Although you can find some real bargains in the used market, especially in recent times, new cars do have their advantages. More features, for one, as well as the peace of mind of a warranty. And it is possible to find some fairly inexpensive new cars on sale today. However, some of these cheapest new cars aren’t worth your time.
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage
The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is just about the cheapest new car sold in the US, Cars.com reports, but it’s very close. The base Mirage ES hatchback, with a 5-speed manual, starts at just $13,995. The G4, which is the sedan version, is $1000 more.
The Mitsubishi Mirage does have some benefits besides the cheap price. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient non-hybrids and non-EVs Car and Driver has tested. And its small size makes it easy to park, especially for urban drivers. However, there are plenty of more reasons why new car buyers on a budget should not consider the Mirage.
To start, it’s one of the worst new cars Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports have tested. It’s noisy, Motor Trend reports, with a rough ride. The interior materials display noticeable cost-cutting measures, CR reports, in both sedan and hatchback trims. In addition, while its 78-hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine may have a good EPA rating, the Mitsubishi Mirage is also extremely slow. Drivers have to lean heavily on the accelerator to get any meaningful highway acceleration, Car and Driver reports. Which likely results in fuel economy taking a dive.
In addition, the Mitsubishi Mirage has relatively few standard features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are optional, and it offers no driver-assistance features besides optional parking sensors. There’s ABS, stability control, hill-start assist, and some airbags, Autotrader reports, but that’s about it.
2020 Chevrolet Spark
The cheapest new car on sale today, MT reports, is the 2020 Chevrolet Spark. A base 5-speed manual Spark LS hatchback stickers at $14,095. Though, if you want the automatic, that goes up to $15,195.
The Chevrolet Spark is an interesting contrast to the Mirage. On the one hand, MT reports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. It has a more powerful engine, a 98-hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder, and better handling, Autotrader reports. Plus, the Spark has a better interior than the Mitsubishi, Car and Driver reports.
On the other hand, unlike the Mirage, the Chevrolet Spark LS still comes with manual windows and door locks. The Spark’s warranty is shorter than the Mirage’s: 3 years/36,000 miles vs. 10 years/100,000 miles. And getting ADAS features requires going for more expensive trims. Though admittedly the Spark does come with both stability and traction control, and 10 airbags vs. the Mirage’s 7.
Still, when it comes to cheap new cars, it’s best to give the Chevrolet Spark a wide berth. However, there are still some good cheap new cars worth your time.
Better cheap new car alternatives
For about $2600 more than the Chevrolet Spark, you can get the 2020 Sonic LS sedan. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 138 hp, and Car and Driver reports the Sonic is luxury-car quiet. It’s also more spacious than the Spark, though it still doesn’t offer ADAS features as standard. The Chevrolet Sonic is also the only compact American sedan left.
Autotrader and Roadshow also recommend the 2020 Honda Fit. A base LX starts at $16,190. For that, you get a compact hatchback with an extremely-large cargo area, and a comfortable ride, Car and Driver reports. However, if you want more safety tech, you’ll have to opt for one of the more expensive trims.
Although its cousin, the Hyundai Accent, is about $600 cheaper, the 2020 Kia Rio is the better buy. For one, even the base $15,850 Rio LX has standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; the Accent SE doesn’t. And Car and Driver reports the Rio rides well and has a very good interior for an under-$20,000 car.
If safety is your primary concern, the updated-for-2020 Nissan Versa should be on your list, Car and Driver reports. The base $14,730 5-speed manual S has pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning. Though, if you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you’ll have to step up to at least the $17,640 SV.
Finally, there’s the 2020 Toyota Yaris. It’s a Car and Driver Editor’s Choice, and also comes recommended by Roadshow. While it doesn’t offer every ADAS feature, all Yaris models come with automatic emergency braking, and stability and traction control. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also standard. And, because it’s essentially a rebadged Mazda 2, the Toyota Yaris rides and handles exceptionally well for its price point.
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