There was a time when budget-priced sedans fell short in areas like quality and refinement. These days, things have changed, and there are many inexpensive four-doors that transcend old stereotypes by delivering well-rounded excellence.
Each of the five 2014 sedans listed below has a starting price of less than $20,000 and an "A" rating from the Edmunds vehicle testing team. To arrive at a rating, our team evaluates each model's performance, comfort, interior and value, and considers the extent to which the vehicle is fun to drive. An "A" rating is the top rating awarded and indicates a model that's among the best in its class.
Our testing team evaluates about 200 models each year, so we can't claim to offer ratings for every new vehicle on the dealership lot. But we've managed to test many vehicles that are popular with shoppers, and our sample is certainly wide enough to offer insight into which models lead the pack in various segments.
Our picks are listed alphabetically and include the sporty Ford Fiesta, the nimble Ford Focus, the capable Honda Civic, the stylish Kia Forte and the fun-to-drive Mazda 3. Click the link within each vehicle's ratings summary for a more detailed look at the model's ratings.
If you'd like to take home one of these Edmunds "A"-rated budget-priced sedans, you may be able to simplify your transaction by making your purchase via Edmunds.com's Price Promise® program.
Edmunds Ratings Summary: "The Fiesta is a terrific city vehicle with an interior that offers competitive quality. The driving experience leans toward sporty, separating it from most rivals. This is enhanced by the excellent EcoBoost 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which delivers best-in-class acceleration, fantastic fuel economy and lots of character."
Edmunds Ratings Summary: "Despite strong competition from redesigned competitors, the Focus continues to be a top pick. It's one of the sportiest-driving economy compacts and gets high marks for interior materials. The clunky twin-clutch gearbox and funky infotainment controls are its two most glaring weak points."
Edmunds Ratings Summary: "The Honda Civic may not be as easy a choice as it once was due to improved competition, but slight improvements in fuel economy and performance, as well as additional equipment for 2014, help it keep its place among the best compact sedans. It's as good as or better than its competitors in most respects."
Edmunds Ratings Summary: "Kia made huge strides with the new Forte. Not only is it far better-looking than the previous generation, but the harsh suspension, road noise and abrupt throttle delivery have been eliminated. The new engine makes it the class hot-rod, while still returning excellent fuel mileage."
Edmunds Ratings Summary: "The 2014 Mazda 3 maintains its reputation as a driver's car with rewarding handling, competitive performance and a genuine personality. Now, however, it also offers a supple and quiet ride, more features and better interior quality than ever before, putting it at the top of our list."