At this point, in-car tech options like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are becoming household names. If you’re buying a new or lightly used car, these are must-have features. But there are many other in-car technology features worth considering. Today’s new car shopper can opt for in-car Wi-Fi, forward-collision warning, emergency braking, HD Radio, name-brand audio systems and even simple things like push-button start. Of course, many mid- to high-priced cars have these features — sometimes they’re standard equipment. But what if you’re looking to spend as little as possible? You might be surprised at some of the cool features you can get for a below-average price. With that in mind, here are 10 new cars that cost less than $25,000 but still have some pretty cool tech.
2018 Chevrolet Cruze LS
The base-level stick-shift-only Cruze L is $17,850 and comes standard with air conditioning, 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, Bluetooth, a backup camera, power accessories, a Teen Driver feature, a 4-speaker stereo with Bluetooth, OnStar with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 7-in center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LS ($19,400) allows drivers to order the automatic transmission, which is $1,000 extra. Add it all up and the result is a car that’s roughly $21,000 and has lots of desirable tech. In fact, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on every Chevy model.
2017 Ford Fiesta Titanium
There are less-expensive versions of the Fiesta, but the Titanium is priced just under $20,000, so you can add options if you want. Included are keyless entry/start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera with rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, an upgraded Sony 8-speaker audio system with HD Radio and specially designed 16-in alloy wheels. Sync 3 is standard on the Titanium Fiesta, and that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As subcompact cars go, the Fiesta is a good one. It’s fun to drive, has a reasonably nice interior and sips fuel.
2017 Honda HR-V EX
The HR-V is a fairly new, subcompact SUV from Honda with an interesting array of in-car tech. The base LX starts around $20,000 and features a rearview camera, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, a 160-watt 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with a USB input, auto-off headlights and front and rear 12-volt power outlets. The EX bumps the price up to $23,000 and includes cool tech features like a 7-in touchscreen audio display, LaneWatch, a 180-watt 6-speaker stereo, Pandora radio compatibility, heated front seats, a power moonroof, Smart Entry with push-button start, auto on/off headlights, a multiangle rearview camera, a second USB jack, SMS text messaging and automatic climate control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on every Honda model.
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is a $22,000 car but comes nicely equipped — standard on every Elantra GT are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard goodies inside the GT include full power accessories, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, an audio system with satellite radio capability, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, seven airbags and remote keyless entry. Hill-start assist is also standard. For an extra $1,000, you can get the GT Sport, which adds features like lane-keep assist, LED headlights and taillights and heated leather seats up front.
2017 Jeep Compass Sport
Yes, the Jeep Compass Sport is the base model, but it has some compelling features for about $21,000. Push-button start, cruise control, a USB port, an auxiliary audio input, a 6-speaker audio system, a 5-in touchscreen, hill-start assist, a rearview camera and trailer-sway control are all part of the package. We also like the Compass because it looks like a junior version of the larger, pricier Grand Cherokee. On the Compass Sport, the Uconnect system integrates a 5-in touchscreen display and voice command system with Bluetooth, which includes hands-free calling, voice text reply, voice commands for radio functions and Bluetooth® Streaming Audio. It’s not as seamless as Apple CarPlay, but it does work and is fairly straightforward to use.
2018 Kia Niro
You’ll have to stick with the base model of the 2018 Kia Niro to keep the price under $25,000 but you’ll still get lots of cool tech. With just a few hundred dollars to spare, you can get Kia’s newest crossover, a car-based SUV with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-in touchscreen and satellite radio.
2017 Nissan Altima S
For a car that cost $24,000, we think the Altima should have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — it doesn’t. You can get it if you step up to the Altima SR Special Edition, but that car is just a little over the $25,000 price limit. However, with the base S model you still get forward-collision warning with emergency braking, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, push-button start and Nissan’s easy-fill tire system that honks the horn when you’ve reached the right level for tire pressure.
2017 Subaru Impreza Sport
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as all-wheel drive, are included. As far as in-car tech, Subaru’s Starlink with an 8-in touchscreen is standard, as well; it includes app integration for services like iHeartRadio and Pandora and is more user friendly than many other in-car interface systems. The real reason to pick this car is that, for the price (about $23,000), it’s one of the most fun-to-drive small sedans around. We also like the interior and the overall look of the car.
2018 Toyota Camry L
The all-new Camry is another one of those cars we think should have Apple CarPlay, but it doesn’t. Still, you get a lot for your money even in the base L trim level. Cool tech features include automatic LED headlights, highway-speed adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning, Bluetooth, one USB port, a 7-in Entune 3 touchscreen interface, a Scout GPS navigation smartphone app and a 6-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface. That’s a lot of stuff for a car that comes in just under $25,000. We also like the Camry’s new look and driving dynamics, which are far better than any Camry before it.
2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE
In addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Jetta SE has blind spot monitoring, push-button start, satellite radio and a 6.3-in touchscreen. The base model already has Bluetooth, a USB port, an aux jack and LED daytime running lights. The Jetta is a great-looking car with a sporty attitude. The top-of-the-line version with touchscreen navigation and dual-zone climate control is closer to $28,000, but the SE is in the $22,000 range.