Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Automotive
Published on 01-14-2009
It’s every young boy’s dream: getting the keys to a $100,000 Porsche or Jaguar and driving it off the lot the first time. You hit the accelerator and you’re pressed to your seat as the wheels dig into the pavement and the car rockets forward. Unfortunately, few among us can afford such a luxury in our lifetimes. And really, what is a car except a way to get from one place to another faster than walking? At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Fortunately, there are several quality cars priced in the $10,000 range to get the rest of us around just fine. You may not be able to go zero to sixty in under five seconds in any of them, but for the price conscious among us these models represent the best of an affordable group of vehicles.
Starting at $11,070, the 2009 Hyundai Accent is a carryover from 2008, but still a solid car for the price. And you can most likely talk them down to the 10’s if you really try. It comes in two variations – hatchback (3 door) and sedan (4 door), and it’s available in three trims, the GS, GLS, and the SE, depending on any extras you want included. With a 1.6 liter inline 4 engine, its 110 horses won’t win any drag races around the neighborhood. But the plus side is that you will save a lot of money on gas, as all three trims get 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway.
At an $11,495 starting price, the Kia Rio is slightly more expensive than Hyundai’s offering. It comes only in a 5 door hatchback version; however, like the Accent there are three trims available: the base trim, LX, and SX. The Rio shares the exact same engine as the Hyundai in all three models as well. The car comes standard with a 5 speed manual transmission with overdrive, with a 4 speed automatic version as an option. Other options on the LX and SX include satellite radio, a USB adapter, and leather covered steering wheel.
If you want to go really green and don’t need a lot of space, the smart fortwo may be for you. With a starting price of $11,590, it’s priced just over the Kia Rio, but you’ll make that up in no time with its 33/41 fuel efficiency. Just be prepared for all the stares you’ll get as you drive around in this tiny car. It has a 1.0 liter inline 3 cylinder engine, topping out at 71 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you live in an urban environment where the top speed is 25 miles per hour through the city on a good day, it doesn’t really much matter how many horses you have under the hood. And it’s even said that the fortwo will fit perpendicular in a parallel parking space. That would sure make city parking a lot easier.