mpg around town and 38 mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Nissan Altima received a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A rearview camera, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic detection are available for the model year.
Current incentives: Kelley Blue Book researchers indicate a 2015 Nissan Altima in good or better condition can range from $14,468 to $16,635 and has a typical mileage of about 34,000. Search local used car dealerships to find one.
2013 Cadillac CTS
KBB.com Fair Purchase Price: $18,623
Why it’s worth the price: The 2013 Cadillac CTS cost more than twice as much when it was new, but its styling and performance still can compete with some modern luxury rivals. Available as a coupe or a sedan, the base model is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers a substantial 270 horsepower. A 318-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 and a 556-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 were also offered for the 2013 model year. Bluetooth and an eight-way power driver’s seat are standard.
The CTS earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and top scores in most crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the 2013 model year.
Current incentives: Kelley Blue Book researchers indicate a 2013 Cadillac CTS in good or better condition can range from $17,360 to $19,885 and has a typical mileage of about 44,000. Search local used car dealerships to find one.
2016 Honda Accord
KBB.com Fair Purchase Price: $18,860
Why it’s worth the price: Refreshed for 2016, the Honda Accord is a perennially strong choice for anyone shopping for a reliable midsize sedan with ample performance and interior space. The base model runs on a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission is available. Bluetooth, a USB port, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display come standard.
The 2016 Honda Accord earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A rearview camera is standard. The Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features including forward collision warning and lane keep assist is available on models equipped with an automatic transmission.
Current incentives: Kelley Blue Book researchers indicate a 2016 Honda Accord in good or better condition can range from $17,629 to $20,090 and has a typical mileage of about 34,000. Search local used car dealerships to find one.