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Saving Money: New Sedans Under $20,000 USD

Published July 6, 2012

Times are tough, so controlling expenses as much as possible is a definite priority for most middle-income families. Cars with a low price and good gas mileage are becoming increasingly popular. I’ve compiled a list of cars that cost less than 20 grand brand new, perfect for those looking for a reliable yet cheap and efficient car that will help you in saving money.

5) 2012 Ford Focus: Previous generations of the Ford Focus were popular sellers but, except for the SVT version, were a little banal, with quality issues. Then somewhere along the company line, Ford decided to really focus on the Focus, and they did so with great clarity. The new 2012 Ford Focus is visually impressive, fuel efficient, fun to drive, and loaded with features you might be surprised to learn are included on a small, under $20,000 car—like a rearview camera, Automated Parking Assist, SYNC hands-free mobile phone and media system, MyFord Touch touchscreen and voice command system, and MyKey parental controls for limiting speed and audio volume. For 2012, the Focus Coupe is gone, but in its place are a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. An all-new direct-injection, 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine creates an enticing driving experience, with precise handling and control.

4) 2012 Chevrolet Cruze: All-new for 2011, the Chevrolet Cruze continues to be a compact segment leader, almost seeming to be a midsize sedan both inside and out, comfortably seating four adults and able to carry considerable cargo in its very large trunk. Starting at $16,720, the base 2012 Chevy Cruze is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Interestingly, the next-up (1LT) trim gets a 1.4-liter turbocharged four and is priced starting at $18,475. The fuel-efficient darling of the five-member Cruze family is the Cruze ECO, featuring a highway mileage rating of 42 mpg from the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which spares fuel by way of vehicle weight reduction and improved aerodynamics. The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is comfortable and quiet, and includes premium-class safety equipment, Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone connectivity, and remote start.

3) 2012 Hyundai Elantra: With a combined EPA-rated 33 mpg from both GLS and Limited trims, the award-winning 2012 Hyundai Elantra is fitted with a new ActiveECO System for improved engine and transmission performance and a seven-percent increase in fuel economy. Also for 2012, Hyundai has improved the Elantra’s steering calibration, and added fog lights and a passenger-side sun visor extension to the GLS Preferred Package. Powered by a 148-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Elantra gets an all-new six-speed automatic or an all-new six-speed manual. The Hyundai Elantra’s interior is spacious and comfortable, with dash lighting that’s easy on the eyes and an overall design that seems a lot more expensive than the Elantra’s price indicates. ALG (Automotive Lease Guide) recently awarded the Hyundai Elantra its second consecutive honor for highest resale value prediction. Elantra pricing starts at $15,195 for a GLS model with the six-speed manual, and $17,445 for a GLS with the six-speed Shiftronic automatic.

2) 2012 Honda Civic: The all-new 2012 Honda Civic does its duty in 13 different ways. Contributing editor Gary Witzenburg summed it up best in his test drive review: “You want a fairly fuel-efficient small family car? It’s the Civic sedan in DX, LX, EX or EX-L (luxury) trims. You want sedan practicality with still better fuel efficiency? Try the Civic HF. You want to step up to gas-electric-hybrid fuel economy? It’s the Civic Hybrid. You want small-car style? The sexy Civic Coupe (same trim levels as the sedan). You want sporty performance with style, or practicality? Check the 201-hp Si coupe, or sedan. You want to run on compressed natural gas and refill at home? There will even be a new Civic for that.” Most Civic models meet the under $20,000/over 30 mpg test, but the 2012 Honda Civic HF sedan does it best with its combined 33 mpg and $19,455 MSRP, while Civic DX and LX sedans and Civic DX, LX and EX coupes also qualify. A 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine powers the Civic Sedan, Coupe and Civic HF, producing 140 horsepower.

1)       2012 Mazda MAZDA3 with SKYACTIV: Even before its complete redesign for the 2010 model year, the Mazda3 h­­as been a total package standout, with good looks, lots of excellent features and amenities, and a fun-to-drive personality. Mazda fine-tuned the 3 even further for 2012 with the addition of their new SKYACTIV Powertrain-a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to either a new six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission—that delivers class-leading power and up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway for under $20,000. While you can load up a Mazda3, either in sedan or hatchback form, for about $23,400, a 2012 Mazda Mazda3 Touring model features a base price of $18,950, Bluetooth, MP3, side and side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, 16-inch wheels, tire-pressure monitoring, and 155 horsepower.

 

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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