The days of the $10,000 new car are long gone. However, when you take into account the added safety and convenience features of today’s cars, they might just be better value than ever before.
Case in point: nearly every entry on this list of the cheapest new cars for sale includes things like air conditioning, stability control, ABS, back-up cameras and touchscreen infotainment systems. Some of these features are now mandated, sure, but they make new cars safer and easier to live with for most buyers. The peace of mind that a warranty provides doesn’t hurt either.
Even the most expensive model on this list comes in under $19,000, including destination. Looking for a new car deal that won’t break the bank? Read on for our list of the 10 cheapest new cars to buy in the USA.
10. 2020 Kia Soul LX: $18,610
Engine: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, 147 hp / 132 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 25/31/27 mpg (MT), 27/33/30 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $18,610
Kicking off the list is Kia’s boxy Soul compact. “Compact” is a bit of a misnomer really, with the Soul’s upright shape lending it plenty of interior space. Starting its third generation for the 2020 model year, the Soul includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, and remote keyless entry as standard.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Kia Soul Review
On the safety front, the LX includes rear child-safety door locks, four-corner disc brakes, hill-start assist, and tire pressure monitoring. Driving aids such as emergency braking and lane keep assist are available on the next trim up, the $21,410 Kia Soul S. You’ll also find a manual transmission in the LX.
09. 2020 Hyundai Venue SE: $18,470
Engine: 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, 122 hp / 113 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 27/35/30 mpg (MT), 30/34/32 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $18,470
The newest member of this list, the Hyundai Venue is technically a crossover but we don’t buy that. Don’t let the funky styling fool you: with only front-drive available, this is more of an urban adventurer than a rocks-and-mud one. That being said, the Venue is an entertaining little car, with all the baked-in value Hyundai is known for.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Venue Review
There’s only one engine option available, so even the base SE gets the 1.6-liter, 121-horsepower four-cylinder. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, with a CVT optional (or standard on the SEL and Denim). An 8.0-inch touchscreen is also standard, with both popular phone pairing options. The Venue majors on safety, including emergency front braking, lane keep assist, automatic headlights and driver attention warning on all trims. Of course it also comes with Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty.
08. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic LS Sedan: $17,595
Engine: 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder turbo, 138 hp / 148 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 26/34/29 mpg
Base Price: $17,595
While the domestic brands have largely abandoned the car segment, Chevrolet has maintained course with the Sonic and Spark. The larger of the two offerings lands on the list in sedan form, and it brings some unique features not found elsewhere here. For starters, the Sonic sedan is automatic-only, where most of the competition still uses a stick to keep the list price low. The other surprise is a turbocharged engine, with the 1.4-liter Ecotec producing 138 hp and a strong 148 lb-ft of torque.
The smallest Bow Tie sedan packs in 10 standard airbags, a 60/40 rear folding seat, and LED daytime running lamps. OnStar is standard, with a 7.0-inch touchscreen featuring Bluetooth and 4G WiFi hotspot capabilities.
07. 2020 Honda Fit LX: $17,145
Engine: 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder, 130 hp / 114 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 29/36/31 mpg (MT), 33/40/36 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $17,145
The Honda Fit may not be long for this market: a fourth-gen model has appeared elsewhere in the world, but Honda hasn’t committed to its availability here. That makes the Fit one of the oldest members of this list, but it’s still a great buy, thanks to clever packaging solutions and a hint of that fun-to-drive Honda spirit.
Every Fit comes with the second-row Magic Seat, which lets owners fold them in multiple ways to maximize storage space. Its 1.5-liter, 130-horsepower engine is hooked up to a slick-shifting six-speed manual, with a CVT as an extra-cost option. Where the Fit lags behind others on this list is the creature comforts. Its 5.0-inch LCD screen is tiny—the 7.0-inch touchscreen is available on the $18,555 Sport—and the LX doesn’t feature either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto either. It also lacks the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. As a straight-forward sub-compact people (and their stuff) mover, though, we still have a soft spot for it.
06. 2020 Kia Rio Sedan LX: $16,815
Engine: 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, 120 hp / 112 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 33/41/36 mpg
Base Price: $16,815
Like the Chevy Sonic, the Kia Rio comes in both sedan and hatchback form. And just like the Sonic, the sedan is the cheaper option, undercutting the Rio 5-Door S by just shy of a grand. Both models come with a 1.6-liter engine, producing an acceptable 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Kia Rio Review
The Rio follows the Soul’s tech script, with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth. The rear-view camera includes dynamic guidelines—not a guarantee at this price point—but that’s about it for electronic safety assists. The 5-Door S does add foward collision avoidance, however. Opting for the hatch lops an entire foot off the length of the Rio, and adds a 60/40 folding rear seat to make the most of that utilitarian shape.
05. 2020 Toyota Yaris Sedan L: $16,605
Engine: 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder, 106 hp / 103 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 30/39/34 mpg (MT), 32/40/35 mpg (AT)
Base Price: $16,605
The Toyota Yaris sedan has long been a Mazda 2 in disguise. That works in its favor: the Mazda bones make this a more entertaining drive than Toyota’s homegrown offering. It also includes a reasonable amount of tech, even in the base L form, which starts the lineup off at $16,605.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan Review
Like many other cars on this list, the Yaris uses a 7.0-inch touchscreen in the center of its dash. It features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto plus Bluetooth connectivity, some of which other, more expensive Toyotas lack. Keyless entry and automatic emergency braking are standard too. All Yarises (Yarii?) use a 1.5-liter four-cylinder pumping out just 106 horsepower, but they’re also some of the lightest new cars available, which keeps them feeling sprightly around the city.
04. 2020 Hyundai Accent Sedan SE: $16,250
Engine: 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, 120 hp / 113 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 29/39/33 mpg (MT), 33/41/36 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $16,250
Hyundai gets a second entry on the list with its smallest sedan, the Accent. As it shares its platform with the Venue, the Accent has a lot of the same features, including a standard 1.6-liter, 120-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission. A CVT is optional, requiring an extra $1,100 outlay.
The Accent’s big advantage over its crossover-styled sibling is at the pumps. With the six-speed manual it’s capable of 39 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined. The CVT does better still, with scores of 41 and 36, respectively. The best the Venue manages from the EPA is 35 mpg highway (manual) and 32 mpg combined (CVT). However, the Accent sacrifices active safety assists to get its low price, and also uses a 5.0-inch touchscreen without any major mobile pairing abilities.
03. 2020 Nissan Versa Sedan S: $15,655
Engine: 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, 122 hp / 114 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 27/35/30 mpg (MT), 32/40/35 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $15,655
Nissan is banking on the SUV craze to die down, as young adults who grew up in their back seats avoid them the same way their parents eschewed minivans. That’s why it invested in redesigning both the Sentra and Versa for 2020. Both pack in the sort of tech and convenience features found on bigger models only a decade ago. This includes emergency braking with pedestrian sensing, lane departure warning, auto high beams, hill start assist, powered side mirrors, and voice recognition.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Nissan Versa Review
The base Versa S comes with a five-speed manual transmission hooked up to a 1.6-liter engine. This combo is capable of a decent 35 mpg combined, though that figure jumps to 40 mpg when picking the $17,325 CVT model. All models come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, though you’ll need to upgrade to the $18,565 to gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality instead of just Bluetooth.
02. 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage ES: $14,990
Engine: 1.2-liter inline three-cylinder, 78 hp / 74 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 33/41/36 mpg (MT), 36/43/39 mpg (CVT)
Base Price: $14,990
The Mitsubishi Mirage is on the upswing. In 2019 it sold 26,966 units, an increase of over 10 percent from the previous year. Maybe it’s because so many competitors are dropping out of the segment, leaving the affordable little Mirage to reap the benefits?
SEE ALSO: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage GT Review
Measuring just 149.2 inches nose to stern, the Mirage is one of the smallest new cars on the market. It’s also possibly the slowest, with a 1.2-liter engine and just 78 horsepower. But you’re not buying an economy car for speed, you’re buying it for, well, economy. The Mirage posts a 41 mpg highway figure, or 43 mpg with the optional CVT. The only cars that better its ratings are hybrids. Standard features are generous considering the sticker price, with automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch central display, keyless entry, and Bluetooth. If you prefer the longer (169.5-inch) sedan body to the hatch, it’s an extra $1,000.
01. 2020 Chevrolet Spark LS: $14,095
Engine: 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder, 98 hp / 94 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 29/38/33 mpg (MT), 30/38/33 mpg (AT)
Base Price: $14,095
The Chevrolet Spark remains the cheapest new car in America, ringing in for a little over $14,095 including destination (but not whatever discounts your local dealer might be offering). That bargain-basement price gets you a tiny runabout—it’s six inches shorter than the Mirage—with a 1.4-liter, 98-horsepower engine and five-speed manual transmission.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Chevrolet Spark Review
Chevrolet quotes nearly the same fuel economy numbers for both the manual and automatic transmissions: 38 mpg highway and 33 combined. The auto scores 30 mpg in the city, with the stick giving away just 1 mpg.
Thanks to a recent refresh the Spark enjoys standard features such as a 7.0-inch infotainment screen (with Android and Apple pairing), integrated daytime running lamps, tire pressure monitoring, and 15-inch wheels. Passenger space is about what you’d expect of a 143-inch long car; that is to say it’s decent, though trunk space is small.