Entry Level Cars Still Have Options

Drivers who wish they had the money to buy a new car with leather interior, a CD player and a moon roof for under $20,000, may be able to go farther than they thought.

In today's ever-changing economic environment, car companies are striving to satisfy the consumer and, somewhere along the line, the phrase "less is more" has become "more for less" with affordable cars offering more standard features than ever before.

The average consumer buying a car is looking for two things-quality and affordability.

In the past, car buyers typically sacrificed one or the other so they could drive the car that was best suited to their lifestyle.

When you think of the term "entry-level car" the following words may come to mind-standard, ordinary, cramped, manual door locks and windows. All of these words turn entry level into "low level."

Today, new entry-level sedan models are hitting the roads with luxurious standard features that don't raise the price, making entry level more appealing.

Some of the standard features offered on these sedans include:

• Four-speaker AM/FM compact disc stereo

• Power steering

• Power mirrors

• Air conditioning with air filter

• Better support and roomier seats

• Quiet 1.8-liter, four cylinder, 130 horsepower engine with variable valve timing

• Tilt steering wheel

• Richer interior fabrics

• Rear-window defogger

• Outside temperature gauge

Also, entry-level sedans are becoming roomier with extended wheelbases creating additional rear legroom and greater overall length and width for more space for all passengers' legs, hips and heads. More space also means larger trunks for groceries or even a bicycle.

So, why are automakers trying to make consumers' lives easier, more affordable and comfortable at the same time?

"Pleasing the consumer is our number one priority," said Don Esmond, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., senior vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "With vehicles like the newly redesigned 2003 Toyota Corolla, we are making car buyers' dollars stretch and providing them with the features they want in an affordable, stylish car that fits any lifestyle."

Next time you look for a luxurious car at an affordable price, don't be surprised if you drive away in style for under $20,000. A car with a lower price tag doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the little extras you want.

Today's entry-level sedans come with luxurious standard features that don't raise the price.

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