Have you seen the price of, well, everything? It seems as if prices are rising quickly, making everything more expensive. These frugal finds are the ten least expensive new vehicles you can buy, ranked by base price of the base model, before destination charge, taxes and options.
Given that automakers are cutting back on production, supplies of their least expensive cars could be meager, as they concentrate on building larger vehicles with far larger price tags and far fatter profits.
Nonetheless, this list can help you score some cheap new wheels. Cars in this class are all about value for the money, and in that regard, they are hard to match. Here’s what you’ll find.
10. Nissan Sentra — $19,510
At this price, the Sentra is very much a price leader. That said you may not mind that it has a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, not an 8-inch. Or that the driver display is 4.2 inches, rather than the larger 7-inch display other models get.
What you do get is an unexpectedly room cabin and fairly punchy powertrain. It’s no sports sedan in training, but it is a satisfying small sedan to drive.
9. Volkswagen Jetta — $18,995
Not only does the Jetta get a nip and a tuck for the new model year, but it also gets the Taos crossover’s 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, good for 158 horsepower and paired with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission.
While the Jetta has a spacious cabin, a quiet ride and comfortable interior, it doesn’t prove to be as much fun to drive as you might expect.
8. Subaru Impreza — $18,795
Even on a list of value-oriented cars, the Impreza stands apart. It comes standard with all-wheel drive; a CVT transmission is a $1,300 option.
And for the price, you’ll find it surprisingly comfortable and roomy, good ride and handling, and cabin décor that goes beyond basics: a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; power windows, power door locks and side mirrors; a tilt/telescopic steering; keyless entry; security system with engine immobilizer; and carpeted floor mats are standard. What deal.
7. Kia Forte — $17,890
All new for 2022, the Forte shares its new platform with the equally new Hyundai Elantra. Aside from its sharp new styling, the Forte gets an impressive upgrade in handling prowess.
But be sure you can live with the trade-off in ride quality. A 147-horsepower 4 cylinder and a CVT gearbox are standard. The quality cabin is minimalist, yet engaging in design, and the standard equipment list is impressive.
6. Kia Rio five-door — $16,990
Kia treats its funky five-door Rio as a separate model, even though it shares its 120-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and CVT transmission with its sedan sibling.
Performance is on par for the class, and handling is good, with well-controlled body lean in corners and decent ride quality for a subcompact. And the hatchback configuration provides crossover-like versatility at a far lower price.
5. Hyundai Accent — $16,645
Ok, the Hyundai Accent made its mark as basic transportation, and that’s what you get. It isn’t very exciting to drive, but its wardrobe is conservative yet remarkably handsome.
A 6-speed manual transmission is standard; a CVT automatic transmission is an $1,100 option. But its standard content is ok, with a small 5-inch color infotainment touchscreen, and USB and auxiliary jacks. But its cousin, the Kia Rio, is the better buy.
4. Kia Rio sedan — $16,250
Like most of the cars here, the Rio is no speed demon. It feels punchy at around town speeds, making it frisky when asked to play.
However, like most CVTs, this one hesitates before offering up power. But there’s some real value here, including a standard 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, auxiliary/USB ports and heated side mirrors, but the base model lacks power locks, mirrors, or windows.
3. Nissan Versa — $15,080
Resembling a pint-sized Altima, the Versa comes with a standard 5-speed manual transmission; a CVT transmission is a $1,670 option.
There’s lots of standard gear, including a 7-inch color infotainment touchscreen, power windows, automatic door locks, three USB ports, Bluetooth and remote keyless entry. But to get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and driver assistance safety features, you have to opt for the mid-$17,890 SV.
2. Mitsubishi Mirage — $14,245
This year, every Mirage comes standard with standard with forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection.
It also still comes with a three-cylinder engine that returns big fuel economy numbers: 36 mpg with the standard five-speed manual transmission, 39 mpg with the CVT transmission, a $1,200 option. And while the Mirage is frugal, its overall performance is disappointing.
1. Chevrolet Spark — $13,600
Diminutive in size and in price, the Spark is more than four feet shorter and nearly a foot narrower than a Chevrolet Malibu.
But that size makes it the perfect city car, with peppy low speed punch, but reaching 60 mph takes patience and planning. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard; a CVT transmission is an $1,100 option. If you want one, grab it now; 2022 is the final production year for the Spark.