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The Cheapest New Cars of 2022

A great vehicle for less than $17,000? These cheap new cars deliver more than you'd expect.

cheapest new cars

The Nissan Versa

As technology and engineering advance with each passing year, cars are being sold more as lifestyle choices than as modes of transportation. But all those extras we pack into our car choices can get expensive, and most of the time we just want to get where we’re going.

Ironically, most of the cheapest new cars still have all the infotainment and safety features we’ve come to expect. Along with top-of-the-line fuel efficiency.

So, when you parse a car down to its most essential function, which automobiles are worth their weight in gold? These are the cheapest new cars of 2022.

cheapest new cars

Chevrolet Spark

Starting Price: $13,600

The Chevrolet Spark continues its reign as the cheapest new car on the market. In fact, it’s still the only vehicle with a with a sub-$14,000 base price. For that price you get a mere 98 horsepower but an impressive 38 highway mpg. The Spark also comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera and climate control.

The Spark’s tradeoff for cost and efficiency is its size. You won’t have much space to maneuver within the cabin. But if you’re just looking for a great commuter or city car, this is not a bad choice.

The Cheapest New Cars

Mitsubishi Mirage

Starting Price: $14,645

The Mirage’s engine provides an impressive fuel economy of 36 mpg city/43 mpg highway, but don’t expect much power out of it. Mustering a lowly 78 horsepower, the Mirage is the least powerful car on the market.

That doesn’t mean this compact vehicle has nothing to offer. It comes standard with several safety features – forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and automatic high beam. Like the Spark, it also comes with an Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible 7.0-inch display.

The Mitsubishi Mirage may not be the most fun car to drive, but if you’re running errands or commuting around the city, it may be the best cheapest new car of 2022 for you.

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Nissan Versa

Starting Price: $14,980

The Versa’s starting price rose just $50 in 2022, allowing it to sneak under the $15,000 line for one more year. Not long ago, the Nissan model was the cheapest car around, but it was completely redesigned in 2020, which bumped the price tag up roughly $1,500.

The remodeling created a much-improved vehicle. (No more manually operated crank windows.) The car now comes with more legroom than one would expect, plenty of cargo room and a 122-horsepower, four-cylinder engine that’s more than adequate.

Safety is addressed with a host of features including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beams. The entry-level Versa S sedan retains Bluetooth functionality, but lacks the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration you can find in higher trims.

cheapest new cars

Kia Rio

Starting Price: $16,150

Last year, the Kia introduced both a sedan and hatchback Rio model. Both versions are still available today, although the latter will cost you about $1,000 more.

The car is still loaded with many of the standard features you’d find in higher-end vehicles, including Bluetooth capability and a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. The higher-trim level offers SiriusXM satellite radio, keyless entry, LED headlights and automated emergency braking and safety features.

In 2020, the Rio increased its combined mpg from 32 to 36, where it remains today. With standard entertainment options and improved fuel economy, the Rio is an even better value than in years past.

cheapest new cars

Hyundai Accent

Starting Price: $16,645

The Accent’s price tag jumped nearly $1,500 in 2022, causing it to fall one spot on this list. Although not the cheapest, the Accent may deliver the best value of any car on the low-end of the price-tag spectrum. Depending on the trim level you’re willing to upgrade to, the car can deliver nearly all the features of a more costly automobile.

The Accent’s stylish – and roomy – interior belies its sub-$17,000 price. Last year, the model added an inline-four engine that raised its combined fuel rating to 36 mpg. The basic trim level comes with cruise control, Bluetooth capability and power windows and locks.

For cost-conscious consumers, a good warranty is essential. Hyundai delivers with a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

For more car recommendations, check out our test drives

AAA members get great rates and competitive terms when shopping through the AAA Auto Buying program. Learn more about our network of certified dealers and to start comparing vehicles today.

This story was originally published in 2020 and has been updated. 

Comments
      • Andrew S.

        Hi Ben, most of the car models on this list have remained the cheapest options for the past several years so they are likely your best choices. Thanks for reading!

        Reply
    • I love my Honda Fit, slightly more expensive than these models but still economical, I feel totally safe in it, totally comfortable, get 40-45 mpg, and best of all, I’m contributing minimally to climate change which isn’t even mentioned in this article. Unfortunately, lots of Americans are completely sucked in by the big car myth, and the need to have a large, gas guzzling vehicle to prove how tough and manly they are. We can learn a lot from our European friends who understand what the climate crisis is all about and don’t feel that driving a small car is effeminate somehow.

      Reply
  • Purchasing a basic model in any make care usually isn’t the best decision. You are still going to have your car for many years and do a lot of traveling in it. Thus, safety and comfort are essential. We test drove a brand new basic compact model and it was the most uncomfortable drive we ever had. No thank you. We wound up purchasing a fabulous car that came with a lot of bells and whistles from end-of-year surplus and have all the safety and comfort we could want. A cheap car will wind up costing you in many ways, including your health and safety. Not worth it.

    Reply
    • Yeah, it’s not worth risking your life. It’s bad enough they all fold up like cardboard at a 25 mph ! Why compound the problem. And wouldn’t you think the smaller the car the higher the insurance???????

      Reply
  • P.S. to my previous comment: We purchased a new 2018 Hyundai Sonata from end-of-year purchase with lots of bells and whistles and excellent comfort and safety features, for just under $20,000, and we live in an expensive part of the country. It takes research, patience and a firm negotiating stance – but it can be done. And it is so worth it. Don’t settle for less than you can actually get.

    Reply
    • Corinne S.

      Thank you for the added info … I was just about to ask you and I saw that you had added that info!

      Reply
    • 8 was having all the same feelings when I went to purchase my cat. I bought a Senata as well. 2018 lots of bells and whistles. Lots of haggling on price but I got what I wanted.

      Reply
  • DANIEL K.

    My wife and I recently purchased, a brand new 2020 Honda Pilot Elite Black Edition, and have already put over 500 miles on our new car. This car is extremely well equipped, with safety in mind, is very comfortable, has an excellent ride, is relatively fuel efficient, has plenty of power, and has plenty of space, for just about anything. I highly recommend this car for older seniors, like myself, and my wife. Of course, I highly recommend installing running boards, for easier access, which we did.

    Reply
  • redmike301@gmail.com

    There’s an old saying: “You get what you pay for.” You can save a lot of money if you’re willing to drive in a beer can.

    Reply
  • KENNETH M.

    Think about buying a 3 year old vehicle coming off a lease. There are lots of them out there now. Many of these leased vehicles were nicely equipped. With about 30,000 miles on them, you might be able to pick one up with 40% to 50% off the original sticker price. Almost any car produced today can go 150,000 miles with diligent maintenance.

    Reply
    • Margaret

      I absolutely agree! While shopping for a car in 2012, I went to a local dealership. Found a 2010 Nissan Rogue that had one owner, and 17K miles on it. It is now 2021, and I have 48K miles on it. I don’t go far, but this car is a powerhouse in the winter.

      Reply
    • What cars are the most attractive after a 3 yr lease in terms of price and reliability? Also only available thru dealerships?

      Reply
  • Christopher M.

    Thank you for the information on basic cars. It’s so sad that the car makers are targeting Americans all in the same way. Not everyone can afford all the luxury but it is forced on us. We can’t help but have to have every luxury option like it or not and we have to pay for it all on top of it. That’s the reason why they won’t offer manual transmission anymore because it’s too cost effective over time and the dealership does not want that. It cost $500 two years in a row on the very same day in June 2018 and 2019 just have my trunk close on VW. Very disgusted with the over the top useless expensive foolish features that are pushed on the American consumers

    Reply
  • Kevin D.

    I would walk before purchasing any of these tin boxes. Any happiness over money saved over a more premium vehicle or that “new car” feeling will be short lived once the cheapness of materials and engineering set in.

    Reply
  • Thanks for this great info. Everyone needs to buy the best car they can afford. Many people don’t have the money to but an expensive car. I purchased a Versa back in 2012 and its still running fine with 124,000 miles on it, almost 10 years later. Granted its not the best vehicle with all the bells and whistles but thats all I could afford at the time. Everyone needs to stay in their lane, and do what they can with the money they have. Dont feel bad about buying a cheap car if that is the best you can do. Get that car, then get from point A to point B

    Reply
    • I agree 100% , not everyone including myself ,can afford to buy all the extra.

      Reply
      • Lets keep left wing politics about Global Warming out of this. You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. The fit is a great car. But we have had sub compacts for a long time, way before the Global Warming agenda.

        Reply
  • Would like info on a pickup truck with double cab and medium flat bed. Of course it should fuel efficient. Automatic or standard transmission.

    Reply
  • I have AAA for years they been very nice to me. That’s why I steal have AAA I PAID MY MEMBERSHIP A WHOLE YEAR. VERY NICE PEOPLE THAT WORK BEHIND AAA KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. THEY NOT LIKE IN NEED TOW COMPANY THEY ARE THE BEST WITH THE CALL AND PAPER WORK AND LOCATION

    Reply
  • My last two cars have been Honda Civics and I paid around $17,500 for both. The first one I drove 330,000 miles and my current civic has 264,000 miles. Both have been reliable and safe. I refuse to pay over $20,000 for a car to commute in that I know will not have any resale value by the time I am done with it.

    Reply
  • I was thinking of trading in my 2016 Subaru Forester and was blown away when the estimate for a new 2022 equivalent from the dealer ADDED $4,000 to the sticker price and under valued the trade in value of my 2016. I’ll wait until prices come down to more normal.

    Reply
  • Sheila T.

    Aren’t there any Honda Civic on the market, as I don’t see much of it now. I do have an 2008 Honda Civic and now have almost 50,000 miles. It’s a good car, but it is now getting old. My mechanic told me not to get rid of it as it is a good car.

    Reply
  • Joseph L.

    Buying a car is frustrating especially when there is NO known way to find out it’s actual manufactured, delivered price. When I buy I go top Of the line with all the bells & whistle’s. Friends & Family is $500 below Invoice so many are Cheated when purchasing as they are still making a large profit with their manufactures kickbacks,

    Reply
  • I bought a brand new 2002, yes, 2002 Honda Accord 6 cylinder in September of 2002, yes, 2002. It is 19 years old and still going strong. I have about 143,000 miles on it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I was fortunate enough to have a brother who was able to repair any problems I had with it, which weren’t very many. Now that I’m over 60, if I’m ever forced to get another vehicle, I would probably get something easier to get in and out of – like maybe a Honda CRV.

    Reply
  • Robert K.

    In August of 2020, I stepped out of my Wakefield, RI barber shop and thought I would review some Chevy P/U’s next door. I own a 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Work Truck that I paid $18,000 for when new. Today, a typical P/U goes for maybe $40,000+. In the center of the Dealer’s lot was a 2020 Spark – I had never heard of this model. At 6’4″, 250#, I thought this will never work but it is easy to get into, plenty of head room and visibility including rear camera, rear defroster and, best of all for an 80 year old driver, a real ignition key, door locks, window cranks and, sadly, tons of electronic gizmos that I will never use. The out-the-door price – sales tax, license fee, everything including three years of free oil changes and tire rotations was $8800. I cashed in $3500 of rewards from my GM credit card which kicks back $500/yr. for 7 years with a 5% discount on every purchase. I pity anyone who has to ride in the rear seat but no one ever does. Many Spark owners remove the seat and convert the space into a mini-SUV. Surprisingly good acceleration merging onto a Freeway and, a 9 gallon gas tank with a 325+ mile range. Higher end Spark models have more safety features but, lifetime accident free at 80, I like to think I am the principal safety feature when underway.

    Reply

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