The Most Affordable Car Brands To Shop in 2022

With the average new car price creeping toward $50,000 and the median salary in the U.S. around $54k a year, cars simply aren’t as affordable as they used to be. Thankfully, there are still a host of car brands rolling out affordable cars. 

With a little help from MotorTrend, let’s look at some offerings from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Nissan that start under $25,000.

Red 2023 Toyota Corolla compact car driving on a curvy road
2023 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

Toyota still offers 5 models for less than $25,000

Toyota offers five affordable models. To be fair, they are all based on the same platform. 

Sedans

The cheapest option is the Corolla, starting at around $20,425. The Corolla offers ample space, good comfort, and efficiency to secure its place in a competitive market. 

If you are looking for better than 40 mpg, you can always opt for the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. The Hybrid not only includes the exceptional powertrain from the Prius that nets 53 mpg, but also comes with some more bells and whistles above the base Corolla.

You get all this extra fuel economy for only a few thousand more dollars.

Hatchbacks and crossovers

Not everyone is looking for a sedan, so if you want extra storage space Toyota has you covered.

The cheapest available option is the Corolla Hatchback which starts at $21,165. In 2023, this will make no appreciable difference beyond the hatchback configuration, but in 2022, this gets you a more powerful 2.0L engine as standard and the “Dynamic Shift” CVT.

With respect to Crossovers, you can either opt for the Corolla Cross or the C-HR. The Cross starts at $22,445 and the more distinctive C-HR starts at $24,280. 

Honda offers a pair of affordable options

Honda is surprisingly lacking in the affordable car department. You have two options, one sedan and one crossover.

If you want to get into a 2022 Civic, they start at $22,550. For 2023, Honda has dropped the base LX trim which has resulted in a starting price of $24,650.

If you want to opt for a crossover, you can jump into a Honda HR-V. The HR-V undercuts the 2023 Civic starting at $23,800. 

That said, you cannot choose the more powerful 180 hp 1.5L turbo that you can in the Civic. You are stuck with the naturally aspirated 2.0L engine that produces 158 hp. That said, you can opt all-wheel drive, a $1,500 option, and still be under $25k.

Hyundai provides great value and affordability

Hyundai’s lineup is full of affordable options. Hyundai also equips its base models with fairly good tech like Apple Carplay and Android Auto and you can get more goodies for a reasonable price depending on which trim you opt for.

Sedans

The cheapest offering from Hyundai is the Accent which starts at a measly $16,645. Sadly, the Accent will be discontinued following the 2022 model year, so the next cheapest option will be the Elantra. 

The Elantra comes in at only $20,500. If you wanted to splurge on the Hybrid trim, you can still get one for $24,400.

Crossovers

Hyundai offers two crossovers for the price point in question. The Venue, which starts at $19,000, and the larger, very comfortable, and well-equipped Kona, starts at $21,990. 

It is worth mentioning that Hyundai’s Ford Maverick competitor, the Santa Cruz, starts at only $25,450. It doesn’t quite make the cutoff, but a great value nevertheless.

Don’t sleep on Kia’s lineup

Kia, much like Hyundai, is known for undercutting its competitors and thus has plenty to offer those in need of cheap transportation.

Sedans

Kia offers two versions of its subcompact sedan, the Kia Rio. The 4-door sedan starts at $16,550 while the Rio 5-Door starts at $17,490. 

If you are looking for a vehicle with a bit more size, you can always get a Forte, which can be had in all trims for under $25k, but the base LX starts at only $19,490. The GT and GT Manual trims even have Civic Si levels of power (201 hp) from their 1.6L turbocharged engine. 

Crossovers

Kia offers the quirky Soul for only $19,790. If you all-wheel drive is a must-have, they have you covered with the Seltos for only $22,840. 

The Seltos is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Kona, but offers a slightly more attractive exterior and standard AWD on the base LX.

White Kia Seltos Posed Outdoors
White Kia Seltos | Kia

Nissan gives you a few affordable options

Nissan has got four vehicles available in the sub-25k price bracket.

Sedans

If you want a tiny car, but want to avoid the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent, Nissan has the Versa for you. 

The Versa starts with the lowest MSRP on this list at $15,580. For that, you get a 122 hp 1.6L engine paired with a 5-speed manual. 

That said, all trims and options keep the price sub $20K. For $19,950, you can step up to the Nissan Sentra.

Similar to the Santa Cruz, it may be worth noting that the Nissan Altima starts at just $25,290. 

Crossovers

Nissan offers its Juke replacement, the Kicks, for only $20,290. Like the Kia Soul, the Kicks is only available with FWD. The Kicks is offered with the same 1.6L engine from the Nissan Versa.

Nissan also offers a smaller version of the Rogue called the Rogue Sport for $24,960. 

The 2023 Nissan Versa price starts under $17,000
A 2023 Nissan Versa | Nissan

Which car brand is the most affordable?

While Toyota and Kia have the most options with a sub $25k price tag, Kia takes the cake in terms of pricing. 

It’s hard to compete with the Forte’s exceptional top trim and the standard AWD on the Steltos for only $22,840. 

Though Toyota and Nissan still have some great affordable options, Hyundai and Kia seem to be putting forth a tremendous effort to not only make affordable vehicles (even cheaper than Toyota) but vehicles with excellent standard features and an emphasis on quality. 

Of the two Korean brands, Kia ends up being the most affordable. 

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