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Buying Guide Part 2: Finding A Car For $20,000-$45,000

Posted by Josh Chang on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 @ 09:31 AM

Here is part 2 of our car buying overview based on your price. If you missed the first part, check out our post about what kind of cars you can buy for less than $20,000 here.

$20,000 - $30,000:

This range is probably one of the most common price points you'll hear about when someone mentions they want to buy a new car. There is a ton of variety here, as you can purchase a lot of new sedans, SUV's, and even some NICE sports cars. It really depends on what you need in a car, like do you have kids you'll be taking to soccer practice or are you looking for a car you can use to take that hot date on a romantic joyride along the Charles River?

For SUV's, there are a ton of options including the Nissan Rogue, Toyota Rav4, Kia Sportage, and Honda CR-V. You'll be able to find these cars new and even be able to tack on some options like Navigation or Satellite Radio. For Sedans, you are also looking at tons of options like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, or Honda Civic, again with good options and features.

Now if you're looking for a fun car that might catch the eye of that State Trooper on the Pike if you're not careful, there are some fun choices for you here as well. One new choiceScion FRS Subaru BRZ that comes to mind here is the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ (see right), which were both developed jointly between Scion/Toyota and Subaru and is an awesome 2-seater that looks amazing, blasts down the road, and can handle the quick turns too, all for around $25,000 depending on the options you want. Other options for a fast sports car at this price are the Mazda Miata, Dodge Challenger, Nissan 350Z or the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. 

If you are looking for max fuel economy, this is the price range where you should start exploring hybrids. The Toyota Prius is the flagship hybrid vehicle of our generation and the latest model starts at a modest $24,000, with nearly 50 miles per gallon! Think of all the money you'll save on gas!

Looking to go used? Again, it all depends on the mileage of the car you're looking for in determining what kind of car you can afford. If you are willing to buy a car with at least 25,000 miles on it, you can find some nice cars including the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Infiniti G35 or G37. If you aren't looking for so much luxury, options include well equipped hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Depending on what you're looking for, definitely use sites like Autotrader and Kelly Blue Book to see what is available in your particular area. 

$30,000 - $45,000:

$30,000 was the cut-off point for my dad for all of the cars he bought while I was growing up. Of course, this limited my childhood car experience to Toyota Camrys, Toyota Siennas for the family, and some pretty average SUVs. My mom used to tease me and say we might buy an Audi A4 in a few months, but obviously that never came to fruition. 

My point is, if you are willing to go over $30,000 for your next car, you've got some pretty sweet options. For new cars, you'll be able to pick and choose between a TON of high-endAudi A4 SilverLED vehicles from BMW, Audi, Infiniti, Buick, Lexus, Mercedes, and many more manufacturers. Some examples of upscale small cars you can afford at this range are the Acura ILX and TSX, Audi A3/A4, Inifiniti G, Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon, and Lexus RS.

A lot of your upscale families like to buy cars in this price range (or even a little higher) and go with cars like the Toyota 4Runner, Highlander, Sequoia, or Sienna that make a lot of sense for a family with a few kids running around. A high-end Prius also makes sense here, or even the plug-in version where you can get the equivalent of nearly 100 miles per gallon!

For used cars in these higher ranges, a very general rule of thumb is that you can usually find a used car with decent mileage from the next price range up. So, if your budget is $30,000-$45,000, you can realistically look for cars with good mileage in the $45,000-$60,000 range, but exceptions always exist with used cars. 

$45,000 - $60,000:

As you hit this next range, there is a lot of overlap since these luxury cars are mostly different because of the features they come with. However, you will begin to see more of the luxury SUV's here like the BMW X-series, Lexus RX series, and Audi Q-series which are all insanely comfortable cars. For many of the manufacturers, they will have their next step up in this price range. So for BMW, you can step up from a 3-series to a 5 or 6-series and for Audi, you can step up from an A4 to an A5 or even an A6! 

Some of personal recommendations here are the Audi A6 or A8, Lexus LS-Class, andporsche boxster Mercedes SL-Class. You can also start looking at Porsches if that's your cup of tea, as the Porsche Boxster sits right in this range!

If you aren't looking for so much luxury, you'll be able to find high quality cars made by the mid-class manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Kia, etc. If you find cars in this class, you'll be able to fully load them with tons of features for this price.

Used cars in this range can be really powerful. You'll be able to find relatively good mileage beasts like the BMW M3, Audi S4, Porsche Band Mercedes C63AMG. These cars are awesome and insanely powerful, being just one step down from the ultimate luxury of high-end Porsches and other luxury cars.

Thanks for reading, check back next time and we'll go up and over $60,000, getting to the really luxurious cars that I can't afford.

Topics: Toyota, Buying Guide, New Car, Used Car, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche

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