Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Kia Forte is shown from the front at an angle.

Seven of the Most Affordable New Cars on the Market

If you’re shopping for a car right now, I don’t have to tell you that cars are expensive – some of them much more than others. The good news is that some affordable vehicles are still available, even if you’re looking for a new model that will last you a long time. You’re not going to find crazy luxury features and advanced technology like self-driving functionality or anything on these models (at least not for now). But they can work well, save you a lot of money, and provide you with reliable performance for a long time. Let’s look at some of the most budget-friendly new vehicles out there right now, so you know which models can give you a lot without breaking the bank.

#1 – The Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is the absolute king of affordable vehicles for a few reasons, and it should be at the top of your list if you need to save as much money as possible while buying a new car. For starters, the 2023 Mirage is one of the least-expensive new cars on the market, with a starting price of just $16,245. That’s completely bonkers for a new car and with the Spark’s run coming to an end (more on that below), this is the reigning champ for cheap vehicles.

Taking things even further, the Mirage is also the most fuel-efficient gas-powered vehicle on the road that only hybrids can top. The Mirage gets an estimated 36 MPG in the city, 43 MPG on the highway, and 39 MPG of combined fuel economy. In other words, you save a ton of money upfront on this model and you’ll keep saving a lot by skipping the gas pump. That’s about as win/win as it gets; just don’t expect a luxurious interior or anything.

A turquoise 2023 Chevy Spark is shown from the front at an angle.

#2 – The Chevy Spark

Next up, we have the Chevy Spark. The vehicle has been, up until now, the most affordable vehicle on the market. The 2022 Spark comes in at a starting price of just $13,600 MSRP, even lower than the Mirage by a significant amount. So why did I bring this one in second and not start with it? Well, unfortunately, Chevy has decided to bring the Spark’s run to an end. The 2022 model is the last year it will be produced. So if you’re interested in getting one of these new, then you’ll need to try to track one down that’s still at a dealership near you.

That being said, the Spark is a terrific, inexpensive hatchback. Sure it’s quite small, but so is the Mirage and any vehicle that’s so budget-friendly. It has excellent fuel economy with an estimated 30 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. That’s not quite as good as the Mirage, but still respectable, so this model will save you money for a long time.

#3 – The Nissan Versa

Depending on what you’re looking for, the Nissan Versa can be the least expensive vehicle on the market, but only in a particular way. If you go with a Versa model with a manual transmission, then you’re looking at a starting price of $15,730 MSRP, making it the most budget-friendly model out there. On the other hand, if you prefer an automatic transmission, the price gets bumped up to $17,400 MSRP. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still fantastic and you’re getting a terrific vehicle, but now it’s higher than the Mirage.

I will say this for the Versa: despite its incredibly low starting price, it comes with Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes great features like Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and an Intelligent Forward Collision Warning. Remind me again why some vehicles that cost thousands more have these kinds of things as available options? Fuel economy is excellent with the Versa too: an estimated 32 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway, 35 MPG combined, for a model with an automatic transmission. Efficiency goes down about 5 MPG across the board with a manual-transmission version, but it’s still excellent.

#4 – The Kia Forte

If you want something that looks more expensive than it is, then the Kia Forte is a great choice for a sedan that has a stylish design. There are numerous trims and options here, but the starting LX model comes in at $19,490 MSRP and features a sporty engine, Intelligent Variable Transmission, and fantastic standard safety technology like Auto Emergency Braking and Lane Keeping with Following Assist. This model gets an estimated 30 MPG in the city, 41 MPG on the highway, and 34 MPG of combined fuel efficiency, making it a terrific option that’s a lot of fun to drive while keeping your costs low.

#5 – The Subaru Impreza

When it comes to affordable options, the Impreza is definitely impressive (see what I did there?) and a great choice if you’re looking for a stylish little sedan. The Base Sedan model features Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive standard, with terrific EyeSight driver assist safety technology included while starting at just $19,795 MSRP. If you’re interested in a hatchback version instead, then the price goes up about $500 – but that’s not much of an increase. With an estimated 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, the Impreza isn’t the most efficient model we’ve looked at, but it will still help keep your fuel costs low.

#6 – The Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent is a terrific vehicle for saving you some money and is one of the most approachable starting models in any lineup. I’ve placed it so far down in this list for one reason: just like the Chevy Spark, the Accent’s run is ending with the 2022 model. Hyundai has decided to discontinue the Accent and make the Venue their new entry-level model – an unfortunate and expensive decision. If you can track down a new 2022 Accent at a dealership, it starts at just $16,645 MSRP, making it nearly as budget-friendly as the Mirage. You can get an estimated 33 MPG in the city, 41 MPG on the highway, and 36 MPG of combined fuel economy with the Accent; it’s one of the most efficient models out there, and it can save you a lot of money (if you can find one).

A red 2023 Toyota Corolla is shown from the side while cornering.

#7 – The Toyota Corolla

Finally, we have the Toyota Corolla, which can’t compete with models like the Mirage or Versa for low cost, but it’s still a fantastic choice. The Corolla is a refined and sophisticated model that delivers a wide range of impressive standard features while still going pretty easy on your wallet. The starting LE model comes in at $21,550 MSRP. That’s higher than a lot of what we’ve looked at, but nothing compared to many other vehicles out there. For this price, you get automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and start, an 8-inch Infotainment display, and Toyota Safety Sense technology, including a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, a Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and much more. The Corolla is one of the most efficient gas vehicles out there, getting an estimated 32 MPG in the city, 41 MPG on the highway, and 35 MPG of combined fuel economy to keep your costs low.

Consider Value and Price

I want to leave you with one final thought: don’t just look at the up-front costs but consider overall value when shopping for your next vehicle. Of course, you need to stick to your budget to get something you can afford, with payments that won’t cost you any sleep. But you should try to get as much as possible for your money. If your budget allows, it’s worth paying a little more to get things like comfortable seating, advanced safety features, and decent performance, so you actually enjoy driving your vehicle. You’ll have it for a long time, so consider overall value and the features you’ll have rather than just the bottom line.