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Top 12 Affordable Cars in the US

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the US
Written by Oana Schneider

A car is a necessity especially if you live in an area where public transport is not easily accessible. Some families might even require more than one car if both parents work in different offices that are opposite in direction. Add to that the transportation that the kids need to get to and from school, and you have a big need for a car.

Fortunately, there is no need for you to shell out a great amount of money just so that you can buy a brand new car. You can always rely on car loans to finance such an important purchase, and take your pick from the most affordable cars available in the market today.

The fact that more and more manufacturers are making reasonably priced cars will benefit you as a buyer, especially if the competition gets tough. The tougher the competition is among car manufacturers, the more that they will produce affordable yet high-quality cars. To give you an idea about which cars are bestsellers in the US for 2014, take a look at the following list:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Fusion
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Ford Focus
  • Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Elantra sold 222,000 units by the end of 2014. It was named the “North American Car of the Year” at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012 and back then, its manufacturer’s suggested retail price was at $16,965. Still according to Statista.com, in 2008, there are 90.79 million people who lived in a house whose members recently acquired a brand new vehicle.

The 12 Most Affordable Cars in the US

Whether you’re buying an affordable car due to budget restrictions or if you simply want to save your hard-earned dollars, the good news is that you do not have to sacrifice quality for the price. Even with the most affordable sedan in the market today, you can have a perfectly driveable car that will last you for a good number of years. Of course, you need to choose a model and make of a car that is trustworthy, and will best suit your driving needs.

If you’re a bachelor who would like to purchase a luxury car, there are affordable options in the market. If you need a family car or a minivan, there are reasonably priced makes and models of such vehicles that you can buy as well.  If you would like a practical wagon, you can buy the most affordable one on the market and still have a vehicle that you can use for carpooling, doing your weekly grocery shopping, and getting yourself to and from work.

More importantly, there are plenty of brands that have long been in the market that you can easily trust. Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, and Subaru are just some of the auto manufacturers that offer the most affordable models of different car types in the market. To give you an idea about which models and makes of cars are the most affordable for each category, take a look at the following list:   

1. Nissan Versa

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Coupe/Compact
Price: $11,990

Perhaps the least expensive coupe or compact car that you can buy in the market today is the 2016 Nissan Versa 1.6S. Its standard features include a 1.6-L I-4 109hp engine, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive, side seat mounted airbags, an airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 15” steel wheels, electronic stability, driveline traction control, and a dashboard which comes complete with an AM/FM radio, a single CD-MP3 decoder and two speakers. At less than twelve grand, you can purchase a compact car for yourself from a well-trusted brand like Nissan.

2. Nissan Versa Norte

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Wagon
Price: $14,180

A wagon is a perfect car for small families. You can use it to drive the kids around in, carry supplies at the back, and take yourself to and from the office. Nissan came up with the most affordable wagon in the market with the 2015 Nissan Versa Norte. Its MSRP is only $14,180, and it has the standard features that you will find in any basic car.

The Versa Norte’s engine has a 1.6L capacity, with 109hp of engine power. It’s a 5-speed manual transmission car with overdrive, and other features include 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, side seat mounted airbags, overhead airbags, an airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 15” steel wheels, driveline traction control, electronic stability and power mirrors. 

3. Kia Soul

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Crossover
Price: $15,190

What is a crossover car? It’s a cross-breed between a Sports Utility Vehicle with its function and utility; while having the chassis and drivetrain of a traditional car. This combination means that crossovers offer a comfy ride, a roomy interior, and better mileage as compared to traditional SUVs that are considered gas guzzlers.

One of the most affordable crossovers in the market is the Kia Soul, with an MSRP of just over $15,000. It has a Gamma 1.6L, I-4 130hp engine. It has a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel antilock brakes, excellent safety features, 16” steel wheels, and power mirrors.

4. Kia Forte

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Sedan
Price: $15,890

No car list will be complete without the classic, ever-reliable sedan. One of the most affordable sedans in the market today is the 2015 Kia Forte LX. One of its highlight features is the steering-wheel-mounted controls. You’ll get plenty of power with the 1.8 L I4 145hp engine that has a 6-speed manual transmission overdrive. It has the standard safety features, 15” steel wheels, driveline traction control, power mirrors and electronic stability.

5. Smart fortwo

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Convertible
Price: $17,930

Who knew that you can buy a brand new convertible for less than eighteen grand? The 2015 Smart Fortwo Passion has a 1LL I3 70hp engine. The sleek convertible has a 5-speed auto-shift manual transmission engine with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, airbags mounted on the side seat, as well as driver-passenger side airbag head extensions, knee airbags, an airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 15” aluminium wheels, driveline traction control, electronic stability and power mirrors.

6. Nissan Frontier

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Truck
Price: $17,990

If you’re looking for a more versatile, hardworking truck, you’re in luck because a very affordable Nissan Frontier is available for you. It offers convenience on command with features like a smart design rear door access, rear under-seat storage bin, 12-Volt DC power outlets, and a 60/40 flip-up rear bench. For the ultimate off-road performance, it has the active brake limited slip feature, hill start assist & hill descent control, electronic locking rear differential, and the Bilstein off-road performance shocks.

7. Toyota Prius C

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Hybrid
Price: $19,540

If you are looking for an affordable, eco-friendly car, check out the Toyota Prius C. It’s a hybrid vehicle which offers the ultimate in fuel economy so you will actually save money in the long run because of the money that you’ll save on gas. The 2015 Toyota Prius C has a 1.5L I-4 73hp engine, 2-speed CVT transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, the standard airbag features, an additional driver knee airbag, an airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 15” steel wheels, driveline traction control, electronic stability, and power mirrors.

8. Fiat 500X

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Luxury SUV
Price: $20,000

If you’re looking forward to upgrading your existing vehicle and you want something a bit more luxurious that will not break the bank, check out the Fiat 500X. It’s one of the most affordable luxury SUVs in the market. It has the standard safety features that you will find in an SUV, while the engine has a 1.4L capacity. The I4 160hp engine is intercooled turbo, with a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 16” steel wheels, cruise control and electronic stability.

9. Nissan NV200

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Minivan
Price: $20,720

If you need a vehicle for carpooling, you can save money by buying the 2015 Nissan NV200. It’s a minivan which has a 2L I4 131hp engine. It’s a 2-speed Xtronic CVT transmission with overdrive, anti-lock brakes, airbags, air conditioning, 15” steel wheels, electronic stability and power windows.

10. Hyundai Veloster

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Sports Car
Price: $21,300

What about a sleek, yet still surprisingly affordable sports car? The lowest priced sports car in the market today is the Hyundai Veloster which has a 1.6L I4 201hp engine intercooled turbo. The engine is a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, and the car has 18” aluminum wheels with cruise control, driveline traction and electronic stability.

11. Subaru XV Crosstek

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: SUV
Price: $21,595

Second to the last on our list is the least expensive SUV, which is the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek. This beautiful vehicle has a powerful 2L H4 148hp engine, and a 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive.

12. Buick Verano

Top 12 Affordable Cars in the USType: Luxury Car
Price: $23,380

Finally, check out the least expensive luxury car in the market today which is the Buick Verano Base. Its standard features include the ECOTEC 2.4L I-4 180hp engine, which has a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, safety features, 17” aluminum wheels, cruise control, and the StabiliTrak electronic stability.

Which among these affordable cars are you looking forward to driving home?

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

13 Comments

  • It is great that there are so many cars that are affordable these days. You not only have to think about the cost of buying the car itself, but also the cost of running it, because this is the expense that you’re going to have to deal with on a day to day basis once it is bought. I am thinking about getting myself a new car at the moment, so I am sure to have a good read through these tips and see which car seems the best one for me! Thanks!

  • I had a Hyundai Sonata way back in the late 80s, and it was a pretty smooth ride. There are a few I like on this list, and it’s good to know that affordable vehicles still exist. So many try to keep up with the Joneses, and buy or lease cars with outrageous monthly prices, but I just don’t see the purpose of that. It’s a vehicle, not your first born. As long as it gets you from A-B safely, and doesn’t use up a lot of gas, it’s good for me. I particularly like the Subaru XV Crosstek, and the Buick Verano.

  • There are some cars and some manufacturers that are so reliable and affordable that they stay in business and popular because of it. A few weeks ago, my car finally died, and it’s no longer worth repairing it, since it already looks like Frankenstein. I want to buy a new car that is affordable, but still fairly modern with good features. Of the cars listed above, which would you say fits what I’m looking for?

  • I want to get a Subaru Outback and outfit it with ADA specialized hand controls. Is the Outback an automatic transmission. For my needs, the car has to be an automatic transmission.

  • So, what would be the different between a 5 speed manual transmission and 6 speed manual transmission? This is something that I have yet to learn about and what I’m thinking about repairing on at my college course. It seems like there is still so much to learn about auto repair services.

  • I really wish I liked Hyundais and Fiats more, because they really are more affordable. But my husband and I have been talking over our next vehicle, and we think we’re going to go all out with one of the 2014-2015 Toyota 4Runners. I prefer the Honda Pilots, but if I recall, they were a little more cramped in space. It’s hard to decide though, because the Honda rides like a car, not a large and beasty SUV.

  • My parents have a Honda Accord and I finally got to drive it. I’m totally in love with it, and really want to buy one! My dad says the maintenance wasn’t too expensive, and it drives really smoothly.

  • I’m pleasantly surprised to find that many of the cars my family own are on this list. My mother drives a Hyundai, my father drives a Honda Accord, and my sister drives a Camry. We are looking at buying a new car this next year, and I will be showing this list to my husband so that we can start narrowing down our options!

  • This list really got me thinking about how even the cheapest car is great. They get better fuel mileage, need little to no maintenance and last forever. I would take that Kia Forte over even a 10 year old Jaguar. It would be safer, get better gas mileage, and have all the comforts of the You really can have it all without breaking the bank.

  • You make a good point about accessibility and public transportation. Having children and their travel needs can increase the need for a car as well, as you share.

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