Buyer’s Guide: The Best of the Cheapest New Sedans

Whether shopping for a new compact car or a used family car, car shopping can be tough. Buyer’s guides are helpful in streamlining the long process of finding the best new car for the best deal. So, we have put together a little something to hopefully ease the process and help buyers find the best of the cheapest new sedans. You might not find a single Ferrari on this list, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some nice cars in the cheap car world. 

The 2022 Honda Civic Touring Sedan in red driving through a city as one of the best cheapest new sedans in our buyers guide
2022 Honda Civic Touring Sedan | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Are there any good cheap new sedans? 

Sure there are; you just have to know where to look. These days there are a few companies to look at first for the best cheapest new sedans. Some of the classics remain strong, like Toyota, Honda, and Mazda. These three makers are still producing great cars that can be really affordable. But Hyundai is now in the game, making some of the cheapest new sedans on the market while still keeping quality high. Let’s get into the best cheapest new sedans. 

The 2021 Nissan Versa is the cheapest new sedan on the market

Price$16,000
Engine 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 122
Combined MPG32
Seats5
DrivetrainFWD

The Nissan Versa is always kicking around lists of the cheapest new sedans. While this list highlights the best aspects of the cheapest new sedans, not all cheap cars are great, but they aren’t all trash either. 

This subcompact, while cheap, isn’t all bad. MotorTrend describes the unchanged 2022 Nissan Versa’s back seat as “useable” and also says it “doesn’t drive like a shopping cart.” The Versa is simply an automotive tool that does its job. Also, don’t forget the undeniably efficient tiny four-cylinder making the rising gas prices someone else’s problem, and it comes in manual. 

Also, unlike previous bottom-barrel subcompact cars, the 2021 Nissan Versa doesn’t look like a shoebox with rolling skate wheels glued on. Some design work at play helps the Versa blend in with the rest of the mid- and full-size sedans. Overall, the Nissan Versa isn’t a bad place to put some cash if you need wheels on the low. 

2022 Kia Rio is a close number two for the cheapest new sedans list

2022 Kia Rio new sedan in blue
2022 Kia Rio | Kia
Price$16,150
Engine1.6-liter inline-four
Horsepower120
Combined MPG37
Seats 5
DrivetrainFWD

The 2022 Kia Rio sedan has been slightly updated since last year, according to KBB. The sedan version of the Rio got a new grille, a new 8.0-in touchscreen infotainment interface, and rear disc brakes. 

The 2022 Kia Rio is a decent subcompact sedan for young drivers shopping for their first new car on a modest budget or just anyone who could use a cheap new sedan that’s fuel-efficient with a good warranty. The Rio is comfortable, reliable, and has some nice standard features. It isn’t luxurious, but there is a lot of value here. 

The standard infotainment system features a new 8-inch screen with a backup camera, Bluetooth, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As with all new Kia models, the Rio boasts a warranty covering the powertrain for 10 years/100,000 miles.

The Kia Rio isn’t exactly a thrilling car, with its 1.6-liter inline-four making a modest 120 hp, but its fuel economy can make up for the snoozefest. The Rio gets an amazing 33 mpg in town and 41 mpg on the highway. 

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster is the most fun of the cheapest new sedans

Price$18,900
Engine1.6-liter inline-four
Horsepower147
Combined MPG30
Seats4
DrivetrainFWD

In this list of cheapest new sedans, there are plenty of practical options that offer plenty of adult decision-making but little excitement. Well, that ends with the 2021 Hyundai Veloster. This little bugger is a bit of a wildcard on this list. I know it isn’t exactly a sedan; in fact, it’s a hatchback. This list is meant to be helpful, and maybe a little outside-the-box thinking can help some consumers figure out exactly what they need. 

The Hyundai Veloster won’t offer all the same things on this list, like more seating and storage, but it is a great car that is fun to drive, looks great, and is cheaper than most of its competitors. 

Like some of these other cheap new sedans, the Veloster isn’t the most luxurious car in the game. However, it does have some features worth noting; automatic high-beams, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While that’s nice and all, that’s not what people buy a Veloster for. 

The 2021 Hyundai Veloster has two engine options, the base 147-HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder and the 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder. To keep things on the cheap side, the non-turbo is the engine to get. Even still, this engine and chassis combo make for one fun little get-around that won’t break the bank. 

Don’t sleep on the 2022 Subaru Impreza 

Here is the 2022 Subaru Impreza stoped at a light. This is one of the best, cheapest sedans on the market
2022 Subaru Impreza | Subaru
Price$19,755
EngineBoxer four-cylinder
Horsepower152
Combined MPG30
Seats 5
Drivetrain AWD

The 2022 Subaru Impreza is one of the most fun, cheap new sedans you can buy. It is also the only cheap new sedan on this list that comes with standard AWD, which is a huge bonus. This cheap four-door sedan is ready for adventure and saving bread. 

The Impreza comes in either a four-door sedan or hatchback configuration. Although the Impreza comes with a five-speed manual as the base transmission, there have been complaints about vagueness, and poor shift feel from Car and Driver. 

Also, part of what makes modern Subaru’s so desirable is the Subaru EyeSight safety suite. This package includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist. This suite earned the Impreza sedan a “superior” rating from the IIHS on crash avoidance. However, that safety suite does not come standard. Adding it to the options list will raise the base price of $19,755. 

Make way for the King of the best cheapest new sedans, the 2022 Toyota Corolla 

Man leaning up against a white 2022 Toyota Corolla as a representation of a car-selling scam
2022 Toyota Corolla | Toyota
Price$20,075
Engine1.8-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower139
Combined MPG33
Seats 5
DrivetrainFWD

The Toyota Corolla can’t stay off a “Best ____ Sedans” list. The 2022 Toyota Corolla is the next in a long line of cheap sedans that the world can’t help but love. With a starting price of $20,075, this 12th generation Corolla continues doing what it does best; being a reliable, affordable, and perfectly fine car to drive. 

The 2022 Corolla is still a bit sluggish on the throttle and leans a bit in the corners, according to my colleague Joe Santos’ review of the 2022 Corolla Hybrid. However, the Corolla isn’t a sports car and shouldn’t be judged as one. The Corolla continues to do exactly what it was designed to do; be affordable, reliable, and comfortable. 

The base model 2022 Toyota Corolla has a new and improved infotainment system that is a big upgrade over the previous model. It also offers comfortable seats and a smooth ride. As with most cars in this list, the 2022 Toyota Corolla has excellent fuel economy with a combined rating of 34 mpg. 

You gotta love the 2022 Honda Civic 

Honda Civic in red parked by some trees. This is one of the best, cheapest new sedans you can buy.
2022 Honda Civic | Honda
Price$22,915
Engine2.0-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower158
Combined MPG35
Seats 5
DrivetrainFWD

Like the Corolla, the 2022 Honda Civic has reigned in the high court of the best of the cheapest new sedans for decades. Unlike most cars on this list, the 2022 Honda Civic comes to us fresh and fully updated. 

The Honda Civic raises the price bar just a touch with a starting MSRP of $22,915. However, this slightly less cheap price comes with a pile of benefits. The price bump comes with blind-spot monitoring, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, and heated front seats.

The Civic comes standard with a 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a CVT, and an FWD drivetrain. Although this is a larger engine than most cars on this list, the Civic still brings down an average combined fuel consumption of 35 mpg. 

2022 Acura ILX raises the bar a bit

2022 Acura ILX in white
2022 Acura ILX | Acura
Price$26,500
Engine2.4-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower201
Combined MPG30
Seats5
DrivetrainFWD

Like the Hyundai Veloster, this last option is mostly to help potential buyers round out their thoughts on what they really want/need. The 2022 Acura ILX isn’t exactly a cheap new sedan. The ILX starts at $26,500. This is getting a touch north of what most folks think of as “cheap.” However, it is basically the cheapest luxury sedan on the market. The ILX is nicer than most cars on this list in cabin design and exterior styling. However, it is pretty far behind others in its segment. 

The Acura’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes the most power on this list with 201 hp. It is still FWD and is said to be surprisingly sluggish despite its larger displacement. U.S. News says that the engine, although slow, is a nice engine that provides smooth acceleration. Even with the bigger engine, the ILX returns an average of 30 mpg combined. 

The ride comfort is also a notable plus for this budget luxury sedan. The seats are comfortable, and the suspension is soft and comfy. The handling isn’t exactly crisp, but steering is light and comfortable for casual day-to-day driving. 

Now, what are you going to do with all your extra money?

Although the cheapest new sedans aren’t as cheap as they used to be, taking some tips from this buyer’s guide might help ease the stress and pain of forking over all that cash. It’s important to remember that just because a car is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad.

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