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There are tons of lists out there, offering the best cars for families, cars with the best gas mileage, and cars with the best safety ratings. And all of these categories are certainly important. But in today’s economy, many Americans are also looking for value in terms of the best car for those on a budget.

There is one new ride available that fits the bill. The 2020 Mazda3 continues to punch above its weight and is one car that seems to have been built specifically for those buyers who are on a budget.

The best car on a budget

Based on a variety of criteria, the 2020 Mazda3 ranks the best in providing the most car for the money. Very few small sedans can master personality, practicality, and affordability, quite like this one does.

Both the sedan and hatchback varieties come with peppy inline-four engines, with options for automatic and manual transmissions. Anyone not completely convinced on graduating to a pint-sized crossover will love that this Mazda3 can be equipped with all-wheel drive, too.

The sedan MSRP starts at $21,500, and the hatchback starts at $23,600, according to U.S. News, making this car even more attractive to the bank account. The Car Connection weighed in and evaluated this car to be the absolute best on a budget, with an overall score of 6.7 out of a possible ten-point scale.

What the critics like most about the 2020 Mazda3

Not everything is perfect, and The Car Connection team points out areas of improvement for the Mazda3, like the outdated infotainment system. But overall, this car has plenty to love.

The critics really enjoy the Mazda3 sedan’s sporty handling and peppy powertrain. They rank it a seven out of 10 in performance and suggest it offers a completely balanced ride.

The Car Connection staff also points out this car’s top-notch comfort and quality materials. There are comfortable seats for all, and in some ways make it feel like a sports car. The interior appointments are premium, harkening to the experience of a luxury car. The 2020 Mazda3 is the compact car that works really hard at being anything but cheap or standard.

Other budget-friendly cars on the list

Mazda isn’t the only automaker producing budget-friendly rides. And The Car Connection affordability list features a few other models that can be considered quite economical.

The 2020 Hyundai Venue scored well and earned 17% of the votes in this contest. The 2020 Kia Soul also did well with 21% of the tallies. Even the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Versa both made this budget-conscious list.

But in the end, it was the 2020 Mazda3 that came out ahead with a whopping 49% of the votes.

Why so many people love the 2020 Mazda3


The Pros and Cons of Buying a 2020 Mazda3 Sedan

Mazda is a brand that always seems to remember that while people really need affordability, it doesn’t mean they want to compromise on having nice things. Nearly every Mazda vehicle in the lineup offers upscale features and options.

But even entry-level trims come handsomely equipped. The 2020 Mazda3 knows it’s a budget-friendly car, but it too brings extras that help owners feel like they’re behind the wheel of more car than they’ve paid for ultimately.

Choose from the base, Select, Preferred, or Premium trims, each bringing more to the table. But handling and performance of the 2.5-liter inline-four married to the hefty roster of driver assistance features are available at every level.

When it comes to finding bang for the buck, there’s only one car that seems to fit the bill. If you’re on a budget, but desperately need pep, ride quality, fuel economy, and upscale touchpoints, the 2020 Mazda3 deserves a look. You’ll feel confident behind the wheel and won’t lose sleep knowing you didn’t pay a fortune for such a finely tuned ride.