If you’re on a tight budget but dead set on buying a new car, we completely understand. Used cars carry a risk of the unknown, since it’s impossible to know exactly how the previous owner treated it, and it’s difficult to figure out what problems may be on the way. As a result, some shoppers would rather buy an inexpensive new car than any used one. And that’s where our latest list comes in. We’ve rounded up the eight least expensive new cars you can buy today to help budget-minded shoppers find a brand-new vehicle.
1. Nissan Versa Sedan – $12,815
Yes, it’s true: The subcompact Nissan Versa sedan is the least expensive new car you can buy today. With a starting price of just $12,815 with shipping, the Versa offers reliable basic transportation, though it’s not as basic as you might think, considering that it includes standard Bluetooth, air conditioning and steering wheel audio controls. Fuel economy is only average, standing at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, though shoppers looking for even better numbers can upgrade to a Versa SV with a continuously variable automatic transmission that returns up to 31 mpg city/40 mpg hwy.
2. Chevrolet Spark – $12,995
At just $12,995 with shipping, the Chevy Spark holds the title of America’s second-cheapest car, as well as its least expensive hatchback. But don’t let the low price fool you, because the tiny Spark comes loaded with lots of equipment, including alloy wheels, automatic headlights, air conditioning, an auxiliary jack for music, a 4-speaker audio system and GM’s OnStar telematics system with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot. The Spark also boasts 31 mpg city/39 mpg hwy, which means that the tiny car’s savings go beyond the showroom.
3. Mitsubishi Mirage – $13,790
Although we aren’t the biggest fan of how Mitsubishi’s tiny Mirage drives, we have to admit that the subcompact car serves its purpose well. To wit, it boasts an impressively low $13,790 base price, along with a practical hatchback body style and an impressive level of standard equipment that includes keyless entry, automatic climate control and a USB port for music. It also manages 34 mpg city/42 mpg hwy, which is near hybrid territory. And there’s a long warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, plus a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
4. smart fortwo – $14,090
Given the small size of the 2-door smart fortwo, you probably won’t be surprised to see it on our list of today’s least expensive new cars. And indeed, it fits right in, with a base price of just over $14,000 after shipping. Unlike the other cars on this list, however, the fortwo only offers two doors and two seats, making it a little less practical than rivals. But what it lacks in practicality, it makes up for in parking ease and city-friendly driving characteristics, including a small size that can squeeze through tiny gaps in traffic. Fuel economy is also fairly strong, returning 34 mpg city/38 mpg hwy.
5. Ford Fiesta – $14,790
The subcompact Ford Fiesta earns a spot on this list thanks to its base-level S trim, which offers only the basics: power locks and mirrors, air conditioning and Ford’s SYNC voice control system. Although that might not sound like much, the Fiesta doesn’t cost much, either, with a base price that’s less than $15,000 including shipping. And while fuel economy numbers lag a little behind rivals, topping out at 28 mpg city/36 mpg hwy, the Fiesta also offers more power: 120 horsepower, which is more than any other model on our list so far.
6. Kia Rio – $14,815
Once the least expensive car on the market, the Kia Rio has grown up over the last few years, both in terms of style and substance. The result is that its price has grown to $14,815, which no longer keeps it in contention for the title of "cheapest." Still, it’s very attractively priced, especially when you consider its surprisingly potent 138-hp engine, fuel economy ratings of up to 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy and a good list of standard features that includes power mirrors, air conditioning, a USB audio jack and a 4-speaker stereo system.
7. Nissan Versa Note – $15,005
Nissan’s subcompact Versa Note is essentially a hatchback version of the brand’s Versa sedan. But it offers different styling, a few different features and a new name, so we’re classifying it as a slightly different model for the purposes of this list. It’s more expensive than the Versa sedan, starting around $2,200 more with shipping, though it justifies the price difference with extra features and a more practical cargo area. Fuel economy is roughly the same, though. The Versa Note gets 27 mpg city/36 mpg hwy, just like its sedan stablemate.
8. Chevrolet Sonic – $15,070
The tiny Chevy Sonic is one of our favorite subcompact cars on the market, thanks to its bold styling, surprisingly spacious cabin and practical hatchback body style. But it’s the sedan that makes our list, touting an impressive base price of just $15,070 with shipping. That’s not a bad figure, considering standard features such as keyless entry, automatic headlights, power locks, Bluetooth and OnStar telematics with 4G LTE Wi-Fi. The powertrain is impressive, too, boasting 138 hp (tying it for the most power of any car on our list) while retaining acceptable fuel economy numbers of 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy.