Purists, rejoice -- your MX-5 is better than it's been in a very long time. It doesn't have the most horsepower in this set, but it makes up for that with excellent driving dynamics and just enough tech to satiate new-car buyers. It's an old-school ride with new-school sensibilities.
If you split your time between city and country, the Renegade rides that line, as well. It's a composed crossover in city driving, and with the right option boxes ticked, it'll tackle light off-roading without a second thought.
The Mini Hardtop is a BMW without the insane price tag. The infotainment systems are similar, the level of fit and finish are similar, and -- perhaps best of all -- they're both great to drive. It won't win any drag races, but it's a sharp-looking coupe with good dynamic chops.
The Scion iA gives you about as much bang for your buck as is possible at this price point. Based on the Mazda2, the iA is a blast to drive, but it's also quite fuel-efficient and packs technology usually found on more expensive cars, like automatic emergency braking.