6 cheap cars with killer sound systems

The best stereos in cars under $25,000

You don't have to blow $45,000 on a luxury car to get a kicking stereo.

Just take advantage of our picks for the six best factory-installed audio systems in cars costing $25,000 or less.

The days when car stereos consisted of four speakers wired to a cheaper-by-the-boxcar-load radio are history.

Today most factory systems are designed with hundreds of hours of research by sound engineers from marquee audio companies, such as Bose, Infinity and Harmon Kardon.

That's especially true of the premium sound systems we recommend.

Our favorites are based on overall sound quality. No distortion and clean separation were critical factors in our choices.

Although we didn't impose any specific requirements, every audio system we chose has at least 250 watts of power, eight speakers, satellite radio capability, a CD player and iPod interface or integration available in a factory system.

As you might suspect with a $25,000 price ceiling, all of these cars are smaller, fuel-efficient sedans and coupes.

We itemize the cost for any audio upgrade, including other options that must be purchased with the audio upgrade, and include destination charges in all of our prices.

By Russ Heaps
Interest.com Contributing Editor
July 19, 2012