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With high inflation, many things are more expensive. This includes cars. It’s challenging to find a vehicle that won’t put a serious dent in your finances. Also, if you’re hoping to find a budget-friendly American car to match the low prices of foreign automakers, you’re out of luck. For the 2023 model year, there are no new American cars that cost less than $20,000.

What are the cheapest cars available in 2023?

Front angle view of red 2023 Nissan Versa subcompact sedan
2023 Nissan Versa | Nissan

For the 2023 model year, if you want to get a new car under $20,000, then your only choice is vehicles from Japanese and South Korean automakers. All new American vehicles cost over $20,000.

As detailed by KBB, the cheapest new car is the 2023 Nissan Versa subcompact car, which has a starting price of $15,730 MSRP. The second and third most affordable vehicles are also subcompacts: the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage ($16,245 MSRP) and the 2023 Kia Rio ($16,550 MSRP).

Here are the 10 cheapest new cars available in the United States in 2023:

  1. 2023 Nissan Versa: $15,730 MSRP
  2. 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage: $16,245 MSRP
  3. 2023 Kia Rio: $16,550 MSRP
  4. 2023 Kia Forte: $19,490 MSRP
  5. 2023 Hyundai Venue: $19,500 MSRP
  6. 2023 Kia Soul: $19,790 MSRP
  7. 2023 Subaru Impreza: $19,795 MSRP
  8. 2023 Nissan Sentra: TBD (2022 Sentra: $19,950 MSRP)
  9. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: $20,500 MSRP
  10. 2023 Volkswagen Jetta: $20,655 MSRP

Why aren’t there many affordable American cars?

Front angle view of turquoise 2022 Chevy Spark, showing how no new American cars cost under $20,000 in 2023
2022 Chevy Spark | Chevrolet

In addition to high inflation, another reason why there are not any new American cars that cost under $20,000 in 2023 is the increasing prevalence of trucks and SUVs. The list of most affordable cars is dominated by subcompact and compact sedans and hatchbacks. The Hyundai Venue and Kia Soul subcompact crossover SUVs are the only exceptions. 

However, American automakers have discontinued most of their affordable sedans and hatchbacks. The 2022 model year marks the end of an era. In 2022, there is only one American car that costs under $20,000: the 2022 Chevy Spark subcompact car, which starts at the rock bottom price of $13,600 MSRP. However, the Spark was discontinued and won’t be available for the 2023 model year.

What is the cheapest American car available in 2023?

Front angle view of blue 2023 Ford Maverick, showing how no new American cars cost under $20,000 in 2023
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

Only 1 New American Car Costs Under $15,000 — but It Will Go Away Soon

The cheapest American car available for the 2023 model year is the 2023 Ford Maverick compact pickup truck. It has a starting price of $22,195 MSRP. The Maverick has been an enormous success. Sales of the Maverick are very high, which is due in part to its affordability. 

The Chevy Trax subcompact crossover SUV might have been the most affordable 2023 model year American vehicle — for the 2022 version of Trax starts at $21,700 MSRP. However, Chevrolet will likely skip the 2023 model year for the Trax, as it is slated to release the next-generation 2024 Trax in Spring 2023. The price information for the 2024 Trax is not available, but you can expect it to cost more than the 2022 model. 

Another affordable new American vehcle is the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer subcompact crossover SUV ($22,100 MSRP). Also, the midsize 2023 Chevy Malibu, one of the few sedan holdouts, starts at $25,000 MSRP. 

However, if you want a new car that costs under $20,000, then you’ll need to get a car from a Japanese or South Korean automotive brand. The days of new American vehicles costing under $20,000 are a thing of the past.