Here's more on our series of unique, performance-oriented vehicles that are still practical enough for families. This price range includes many entry-level luxury models, as well as fully loaded mid-range brands. Which you choose depends on your attitude: Do you want the top-of-the-line version of a good vehicle, or would you rather settle for less to move up to a more prestigious brand? Either way, here are a few to consider.
2010 Cadillac CTSEnlarge Photo
2010 Cadillac CTS
Although we love the extra space in the wagon version, the 2010 CTS sedan wins for its elegant proportions. The four-door has the same beautifully designed center stack and instrument cluster, as well as soft ambient lighting in the dash and footwells. The cabin is roomy and the cargo space competitive for a car of this class. However, in order to come in under the $40k mark, you’ll have to stick to the base engine and just a few options. The CTS has a new, smaller base engine for 2010, a 3.0-liter direct-injected V6. It offers increased horsepower over the old 3.6-liter base (for a total of 270 hp), although it’s lost a little torque (223 pound-feet vs. 252 lb-ft on the old engine). It doesn’t quite have the pickup of the more expensive 304 hp, 3.6-liter V6, but for those looking to move up to a luxury brand on a budget, the powertrain is more than capable. Standard features include an eight-way power driver seat and an eight-speaker audio system with CD player, auxiliary jack and satellite radio.
2010 Hyundai Genesis Sedan
Hyundai won't offer 3.3L V6 in U.S. Genesis sedanEnlarge Photo
The Hyundai Genesis is perhaps one of the best all-around cars for the money. It offers the most leg- and headroom of all the cars on this list, the most cargo space (a respectable 16 cubic-feet), standard heated leather seats and a base 3.8-liter V6 that pumps out a respectable 290 hp – all for several thousand dollars less than an equivalent luxury car. While the V6 offers plenty of power, you can also opt for a 375-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 at the high end of the $40k price range. The standard, seven-speaker audio system includes a CD player, iPod connector, aux jack and satellite radio. Of course, the Hyundai brand lacks the cache of a Cadillac or Infiniti, but for those who look beyond the badge for style, space and performance, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis is tough to beat. Despite its good traits, however, one shortcoming that might be of note to families is the lack of a rear folding seat.
2010 Infiniti G37 Sedan
2010 Infiniti G37 SedanEnlarge Photo
The more luxurious brand of parent company Nissan, the 2010 Infiniti G37 sedan is the most performance-oriented on the list. While a tad shorter and narrower than the CTS, the G37’s stylish and comfortable interior somehow manages to offer similar front leg- and headroom to the CTS. The amount of cargo space is nearly identical, too. And unlike the CTS, the G37 comes standard with leather seats What sets the 2010 Infiniti G37 sedan apart, however, is under the hood. A standard 3.7-liter V6 blows by the base CTS and Genesis powertrains with 328 hp and 269 ft-lbs. of torque. The Infiniti is also lighter and has a narrower turning circle. Options on the 2010 Infiniti G37 can be a little confusing; you can’t add any goodies a la carte. Instead, you must wade through a bevy of trims and packages to find the features you want. Precise steering and handling makes driving twisty roads a joy – just as long as the kids don’t get motion sick.