Well Bax, sometimes a guitar is just a guitar
It's easy to say go buy this or go buy that, but what is available to some might not be for others. I think it's really difficult to suggest one brand over the other with a strict budget. There is always something better or worse for more or less money.
In the budget minded guitar buyer, I think it's important to not be too hasty. If the Cordoba was your diamond in the rough, so be it. My mind is not closed to chinese production guitars, It's entirely shut. I just don't see any reason to spend over 1,000$ on a mass produced production guitar.
For instance for 1,000$ one can find a really nice Taurus,Tatay,Aria...all top of the mark guitars with sweet build, light and responsive. Again I'm not knocking your Cordoba. But I think the discovery of affordable responsive guitars is well worth the time and effort.
Small production factory guitars offer a glimpse of a hand built luthier guitar for a fraction of the cost. Cordoba in my ears and eyes, puts a shiny coat of paint on some nice wood, but under the hood is a little 2 stroke motor trying to win the Indy 500.
I think the sweet spot of the Cordoba line up is the 300-600$ guitars...Going into the 1,000$ territory opens vintage guitar buys that are super great.