The Yamaha GC series is a good step up. I had a GC-32 which I thought was an excellent guitar. The only reason I didn't stay with it, was because I wanted to try a shorter scale. A GC-32 is within your price range, and I think you would notice quite a difference in the sound.
2017 Jason Wolverton spruce/maple, 640, "Luz Blanca"
2016 Kenny Hill New World Estudio 640, cedar
2015 Kenny Hill Performance 640, C/IR
2017 Kenny Hill Player Cutaway, 640, Sp