So you have $25,000 burning a hole in your chinos. And you want to buy a car, as opposed to blowing it on a crazy weekend in Vegas. What do you buy?
First, maybe we need to narrow the choice a little. While 25-large would acquire you an awesome '70s big-block Trans Am with a screamin' chicken on the hood, let's stick with $25,000 family sedans, the most popular section of the market.
Well, the good folks at Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com have just come to the rescue in the form of their annual 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 list.
And the winner is? No real surprises here: the 2013 Honda Accord, with the 2013 Volkswagen Passat as runner-up.
I'm a huge fan of the latest Accord. For me it provides pretty much everything you'd ever need in a family sedan: space, comfort, safety, superb build quality, reliability and terrific value.
While $21,680 will get you into a base LX, the new and extremely well-equipped EX with a CVT automatic is a steal at $25,405.
What I love about this latest built-in-America Accord is that while it has retained its hushed refinement and "like a rock" feel, for 2013 Honda has added some newfound sportiness that was missing in the last couple of generations.
Maybe they've taken some of the tofu out of the suspension, or squirted some WD-40 in the steering joints. But now it feels downright fun to drive. No wonder Automobile Magazine just included the Accord in its All Stars list.
And its 2.4-liter four-cylinder is just a gem of an engine. While 185 horses may not sound like a lot, combined with the eagerness of its continuously variable automatic transmission, there's no shortage of pep and poke.
What about fuel economy? Again, another major plus, with 27 mpg in the city and an impressive 36 mpg on the highway.
This latest Accord also comes with some very cool technologies. My favorite: the Lane Watch system, which features a camera to give you a view down the passenger side of the car when you tap the right turn signal.
As for Kelley's complete Top 10 list, here it is:
1. Honda Accord
2. VW Passat
4. Nissan Altima
5. Ford Fusion
6. Honda Civic
7. VW Jetta
8. Toyota Camry
9. Buick Verano
10. Kia Optima
Space, comfort, safety and great value set the 2013 Accord apart.