7 of the Best 2014 Cars for the Money

Posted on February 17, 2014 by  

Few people like to throw money away, even if they have plenty of it. When you are looking for good value in a vehicle, it often is not easy to sort out which models provide a relatively good return on your investment. Value is measured in many different ways, including low vehicle depreciation, rich features, and strong performance versus comparably-priced models. The following list acts as a solid guide for car shoppers, supplying 7 different vehicles for a variety of budgets and lifestyles that also give buyers loads of value for the money they spend.

2014 Dodge Challenger2014 Dodge Challenger (Credit: © Dodge)

1. Dodge Challenger – MSRP from $26,295

When it comes to muscle cars, the Challenger is the best value for your dollar. At 36 months the car retains an estimated 60 percent of its initial value and at 60 months it retains 50 percent of its value, according to Kelley Blue Book. Unlike rival pony cars like the Camaro and Mustang, the interior of the Challenger is downright cushy, making it the perfect car to take for an epic road trip. The car also leverages modern technology in a myriad of ways. The multi-link rear suspension provides a comfortable and sure-footed feeling, even on bumpy roads. For those who crave performance, there is the legendary Hemi V8 engine that turns the capable muscle car into an all-out monster, without sacrificing the modern comforts and conveniences, making it a car you will not dread to drive regularly.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Patrick

    I keep seeing an error on insidercarnews and felt the need to correct. The Volt and ELR are not extended range electric (ERE) they are plug in hybrids like Fords Energi and Toyotas plug in Prius. To be ERE there is no connection between the gas engine and the wheels. It is really just a generator to charge the battery that runs the motors. BMW will be the 1st to mass produce a true ERE.

    • InsiderCarNews

      Hi Patrick. GM itself refers to both vehicles as Extended Range Electrics. Although, we do agree that there are more complexities in assigning the term.
      Here are some references:
      http://www.gm.com/vision/greener_vehicles.html
      http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/cadillac/vehicles/elr/2014.html

      • Patrick

        I don’t know if using GM’s marketing and PR materials as reference is the best option. So, if Ford decides to launch a new car that has a turbo charger and market it as being supercharged would this misuse go unchallanged as long as they had good marketing and PR materials?

        • InsiderCarNews

          Patrick, while I absolutely understand your point, this terminology is literally being invented as the car manufacturers and their hybrids evolve.

          While the link below is on Wikipedia, it does clarify the difference between ERE’s and range-extended battery-electric vehicles such as the BMW i3, the one you might have been referring to. We’re going to leave our side of this debate here, as we are simply reporting on the facts available to our team.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_extender_(vehicle)

          • MJ

            The Volt and ELR are both electric driven vehicles. If battery power is depleted while driving, the onboard gas generator engages to recharge the battery….the Volt’s 1.0 liter/ 53 kW generator NEVER drivers the wheels of the vehicle….there is no connection between the engine and the wheels. The fact is BWM copied match of GM’s Voltec in producing it’s i3.

          • Matt

            The Volt’s gas engine directly drives the wheels at speeds over 70mph. And the engine is 1.4L

          • Dennis Cox

            WRONG WRONG WRONG! The Engine DOES NOT drive the wheels. There is no transmission in the Volt therefore the engine can never and will never drive the Volt.

    • Matt

      The Volt/ELR have a mechanical connection between the gas engine and the wheels only under certain circumstances. From what I have read, this occurs over 70 mph on the Volt. The engineers decided that this was the most efficient way to transmit torque to the drive wheels at higher speeds.

      • Dennis Cox

        WRONG WRONG WRONG! The Engine IS NOT connected to the wheels what so ever. Truthfully it would be the transmission that would connect the engine to the wheels and there is no transmission in the volt. The Engine NEVER drives the vehicle.

    • Guy Mitchell

      No Patrick the Volt has no connection between the gas engine and the wheels…it is the first Extended range electric vehicle. It ha a generator for charging the battery only…I own one and a Chevrolet manager for 12 years.

      • Gary

        Guy do you think the Volt would be a good car for long trips or is it just better suited for a local driven town car?

  • ra44mr2

    I would literally sell organs for a Challenger RT with the 6 speed.

    • Matt Mossberg

      Go on autotrader and you’ll see the rt has steep discounts right now.

      • oknahs

        All leftovers have huge discounts. Check out Landmark Dodge of Morrow GA 2013 Viper $15k off or a 2014 Viper $20k off. Now if I had the $101k to buy the leftover one.

    • inachu

      I loved my challenger dearly but got rid of it as it was a door ding magnet even when I parked 100 yards away from the shopping mall. Also it parks like a tank and has a bad blind spot. Also the notches at the door hinge area only likes to open to a parking lots with wide white lines so you will more than likely ding the car next to you for sure because the notches for smaller parking sized lots was not taken into account.

      But other than that if they just made the side doors a bit more ding proof I would have kept the car.

      • jeepwonder

        You too? I had people walk out of their way to smack it with shopping carts!

  • Kenngo1969

    For a car to be a “Best Car for the Money,” it seems to me that one would have to be able to afford the car first. Insofar as I can recall, this is the first time I have visited your site. I recognize this article was probably written for ICN devotees, and, well, since I’m not a member of “That Choir,” my opinion probably doesn’t matter much. It would seem to me that such a list would have to cross several segments in terms of price (e.g., “Best Car for the Money Under $18,000,” “… $18,000-$25,000,” and so on) in order to fit the bill created by the headline, but again, I realize you’re probably simply writing for those who are already ICN devotees.

  • Cherry Chen

    I posted this before, but I definitely recommend a Civic. I pay about $20 to fill it up (thanks GasBuddy), $25/month to insure it (thanks 4AutoInsuranceQuote), $0 to maintain it or repair it, and, on top of all the savings, it’s a beautiful car that’s safe.

  • DRJJ

    For Joe Blow and family? Camry V-6 SE. Can be had for $26.5k + T&L now, high re-sale, compact car MPG, bullet proof reliable and fast as a muscle car-100 mph in 1/4 mile, look it up. Rent one, you’ll faint when you see 30+mpg at 75mph and when you hit passing gear and smoke a GTI. Lexus engine/drivetrain, upscale/sporty and no worries mate! Domestic and German, nice drivers, good lookers but don’t bank on reliability, mpg or re sale-we are talking best new car for the money for an avg American? Prius if your on a tight budget-least expensive car on the market that’s safe and reliable, gets 50 mpg AVERAGE ,top resale and low $20s now-fabulous piece of Engineering. Direct injection, CVTs and turbos-not for Joe Blow!

    • pete

      umm, yea but its still a caaaamry(snicker)

    • derping

      Family car with a “sporty bent”? I don’t see much of anything sporty about it. You have an appliance; it’s about as exciting as a tumble dryer. Let’s not suggest that a Corvette is just a flashy Camry or Accord. Although there are plenty of people who buy cars as fashion accessories (this accounts for a fair bit of base model sales), not everyone buying a corvette or pony car is feeding their ego and to suggest that the experience is the same is absurd. I’ve got a few cars that rarely see the light of day – they aren’t about what other people think.

      • jrhartley

        Admittedly the Toyota Camry does a worthy job, and definitely worth the dough, but by C&D’s own figures, its a little bit slower than a GTI from 0/ 60 and in the 1/4, so it hardly smokes a GTI; It would be right on its tail until the first corner, and then the Camry with its floppy wet-fish handling, would see it on a shrubbery excursion into the nearest ditch.

    • ZACAL

      Wonder why I never see these faster than hell rice burners on the track. It’s always American muscle with bad ass V8′s running powerglide transmissions. The best run in the 8′s at 150-160 mph in the 1/4 mile – the real hard runners get high 6′s 200 mph in the 1/4 mile. There ain’t no rice burner v6 close.

    • Fred_Evil

      “smoke a GTI.”
      You’re smoking something alright…
      “Lexus engine/drivetrain”
      You know Lexus IS Toyota, right?

    • dvsuton

      Toyota? Bulletproof? JOKE! Why has Toyota been the #1 recaller of vehicles for the last five years running? I wouldn’t say that’s makes them anywhere near bulletproof. I call that haphazardly assembled garbage.

      • Tim

        You have obviously never owned one – I’ve owned 5 and they are by far the most maintenance free auto I’ve ever owned. Try one and then see what you say!

    • Bruno

      Ya, riiiight. I’ll put up my “old” 2002 Camaro with the V6/5 speed tranny, and we can do anything you want. I only spent less than 10 grand to buy, transport, and modify (by myself, so I didn’t have to pay any shop labor) to put this car “together”. Don’t need a turbo or nitrous, either. If I get the heads ported and install headers, I’ll be able to run low 14 second quarter miles. I doubt that a Camry can do that. I can easily get 30+ mpg with this car, stock or with the mods. I can also easily work, modify, and maintain this car in my driveway. I’ll drive circles around you on a skidpad or twisty road course, TOO.

    • Joy

      Agree Prius is the best deal out there. Payment under $300.00. How can u beat 50miles a gallon!!

  • inachu

    I got rid of my challenger because it parks like a tank. But everything else about it I truly loved.

    • Rich

      That’s a stupid reason to get rid of a Challenger, I love my 09 RT w a 6 spd. Sometimes you have to get back in and readjust but it’s worth it.

      • DrSmackTalk

        You know people bitch about the weight, but I actually think the weight is a good thing. Keeps that bad boy firmly on the ground.

        • Dennis Cox

          And firmly behind the Camaros and Rust Stangs you are trying to race against.

  • Eric Crowder

    I want to set the record set with this car. The Volt is an Extended Range Electic car. When in extended range mode, the engine can at times mechanically connect to the wheels, and at other times it will drive with no mecahnciall connections. It depends on speed and load. The mechanical connection will happen at 35 mph and above (it was never only above 70) but also needs to be driven at steady speed or only moderate load. Under hard acceleration or climbing steep grade, there will be no mechanical connection. By mechanically connecting the engine to wheel, it INCREASES efficiency which is a good thing. To get full power and acceleration it transitions to full serial where the ICE only turns MGA motor/generator to generate electricity for MGB traction motor.

  • prakashji

    Guess what …I have a 1989 Corolla and still running with the same original parts. It’s made of some good steel not made in China.

  • rebart

    It would take a long time to save money when paying $69,900 for a small car that is useless for a family. The Corvette is also useless for a family. Only young people who want to make a “splash” could get any use out of a Corvette, and at $51,000 I could get a much more practical car, or almost two Dodge Challengers.

    • SC

      The article is about depreciation over normal use when trading a car in. Some cars depreciate fast because they are not in-demand ( and they rot on used-car dealers lots ) . Sport cars like Challengers and Corvettes appeal to a certain segment of loyal owners. They buy from one model to the next. But Corvette owners are usually Men in their 50′s – and they are part of a two or three car family.

  • gel

    Bought a used fj in 2008 for 17k, sold it last year after 5 years and 60k miles for 18k. Apparently someone even bought it for 21k at the dealership that I traded it to. Pretty legit car :)

  • ou

    Give me mustang 302 and you can have all of the wantabes

    • drx1

      The GT convertible (302cu in) is very nice…leather is an option (but maybe not good for an open air car) and the navigation is OK, but I like the older dash style (no nav monitor) better.

      They are naturally aspirated. They can run on 87 octane or for more power (390HP vs 420HP – in 2013 model) you can run on 91+ octane and cruse (long distance) at 24MPG @ ~ 75MPH (via 6spd manual or auto).

  • MikeL_in_SD

    The ONLY car on this list worthy of it’s place is the Vette; the rest are simply junk…

  • ycplum

    But the Odyssey has better reliability and better interior fit and finish. A friend of mine had both.
    I would say the Odyssey has the best bang for your buck overall (if you can afford it). However, I would also say that the Caravan/Town and Country has the best bang for its price range. A lot come down to how much you can/want to pay for your ride.

    • Fred_Evil

      And the Chrysler has the better warranty. Until Honda actually stands behind their products with a better warranty, I won’t be behind the wheel of one.

  • Suke Mahpeen

    A Honda Accord sport is a good car that goes 0-60 in 6.6 and only costs about 23k. It would be super cheap to own for the long haul and not bad to drive..

  • Fred_Evil

    FJ Cruiser is about the ugliest car I think I have ever seen, passed only by the Kia Soul, I believe. You couldn’t pay me to own one.

  • http://www.common-sensesolutions.com/ teridavisnewman

    The biggest piece of junk I’ve ever owned was a Chrysler T&C and I still curse the day I bought it!!

  • Michael Rocker

    The problem i have with the Challenger and the Chevy Camaro is although they may look nice is that they are both built in Ontario Canada. They both came out soon after they took part of the bailout in 2008 and US auto workers got laid off and plants were closed while the plants in Canada increased production. Cars made in Canada during the bail out are the Camaro, Impala, Charger. Challenger and Chrysler 300.

    • dvsuton

      Do a little research and see how many times Japans carmakers almost went out of business and were bailed out by their government. Hell, the Japanese government doesn’t let imports in Japan, without heavy tarrifs. Why support them?

  • moron

    Chevy Volt. Click.

  • Frank Donahue

    We’re on our second Odyssey. The first we took to 135,000 miles with zero issues. Our current 2007 is ready to turn 100,000 any day. Again zero issues. Could have better mileage, but it gets 19-25 depending. Odysseys handle very well, the engines are as strong at 100,000 as new, the flexibility of interior arrangements carries 7 people, 4 in individual seating, 3 a bit more tightly in the back, or can carry a huge amount of cargo with seats folded. Interior very cushy, exterior very well finished. Resale very good, we got $11,000 on the first one with the high mileage. My car is a 2008 Accord V6, 89,000 miles, zero service issues, 22 – 26 mpg, very strong performance and good cornering, smooth ride. Not as cushy as the Camry, which is too soft for my taste. I like to feel what my car is doing. One final note, my kid’s cars are a 2006 Corolla and 2005 Matrix. Both are over 175,000 miles, bought used, zero service issues. GTO – gas, tires, and oil is all I pay for, with occasional brakes, filters, wipers, fluid flushes. You can’t go wrong with Honda or Toyota.

  • Smoky

    Yeah, but you can’t TOW ANYTHING with it. A few years ago, I saw a Ford Escort on the shoulder of I-90, just east of Rapid City, SD, TRYING to tow a Harley Sportster. The Escort had smoke rolling out of it’s front fenders, LOL..

  • Doberman_Fan

    Many very nice “used” cars can be had via the internet (Autotrader, Cars.com, eBay, etc) so as to save a lot of dollars on the purchase price, insurance, and taxes. For instance, in 2008, I got an 06 Hummer H-2 with 8,000 miles on it for $31,500; it retailed new for about $64K Recently, I purchased a 2008 Jaguar XJ with 19K miles on it for $26K; it retailed new also at about $64K. Both vehicles were in perfect shape and I will keep them 10 years or more. Just saying that one can obtain a dream car and spend less than one would for just an average new car by being patient and doing the necessary research and shopping. Be smart; if money is tight for you, don’t put yourself in debt over a vehicle because all vehicles are money pits.

  • Mike Morgan

    The Toyota FJ cruiser has a massive blind spot.

  • Hyatt Crystal

    Sure the Challenger is a nice car. But, if you put it up there because of its “cushiness” then something’s wrong. Performance wise, it’s lacking. Sure, the Hemi has some power. But the car is a heavy weight, luxury yacht. When my 2014 Mustang V6 (or any other 11-14 V6 Mustang) can beat those Challenger RT’s in the 1/4 mile… I think you picked the wrong Pony Car for that spot. Even the Camaro smokes that thing. Both Mustang and Camaro even get better MPG. Not to mention, base model prices are cheaper for the Camaro and Mustang. I honestly don’t know how the Challenger ended up on the list. Again, it’s a decent car. But, out of the big three, it doesn’t deserve that spot.

    • jimmy9522

      But it looks so much better.

  • Lyle Bialk

    Sorry, no new car is worth the price.

  • Shauney1

    I have owned my 4th Toyota in a row now, owned 4 others years earlier also. Owned a Honda in between that. I had a recall on the Honda that I received a week after I was in an accident from the recalled part. I have never had a problem with any of my Toyota’s, 2 of which I still own. I have had an occassional recall over the years, which were promptly taken care of without any problems. All I have to say about Toyota and their recalls is, they may have had many over the years, but I feel safe driving their vehicles. When they discover a problem, they recall it, unlike GM who was more interested in saving less than $1.00 per vehicle and 13 people paid the bill with their lives!

  • drew48

    Who cares about recalls. They are free and are typically because of a non issue that could potentially be an issue over time. It’s more frustrating for a manufacturer that should have a recall but doesn’t and ends up resulting in huge costs for the owners of vehicles. This top list is interesting. Some have to due with value. None have anything to do with upkeep. A lot of them have to do with resale. None really have anything to do with safety. Few have anything to do with being practical. There are no manufacturers represented twice. They are all higher than the average new car cost and most are priced higher than most can reasonably afford. This may be the oddest top list I’ve ever seen.

    • Michael Rocker

      Recalls may be free for the owners but then you have to find the time to drop it off and in some cases leave the car there because they can’t get to it right away and it may take 3 or more hours to fix. In the long run we are paying for it because the car makers will pass the costs on to the newer cars.

  • Jerry

    Maybe so, but I recently bought one to offset the high gas prices. I drove about 65 miles Friday on .6 gallon of gasoline, and have used less than 5 gallons while driving 254 since my last fill-up. With a discount at Kroger’s for gas of 40 cents a gallon, I only paid $2.99.9 per gallon on that fill-up, too. In my old car, an ’08 Mercury Milan, I would have have less than a just about a 1/4 of tank full of gas (15.9 gallons) compared to a good bit over a 1/2 tank of gas in the Prius (10.9 gallons). I can stand to have you call it “butt ugly” considering how much I am saving on gasoline, and I was also able to buy it, a ’13 Prius 2, for a nice price with only 2,671 miles on it. I saved about $3,000 on the cost of what it would have been new and have one that is practically new now. Plus, I still have oil changes and maintenance work done free for the next year and 3 months, and was able to get a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty on it to boot. Drive whatever you think is pretty; I’ll gladly wave to you as I drive by the gas pump you are filling up at. :)

    • Denny

      For about $8,000 less, you could have an equal gas car, and bank the $8,000 for increased gas cost. But then, after 175,000 miles, I guess you will be ahead, if you keep it that long…

  • http://www.common-sensesolutions.com/ teridavisnewman

    Don’t do it!! I could send you a laundry list of the issues I had with the Chrysler POS I paid 38K for. I used to own a limo service and the Lincoln Town Cars I used were the most durable cars I’ve ever seen. I never had one that went less than 300K miles on gas tires and oil alone. I have one now that just clicked 110K with NO issues at all.

  • Carol Cumberland

    there are a lot of cars out there uglier than a Prius. They actually aren’t bad looking, reliable and economical to own.

  • Random_acct

    Tesla? Uh…no. Too expensive.

  • R

    I own a 2012 Odyssey. The city mileage is understated by 15%; I routinely average 20-21; while the highway mileage is overstated by 15%. I have only been able to get 28 – 30mpg on the highway when traveling at 55mph or less, have a tailwind, going down hill, using a expensive synthetic motor oil, and premium gasoline.