When it comes to cars, you don't always get what you pay for. Some of the cheapest new cars on the market offer useful features and great reliability records, all for a price that's well within the range of affordability for many individuals and families. From the tiny Smart ForTwo to the zippy Hyundai Accent, there's plenty to choose from when it comes to very affordable new transportation.
What Is the Cheapest New Car on the Market for 2012?
According to the New York Times, the average price of a new car is close to $30,000. However, if you're interested in a compact vehicle, you can find a great new car for less than half that price. The top five cheapest used cars all came in at under $15,000.
Nissan Versa Sedan
At just under $11,000 MSRP, the Nissan Versa is the cheapest new car on the market. The following features make this car popular with buyers:
- Fuel economy - The Nissan Versa gets 36 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Safety - The base model of this car comes standard with stability control and traction control, as well as four-wheel, anti-lock brakes and side curtain airbags.
- Space - This car has a large trunk and plenty of leg room in the back seat.
Edmunds.com has many good things to say about the Versa, but they also caution buyers that driving the Versa Sedan is not particularly exciting. U.S. News reports that adding an automatic transmission to the Versa Sedan adds to much money to the cost of the vehicle.
With a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of about $12,500, the Smart ForTwo is another cheap new car option. Buyers are attracted to the following features:
- Fuel economy - The ForTwo gets 41 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Brand recognition - This car is easy to recognize and has a loyal following.
- Easy handling - The tiny size of the ForTwo makes it a breeze to park in tight spaces or maneuver through city traffic.
According to Edmunds.com and U.S. News, the Smart ForTwo also has a few important cons. Edmunds feels that the car isn't affordable enough, given its small size and difficult ride on the highway. This model may be best suited for people who mostly do city driving.
Price from about $13,200, the Ford Fiesta is a very affordable choice when it comes to buying a new car. This car is popular for several reasons:
- Fun to drive: The Fiesta features a 1.6-liter engine capable of producing 120 horsepower, which is a lot of power for a compact car.
- Fuel economy: This car gets about 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Luxurious features: The Fiesta comes standard with some impressive features, including an MP3 input and stability and traction control.
Edmunds.com reports that one of the "cons" of owning a Fiesta is the limited space for cargo. However, in its comparison of cheap cars, Motor Trend found that the Fiesta out-performed its competition.
- Fuel economy: The Yaris boast 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Fun: With a standard input for your MP3 player, a USB connection, and front reading lights, it's easy to stay entertained.
- Safety: Along with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and side curtain airbags, the Yaris features a tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to low tire pressure.
On the down side, the Yaris is smaller than some other compact vehicles in this price range, and it may be less comfortable for some drivers. Car and Driver was also unimpressed with the performance of the Yaris.
With an MSRP of about $14,500, the Hyundai Accent will fit comfortably in many budgets. This car is popular for several reasons:
- Fuel economy: The Accent gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Standard features: This car comes standard with power windows and locks, keyless entry, an iPod input, a USB input, a six-speaker stereo, and traction and stability control.
- Performance: The Accent is one of the best performing cheap cars on the market and has a 1.6-liter engine capable of producing 138 horsepower.
According to Edmunds.com, the Accent is a great car, but it may be difficult for the driver to see out the back window. Additionally, available options for the Accent are limited. However, Cars.com was impressed by the standard features that come with this car.
Who Makes the Cheapest New Cars?
Although the cheapest car models can vary from year to year, you can expect to find budget offerings from the following manufacturers:
Getting a Good Deal
Even on the lower-priced end of the car spectrum, it's important to do your homework to get a good deal. If you compare prices between dealerships and negotiate well, you'll likely be able to purchase your new car for well below the MSRP. In fact, if you buy during the late fall or take advantage of rebates, you may be able to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Don't Forget Cost of Ownership
The MSRP is just one measure of a car's price. While the five cars listed here are the cheapest new vehicles on the market, it's always a good idea to consider cost of ownership. As you compare vehicles, be sure to add in the projected cost of fuel, maintenance, insurance, financing fees, and repairs. Also, pay attention to how well a car holds its value. These factors will help you determine which vehicle is truly the cheapest new car on the market.