If I was in the same position as you, I'd try the Ibanez guitars....they have a good reputation, supposed to be able to cope with anything from blues through classic rock to heavy metal. Every review I've ever read praises their playability and fast fretboards...but that's only hearsay, and it's only one option. There are guys on this site who'll point you in the direction of budget guitars...for instance, TRGuitar loves the Agile LPs.
If you can't raise the cash for an MIA Strat, maybe a Squier Strat might be an option....they are well made, and definitely value for money. I know, I've had one - big mistake letting it go. Try them, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Good luck,whatever you decide to go for!
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)