Let’s try to be optimistic for once. See, the upside to a sluggish economy is how we try to stretch every dollar further and get the best bang for our bucks. So when it comes to sussing out for that “affordable” dream car, we make no exceptions. Here are three affordable and award winning models to get your kicks without the hefty price tags.

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Mazda CX-5
Winner of the ‘Best Crossover’ in 2012 Auto Express New Car Awards, the Mazda CX-5 has all the comfort of a sedan and a spacious interior of an SUV.  Powered by the fuel efficient SkyActiv DOHC 4 cylinders 16 valves, the latest offering by Mazda is tailored for comfort, convenience and flexibility.  From generous front and rear legroom, a cavernous boot, the world’s first remote control fold-down 4:2:4 rear seats, a storage capacity of up to 1,390 litres, and an integrated technology-based in-dash navigation system, and a 225-watt high-quality 9-speaker surround system jointly developed by Mazda and Bose® are just few outstanding examples offered by the new compact trendy crossover.
Engine: SKYACTIV-G 2.0 direct-injection petrol engine
Horsepower: 155
Top speed: 187 km/h

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Previously known for it classy and elegant profile, the new breed of Alfa Romeo Giulietta is embracing its new sporty persona with a vibrant attitude.  Recognized as one of the most successful models built by the Italian automaker, the new 5-door hatchback is widely known for its acclaimed safety standard according to the Euro NCAP 2010. With six airbags as standard (two of which Multistage), three point seatbelts with double pretensioners and load limiters and S.A.H.R. (Self Aligning Head Restraint) system, and a new second generation device built into the backrests of the front seats that moves the head restraints closer to the occupants’ heads in the event of a crash to lessen the effects of whiplash.  The robust hatchback with its 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine also received the 2010 Best Engine of Year award, together with 2011 Newcomer of the year, and 2011 Greek Car of the year.
Engine: 1.4 TB MultiAir Turbo petrol engine
Horsepower: 170
Top Speed: 218 km/h

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Ford Mondeo
Two decades ago, it would be impossible to think of American cars without the usual American clichés: bulking, gas guzzler, and boring. That’s the past. The new breed of Ford Mondeo is no longer the underdog but a formidable contender in the mid-to-luxury car segment –previously considered the domain of the European and Japanese automakers.  From its dynamic and masculine profiles to its premium cabin space, high-performance fuel efficient engine, and sophisticated features, the award winning sedan (Business Car of the Year by Business Car UK) exceed expectations in terms of functionality, performance and comfort but remains competitively priced. 
Engine: 1999 cc. 4-Cyl, DOHC, 16 Valves, Direct injection.
Horsepower: 240
Top Speed: 246 km/h

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