New cars are getting expensive with the average price in the U.S. being $47,100 in 2021. That can certainly make shopping for a car daunting and stressful.
Thankfully there is no need to despair, as plenty of options are below the $47,000 mark. You might assume that those cars would be dreary, base models and have all the pizzazz and character of a glass of tap water, but you’d be wrong.
Here are five fully loaded cars, that aren’t terrible, that you can buy today for less than $40,000.
2022 Toyota GR86 Premium – $31,532
The refreshed GR86 is one of the best small sports cars on the market. It comes with 228 horsepower and gets 31 mpg on the freeway. It also comes with razor-sharp handling and a fun factor that can’t be matched by more expensive sports cars. The base model starts at a reasonable $27, 700.
If you’re going to go for the fully-loaded version, start with the Premium trim. That bumps the base price up to $30,300 and gives you a much better interior experience. Adding the Halo exterior color option adds $425 to the base price. There aren’t any additional packages to bloat the price, so that frees up some cash for the accessories. Floor mats and cup holder accessories are a matter of personal preference, but the GR Appearance Kit ($249) and GR Shift Knob ($149) add a bit of cool. Add in a few extras like floor mats ($249) and wheel locks ($80), and you’re still only at $31,532 fully loaded.
2022 Hyundai Veloster N – $35,340
The Hyundai Veloster N is a performance hot hatch revelation. First released in 2019, it garnered rave reviews and proved to be a brilliant little car. That’s in large part due to Hyundai’s motorsport experience in WRC and TCR competition as well as the strategic hiring of several BMW M Division engineers.
The base Veloster N costs $32,500. If you spec the car with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission it adds another $1,500 to the price. There are no options packages for the Veloster N, but a few choice accessories like the interior lighting kit ($250) and wheel locks ($65) bring the total up to $34,315. There is a $1,025 freight charge to deal with, and that brings the total to $35,340. For that money, you get one of the best hatchbacks on the market and one of the most fun cars you can drive.
2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI – $35,854
I know what you’re going to say, “what about the GTI?” Interestingly, even though the Jetta GLI and GTI share many of the same components, the GTI is significantly more expensive. A fully loaded GTI in the Autobahn trim just nudges past $40,000.
The Jetta GLI is the GTI’s twin, just with a trunk. With a base price of $31,745, you get the 228 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission. Choosing the Autobahn trim and the fantastic seven-speed DSG gearbox ups the price and the equipment to $32,540.
The GLI is well equipped from the factory, and there aren’t a lot of options packages to choose from, just trim levels. A premium paint color adds $295, and selecting the Black Package ($595) and Trenton wheels ($1,749) gives the compact sedan a great look. A remote starter ($405) and rear sunshades ($270) completes the build and brings the total, fully loaded, to $35,854 with a $995 destination charge.
2022 Toyota Camry – $39,585
Amazingly you can get a brand new, fully loaded Toyota Camry for under $40,000. The Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the past 19 years. While it may not deliver the fun and verve that the GR86 does, it is a competent, reliable car that will do everything you ask of it.
The top Camry trim is the XLE V6 and has a base price of $35,170. The Navigation Upgrade package adds $2,020 to the price. Taking a trip down the accessory aisle gives us wheel locks, floor and trunk liners, dual rear USB ports, an integrated dashcam, illuminated door sills, and a rear spoiler. That combination adds $1,310 and when you factor in the $1,025 delivery charge brings the total of a top trim Camry to $39,585.
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata – $39,450
The Mazda MX-5 Miata has long been the answer for people searching for a fun-to-drive sports car. There are two versions of the car available, the standard convertible or the removable hardtop version, the RF. The standard Miata starts at $27,300, while the RF starts at $35,000.
Configuring a Miata can be tricky, as certain packages and options are only available on specific trim levels. To maximize the fun factor, we chose to go with the Club trim with the optional Brembo Brakes and Recaro Seat Package. That ups the price to $35,300.
Start playing with the options and you might add premium paint ($595), Interior Package ($495), Interior Lighting Kit ($350), wheel locks ($65), Weather Package ($150), Navigation System ($400), Front Strut Tower Brace ($560), Lower Arm Bar ($250), and Tunnel Under Bars ($1000). That brings the fully loaded total up to $39,450.
Buying a new car can be stressful. With supply low and demand high, the average cost of a new car keeps rising. Having a lower budget does not mean you have to lower your standards as plenty of fully loaded options are available.