2014 Car Affordability Study

Even the most affluent cities are spending too much on new cars and trucks. The average transaction price for new vehicles rose to $32,086 last year, according to Kelley Blue Book. By our calculation, that's more than the median-income household in 24 of the nation's 25 largest cities can afford to spend. These are the eight metro areas where the typical family can realistically afford to spend the most. Washington, D.C., is the only one that can actually afford the average transaction price. By the time you reach Denver (No. 8), the median-income household should be spending 29% less than that. What will that buy? The examples we provide for each of these cities are an enviable collection of high-end sedans, gas-sipping hybrids and kid-toting SUVs. Here's how to figure out how much you can afford to spend exactly as we did for the median households in our study.