What you can drive for $23,000
Mazda CX-5 Sport
Mileage: 26 mpg city/32 highway/29 combined
While there are several compact crossovers to choose from at this price, the five-seat Mazda CX-5 is perfect for those who want to stand out from the crowd. What’s more, Kelley Blue Book named Mazda the lowest cost-to-own brand for 2013. Mazda funnels much of its resources into its racing programs and proves much of its technology on the racetrack, so it’s no surprise the CX-5 comes complete with some of the sportiest driving dynamics in the segment. The CX-5 uses SkyActiv technology, a fancy name for Mazda’s fuel-conscious powertrains. This front-wheel-drive Sport model combines a six-speed automatic transmission and 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower. While that's not the most powerful crossover out there, it’s just fine for commuting and day-to-day errands.