You never know with an acoustic instrument. The best you can do is just pick it up, disregard the name on the headstock and take it for a test drive. That's exactly what I did with the C250 Passport series model made by Breedlove.
$499.99 with case is the price of admission for this. There was only one in stock in my local music shop. I would have liked to A/B it with another Breedlove to see if the brand has a consistency in their instruments or if this one magically just sounded as awesome as it did.
I am not going to say 'money wasn't an issue' but $500 gets you into the budget Taylor and Martin range. The Breedlove definitely hung with the big boys and this particular model just spoke to me. Not say it's better than the other names I just listed, but whatever you do don't shy away from this guitar just because you are unfamiliar with the Breedlove name.
The guitar was very bright in tone yet gave me the low end sustain I look for. It felt like a glove, meaning it feels great sitting in my lap and the neck is fast and slimmer than most acoustics.
Improvements, nothing crazy I can think of to improve this guitar. I do wish it came with a hardshell case. It comes with only a gigbag. I do not feel gigbags are adequate when dealing with an acoustic. But hey, I know they have budgets etc.
The top of the acoustic is made from a Western Red Cedar. A cedar top is known to give you an instant broken in sound as apposed to spruce which naturally will take a little longer to break in. If you are a soft player I would definitely checkout a guitar with a cedar top.
The back and sides are made from a laminated Ovankol. Honestly I do not have a clue what that is or how it affects the guitar.
The electronics are a simple 3-band EQ with a built in tuner with LED backing light. I really dig guitars with built in tuners.
The neck is a standard mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard.
Don't walk by this guitar. If you see one pick it up and see what you think. Cuts well in a mix and with great playability to boot.