If you’re in the market for a new car but you don’t have a huge budget, you may be resigned to buying a used vehicle, with all the extra hassle and worry that entails. However, there are many affordable new cars out there that might not be off limits. Here are the top 9 least expensive cars.
Buying new or used?
Before we look at the best affordable new cars, let’s take a moment to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of buying new vs. buying used.
The advantages of buying a new car clear. You receive a brand-new vehicle with no previous owners and no unknown previous history. A new car comes with a full warranty and if you take care of it, it is unlikely to need much work for at least the first year or two.
Another issue is modern technology. Since tech is now advancing so quickly, what you find in a car that is a year or two old will probably already be out of date; this won’t be the case with a new car.
On the other hand, when you buy a new car, the value quickly depreciates, and you will automatically lose money on what you paid for it when you try to sell it on – buying a new car is not an investment.
Buying a used car is sometimes more financially attractive since it costs less than buying a new one, and after the first year, the most significant depreciation of value has already occurred, meaning you will be able to get back more of the money you paid for it when you sell it on.
However, buying a used car can also be something of a headache. You can never tell how its previous owners treated it and you can’t know in advance what is going to go wrong. You won’t have a full warranty, and you may end up spending a lot on repairs.
A used car won’t have all the most up-to-date features, and you may also have to compromise on what you buy – you can’t pick your ideal car like when you buy new, you can only choose from what’s available for sale.
For these reasons, many people are now opting to buy a new vehicle despite the higher price since there are many clear advantages.
The top 9 least expensive cars
1. Mazda 3 Sport 4-Door – Starting at just over $18,000
If you are looking for a new car that won’t break the bank, but you don’t want to sacrifice a certain amount of luxury, comfort, power, and size, the Mazda 3 Sport could be the ideal solution.
Compared with a lot of the cheaper new cars on the market, the Mazda is a decent-sized vehicle. If you prefer the convenience of a four-door model, this is one of the most reasonably priced.
For an affordable option, it packs a decent amount of power too. However, even with 155 horsepower, this is an economical car– you can expect it to give you around 28 miles per gallon in town and up 37 miles per gallon on the highway.
It also features air conditioning with pollen filter, push-button ignition, voice command function, and a Bluetooth connection, luxuries you might only expect to find in vehicles starting at a higher price point.
While this is at the upper end of what we might call “affordable”, it is still not an expensive option for a new car, and if your budget can stretch this far, this is a vehicle you might well decide to check out.
2. Mitsubishi Mirage ES – Starting at under $14,000
If you’re looking for a decent-sized car with plenty of luxuries inside but aren’t too worried about having a huge amount of power under the hood, the Mirage could be just what you need. Mitsubishi claims this is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid on the market.
This vehicle is a great value and offers you features that include air conditioning, rear-view camera, Bluetooth capability, a touchscreen display, USB ports and steering wheel audio control.
As we just mentioned, this is far from a powerful option; if you want a high-performance vehicle, you should probably look elsewhere – but the Mirage’s small engine is capable of delivering a high number of miles per gallon, making this an excellent option for short trips around town.
The other major plus with this car is the exceptionally generous warranty. Mitsubishi offers a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty backed up by a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, giving you peace of mind that the money you pay up front won’t be followed by lots of repair bills later.
All in all, this car represents excellent value for the price.
3. Toyota Yaris – Starting at under $16,000
The Toyota Yaris is a well-established and reliable vehicle, and the most recent models include several upgrades compared to older versions, including improved suspension for more pleasant driving and a smoother ride. It also has nine airbags to help keep you safe if the worst happens.
It includes many welcome features, like a rear-view camera, a touchscreen display, and a navigation system.
Different versions of the Yaris are available, including a two-door version and a four-door version, the latter obviously costing a bit extra. Depending on your needs – as well as your budget, you can decide which version is best for you.
Overall this is a decent option if you want an affordable car with a few luxuries but that isn’t stripped right down to the bare bones to reduce the price. However, some might find it a little uncomfortable, making it less attractive if it is destined to be used for regular long journeys.
4. Fiat 500 Pop – Under $17,000
This tiny but classy vehicle just oozes Italian style and flair. It is a small but powerful car that is ideal for trips around town – and its size makes it even more practical since you will always be able to find somewhere to park.
It sits low and features a spoiler to help with aerodynamics and increase fuel efficiency. Inside, you will find a 5” color touchscreen display, hands-free calling, a rear-view camera and plenty of other welcome features.
The engine delivers an impressive 135 horsepower and it also features sports-tuned suspension and performance brakes, while at the same time delivering a respectable level of fuel efficiency.
This is not the kind of car for someone who prefers their vehicle to be big and spacious – but for someone looking for a small but sexy city car, this is definitely one that should be on your radar.
5. Ford Fiesta – From around $14,000 and up
The Ford Fiesta is one of the most iconic small cars of the past few decades, although it is now unrecognizable from the cars of twenty years ago that shared the same name. It is available in a range of colors and as a sedan or hatchback, allowing you to choose the right model for you.
If you choose the Fiesta S, you can enjoy its 120-horsepower engine along with sharp and responsive handling that combine to make it a lot of fun to drive.
Other features include power locking doors, a remote keyless entry system and a voice-activated touch-screen control inside. It can also be connected to your smartphone via an app.
The most basic versions of the Ford Fiesta are among the least expensive new cars available. Others have starting prices that are a little higher, although they are still well within what we would consider the “affordable” bracket. The slightly pricier versions all still represent great value.
6. Chevrolet Sonic – Starting at just over $15,000
This inexpensive model from Chevrolet packs a decent 1.4L engine that delivers 138 horsepower but still offers a more than respectable 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. This is an excellent compromise between power and fuel efficiency.
The safety features are notable too, with 10 airbags to keep you safe in the event of an accident.
Inside, there are plenty of gadgets and accessories for extra convenience. You will find a Bluetooth connection, and you can easily connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There’s also a USB port for ease of connection – and to charge your phone when it gets low on power.
Starting at just above $15,000 for the most basic models, the Chevrolet Sonic is an excellent budget option from this time-honored all-American brand. It is available in nine different colors too, so you are sure to find one that matches your style.
7. Kia Rio – From just over $15,000
The Kia Rio is another top pick in the affordable car range. It boasts a 1.6L engine that delivers 130 horsepower, with rear-view camera and anti-locking brakes.
Inside, it has all the features you could hope for, including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a USB port. You also have a 5” touchscreen control panel – or 7” in the Rio S. It also includes air conditioning and power windows as standard.
The car is available in several different colors, and Kia offers an industry-leading 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty for added peace of mind.
For a car in this price range, the Rio offers a highly attractive combination of performance, luxury, and reliability that is hard to argue with.
8. Nissan Versa Sedan – Starting at just over $12,000
The Nissan Versa has for some years now been known as the least expensive car available to buy new. Yet despite the fact that it is among the most affordable options, that doesn’t mean it lacks some of the features and capabilities of some more expensive options.
While you won’t be winning any road races with a 109-horsepower engine, this car has quite enough power for short trips around town and further afield. However, the flip side of having a less powerful engine is that you can expect high fuel efficiency of 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
Inside, the Versa offers Bluetooth connectivity, a 7” touchscreen control – larger than in some more expensive vehicles – and air conditioning. If you opt for the upgrade S Plus model, you will also benefit from cruise control, something the Versa S doesn’t have.
As the least expensive model on the market, you shouldn’t buy this car hoping for a high-performance vehicle. However, if you are looking for a budget-friendly new car that does everything you need, the Versa is well worth taking into consideration.
9. Hyundai Accent SE – From around $14,000
If you are looking to spend the least amount of money on a new vehicle, another model worth looking at is the Hyundai Accent SE. It boasts a respectable 130 horsepower 1.6L four-cylinder engine with fuel consumption of 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
The standard model includes a rear-view camera, a 5” touchscreen control panel and Bluetooth connectivity. It also features cruise control. To customize the car to match your style, it is available in a choice of seven different colors.
If you choose the upgrade version, the Accent SEL, you will also benefit from forwarding collision avoidance technology, a 7” touchscreen display, and slightly better fuel consumption, among other extras. Expect to pay a little over $2,000 dollars extra for this model.
Hyundai also offers an exceptional 10-year warranty that covers you for the first 100,000 miles.
As with many cars at the bottom end of the price range, don’t expect too many frills or luxuries – but if you are looking for an affordable car that does all the basics well, the Hyundai is another vehicle that you should think about checking out.
Many affordable options
As you can see, there are plenty of options at the more affordable end of the new car market. With cars as inexpensive as these, by the time you have factored in things like maintenance and repairs, once you do the sums, you could well find that one of these models is an economically viable option.