Buying Advice

The average new car price is $40,000, here's the best ones you can get for that money

Kia is offering the Sorento SUV in a hybrid form for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

New car prices keep going up so it was only a matter of time before the average new car price hit the $40,000 threshold. New quarterly analysis by Edmunds showed that the average amount borrowed for a new car in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $35,373. Buyers put an average of $4,734 down on top of that, which makes the average new car price $40,107.

Paying around $40,000 is a sweet spot in the market. It gets buyers into lower cost luxury and premium models as well as most of the mass market offerings. AutomotiveMap has put together a list of the best vehicles you can get for around the $40,000 mark.

2021 Acura TLX

2021 Acura TLX Advance

Photo courtesy of Acura

Price: $37,500
The Acura TLX debuted as a completely redesigned car for the 2021 model year bringing with it a new sportiness and fresh styling outside and in. The TLX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Its cabin is quite nice - decked out in leatherette upholstery with 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, two USB ports, a 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen, seven-inch driver information display, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto make up just some of the items on the standard features list.

Editor's Note: Acura doesn't sell the TLX in a variety of trim levels. Instead, buyers choose the TLX then can add on packages to get what they want. The model described here has no package add-ons. Pictured: 2021 Acura TLX Advance

2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn

2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Price: $39,490
Configure the 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn with two-wheel drive, a crew cab, and 5'7" box to get one of the best trucks at the price point. It comes standard with Ram's tried and true 3.6-liter V6 engine, which provides a good amount of power. Cloth seating for six passengers and a five-inch infotainment screen is standard as well.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Price: $32,660
The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands trim is the most off-road capable version of the SUV, and it's no slouch. The model is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, off-road suspension, advanced four-wheel drive with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit, a Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. modes, metal bash plates, Trail Control, a 180-degree front camera with washer, front tow hooks, and rubberized flooring. The SUV rides on 17-inch Carbonized Gray-painted aluminum wheels wrapped in 28.5-inch all-terrain tires.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Price: $36,590
The new-for-2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid comes in just two trim levels: S and EX. The upgraded EX model gets an EPA-estimated 37 mpg and has 227 total system horsepower. The features list for the Sorento Hybrid EX is long and includes a power liftgate, fog lights, a panoramic sunroof, and wireless phone charger. It also comes with a host of safety and driver assist technologies like adaptive cruise control and forward collision avoidance assist.

2021 Genesis G70 2.0T

2021 Genesis G70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Price: $36,000
The Genesis G70 is a sports sedan you probably haven't seen that much on roads near you, but you should. They should be everywhere. For under $40,000, buyers can get their hands on a rear-wheel drive G70 2.0T with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It has the buyer's choice of gray or black leatherette upholstery.

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL

2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Price: $39,470
The Ridgeline might not be a typical truck in the looks category, but for the 2021 model year the Honda has gotten some aesthetic beef thanks to a design refresh. The truck continues to have a trunk in its bed and now comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assist technologies. Power comes from the truck's 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.The Ridgeline is most noted for its refined and comfortable interior that's more SUV-like than truck-like. For 2021, that has only improved. The RTL grade (Ridgeline Sport is shown above) is a step up from the base model.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Touring

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Price: $39,995
The Chrysler Pacifica is presently the best minivan you can buy. Its Hybrid version (shown above in the Pinnacle grade) adds plug-in electric capability to the equation offering over 30 miles of gasoline-free driving per charge and running like a typical hybrid when the battery has been depleted or the van needs some extra oomph. With the Pacifica Hybrid Touring buyers get their choice of a number of included paint colors, 17-inch machined aluminum wheels with gray pockets wrapped in all-season tires, premium cloth bucket seats in black or cognac, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen.

2021 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX Advance

Photo courtesy of Acura

Price: $38,400
Acura sells gobs of RDXs and it's really no mystery as to why. The SUV is fun to drive, has abundant cargo space, and is easy on the eyes. Add in the comfortable seats that offer plenty of space, and the RDX turns into one of the best family haulers out there, empty nest or not. The 2021 RDX rides on standard 19-inch glitter silver wheels, gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower, and has a host of infotainment features like a nine-speaker audio system, two USB ports, HD Radio, a 10.2-inch infotainment system touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. Buyers ca opt for all-wheel drive, which puts the vehicle just a tick over the $40,000 mark.

Editor's Note: Acura doesn't sell the RDX in a variety of trim levels. Instead, buyers choose the RDX then can add on packages to get what they want. The model described here has no package add-ons. Shown: 2019 Acura RDX Advance

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Price: $35,300
Not only does the fanciest and most tech-forward Hyundai Sonata Hybrid you can buy get 47 mpg, it also has a solar roof. It also doesn't lack oomph, with 192 horsepower from its propulsion system at the ready. The car has a 12.3-inch fully-digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen. It also sports plenty of head- and legroom, cargo space, and forward visibility. Pricing for the sedan includes checking nearly every option box, which is standard for the Limited model.

2021 Kia Telluride EX

2020 Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Price: $37,590
Kia is selling the Telluride like gangbusters and it's not hard to see why. The three-row SUV comes standard with a 3.8-liter V6 that supplies plenty of power. Its roster of standard features on the EX trim level includes a power liftgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, Driver Talk, Quiet Mode, a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, wireless smartphone charging, six USB ports, leather-trimmed seats, and more. Add all-wheel drive for just $2,000 more.

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The new ClickShop interface allows customers to shop for and purchase a vehicle online.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

If you like a Mitsubishi but don't like your local Mitsubishi dealership, there's good news. Today Mitsubishi Motors North America has launched a 24-hour digital showroom on mitsubishicars.com that allows customers to start, pause, restart, and complete the car buying process from the comfort and convenience of their home.

Called ClickShop, the process is designed to make the buying process as click, click, car." It rolls together the ability to browse real-time inventory; build a custom deal, with pre-populated, applicable incentives, including payment, trade, and taxes; submit their credit application and book an in-person or virtual appointment. Customers are also not required to submit their contact information to unlock deals.

"Mitsubishi Motors has so much to be proud of in 2021," said Mark Chaffin, Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Operating Officer. "We are delivering a bold, capable and stylish lineup of vehicles that will result in one of the freshest showrooms in the industry, and we are delivering a fast, fair and fun car-buying experience to our customers. Tools like ClickShop allow us to deliver on what really matters to the modern customer by using data in a thoughtful, strategic way."

Still wondering how it works? Mitsubishi has a handy video you can watch the explains the process.

Between now and the end of the second quarter of 2021, Mitsubishi Motors will launch three revised vehicles and one all-new, ground-up redesign.

"We want people to feel good about buying a car, after all it is one of the most expensive purchases people will make in their lifetime," said Richard Herod III, White Bear Mitsubishi (White Bear Lake, Minn.) Dealer Principal. "This means we have to meet them where they are, be respectful of their time and sensitive to their budget, and we must be transparent. ClickShop allows us to show up for and support our customers, even before they walk in the door."

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The Kia Stinger gets a refresh for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

When it debuted in 2017, the Kia Stinger was heralded as the beginning of a new generation of high-performing sports sedan. Though sportier than the traditional sedan, the Stinger still hasn't hit the same capability note as its German rivals. It hasn't gotten the same sales numbers either, managing just over 11,000 new car deliveries in 2020.

A few years in now, the Stinger is up for a refresh. Kia is promising "more power, more technology, and a refined design". Expect much of the styling and technology that is in the Kia K5 while increased performance will likely pull the 2022 Stinger solidly ahead of the K5.

2021 Kia Stinger The 2021 Kia Stinger is a sports sedan that doesn't fare well against its German rivals. Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia, which shares a Hyundai Motor Group parent company with the Hyundai and Genesis brands, may be a beneficiary of the research that has gone in to Hyundai N and N Line models. The resulting engineering managed to turn the Hyundai Elantra compact car into a hot hatch-like competition and the Sonata into a connected, albeit harsh-riding, sporty sedan. The Hyundai Veloster N is a champion on and off the track.

The Stinger's dimensions are comparable to the BMW M4's. Though the 2021 M4 is only available as a coupe for the 2021 model year and has a price tag around $22,000 more than the Stinger, it delivers a more impassioned drive experience. It gets 473 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The M4's engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

As part of a generational redesign for the 2022 model year, the BMW M4 saw its power bumped up. The M4 gets 48 more horsepower while its Competition models get a 59-horsepower and 73 pound-feet of torque upgrade over previous Competition package-equipped cars. The 2022 M4 Coupe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

The Stinger currently has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood that generates 255 horsepower in the base model GT Line trim. The Stinger GT2, the most powerful variant, has a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 tucked under there, generating 365 horsepower. Simply put, Kia has its work cut out for it.

At least it will be unique looking. The Stinger teaser photos distributed by the automaker features headlights that look more like those on the Toyota Supra than on the K5, emphasizing the car's athletic shoulders.

The 2022 Kia Stinger will be fully revealed on March 16.

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