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 sometimes (most of the time?) we just want to get where we’re going.
So, when you parse a car down to its most essential function, which automobiles are worth their weight in gold? These are a few of the cheapest new cars of 2021.
Starting Price: $13,400
Right off the bat, the Spark wins the cost battle among cheapest new cars to buy with a sub-$14,000 base price. The value continues with a 1.4-liter inline-four engine that gets a highway mpg of 38 when combined with the CVT automatic.
The Spark’s tradeoff for cost and efficiency is its size. You won’t have much space to maneuver within the cabin. Still, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality should keep you entertained.
A great commuter or city car, the Spark is one of the cheapest new cars of 2021 that will get you where you need to go.
Starting Price: $14,295
The Mirage’s engine provides an impressive fuel economy of 36 combined mpg, but don’t expect much power out of it. With just 78 hp, you’ll need to floor it to get anywhere fast.
That doesn’t mean you won’t get anything out of the Mirage. It comes standard with several safety features – forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and automatic high beam. Like the Spark, it also comes with and 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 2021 for you.
Starting Price: $14,930
The Versa was been completely redesigned for 2020. And while that came with a roughly $1,500 higher starting price, it 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.
Starting Price: $15,395
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 reasonable price. The 2021 model has added an inline-four engine that raises 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.
Starting Price: $15,850
For 2021, the Kia Rio now comes in both a sedan and hatchback model. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the sedan as it starts about $1,000 cheaper.
The car is still loaded with standard features, 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. With standard entertainment options and better fuel economy, the Rio is an even better value than before.
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.