Everyone remembers their very first vehicle. Mine was a 1998 Buick Century – a real burgundy beauty! Oh, the days we’ve shared together, the memories, the horrors we endured. At that time that’s all that was affordable to me.
Fast forward to October 16, 2012 and you’ll find me driving an almost-new Nissan Versa. Cars have come a long way in become more affordable and you’ll notice that the vehicle I drive is rather cheap compared to the entire selection of brands and models out there.
To find out just how cheap, I’ve compiled a list of 10 brand new budget cars that are fairly affordable for an average person:
1) 2013 Nissan Versa S – $11,990
For old-school drivers who prefer manual over automatic, there’s the new Nissan Versa S. Starting at an amazingly low $11,990 the Versa never seizes to amaze me. As a Versa owner myself, this is the top vehicle on my budget auto-shopping list. This full size sedan packs a lot more punch for the buck with a 109-hp engine. With an average of 31.5 MPG, gas savings are plentiful (for all of us here in California that’s a huge relief). My personal Versa favorites include the size of the trunk (it seems to fit just about anything there) and the fact that it doesn’t feel as cheap as some of its competitors. From experience, Versa’s acceleration is already quite slow so I can’t imagine any less horsepower in a vehicle of the same price range.
2) 2013 Chevrolet Spark LS – $12,245
With gas prices on the rise, anyone will be happy to drive the new Chevy Spark which will average 32.5 MPG. A go to vehicle for every-day life and work commute, the 84-hp Spark LS is priced attractively at $12,245 MSRP. Spark is the newest creation by Chevy to complete its vehicle lineup with a mini model for the urban hipster. Available with a built in command deck to access all of your audio, video and smart phone linkup. If safety is your thing, rest assured your you’re covered there with Spark’s 10 standard air bags. Chevy isn’t kidding about this one, they are throwing in a 5-year, 100,000 mile warranty to compete with the current market players. The Spark is a serious contender for those on a budget.
3) 2013 Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe – $12,490
The so called unboring, fun car to drive. You’ve all seen a Smart cruising around by now and have your own impression of this compact vehicle. The 70-hp engine coupled with a five-speed manual transmission promises to make for a fun drive. Smart ForTwo comes with a 48 month/50,000 mile warranty – somewhat subpar with the other budget vehicle choices but one to keep in mind nevertheless. Expect combined fuel efficiency of 36 MPG and some of the most thought-through safety features matching those of a racecar’s roll cage.
4) 2013 Ford Fiesta S – $13,200
This new subcompact may seem small to some, but shouldn’t be mistaken as a vehicle for a small person. Roomy on the inside and stylish on the outside, Fiesta makes my top 10 picks. Being one of the top contenders in price range is nice, but what’s even nicer is averaging 33 MPG combined fuel efficiency and it’s standard features such as power locks and mirrors, air-conditioning, tilt-and-telescoping steering and an auxiliary audio jack. Powered by a 120-hp engine, Fiesta sits smack down in the middle of the rest. And that color, isn’t it pretty?
5) 2013 Toyota Yaris L – $14,370
When my mom went shopping for a Toyota, it was the first year the Yaris was out. The Yaris set a standard for many of today’s subcompacts and has been evolving ever since. Although sedan version of Yaris is no more, there’s much to be excited for in the improved-look hatchback. Averaging 34 MPG, the 106-hp engine makes Yaris just a bit less snappy then many of its competitors. However, don’t be fooled by horsepower alone, the new Yaris makes up with style and versatility where others fall short. Roomy, efficient, safe – this car shouldn’t disappoint.
6) 2013 Kia Soul – $14,400
SUV’s will have to watch out for this Small Utility Vehicle, pushing the boundaries of boxy designs and high fuel efficiency. With 31 MPG combined fuel efficiency, slick design and roomy interior, Kia has a soul! The Soul baseline model comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 135-hp. Expect standard climate control, power windows, locks and mirrors and satellite radio. What makes this vehicle stand out from the rest is it’s practicality. Perfect for short and long distance driving, with ample space and great features, this boxy car may just be the perfect contender for the top 10 cheapest cars in 2013 list.
7) 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS – $14,545
Perhaps the best contender in the subcompact 2013 lineup, the Hyundai Accent looks sharp and boasts 138-hp 1.6L 4-cylinder engine. With 9 colors to choose from, that’s almost double the other competitor choices. The automaker has designed the new Accent with interior space and exterior style in mind and seems to accomplish both goals with elegance. If considering a Hyundai, be sure to take a look at warranty details as my good friend from See Debt Run has mentioned having issues with getting his honored. Overall the Hyundai Accent is looking like an excellent competitor in the 2013 lineup and is not to be overlooked when shopping for a budget vehicle.
8) 2013 Honda Fit – $15,325
When shopping for a reliable vehicle, Honda has always made the top of my list. Nobody can argue Honda’s record for producing quality, affordable vehicles. The new 2013 Honda Fit base model comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission 1.5L 4-cyl. engine. It’s not the EV version that costs a few extra bucks but it’s the same stylish vehicle Honda has had great success with in the United States. Only when you see inside this vehicle that you can really appreciate the art and beauty of it’s design. Practical, spacious and creative, the Fit is perfect for short and long distance driving. The only thing that disappoints a bit is the sub-par combined 29 MPG which should have been around 37 in my opinion.
9) 2013 Kia Forte LX – $15,400
The Kia forte is a vehicle that is a little bit larger the subcompact, but a little bit smaller than a midsize vehicle. Just like most vehicles in this class, the Kia forte has received a European-styled look. The styling is very clean, crisp, and has graceful lines. The gas mileage is about average at 26 for the city and 36 for the highway. This is pretty reasonable considering it’s powered by a 2.0 L, 156-hp four-cylinder engine. It comes with a six speed automatic and the LX models have a six speed manual transmission. The performance of this vehicle is very value conscious and has just enough power to do the job. The front seats have adequate amount room for the average size adult, but the rear seats are little snug for adults. If you don’t mind getting a little cozy, you can probably squeeze three people in the back in a pinch. The base forte is for the budget conscious and does not come with air-conditioning. You’ll be surprised to know that all models come with Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio, steering wheel controls, and voice activation. The upper end models include features such as fog lights, trim and upholstery upgrades, XM traffic, upgraded climate controls, pushbutton start, 16 inch alloy wheels and a lot more upgrades. Get your own Kia forte for $15,400!
10) 2013 Ford Focus S – $16,200
If you’re looking for an economical but sleek and stylish car that is under $16,500, this is the car for you. This car is tech focused and a very fun car to drive. The interior feels more like a European sports sedan rather than a budget conscious car. There is plenty of leg and head room for people that are 6 feet and taller. The base model comes with a 2.0 L direct injected four-cylinder engine that produces 160-hp with 146 foot-pounds of torque. Not bad for the base model. Now, if you’re looking for a little more performance and handling, step up to the focus ST. This version is an absolute rush and has a whopping 240hp turbocharged eco-boost engine. This propels the car from 0 to 60 in just 6.3 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. The cars well-equipped and has several options such as a Sony sound system, HD radio with Sirius satellite radio, sports seat, a sport suspension.
But Wait, There is More…
For the super frugal who’s out shopping for a new car, you may want to wait for the Nano. India’s Tata has redesigned its mini car Nano to arrive here in U.S. within 3 years. Price tag? Somewhere below $10,000. What this is going to do to prices of used cars is anyone’s guess, but I have a feeling it’ll be the new alternative to used cars.