The average price of a new vehicle in America right now is just under $50,000. According to Kelley Blue Book, the figure is $48,008. That is a lot of coin for most folks. If you calculate that you put 20 percent down on that price, the total loan would be $38,406. Over the course of 60 months, your loan would cost $724 a month after tax, tags, and title. This doesn't even include destination charges of around $1,000. Yikes, that's a lot of money. But who says you have to spend that much? Some of the best vehicles we've driven this year are quite a bit less than that. Here are the 5 best vehicles for less than $40,000 MSRP. 

1. 2023 Mazda CX-50


The CX-50 is a new model for Mazda, and boy did they do their homework. Touted as a more rugged companion to the company's best-selling CX-5, the CX-50 does almost everything better than its superb stablemate. The exterior looks tougher than anything in the Mazda lineup, but it still easily manages to have some refined touches such as the thin headlights, great body creases, and stunning wheels. You can get the upgraded turbocharged engine with 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque in the 2.5 Turbo S trim level for $38,000 base MSRP. The CX-50 also gets a unique all-wheel drive system, a stunning interior, and the ability to tow 3,500 pounds. The most important aspect, however, is the CX-50's tremendously rewarding driving experience, making it unlike any other crossover at this price. 

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2. 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i

bmw x1

The X1 has been redesigned for the 2023 model year, and it's better than ever. The brand's least expensive model doesn't scrimp on sport and luxury. The body styling gets more upscale like its X3 sibling, and the interior is totally new with a fresh floating center console and one of the best infotainment systems in the business. The base MSRP for this German steed is a surprising $38,600, and the turbocharged 4-cylinder delivers 241 horses (13 more than last year) and 291 lb-ft of torque. The brakes, steering, and handling combine for a very rewarding driving experience, too. Last but certainly not least, the new X1 nails safety tests and earns the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.

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3. 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid

honda crv hybrid

We didn't expect the redesigned CR-V Hybrid to be so good. Sure, the CR-V has been the brand's best selling model for a little while, but the new one ups its game significantly with a stunning interior and exterior, as well as the remarkable the top Sport Hybrid Touring trim that starts at $39,500 base MSRP. The CR-V drives well, and it has just about more space than the competition. Standard equipment at this trim level includes heated leather seats in front, dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated leather steering wheel, a Bose premium sound system, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It's most impressive feature, however, is the super-efficient hybrid powertrain that delivers an impressive 40 mpg combined. 

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4. 2023 Toyota GR86


If it's a sports car you want, the redesigned GR86 presents the best option for the money. At a shocking base MSRP of $30,500, the GR86 provides daily driving thrills, an awesome manual transmission, and poor man's Porsche-like looks. The GR86's power has been elevated to 228 from the old car's so-so 205 horses. It also gets rev-matching, a limited-slip differential, LED Lighting, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Smart Key System with Pushbutton start, an 8" touchscreen infotainment system, and an 8-speaker audio system with amplifier. The most important aspect, though, is the way the car drives. It's almost telepathic the way it takes corners. 

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5. 2023 Hyundai Palisade


If there was one way to make the already stellar Palisade even better, it was to make the front fascia better looking. The old grille didn't seem to match the rest of the car, and Hyundai got rid of it for 2023. Thank goodness because the new, larger grille looks far better. The DRLs meld with the grille within the frame, and the vertical headlights fit well, too. The Palisade looks more refined, as a result, and it gives the attractive and hotter-selling sibling Kia Telluride a run for its money. Even the mid-range SEL trim comes in at $39,150, which makes it a tremendous value, especially with standard features like 18" alloy wheels, a 12.3" infotainment screen, heated side mirrors, power-adjustable and heated front seats, second-row captain's chairs, power liftgate, remote start, and much more. Don't forget that it's an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. 

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