If you’re looking for speeds worthy of the local track, the idea is to find the perfect package of horsepower and torque in a lightweight, aerodynamic design. That’s tough for shoppers looking at the low end of the auto market. However, every second in 0-60 times counts.
The problem is actually finding the figures, as automakers don’t exactly brag about 0-60 runs in 9 seconds. Car companies with rides under $15,000 usually leave a blank space where performance would normally be discussed. We wouldn’t be dissuaded. Here are the seven fastest new cars with a base sticker price under $15,000.
7. 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV Hatchback ($13,990)
There isn’t a whole lot of pop in the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Versa Note Hatch, which packs a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine capable of 109 horsepower. Nonetheless, some track testers were kind enough to hop behind the wheel of a Versa Note for a speed quote. The folks at Zeroto60times.com clocked the mini ride dashing 0-60 in 9.6 seconds. That beats the mini Mazda (MZDAF.PK) Mazda2 by more than half a second. The Versa Note can also reach 40 mpg on the highway.
6. 2014 Toyota Yaris ($14,430)
The efficient cars in Toyota’s car lineup don’t usually break any speed records, but the mini Yaris outshines several competitors in the segment in a race from 0-60 mph. Using its 1.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine with 106 hp, the Toyota Yaris can pull off the 0-60 sprint in 9.4 seconds, according to AOL Autos. It can get as much as 37 mpg on the highway.
5. 2014 Fiesta S Hatch ($14,600)
The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling car in the UK in 2013, where it outraced the Focus and other mini vehicles with its emphasis on efficiency. According to Top Speed, the Fiesta S hatchback can run 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds, which places it squarely in the top five of this budget segment. The Fiesta S trim delivers a max 120 hp with its 1.6-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine. It’s not the ST hot hatch version that charges with 197 horsepower, but the base Fiesta has a little zip and can get 38 highway mpg.
4. 2014 Chevy Sonic ($14,170)
GM has a top-selling global car in the Chevy Cruze under its belt, but the mini Sonic has a little speed at a much lower price. The base 4-door Sonic packs an Ecotec 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 138 horsepower on 125 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to have it break the 9-second barrier.
Testers from various teams quote the Sonic at 8.7 seconds in its run from 0-60 mph. The 1.4-liter turbo option, which barely breaks the $15K ceiling, shaves off another second from the 0-60 time. Chevy’s Sonic 1.8-liter model can get up to 40 mpg on the highway.
3. 2014 Kia Soul ($14,900)
The word “funky” is often used to describe the Kia (KIMTF.PK) Soul, but it can back up its quirks with decent performance. The base model of the Soul houses a 1.6-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine that can produce 130 hp on 118 lb-ft of torque. Testers from AOL Autos managed to get the base Soul to run 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, which puts it neck-and-neck in races with a Chevy Sonic. The size of the Soul puts it on the low end of this list in efficiency at 30 mpg highway.
2. 2013 Kia Rio 5-door LX ($13,800)
A budget of less than $15,000 can be tough to manage on the new car market, but the Kia Rio offers some sportiness in both styling and performance. The base model LX 5-door model has a 1.6-liter I-4 capable of 138 horsepower. According to Zeroto60times.com, that’s good enough for the Rio5 to run 0-60 in 8.1 seconds. Considering it’s capable of hitting 37 mpg on the highway, there’s something to be said for sub-compacts these days.
1. 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS ($14,645)
Kia’s corporate sibling, Hyundai (HYMLF.PK), shares the penchant for efficiency and performance on a budget. In the 2013 Hyundai Accent base GLS trim, drivers find a 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine that can produce a max 138 hp on 123 lb-ft of torque. In the 0-60 run, the Accent can complete the stretch in 8.0 seconds, according to AOL Autos estimates. That makes it the top performer of cars that cost less than $15K. The Accent can get 38 mpg on the highway.