Better than a 3-series (320i) sedan.
Here are our top five picks for vehicles we think are better than the 320i.
Mazda 3 Grand Touring ($27,561*)
We love the Mazda 3 as it’s fun to drive, has an excellent interior and refined powertrain. The Grand Touring trim offers all the bells and whistles and still comes in at a price well below $40k. It’s pretty hard to fault the Mazda 3 here considering that it has a more potent 2.5 four-cylinder and the 3-series has a 2-liter turbo making 5hp shy of the Mazda 3. Also, the fact that it gets lower running costs and is cheaper to own. You can choose between a sedan and hatchback for added versatility.
Subaru Impreza Limited ($30,619*)
The Mazda 3 doesn’t offer all-wheel-drive and well for those who might want all-wheel-drive will love the Impreza. It may not have the flexible four-cylinder that the Mazda 3 comes with but it surely does have low running costs for a car equipped with all-wheel-drive, and the top of the range Limited Trim is very well equipped. Subaru is known for excellent build quality which should help deter you away from the 320i.
Honda Civic Touring ($27,475*)
Full-LED headlights, navigation system, heated front seats and a turbo engine that’s actually quite good. The Civic Touring offers great value for the money and should be another option worth considering if you are looking at a 320i. You may not get the all-wheel-drive like the Subaru Impreza but for many it isn’t a deal breaker. However, our only gripe is that the infotainment system is fiddly to operate.
Volkswagen GTI SE ($34,840*)
The GTI seems like the most expensive of the bunch so far but you get a thumping turbo engine that’s more powerful than the 320i (220hp vs 180hp) and also you get more standard kit than you would with the 320i. Plus, it’s one of the best hot hatches money can buy. Sure you can buy a Focus St but the Focus ST isn’t as refined as the GTI and isn’t as comfortable to drive as a daily vehicle. We love how the interior is so much more refined and also the fact that you get hatchback practicality. How could you say no to this?
Hyundai Elantra Sport ($24,330*)
This maybe the cheapest on the list but it surely isn’t short on standard kit and fun. The 1.6 turbo found in this is the same one from the Soul which pumps out 201hp and you can have it with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed auto gearbox. Flexibility with this turbo engine is far better than the Impreza and even the Civic but handling is more on the neutral side along with the steering feedback which is almost lifeless. We surely do recommend this on the list of vehicles that you can buy other than a 320i simply because it has the features to back up the price and the performance as well. How can anyone say no to 201hp?
BMW 320i (2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 180hp)
Mazda 3 (2.5-liter four-cylinder, 185hp)
Subaru Impreza (2-liter four-cylinder, 152hp)
Honda Civic (1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 174hp)
Hyundai Elantra (1.6-turbocharged four-cylinder, 201hp)