I like the wines I've made with kits, and, while no one will ever confuse the "cheaper" kits with fine wine, I'd say that they are very good. I think a $60-$70 kit that makes 6 gallons would be comparable to a $7 or $8 bottle of wine. These kits make 30 bottles.
Some of the higher end kits have crushed grape skin packs to really enhance them. Those would be like a $12-$15 bottle of wine.
I've done the Winexpert Vintner's Reserve kits in valpollicella and shiraz, and think they were very good. I haven't had the pinot or chianti kits, but I imagine they would be very similar. These are the $60 range, I believe. They call these "30 day kits", meaning you can bottle in 30 days and they will improve for up to 6 months or so.
The Selection Estate series by Winexpert are more expensive, and meant to be aged just a tad. They would be very good in a year or so.
There are many other kits out there- Cellar Craft makes a nice one that I know of. All of them seem to be good. If you like sweetened fruity "wine cooler" types of wines, there are kits called "Island Mist" that I've sampled before. They are good, if you like that kind of thing. Since that's not my thing, though, I haven't made any myself.
After you make a few kits, it would be easy to then buy pails of the juice from the wine store, and ferment that. I'd do a few kits, first, just to get the process down. The kits don't require any acid testing or adjustments at all.
I like Jack Keller's website on winemaking. It's hard to navigate at first, but it really helps explain the ins and outs of winemaking. He has many recipes, too, if you're interested in country wines. Here's a link: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp
Feel free to ask any questions, and we can try to help!