8 Great New Cars You Can Buy for Under the Average American New Car Price

The average American pays more than $40,000 for a new vehicle, but you can find fun cars for less than that.

ford bronco
Ford

Americans spend a startling amount on new cars. The average sticker price for a new vehicle has been hovering a hair above $40,000 in recent years, around the cost of an entry-level Mercedes-Benz or BMW. Those pickup trucks and SUVs we love? Yeah, they can get pricey.

We can leave the debate about whether those are smart outlays of capital to economists, but we will note that you don't need to spend nearly that much to buy a great, fun-to-drive car. Many of our favorite sports cars, purpose-built off-roaders and other entertaining rides can be hard for much less than $40,000.

Here are eight fun cars that cost less than the average new car.

vw gti
VW
1 of 10
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The legendary Mk7 GTI is on sale for a few more months. It may be the best daily driver you can buy, at any price. We love the base "S" model, but you can load up a fancy Autobahn trim, add some premium rims and still come in under the $40,000 mark.

Starting Price: $28,695

READ OUR REVIEW

mazda mx 5 rf 2021
Mazda
2 of 10
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes standard with RWD, a 6-speed-manual, a lightweight body and impeccable chassis tuning. It may be the best affordable sports car you can buy. We would keep it basic, but you could tack on the RF retractable roof and the BBS Brembo Recaro package to the sporty Club trim and still slide in under $40,000.

Starting Price: $26,830

READ OUR REVIEW

2021 jeep® wrangler sahara
FCA US LLC
3 of 10
2021 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler may be the best off-roader out there (we still haven't driven the Bronco yet). A $40,000 ceiling won't get you into the excellent hybrid 4xe or the audacious Wrangler 392, but you can still get a four-door, decently appointed Willys Sport trim — and have enough left over to throw in a removable hardtop.

Starting Price: $28,900

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this time of year, green is on everyone’s mind with spring just around the corner, st patrick’s day celebrations and rivers of green – everyone feels the need for green now, there’s one more green cause to celebrate – the all new need for green hue available on the 2019 mustang
Ford
4 of 10
2021 Ford Mustang GT

The Mustang may be the best performance bargain around. If you can live with cloth seats, you can get the GT's raucous 5.0-liter V8 with a manual for less than $40,000.

Starting Price: $36,285

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all new f 150 limited in smoked quartz tinted clearcoat
Ford
5 of 10
These Are the 16 Best Cars to Buy in 2021

Kelley Blue Book has revealed the best cars to buy awards for 2021. The results may surprise you.

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2020 tacoma gear patrol
Toyota
6 of 10
2021 Toyota Tacoma

Other trucks are superior in many ways, but it's hard to find anything as fun as a Taco when you leave the pavement. The starting price is misleading, as a sensible person would go for the double cab and 4x4. But you can still completely level up a 2021 Trail edition for less than $40,000.

Starting Price: $26,400

READ OUR REVIEW

hyundai veloster n
Hyundai
7 of 10
2021 Hyundai Veloster N

The Veloster N has a quirky three-door body, and it doesn't offer the smoothest ride. But with nearly 300 hp and two great transmission options, it is an absolute riot to drive. Hyundai made buying a Veloster N easy: choose one of four colors; decide manual or automatic; and boom, you're out of there for less than $35,000.

Starting Price: $32,250

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2021 ford bronco 4 door
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
8 of 10
2021 Ford Bronco

We haven't driven it yet, but we have ridden in the 2021 Bronco and, thus, can confirm it is fun. Getting it under $40,000 is harder than you would think — if you add a hardtop and four doors to the base trim you're already above $36,000 — but it is doable. Be prepared to wait patiently.

Starting Price: $28,500

READ OUR REVIEW

2022 subaru outback wilderness
Subaru
9 of 10
2021 Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is a super-capable, gear-toting adventure wagon. And $40,000 can get you a lot of Outback. You can even level up to the larger 260-horsepower engine with the Onyx Edition XT — or go full-on Outback Wilderness.

Starting Price: $26,945

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vw golf 2020
VW
10 of 10
The Best Cheap Car Sold in America Is Going Away, And It's All Your Fault

Got a crossover parked in your driveway? Then yeah, you're the problem.

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