This is one area where the "lower cost of living" areas of the country kind of get shafted.
I make ~$65k per year. In my area - that's fine. I bought a recent construction 1800sqft 4 bedroom house for $115k. Food and electricity are cheap here - I have no problem living comfortably on my salary - EXCEPT when it comes to buying something like a car. Cars cost about the same regardless of where you are in the country. As such while I'm making over twice the median income for my area - even $40k for a car isn't remotely feasible. My realistic budget tops out at around $25k. Thankfully you can still get (some) cars for less than that.
That said - I'm still driving my 10 year old car that's long been paid for. You can buy a LOT of gas per month for the price of a car payment.