There is something about driving a brand new car. Actually, a few somethings.
For starters, the new car smell (which is actually a combination of volatile organic compounds stinking up the place, but I digress). Then there’s the new car shine. You really do miss that a couple of years down the road. But most of all, it feels great to be under the manufacturer’s warranty.
The downside is most new cars cost a lot of money. But not all. Here are some of the cheapest new cars on the market. We even found some new cars under $15,000. You won’t get the bells and whistles you would find in a luxury sedan, but you might be surprised with the technology available in a cheap(er) vehicle.
2018 Fiat 500X
MSRP: From $19,995
This good-looking Italian sport-utility vehicle draws comparisons to its corporate sibling, the Jeep Renegade. It’s a front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-door hatchback, which is available in a variety of interesting colors like yellow, orange and brown. But most importantly, it’s a compact SUV that you can get for the price of a decent midsize sedan.
There are four trim levels available: Pop, Trekking, Lounge and Urbana. The Pop, which will probably cost you a little over $20,000 with an automatic transmission, has quite the array of impressive features for one of the cheapest new cars. Think heated power exterior mirrors with turn signal indicators, a backup camera (new cars are required to have this by May 2018) and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility standard (so you can integrate your phone with the infotainment system and no longer pay for in-car navigation). Upgrade from the Pop’s 160-horsepower turbo engine to the Trekking trim for a 180-horsepower engine paired with a nine-speed transmission and available all-wheel drive.
The Lounge trim has luxury features like an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment and heated seats. The Urbana trim comes with 18-inch aluminum wheels and metallic iron accents on the headlight and taillight surrounds, door handles and more. Advanced safety features like automatic high beam headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers are also available. It’s quite the array of features for one of the cheapest new cars on the market.
2018 Mitsubishi Mirage
MSRP: From $13,395
The Mirage was designed as a throwback to a time when cars weren’t rolling computers. You get what you pay for with this one – nothing spectacular, but there are a few features that might surprise you. First, let’s get this out of the way. The Mirage has a tiny engine. Its 1.2-liter, three-cylinder motor produces just 78 horsepower yet still makes quite a bit of noise. You don’t want to be merging onto a highway in this one, but if you drive primarily in the city, it could really work for you.
Perhaps its best feature is its 37 city/43 highway mpg fuel economy. Very impressive. Other available features include push-button start, heated seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It has another cool feature that holds the brake for two seconds as you move your foot from the brake to the accelerator when stopped on a hill. Plus, with such a small size it’s very easy to park. The Mirage has a five-year warranty and available front-seat heaters. There aren’t many advanced safety features, other than the rear-view camera, but one might expect that with such a low sticker price.
2018 Chevrolet Sonic
MSRP: From $15,295
Changes for this year’s Sonic are minimal, which is OK since J.D. Power named it the most dependable small car last year. The Sonic is available in either a sedan or hatchback body style. The hatchback has a decent amount of cargo room and the sedan has more storage space than rival Toyota Corolla.
The Sonic has a surprising number of safety features for its price. It’s also the first in its class to offer 10 standard airbags. Like the others on this list of cheapest new cars, the rearview camera is standard. Forward collision alert, lane departure warning and rear parking assist are all available. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is paired with a six-speed transmission and produces a class-leading 138 horsepower. Fuel economy is great, with up to 37 mpg on highways. This is a nice subcompact with a decent interior and lots of safety features for a great price.
2018 Nissan Versa
MSRP: From $11,990
In an age of backup cameras and automatic braking, some might be surprised to learn you can still buy a new car with a manual transmission, crank windows and manually adjustable mirrors. But the most basic Nissan Versa is just that, bringing bargain prices to the table. With a starting sticker price under $12,000, it is able to stand out among the crowded – and waning – subcompact segment. The Versa is also quite versatile, with more cargo room and legroom than one might expect. In fact, the Versa has more legroom than some BMWs and Mercedes-Benz sedans. As far as features, Nissan has to promote things like cruise control and windshield wipers as cool features, since this is really a no-frills automobile for first-time car owners. It’s available with an automatic continuously variable transmission that helps improve fuel efficiency. Its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces only 109 horsepower, but it looks nice and received four out of five stars in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in front and side crashes.
2018 Honda Fit
MSRP: From $16,190
The popular Honda Fit received a mid-cycle refresh this year, and designers have taken a good subcompact hatch and made it better. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included in everything but the base LX model, and the Honda Sensing driver assistance systems come with every trim. This system includes features like adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking and more. The engine produces 130 horsepower, slightly less than the aforementioned Sonic. Mileage is a satisfying 29 city/36 highway mpg. Buyers might also be interested in the new Fit Sport trim with redesigned bumpers, fog lights, glossy wheels and orange accents throughout. But be warned: Although it might look more like a sports car, it won’t drive like one.
Did you know AAA members save an average of $3,106 off MSRP on new cars and get used car discounts through the AAA Auto Buying program? Click here to learn more about our network of certified dealers and to start comparing vehicles today.