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Base price range: $18,345-$19,530
If a subcompact car is too much of a cramp on your lifestyle, the entry-level version of this compact manages to slip in under our self-imposed $20,000 price limit. The LS might be the “base” model, but that doesn’t mean it’s ill-equipped to handle daily driving duties. Standard Bluetooth connectivity, a six-speaker audio system, and SiriusXM satellite radio can keep you entertained. Power windows and locks with remote keyless entry keep things convenient. A well-tuned suspension, refined 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and quiet cabin keep you comfortable. You will have to do without a few things, however, if you wish to go with the LS version. Chevrolet’s excellent MyLink infotainment system isn’t available on this model, as is cruise control, ironically enough. While the front seating area is roomy, the back can feel a bit cramped for adults on anything longer than a drive across town. EPA city/highway combined fuel-economy ratings of 27-29 mpg won’t set the world on fire, but they’re more than enough to get you from point-A to point-B. The LS is solid, if basic, transportation that makes up for a lack of features with big-car quietness and refinement that belies its entry-level pricetag. One more thing to keep in mind is that Chevy frequently discounts the Cruze, sometimes offering cash incentives of up to $2,000, which makes this car even more affordable.