Best new cars cheaper than $40,000

With $40,000, you can buy a lot of car. Let us help you choose the best one.

If your car shopping budget is around the $40,000 mark, you can go home with a very nice car. That budget opens up an incredibly wide array of choices, including some luxury cars and even plush SUVs. With so many options, we wanted our expert editors to put together the best cars under $40,000 so you get the most bang for your buck.

(Note: Though all the vehicles listed here have a base manufacturer's suggested retail price that's under $40,000, some of them offer fully loaded trim levels that can exceed this price cap.) 

I'm going with a somewhat unusual choice for this roundup, because I've recently spent a fair bit of time in Kia's Telluride and I've been really, really impressed. It's remarkably good. I think it looks remarkably good, too, though it has definitely split opinion.

The ride is on the leisurely side of comfortable, but it really is refined, lulling my passengers to sleep on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, the 3.8-liter V6 provides better-than-adequate power and the eight-speed transmission is responsive and unobtrusive, which is really all you can ask for in an automatic in a rig like this.

You can get in a front-wheel-drive Kia Telluride for $33,060 including destination, which is affordable given all it offers. Working within our $40,000 cap, I'd step up to the feature-packed EX trim, which starts at $38,460 and includes Kia's comprehensive Highway Driving Assist system. Another $2,000 gets you AWD, then you're just slightly over the $40,000 mark for a big, comfortable SUV that's as sophisticated to drive as it is to look at.

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