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11 Best 2017 Cars Under $30,000

5. 2017 Honda Accord EX with Honda Sensing

Market segment: Midsize car
Body style: Four-door sedan
Base price: $28,365
Price as tested: $28,365
Key options: None
For: Peppy four-cylinder performance, ride and handling, roomy interior, reputation for reliability
Against: Clumsy infotainment system, continuously variable transmission instead of a conventional automatic
Next big change: Full redesign for model year 2018

Spacious, solid, reliable and a rewarding car to drive, Honda’s midsize Accord sedan is consistently among America’s top-selling cars. Among its few flaws is the dashboard’s dual-screen infotainment system; it’s awkward to operate and gets washed out in direct sunlight.

The standard engine is a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder. About 15 percent of Accord buyers choose a gutsy V-6 with 278 horses, but it comes only in the top EX-L V-6 and Touring models priced beyond our $30,000 budget. The four-cylinder is a model of smoothness and feels quite lively. It’s available with a six-speed manual transmission in some models, but we chose the gearless continuously variable automatic. This CVT is less harsh in its operation than many comparable units, but it isn’t as responsive as a good conventional automatic.

The four-cylinder EX sedan comes with, LED fog lamps, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, dual-zone automatic climate control, power moonroof, pushbutton ignition, and 17-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with Honda’s Lane Watch, which puts a video camera in the right-side mirror and displays a real-time image of your right-side blind spot when you engage the right turn signal.

The EX is upholstered in durable cloth but does have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated cruise, audio, and connectivity buttons. If you want leather, you can get an EX-L model for just under $30,000. But equipping an EX-L with the Honda Sensing suite of safety aids pushes the price to $31,655. Fortunately, Honda Sensing is available on the EX. It includes adaptive cruise control, automatic lane-deviating steering correction, and autonomous emergency braking. That last driver assist qualifies Honda Sensing-equipped Accords for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s coveted Top Safety Pick + designation. To us, that’s more important than leather seats.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]