It's staggering that you can get your bum in a brand spanking car for under the magic $20K mark these days.

There was a time - not all that long ago - when anything relatively recent and decent was going to sting the bank account significantly more than that.

The cars featured in this week's cover story aren't bad in the scheme of things - well built, reasonably well specified and, obviously, well priced. The demands that car buyers have these days are significant - when Japanese imports started rolling in all those years ago, we suddenly became aware that air conditioning was useful, winding up windows manually was for mugs and power steering was almost a must-have feature.

Now, we want Bluetooth connectivity, electric seats, reversing cameras - the list goes on.

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In order to tick all of our boxes for bells and whistles, some of those sub-$20K machines aren't going to fit the bill, meaning slightly used machines may well be a better option for some buyers who are completely smitten with modern automotive features.

But if you're looking for something that's brand new and priced sharply, this is a pretty good selection of what's available. They're still meeting the right safety requirements, full of goodies and, most importantly, come with a nice big new-car warranty, service plan and anything else that you can convince the dealer to throw in - after all, the car market is a tough-fought battleground and the advantage lies squarely with he who has a pocket full of folding.

Given the option of slightly used or brand new and reasonably 'cheap', which way would you go? Let us know below or on Facebook at facebook.com/DrivenNZ

For more motoring news head to www.nzherald.co.nz/driven