Top 10 Cheaper Alternatives to More Expensive Cars

Top 10 Cheaper Alternatives to More Expensive Cars

We all have vehicles we dream of buying.

But those aspirational purchases often come with exorbitant prices that make them well out of reach for the common driver. So what are we to do? Rob a bank, purchase the vehicle and beeline to the border?

We here at would like to offer a far less felonious solution. Why not buy its cheaper twin? For every great car, there’s another one that offers close to the same experience but costs a fraction of the price. For every aspiring BMW X5 M owner, there’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 waiting to be purchased. Below are 10 other cars that represent a cheaper alternative to their more expensive brethren.

Want a Mercedes-Benz E400? Get a Chrysler 300S Instead

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sport Sedan

The Mercedes-Benz E400 sedan is an all-around master. Starting at a price of $63,100, the E400 combines luxury, comfort and performance in a way few other cars can match. For a large sedan, it is the complete package.

But $63,000 is a bit steep and for $38,470, the Chrysler 300S is a viable down-market alternative to the E400. Equipped with a 363-hp V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the 300S actually has more power and gears than the E400. It’s also a larger car that offers a bit more passenger space and can be had with nearly all the same modern technology that’s found in the E400. There’s no three-point star in the grille and the overall polish isn’t quite there, but it’s close enough for a car that only costs 60 percent of the Mercedes-Benz.

Want a Range Rover Sport HSE? Get a Ford Explorer Platinum

The New Ford Explorer

Always fancied yourself as a Range Rover Sport HSE driver, but have yet to acquire the $70,000 it takes to gain entry? Well, maybe you should take a look at the Ford Explorer Platinum. For $52,970, the Explorer offers a lot of parallels to the Range Rover Sport.

See Also: 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Review

It offers three rows of seating, a forced induction V6 engine (that happens to make more power) and a multi-mode four-wheel-drive system. The interior is luxuriously appointed and offers premium features like lane keep assist, heat and cooled seats, rear entertainment and power folding third row seats. And to top it off, the Explorer Platinum even looks a bit like a Range Rover Sport, too, for way less money.

Want a Porsche Cayman? Get a Subaru BRZ


The Porsche Cayman is one of the most rewarding cars to drive that’s on sale today. With fantastic chassis balance, immediate steering response and a sweetheart of an engine, the Cayman has a fun-to-drive factor that’s off the charts. But, it also costs more than $50,000 for the cheapest model.

For half the price, there is the rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ. Sure, it gives up 65 hp to the Cayman, but it still offers a great chassis, fantastic steering and that all-important rewarding driving experience. And hey, it even has a horizontally opposed engine like the Cayman.

Want a Tesla Model S? Get a Chevrolet Bolt Instead

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Tesla Model S is an electric car revolution. Luxurious, spacious and packed with a driving range unmatched by any other electric vehicle (EV), it really has changed the EV game. The only issue is that a lot of people can’t afford the $70,000 or so it takes to purchase a base Model S.

Chevrolet has a solution for those on a budget who want an EV with impressive range. Called the Bolt, the new hatchback from Chevy will start at a price of $37,500 and be capable of at least 200 miles of all electric range. It might not be as big or luxurious as the Tesla, but it’s nearly half the price.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Review – First Drive

Want a Nissan GT-R? Get a Ford Focus RS Instead

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

The Nissan GT-R is a giant killer. With a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, lightning fast dual-clutch transmission and high-powered engine, the GT-R has slayed vehicles costing twice as much or more at the track. But it still isn’t exactly affordable. For 2016, the GT-R begins at a price that has six figures.

For the tidy sum of $35,730, the Focus RS looks to be a GT-R lite of sorts. It may give up 200 hp to the super Nissan and only come with a manual transmission, but the RS incorporates a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, powerful engine and all the ingredients to embarrass plenty of more expensive machinery at the track. And it can even carry its own set of race tires.

ALSO SEE: 10 Surprising Cars the Ford Focus RS is Faster Than

Want a BMW M4? Get a Ford Mustang GT


The BMW M4 Coupe is a fast four-passenger coupe with great handling. Powered by a 425-hp turbocharged six-cylinder engine, the M4 blends high-speed with sophistication. But this all comes at a price, specifically $65,700.

See Also: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review

Those interested in the performance of an M4 but in a more affordable package might want to check out the Ford Mustang GT. With a 435-hp V8 engine, the Mustang is also rear-wheel drive, can be had with a manual or an automatic transmission and is capable of carrying four people. It may lack some of the sophistication of the M4, but the new Mustang is a far cry from the crude solid-axle Mustangs of old. Best of all, the Mustang GT starts at a price of just $32,395, about half the price of an M4!

Want a Rolls-Royce Phantom? Get a Hyundai Genesis G90


Nothing screams that you’re a one-percenter more loudly than rolling up to the club in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. But to afford a Phantom, you need to actually be a one-percenter, as only the elite of the elite can toss over $400,000 for a new car. How do the rest of us look prestigious on a budget?

Well, there’s the recently announced Hyundai Genesis G90. It doesn’t have the same presence, name recognition or preposterously excessive interior treatment, but the G90 is a full-size luxury sedan that coddles passengers and won’t cost anywhere near that of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Perfect for the CEO of a startup that hasn’t yet had its big breakthrough.

ALSO SEE: 6 Things You Should Know About the 2017 Genesis G90 from Hyundai

Want a Mercedes-Benz G-Class? Get a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

2013 G63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a highly capable off-road monster that can go places most other vehicles wouldn’t dream of. Locking differentials, a proper two-speed transfer case and high ground clearance, the G-Class is ready to climb a mountain. But being a Mercedes-Benz, it’s also luxuriously appointed and the cheapest G-Class starts at an eye-watering price of $119,900.

If off-roading is all you’re really interested in and you can forgo the G-Class’ luxurious interior and fire-breathing V8 engine, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is for you. Starting at a price of just $27,695, the Wrangler has a deep military history and a retro boxy look like the G-Wagon and will easily keep up with the Mercedes-Benz SUV on the road path less taken.

Want a BMW M5? Get a Chevrolet SS


The BMW M5 is a big sedan that can embarrass a lot of other sports cars around a track. With a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 making 560 hp, the M5 can rocket from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Fast, luxurious and sophisticated, the BMW M5 is anything but cheap and comes with a price tag just a hair under six figures.

See Also: 2015 Chevrolet SS Review

A cheaper spiritual sports sedan to the BMW M5 comes from an unlikely source – Chevrolet. Packing a 6.2-liter V8 making 415 hp, the Chevrolet SS may give up power to the M5, but it’s also a lot lighter, handles great and costs half the price.

Want a Lotus Elise? Get a Mazda MX-5 Instead


Have you always had a dream of owning a Lotus Elise – the no-frills, no-nonsense, mid-engine sports car that defines driving purity? Even if it came with a small four-cylinder engine that didn’t make much power, the Elise was so light and nimble that it made up for any lack of power with pure driving joy. The problem is, Lotus is no longer selling new Elises on our shores and used ones are still expensive and most likely out of warranty. What to do?

Well, a lot of the Elise’s driving magic can be captured in another small little convertible sports car: the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Even if the engine is in the front of the MX-5, it still has a connected, raw driving experience that produces an incredible amount of smiles per mile.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata

  • smartacus

    OK i’ll bite:
    Want a painted green Lou Ferrigno? Get a Bill Bixby instead

  • Rochester

    Can’t say as I agree with many of these comparisons, but I applaud the premise and the effort. More like this, please.

  • Ken

    $52k for an Explorer?! We’re a far cry from the $20k Explorer days!

  • Jay Maggio

    Finally, some common sense.

  • Chris Arella

    M5: 560hp/500tq; 0-60 4.2 seconds
    SS: 415hp/4/15tq; 0-60 4.7 seconds.
    It is normally difficult to make up 135hp and 85 ft/lb of torque, but fortunately the SS has an LS3 under the hood which has one of the largest aftermarket bins of upgrades to choose from. So if you saved $50k buying the SS over an M5, you could just spend another $10k on performance parts to reach the M5 levels, still save money, with a lighter car. Win/Win!!

  • W Van Landingham III

    Except you’d be driving a Chevy.

    I’ve owned a number of Chevy’s and there isn’t anything wrong with them – but now that I stepped up to a BMW, they just aren’t in the same class.

  • Steve26

    No, you’d technically be driving a Holden. The Chevy SS is an imported and rebadged Holden Commodore SSV Redline (with some HSV upgrades) that is converted to LHD. They also don’t mention that the SS is the only other V8 RWD sedan in the US with a manual that has a price tag south of the $95k M5.

  • W Van Landingham III

    I owned a 2005 GTO so I’m quiote familiar with Holden, however it’s still a Chevy badged product and not in the same class as BMW. I’m not a GM hater, I own a Corvette and a BMW – but there isn’t much of a comparison between a 5-series and any Chevy, no matter what the badge behind it is. However lets say you were talking about a CTS-V, then you’d be on to something. Seriously when you own a BWM, a couple of Corvettes and Caddy’s along with a number of other cars – then get back to me about what is worth it and what isn’t. The current BMW I have is fantastic, it’s amazingly well built and precise, meanwhile my Corvette and my old GTO are really fun to drive in a throw you back in the seat roller coaster way.

  • Steve26

    Traded in my 2013 550i for the 2015 SS manual. What a giant pile of crap the BMW was. My friend’s 335i is also always in the shop. German engineering used to mean something, now nothing but problems.

    I’m sorry, but BMW has lost their way in recent years. I’ve learned that BMW is for people who want to show off their “higher class” or something like that, the SS is for people who do research on their cars and want the actual ultimate driving experience. The SS is by far the better vehicle overall so far. I’ve had nothing but compliments on mine, especially the interior and the exhaust note. If you haven’t even been in the SS, then who are you to judge it just because it’s a “Chevy”?

  • W Van Landingham III

    I don’t know, I had zero issues with BMW – in fact I’ve pretty much had zero issues with every car I’ve owned since 2000 – and I go through cars pretty quickly so its a good number of vehicles.

    Anywho fair enough if you actually owned both, in my personal experience I love my BMW and wouldn’t want to go back to a Chevy as my daily driver, even if it’s a nice one, BMWs are just so precise. With that said I don’t really have any objections to looking at a Cadillac again – a just normal ATS with the turbo 4 is one of the best handling and fun to drive cars I’ve ever driven – if their CUE system wasn’t so terrible I might have gone that route. Note the most fun to drive car I’ve owned was an old 85 Pontiac Fiero – the thing was just a go-kart. Mercedes are just god awful ugly anymore so it would be difficult to go that direction, but I’d even give them a look as their self driving technology is hitting the market a lot sooner than other companies. Audi makes good looking cars but seem to be behind on driving and technology. Chevrolet meanwhile… I loved both my Corvettes, but outside of a new Stringray there just isn’t much they have to offer me at this point in my life.

  • Silver dawn


  • Silver dawn

    In your head

  • Silver dawn


  • Bug S Bunny

    So…re-read the above.

  • Ralph L

    Say this after passing 100K miles. At this mileage the BMW reaches the same level as owning a boat. Just a hole you sink money into.

  • Silver dawn

    Thats true. Buying expensive repair parts constantly and supposedly superior interior degrades and falls apart. Most BMW owners I know pay some consistently high repair bills. Sensors other

  • Silver dawn

    Yeah but BMW has a long way to go too meet the coolness of SS

  • Richard Joash Tan

    “Want a Tesla Model S? Get a Chevrolet Bolt Instead” Or Volt because this has a range extender for long trips in hybrid mode.

  • Shobin Drogan

    I like the mx5, but if i wanted a lotus elise…i wouldve gotten a used lotus elise.

  • Vice Squeezer

    unique car presentation ..

  • Bug S Bunny

    The Rolls-Royce Phantom to Hyundai G90 comparison is uh…quite a stretch.

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