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7 Cheapest Compact Cars Available Today

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2016

If you're interested in buying a small car at a budget-friendly price, you've come to the right place. That's because we've listed the seven cheapest compact cars on the market, each of which combine low pricing with slightly-larger-than-subcompact dimensions. Of course, each model on our list also comes with a new car warranty and only a handful of delivery miles on the odometer, which will give you extra peace-of-mind compared to buying a used vehicle.

Kia Soul: $16,515

The cheapest compact car on the market is also one of the quirkiest -- and the most practical. It's the Kia Soul, and it's a 5-door hatchback that starts from just $16,515 with shipping. Immediately recognizable with its tall stance and unusual profile, the Soul touts an excellent warranty (5 years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection), a strong fuel economy rating of around 24 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway and a practical, cavernous interior.

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Kia Forte: $16,815

Like the cheapest compact car on the market, the second-cheapest model is also a Kia. It's called the Forte, and it's a stylish compact car with a more traditional look than the Soul. It also boasts available sedan, coupe or hatchback body styles -- though you'll have to choose a base-level Forte LX sedan in order to take advantage of the car's $16,815 starting price. Fortunately, that figure buys an impressive level of equipment -- think air conditioning, power accessories and Bluetooth -- in addition to Kia's excellent warranty and fuel economy numbers of up to 26 mpg city/39 mpg hwy.

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Chevrolet Cruze: $16,995

The Chevrolet Cruze is a compact sedan with some alluring benefits. Pricing is one of those benefits, as the base-level Cruze L starts at just $16,995 with shipping, undercutting virtually all of its rivals. Its fuel economy rating of 22 mpg city/35 mpg hwy helps you save money, too. We also like the Cruze's modern styling, its smooth, comfortable driving experience and a long list of standard equipment that includes Bluetooth, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, air conditioning and a USB port for music. The icing on the cake for deal-seeking drivers is the fact that the Cruze will soon be redesigned, which means dealerships may be more willing than usual to offer good deals.

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Nissan Sentra: $17,615

The Nissan Sentra is a popular compact car with a highly appealing price tag. While the Sentra is hardly a standout in terms of styling or quality, it boasts a few benefits beyond its low price. Chief among them is its long list of standard equipment, which includes items like automatic headlights, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories and a USB port -- features you're unlikely to find on other models at this price point. The Sentra also benefits from a highly efficient 4-cylinder engine, which touts an exceptional 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy.

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Dodge Dart: $17,990

The Dodge Dart is a handsome compact sedan that offers a more engaging driving experience than most other small cars. It also boasts an impressive fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy, which ensures that you'll save money at the pump. The only flaw: to get the Dart's enticing $17,990 base price, you have to go for a sparsely equipped SE model, which doesn't even include modern essentials, like air conditioning or power locks, as standard equipment. For that reason, we highly recommend another car on our list -- unless you want to spend a little more to add the Dart SE's optional Convenience Group, which adds those features for an $895 premium on top of the sedan's base price.

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Toyota Corolla: $18,065

If you're interested in a compact car, you undoubtedly know all about the Toyota Corolla. What you may not know is that the Corolla is among the least expensive compact cars on the market, touting a base price of just $18,065 with shipping if you choose the base-level L model. And while the Corolla L only includes the basics (air conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth and a USB port for music), it does offer a few advantages over rivals -- like legendary Toyota reliability, a surprisingly roomy interior, and a highly-efficient 4-cylinder engine that offers up to 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy.

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Hyundai Elantra: $18,085

The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent compact car that touts several major benefits -- one of which is its excellent starting price of just $18,085 with shipping. While that figure is more expensive than other models on our list, the Elantra also offers a few other key benefits -- like fuel economy ratings of up to 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy and a long list of standard features that includes air conditioning, full power accessories (locks, mirrors and windows), cruise control, satellite radio and a USB port for music. As a bonus, the Elantra also comes with Hyundai's excellent warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, and 10 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection.

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RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2016 Kia Soul +
Used 2016 Kia Soul
$13,929
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Kia Soul +
Used 2016 Kia Soul
$11,497
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Certified 2016 Kia Soul
Certified 2016 Kia Soul
$10,991
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Kia Soul
Used 2016 Kia Soul
$11,999
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
7 Cheapest Compact Cars Available Today - Autotrader