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A maroon 2022 Chevy Spark is shown from the side on a city street.

The Best Affordable Vehicles of 2022

Every year, every automotive magazine and website puts out their lists of the best vehicles of the year––these often include a wide range of options, and I’m sure they’re all great. But telling me that a car in the six-figure price range is excellent isn’t really a shock––I would hope so! It’s also not particularly helpful because I’m not shopping for something that costs half the price of a house (if I’m lucky, the housing market being what it is). For me, something a bit more accessible is substantially more helpful, and I know there are plenty of other drivers who feel the same way.

That’s why I’m here to show you some of the best affordable vehicles from this year. In order to qualify, these models have to actually be accessible in terms of price, though that means different things for different people and different vehicle classes, of course. They also have to be a great option that is worth driving and not just something you’re stuck with because it’s all your budget would allow for. I’ve done my best to choose a fairly wide range of options to fit just about any budget with prices as they were at the time of writing (though pricing can and will vary based on many factors). They’re presented here in ascending order of size (more or less), not quality.

Chevy Spark – $13,600

The most affordable vehicle on the road, the Spark has been the least-expensive car in America for a couple of years now and represents an amazing overall value. This is the final year for the Spark as Chevy is sadly discontinuing it, so if you want a new one, then you’ll need to act soon. It’s not exactly spacious inside, but its fuel economy is fantastic, and you can’t beat the price.

Mitsubishi Mirage G4 – $15,645

Nearly as inexpensive as the Spark, the Mirage G4 is the second-cheapest car on the road in America and will take over the top spot next year with the Spark coming to an end. There is a sedan version and a hatchback model available, both with four doors, so this is easier to get in and out of than the Spark. You’re not going to win any races with its 78-hp engine, but you’ll get where you need to go and save a lot of money on the way.

Hyundai Accent – $16,645

Although not the absolute cheapest car out there, the Hyundai Accent is certainly one of the lowest-priced and still delivers a surprisingly enjoyable driving experience. The engine in it is a bit weaker than I’d like, but it gets fantastic fuel economy and is actually fun to drive. It’s a subcompact model, so it doesn’t need a ton of power, making it a great choice if you don’t have a big family to take with you.

Kia Rio – $16,250

Another great subcompact option, the Rio is similar to the Accent in a lot of ways. One of the best things about the Rio is it’s available as a standard sedan or a hatchback model, so it can meet a wide range of needs. Much like the Accent, it might not have a lot of power, but its small size makes it sufficient for a surprisingly fun drive.

Honda Civic – $22,550

One of the best cars on the road, the Honda Civic is a compact option with excellent performance and design. Honda just launched a new generation of the Civic this year, so it’s not the cheapest option out there, but it’s a fantastic choice if you have a bit more budget to play with. The extra space you get inside, compared to smaller models, is great if you tend to have a lot of passengers.

A grey and a red 2022 Mazda3 are shown from a high angle parked on pavement.

Mazda3 – $21,150

Right there alongside the Civic is the Mazda 3, a compact car that provides you with plenty of room inside to utilize. It’s a lot of fun to drive, which you’ll notice immediately during a test drive, with a comfortable and well-appointed interior. This is a great option that delivers a lot more than you might expect for its price.

Nissan Versa – $15,580

This is one of the all-around best values on the road, thanks to an incredibly low price and a surprising 122-hp engine. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission standard, so you need to be able to work with that, but it provides a sporty ride that’s quite fun on the road. This is another small model, as you’d expect, but it’s a great option overall.

Subaru Impreza – $19,295

If you’re looking for all-wheel drive, then look no further. This is the most affordable car on the road with all-wheel drive, which comes standard on it, so you don’t have to pay more for it. You can choose either a sedan or hatchback, and while power might not be its claim to fame, getting all-wheel drive at about $20k starting MSRP is fantastic.

Kia Soul – $19,190

For something exceptionally budget-friendly and still quite spacious inside, the Soul is hard to beat. It has a fun design that feels a bit like a cross between a hatchback and a subcompact crossover, creating something truly unique. While light on power, it’s been engineered for a sporty and rewarding performance that feels quite fun on the road.

Toyota RAV4 – $26,975

If you’re looking for a full-on crossover SUV rather than something closer to a hatchback, then you can’t go wrong with the RAV4. This is definitely a more expensive option than something like the Soul or Nissan Versa, but it’s incredibly spacious, fun to drive, and one of the highest-rated vehicles on the market. If you have the wiggle room in your budget, this is definitely a model you are going to want to check out.

Kia Telluride – $33,390

Coming in at more than double the price of the Chevy Spark, the Telluride is not necessarily budget-friendly, but it’s affordable for what it is: a spacious three-row SUV. You can easily spend a lot more for this much seating, so this is a great option if you have a big family or need a lot of cargo space, but you’re still on a budget. Standard tech and safety features are excellent, too, so you can stick with the starting trim and still get a fantastic ride.

Ford Expedition – $53,375

Again, this is not going to be considered “affordable” by everyone, but if you’re looking for a full-size SUV, then this is an excellent choice. There are plenty of cheaper options on the road, but few can fit eight passengers without someone chewing on their own knees. The Expedition has plenty of room inside, impressive performance, and is a great option for families that have a bit more budget to play with.

Honda Ridgeline – $38,140

If you’re looking for a truck, and a midsize model will work for you, then the Ridgeline is a terrific option that is quite budget-friendly (for a pickup, at least). This is a fantastic choice for a work truck that gives you everything you need to enjoy the weekend too. A midsize pickup doesn’t work for everyone, but if the size and towing capacity are right for you, then this is an excellent way to go.

A silver 2022 Honda Ridgeline Sport is shown from the rear on a trail in the woods.

Ford F-150 – $31,520

For those folks looking for a full-size truck, the Ford F-150 has been the bestselling option for about 40 years now, with good reason. It’s incredibly powerful, can handle anything you throw at it, and has fantastic features and options. While the F-150 certainly isn’t cheap, it’s become difficult to find a “budget-friendly full-size truck” these days; they’ve all become quite pricey. That being said, you get a lot even at the starting price, and it’s a great choice if you need a work truck without breaking the bank.

There Are Plenty of Excellent Affordable Options

As you can see, you have a lot of options available to you when shopping for a great, affordable vehicle. Your budget will dictate what’s “affordable” for you, but even if you’re trying to get something for less than $20k, you have quite a few models to pick from. Just remember to take a test drive, look at the options on different trim levels, and prioritize the features most important to you to ensure you get what you need in your next car.