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Top auto bets for under $50,000 (Part I of II)

We hope you enjoy these “Best X for X” posts. Of all the blog posts out there, we find these to be some of the highest value. After all, if you’re going to take the time out of your busy day to read a blog or online article, you’ll do it for one (or both) of two reasons: 1) to entertain you; 2) to provide a tangible takeaway. We feel our posts here always, ALWAYS, provide both, wouldn’t you agree?

All kidding aside, this one might not entertain (we try our best) in the sense of leaving you holding your midsection and banging your fist uncontrollably off the head of your poor pup, but it will provide a tangible takeaway, we’re certain of that. So, what are we chatting about today?

It is likely that most folks can afford in one way or another a car in the $50,000 range. Not that you have a spare $50,000 lying around but financing a $50,000 or under car is a snap these days. The options are ever-present, so if you’re a working guy or gal this is in your proverbial wheelhouse.

Not surprisingly, there are several rides to choose from under $50,000, but only few real, great bets. In any event though, a post like this needs to have some direction so we’re going to break this down per category.

Compact Rides

Audi A3

A heck of a bargain at $42,000, the A3 is a perky customer despite having put on some weight over the years. Within the Audi line-up the A3 is a compact sports sedan, featuring 288 horsepower and a whopping 280 pounds-feet of torque. This Audi is fun and performs exceptionally well at this price point. A real steal of a car for under $50,000.


Coming in way under (and we do mean way under) $50,000, you could get your hands on a new GTI for just $27,595. Talk about a genuinely good-looking ride for little to no money. Honestly, VW might come to their senses one day and hike the price up because this is absurd. Known in car circles as a “hot hatch,” VW first rolled the GTI off the assembly line in 1976 and this lively 2.0-liter beast has been punching above its weight ever since.

Midsized Sedans

Lexus IS 350 F Sport

Now talk about a difference maker. Lexus revamped their grill some time back and while some models have been slow to catch on, the 350’s size and shape is an excellent complement to this new grill look. Radical styling is a phrase we’d use here, and with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, the IS comes in at $45,225 and is competing in one of the most contested segments in the auto market. Oh, and we didn’t mention the IS will whip you from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

Mazda6 Signature

You might sense we’re all over the map here because this car retails for $22,995 and we’re in the same group as the previously mentioned IS 350 for $20,000 more. But this post is on steals for under $50,000, and the Mazda6 Signature is a steal under $50,000, under $40,000, and under $30,000 for that matter. Perhaps this isn’t the car for you, but how about that kid who just turned 16 or your college sophomore. If you want to add a bit more bang to the performance, upgrade to the turbocharged version with a more luxurious interior for just a hair over $35,000.

Stay tuned for Part II!

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