Most Affordable New Cars in America

© General MotorsMost Affordable Cars in America
Cars are an expensive commodity, and for many Americans an automobile can be the most expensive purchase of a lifetime. According to vehicle valuation company Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a new car is now more than $41,000 (May 2021 data), but there are plenty of options available well below that average for folks on a budget. With prices starting around $13,000, quality new vehicles are available — complete with new-car warranties, a surprising number of standard features and the latest advanced safety technology. Here’s a countdown of new cars for less than $20,000 — the least expensive 2021 and 2022 models available in America. Note: Prices shown are for base-level trims and do not include destination charges or additional options.

© Ford Motor Company2022 Ford Maverick
Base MSRP: $19,995
A 4-door, 5-seat compact pickup designed for versatility and efficiency, the brand-new Maverick takes its place below the F-Series and Ranger in Ford’s truck lineup. The 2022 Maverick is powered by a front-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain, and the automaker targeted an EPA-estimated fuel-economy rating of 40 mpg city and a range of 500 miles on a full tank of fuel.

© Ford Motor Company2022 Ford Maverick
Although it may be entry level, the new truck offers plenty of utility with a bed that features multiple organization and storage solutions including a multi-position tailgate, slots that use lumber to divide the bed into sections, 12 anchor points, and two 12-volt 20-amp prewired power sources for lighting or other electrical uses. The Maverick goes on sale this fall; no-deposit reservations for the new truck can be made now at Ford.com.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Hyundai Elantra
Base MSRP: $19,850
Hyundai introduced an all-new Elantra for the 2021 model year. This seventh generation features a longer wheelbase, a wider stance and a lower roof profile than the outgoing mode, as well as a new aggressive exterior similar to the recently redesigned Hyundai Sonata.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Hyundai Elantra
The base-level Elantra SE comes in below the $20,000 mark with a long list of standard features such as wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as advanced safety technology including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection and blind-spot collision avoidance. A fuel-efficient 2.0-liter engine produces 147 horsepower and is EPA rated at 43 mpg on the highway.

© Nissan North America2021 Nissan Kicks
Base MSRP: $19,550
The entry-level model in Nissan’s crossover lineup, the 2021 Kicks benefits from fresh styling highlighted by a new front bumper, slim headlights and a much larger take on Nissan’s signature Double V-Motion grille. One of a growing number of crossovers that do not offer all-wheel drive, the front-drive Kicks comes well equipped with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, an AM/FM/CD audio system with eight speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera, three USB ports and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

© Nissan North America2021 Nissan Kicks
Every Nissan Kicks is equipped with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam headlight assist and automatic rear braking.

© Nissan North America2021 Nissan Sentra
Base MSRP: $19,460
A member of the Nissan lineup for more than 35 years, Sentra was all new for the 2020 model year. With styling that matches the rest of its siblings, the compact car received added safety features, more power, better handling and a host of other improvements. The entry-level Sentra S comes well equipped with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, an AM/FM audio system with four speakers, a USB port, pushbutton start, a rearview monitor, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and 16-inch steel wheels with covers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Nissan Sentra
Also standard is Safety Shield 360 which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, rear-door alert, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam headlight assist, rear automatic braking and lane departure warning.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Base MSRP: $19,000
A Trailblazer had not been offered in the Chevrolet lineup for more than a decade, and now the nameplate is back on a stylish small crossover. With styling that dovetails well with the recently returned Blazer midsize SUV, the Trailblazer is available in a variety of trim levels with the front-drive L version possessing the lowest base price.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Trailblazer features Chevrolet’s latest infotainment system that includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as the ability for occupants to use two paired Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Power comes from an ECOTEC 1.2 turbocharged engine creating 137 horsepower, teamed with a continuously variable transmission. Chevy Safety Assist — with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist — is standard equipment on all Trailblazers.

© Volkswagen of America2021 Volkswagen Jetta
Base MSRP: $18,995
Last year Volkswagen introduced a Jetta built on a completely new platform, and it has a coupelike design giving it a sporty stance. The car is longer, wider and taller than the previous version, which not only gives Jetta its sporty new look but also translates into a more spacious cabin.

© Volkswagen of America2021 Volkswagen Jetta
The S trim anchors the Jetta lineup — a well-equipped car with standard features that include LED headlights, a 6.5-inch color touchscreen, two USB-C ports, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, automatic post-collision braking and 16-inch alloy wheels. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on the Jetta S; an available 8-speed automatic adds $800 to the price.

© Hyundai Motor America2021 Hyundai Veloster
Base MSRP: $18,900
This sporty coupe from Hyundai continues to stand out with its unique 3-door configuration: one door on the driver side, two on the passenger side. Updated for the 2019 model year, the base Veloster 2.0 is powered by a 147-horserpower engine and comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, a rear spoiler, a 6-speed manual transmission and 17-inch alloy wheels. Forward collision avoidance and lane-keeping assist are also standard.

2021 Hyundai Veloster
Even though a Veloster at this price is quite a bargain, it will be short-lived. Hyundai recently announced that all Veloster variants except the high-performance N will be discontinued after the 2021 model year.

© Subaru of America2022 Subaru Impreza
Base MSRP: $18,795
Not only is the Subaru Impreza one of the most affordable cars in America, it is also the lowest priced vehicle with all-wheel drive (standard on all variants). Equipped with a 2.0-liter Boxer engine producing 152 horsepower, Subaru’s compact entry received a slight refresh for the 2020 model year. The stylish small car is also fuel efficient, achieving up to 36 mpg on the highway when equipped with an optional continuously variable transmission.

© Subaru of America2022 Subaru Impreza
Standard features on the base-level Impreza include a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a split-folding rear seat, a rearview camera and a 5-speed manual transmission. The CVT adds $1,300 to the price, but CVT-equipped Imprezas also come with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology.

© Hyundai Motor America2021 Hyundai Venue
Base MSRP: $18,750
Last year Hyundai broadened its SUV lineup with the all-new Venue. Now the Korea-based automaker’s smallest crossover, Venue brings unique styling to the brand. All trims have front-wheel drive and a 1.6-liter engine producing 121 horsepower teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission.

© Hyundai Motor America2021 Hyundai Venue
The well-equipped base-level Venue S comes with air-conditioning, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, an AM/FM/HD audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. All Venue variants have Hyundai SmartSense as a standard feature, which includes forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning.

© Kia Motors America2021 Kia Forte
Base MSRP: $17,890
Completely redesigned in 2019 with updated features and a fresh new look, the stylish Kia Forte is powered by a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter 147-horsepower engine matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox. According to the U.S. EPA, the base-level Forte FE is rated at 37 mpg on the highway.

© Kia Motors America2021 Kia Forte
Standard equipment on this small sedan includes air-conditioning, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera with dynamic parking guide, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, forward collision avoidance, lane-departure warning and driver attention warning.

© Kia Motors America2021 Kia Soul
Base MSRP: $17,590
All new for the 2020 model year, the Kia Soul has fresh styling and an array of new features. Even as the Soul retains its iconic shape, it features a modern look with slim headlights, LED daytime running lights and boomerang-shaped taillights that frame the rear window.

© Kia Motors America2021 Kia Soul
Available in multiple trim levels, the Soul’s entry-level LX comes with cloth seat trim, a trip computer, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB outlet, a split-folding rear seat and 16-inch steel wheels. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on the Soul LX — a continuously variable transmission is available for an additional $1,500.

© Kia Motors America2021 Kia Rio Sedan
Base MSRP: $16,050
The least expensive car in Kia’s lineup, Rio receives refreshed exterior styling for 2021 for a sportier look, including a new front bumper, grille and rear bumper treatments. Inside, Rio adds a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display with a rear camera and standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for all trim levels.

© Kia Motor America2021 Kia Rio Sedan
Last year Kia upgraded Rio’s engine to a new 1.6-liter unit with multi-port injection producing 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque, combined with a new Intelligent Variable Transmission replacing the previous model’s 6-speed automatic. This resulted in a fuel economy increase to 36 mpg combined — up from 32 mpg combined for 2019. A new available Technology Package includes LED headlights, automatic temperature control, 15-inch alloy wheels, a smart key with pushbutton start and new or enhanced Drive Wise features.

© Hyundai Motor America2021 Hyundai Accent
Base MSRP: $15,395
A few years ago Hyundai updated the Accent with fresh styling that fit well with the rest of the lineup. Last year this affordably priced Hyundai received an updated Smartstream 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower. When teamed with the new Intelligent Variable Transmission, Accent fuel economy improves to 41 mpg on the highway.

© Hyundai Motor America2021 Hyundai Accent
The base-level Accent SE is the only trim with a 6-speed manual transmission and it comes with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5.0-inch display screen, a rearview camera, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with four speakers, and 15-inch steel wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Nissan Versa
Base MSRP: $14,980
The Nissan Versa had been the lowest priced car in America for a number of years, but last year the Japan-based brand gave up that title with the introduction of an all-new Versa. The new Nissan Versa features updated styling, a premium interior, the latest high-tech safety features and a much-improved ride.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2021 Nissan Versa
The base-level Versa S is equipped surprisingly well for the price, with features that include Zero Gravity front seats, a pushbutton start, three USB ports, a 7.0-inch color touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, a rearview monitor and 15-inch steel wheels. Also standard is Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking, high-beam headlight assist, rear automatic braking and lane-departure warning.

© Mitsubishi Motors2021 Mitsubishi Mirage
Base MSRP: $14,295
Not only one of the lowest priced new cars in America, Mitsubishi’s entry subcompact Mirage also is the least powerful with a mere 78 horsepower emanating from its 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine. Although output is low, the Mirage delivers great fuel economy with an EPA-rated 36 mpg city / 43 mpg highway. For 2021 the Mirage receives fresh exterior styling as well as a range of new features.

© Mitsubishi Motors2021 Mitsubishi Mirage
Standard equipment on the base-level Mirage ES includes automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, a rearview camera and an AM/FM audio system with four speakers. Forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection is also standard equipment on every Mirage.

© General Motors2021 Chevrolet Spark
Base MSRP: $13,600
The least expensive new car available in America, the stylish fun-to-drive Spark is available in several bright colors with funky names such as Passion Fruit, Toasted Marshmallow and — new for 2021 — Cayenne Orange Metallic.

© General Motors2021 Chevrolet Spark
The Spark’s 1.4-liter engine produces 98 horsepower while delivering up to 38 mpg on the highway. Standard equipment on the base-level Spark LS includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, a rearview camera and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

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