Buying one of the least expensive cars will help you build greater wealth over time. A car is a money pit. You could use that money to invest instead!
If you are in the market for a new car—and have ruled out buying used for whatever reason—and you are on this site then you are probably concerned about getting the best deal possible.
After all, nobody wants to overpay. Even a financial fool appreciates knowing that the value they’re getting from their purchase is up to par and that they didn’t make an embarrassing deal.
It is imperative that you strike a compromise between affordability and practicality if you’re looking for a set of bargain wheels. This has been said a million times in the past, but the current offerings of both foreign and domestic automakers makes this easier than ever.
Many Americans are turning towards cars that can be bought for relatively cheap but still want something new and something that has the basic comforts and amenities we’ve grown accustomed to.
Everyone’s situation is different, but purchasing an inexpensive car is a great idea for if you need a second car or a commuter; or you simply need a cheap car period.
If you’re looking for your primary mode of transportation for you and the family though, it’s best to err on the side of a larger car than having to buy another one down the road when finances improve or you outgrow it.
The Least Expensive Cars
1) The Hyundai Accent is an inexpensive but reliable car that can be bought for around 10,000-$12,000. This car is great for people that need a decent form of transportation they can count on without worrying about it breaking down.
Long gone are the bad Hyundai stereotypes of unreliability and such. With the low price tag comes a few sacrifices, however. No car at this price will not come loaded, and features such as a sun roof, nice wheels and paddle shift transmission are absent.
However, the car is not totally deprived of options. A peppy 110-horsepower engine is standard, along with safety features such as a low tire pressure indicator and seat belt pre-tensioners. If you are looking for the least expensive vehicular option to point A to point B, the Hyundai Accent is a viable option. (Official Hyundai pricing and Specs at Automotive.com)
2) The Nissan Versa can be bought for just slightly more than the Accent, but offers a few more options.
The inexpensive Versa will come with things such as power windows and power locks, and it is a larger car.
However, the downside of buying an absolute base Versa is that things such as a CD stereo system and air conditioning are not included. Pay a grand or so more though and you’ll get it.
In addition, the color choices on the basic Versa are limited to just blue, silver and black. Overall the good news is that if you are willing to pay a few extra dollars you can get more features for not that much more money. Plus, it’s a larger car than the Accent.
3) The Chevy Aveo is GM’s entry-level car and costs under $13,000. The least expensive Aveo’s do not include many options, however, they do come with a stereo system as well as a few nice colors that you can choose from.
The all-new 2012 Aveo will be a completely revamped model, so if you’re planning on getting a deal now, go for the 2011 and take advantage of the discounts and incentives. You may be able to get a 2011 2LT model with MP3 player, XM radio and keyless entry today for the price you would have paid for a base model last year.
4) Next up, the Kia Rio. It will cost right around $13,000 for the base model sedan. This Rio, however, is devoid of any and all options.
The base model does not include a stereo, air conditioning or even floor mats. In addition, the color choices are very limited. For the price you would pay for a stripped down Rio the sensible thing to do would be to purchase a Hyundai Accent that included a few upgrades.
Since the Rio is so stripped down it would take an additional $2,000 dollars or so to get the car with some decent upgrades in it. The car is decent sized however, larger inside than the Aveo and the Accent and with more cargo room. (All new Kia prices and dealer quotes at Automotive.com)
5) Finally, the last on our list is the Toyota Yaris, though certainly not least. Offered as a sedan or three door hatch, this little Japanese import packs more base features than any of the aforementioned.
For the price of $14,000 it’s one of the best deals, especially when considering the versatile interior and customizable ordering options.
However, the Yaris rides on the shortest wheelbase in its class, and has smaller cabin room than the offerings from Korea and the U.S. When buying any Toyota though you’ll for sure know that you are getting a reliable vehicle that will stand up the test of time. All Toyotas are well made and have a reputation for reliability. The Yaris is no different.
With gas prices regularly over $4 a gallon now, you’ll appreciate these inexpensive, fuel sippers. Our European brothers and sisters pay US$8+ a gallon for gas and if you ever go, you too, will start to appreciate the beauty of small vehicles.
The above five cars are perfect for one’s budget, especially if you follow the 1/10th rule for car buying. You probably aren’t going to be turning many heads and picking up babes with these cars. But, what you will turn is a new page in your journey towards financial freedom.
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Updated for 2021 and beyond