Mazda seems to believe that everyone deserves to love driving, regardless of budget. As a result, the Mazda3 starts at just over $18K, yet makes zero compromises. It’s comfortable, safe and dependable, yet handsome, luxurious and fun to drive.
The only two competitors that come close to the 3’s well-roundedness are the Honda Civic and VW Golf. The Civic gets a few more mpg, and the Golf offers 10 percent more cargo space, but neither can match the Mazda3’s interior quality, driving bliss, or mature looks.
If you’re searching for a sub-$20K all-rounder, the Mazda3 reigns king.