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Interested in a specific brand of car? Here’s the entry level car offering for each major manufacturer for an introduction.

Just for Starters

Entry level cars have to both be affordable and make a strong impression on what are often either first time car buyers or buyers new to the brand. With some brands, like FIAT and Mitsubishi, it’s easy to identify the entry-level car because their lineups are so sparse. But other brands, like Mercedes-Benz for instance, offer a dizzying number of nameplates and it can be hard to know where to begin. To help, we’re listing the best entry-level vehicle for each manufacturer. That means not simply the cheapest thing in a given lineup but perhaps the best introduction to a given brand.

Acura

2021 Acura ILX - acuranews.com
2021 Acura ILX - acuranews.com

Acura’s entry level sedan, the ILX, starts at just $26,100. For that price you’ll find a stylish cabin full of modern features and great fuel economy.

Alfa Romeo

2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

You can buy into the Alfa Romeo life with the Giulia which starts at $39,400. It’s got power and style in equal measure and offers scalpel sharp handling for a great introduction to the brand.

Aston Martin

2021 Aston Martin Vantage - media.astonmartin.com
2021 Aston Martin Vantage - media.astonmartin.com

Aston Martins don’t come cheap. Their entry level car is the Aston Martin Vantage which starts at $139,000. For that money you get one of the most beautiful sports cars in the world. That and a 503 horsepower V8 and a new convertible option for 2021.

Audi

2020 Audi A3 - audiusa.com
2020 Audi A3 - audiusa.com

Like it’s German competitors, Audi runs a vague alphanumeric naming convention so you’re not at fault for not knowing its entry level vehicle is the Audi A3, a respectable small luxury sedan starting at $33,300. If you’re more into crossovers there’s also the Audi Q3 starting at $34,000.

BMW

2021 BMW X1 - bmwusa.com
2021 BMW X1 - bmwusa.com

The BMW X1 starts at $35,400. The compact crossover serves as a sporty introduction to the brand for those who don’t want to sacrifice utility for something like the 2-Series.

Buick

2021 Buick Encore - media.buick.com
2021 Buick Encore - media.buick.com

Buick may be out of the sedan business, but the Encore, starting at $24,600, is good replacement. Among its subcompact crossover cohort, the Encore is a cut above with a comfortable, quiet ride and a high-quality interior.

Cadillac

2021 Cadillac CT4 - media.cadillac.com
2021 Cadillac CT4 - media.cadillac.com

“Small” and “affordable” aren’t historically how one describes Cadillacs, but the Cadillac CT4, starting at $33,395, is both of those things and yet retains what makes the brand special, classic American luxury.

Chevrolet

2021 Chevrolet Spark - media.chevrolet.com
2021 Chevrolet Spark - media.chevrolet.com

Most of the cars on this list are small, practical, and affordable. The Chevrolet Spark takes that last part to the extreme with an initial price of just $13,400. The tiny two-door hatch offers perks like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard features.

Chrysler

2021 Chrysler Pacifica - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Chrysler Pacifica - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

While the Chrysler 300, at $30,445 is the company’s most affordable model we’d recommend their impressive minivan, the Pacifica as the better introduction to the brand. It starts at $35,195.

Dodge

2020 Dodge Journey - dodge.com
2020 Dodge Journey - dodge.com

Similar to the Chrysler example, the Dodge Journey, starting at $23,675, is the most affordable Dodge out there. But the better introduction to the Dodge brand is certainly the muscle-bound Challenger at $28,095.

Ferrari

2021 Ferrari Roma - corporate.ferrari.com
2021 Ferrari Roma - corporate.ferrari.com

“Affordable” isn’t in the Ferrari vocabulary and the Ferrari Roma, starting at $222,620, won’t be affordable for most, but it is the lowest price point for getting into a brand-new Ferrari.

FIAT

2020 Fiat 124 Spider - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2020 Fiat 124 Spider - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

The FIAT 500L starts at $22,500, which is good but not great compared to other compact crossovers and hatchbacks. We recommend the 124 Spider at $25,390 as a much more unique and fun alternative.

Ford

2021 Ford Bronco Sport - media.ford.com
2021 Ford Bronco Sport - media.ford.com

Ford ditched the likes of the feisty Fiesta in favor of the bland EcoSport, which starts at $19,995. And while the Escape starts at $24,900, it too is unremarkable. For a taste of the Ford of old, consider the new Bronco Sport which starts at $26,820.

Genesis

2021 Genesis G70 - genesis.com
2021 Genesis G70 - genesis.com

The Genesis G70 starts at $36,000. Not only is it affordable, it’s a great introduction to the brand and on the short list for best small luxury cars on the market.

GMC

2021 GMC Canyon - media.gmc.com
2021 GMC Canyon - media.gmc.com

Best known for the likes of the Sierra and the Yukon, GMC’s mid-size truck, the Canyon, showcases what defines the brand, high-quality wedded to rugged utility. It starts at $26,700.

Honda

2021 Honda Civic - hondanews.com
2021 Honda Civic - hondanews.com

For as often as automotive writers joke that “the answer is always a Miata,” the actual answer is usually a Honda Civic. Long a champion of quality and affordability. the Civic starts at just $21,250. But for a real value there are still 2020 Honda Fit models on lots for only $16,190.

Hyundai

2021 Hyundai Accent - hyundaiusa.com
2021 Hyundai Accent - hyundaiusa.com

Hyundai has done well replicating the Toyota/Honda formula of affordability and durability, and recently they’ve been upping their game with fashion-forward styling and flashy interiors. The Hyundai Accent is a great representation of the brand with generous options, good looks, and efficient powertrains. It starts at $15,395.

Infiniti

2021 Infiniti Q50 - usa.infinitinews.com
2021 Infiniti Q50 - usa.infinitinews.com

The Infiniti Q50 comes with a punchy V6, sleek styling, and a comfortable ride. The Q50 starts at $36,700.

Jaguar

2021 Jaguar E-Pace - media.jaguar.com
2021 Jaguar E-Pace - media.jaguar.com

Jaguar lineup begins with the E-Pace, a compact crossover that starts at $39,950. The E-Pace is notable for its sharp handling, sharper looks, and potent powertrains.

Jeep

2021 Jeep Wrangler - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Jeep Wrangler - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

Yes, the Jeep lineup’s most affordable option is the Jeep Renegade, starting at $22,850. However, the Renegade is a run-of-the-mill compact crossover, and there are plenty of great alternatives at that price. For a real taste of what Jeep is all about look toward the classic Wrangler which starts at $28,475.

Kia

2021 Kia Soul - kia.com
2021 Kia Soul - kia.com

Similarly, Kia’s compact car, the Rio, starting at $16,050, might be the most affordable model on the lot, but the Kia Soul, starting at $17,590, is even more compelling. The Soul offers tight handling, loads of unique style, and the most cargo and passenger room in the subcompact segment.

Lamborghini

2021 Lamborghini Huracan - media.lamborghini.com
2021 Lamborghini Huracan - media.lamborghini.com

If you’ve recently made a fortune Bitcoin farming or become the latest viral video sensation, there’s the Lamborghini Huracán, starting at $214,866, to help ease your transition into the fast lane lifestyle. For your first supercar, we recommend the Arancio Xanto (orange) paint job.

Land Rover

2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport - media.landrover.com
2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport - media.landrover.com

Land Rover has been making luxury SUVs long before they were cool. Now that global tastes have caught up with them, there’s the Land Rover Discovery Sport at $37,800 to whet your palate.

Lexus

2021 Lexus UX - pressroom.lexus.com
2021 Lexus UX - pressroom.lexus.com

Subcompact crossovers have largely supplanted small cars, but with the likes of the Lexus UX, starting at $33,000, we hardly missed them. The UX is an excellent introduction to the Lexus brand with unique styling, gleaming interior, and impressive reliability.

Lincoln

2021 Lincoln Corsair - lincoln.com
2021 Lincoln Corsair - lincoln.com

The smallest of Lincoln’s offerings, the Corsair starts at just $36,105. This compact crossover promises all the refinement of the gigantic Navigator in miniature form.

Maserati

2021 Maserati Ghibli - media.maserati.com
2021 Maserati Ghibli - media.maserati.com

As Maserati says on its website, the Ghibli ($74,740), is for those who “aren’t like everybody else”. Sure, it’s fast and has a properly aggressive exhaust note, but it’s the flashy Italian design that really sets it apart from other luxury sports cars.

Mazda

2021 Mazda CX-3 - news.mazdausa.com
2021 Mazda CX-3 - news.mazdausa.com

The smallest in Mazda’s lineup, the CX-3 starts at $20,790. And like the rest of their lineup, the CX-3 features engaging driving dynamics and a chic design both inside and out. It’s a great ambassador for the brand.

Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - mbusa.com
2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - mbusa.com

Great things can come in small packages, so proves the Mercedes-Benz A-Class starting at $33,650. It’s all the refinement and class of the rest of the Mercedes lineup in a bitesize package.

MINI

2021 MINI Hardtop 2-door - miniusanews.com
2021 MINI Hardtop 2-door - miniusanews.com

Fun and affordable had been MINI’s MO from the beginning. And that still holds true today with the Mini Hardtop 2-door starting at just $19,750.

Mitsubishi

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage - media.mitsubishicars.com
2021 Mitsubishi Mirage - media.mitsubishicars.com

The Mitsubishi Mirage, starting at just $14,295, is one of the most affordable compact cars on the market.

Nissan

2021 Nissan Versa - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Versa - usa.nissannews.com

The Nissan Versa, starting at $14,980, is a neat little compact that packs a ton of value into its diminutive frame with great fuel economy and loads of safety tech.

Porsche

2021 Porsche Macan - porsche.com
2021 Porsche Macan - porsche.com

It was the Porsche Cayenne that proved the theory that you could build a crossover that didn’t drive like a crossover. The smaller Porsche Macan, starting at $52,100, offers that signature Porsche handling in a neat, compact crossover package.

RAM

2021 RAM 1500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 RAM 1500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

RAM doesn’t have the biggest lineup in the auto industry, but it doesn’t have to when it makes something as good (and profitable) as the RAM 1500, starting at $32,595.

Subaru

2021 Subaru Impreza - subaru.com
2021 Subaru Impreza - subaru.com

In hatch or sedan, the AWD Subaru Impreza offers great value and plenty of fun for just $18,795 starting out.

Tesla

Tesla Model 3 - tesla.com
Tesla Model 3 - tesla.com

Your inauguration into an all-electric future can begin with the Tesla Model 3 for just $38,490. The minimalist interior design contrasts with a blistering 0-60 time in the 3 second range.

Toyota

2021 Toyota Corolla - pressroom.toyota.com
2021 Toyota Corolla - pressroom.toyota.com

The Toyota Corolla is a classic of the affordable, entry-level car genre for a reason. For just $20,025 starting out, the Corolla pack on style, safety, and that signature Toyota reliability. Few cars can match the value proposition of the stalwart Corolla.

Volkswagen

2021 Volkswagen Jetta - media.vw.com
2021 Volkswagen Jetta - media.vw.com

No stranger to small, fun, affordable cars, Volkswagen is still at it with the Jetta, starting at $18,995.

Volvo

2021 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com
2021 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com

Scandinavian simplicity never felt so right as from behind the wheel of the Volvo XC40, starting at $33,700. This compact crossover maybe at the low end their lineup it’s also a big seller and a great representation of the brand thanks to it’s refined ride and regal interior.

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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