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Shopping for affordable new cars has been a challenge in the past few years. Factors like the chip shortage and inflation have resulted in rising vehicle prices, and affordable models may seem difficult to come by. While new cars in general might be expensive, there is a way to potentially save money: consider a smaller car. 

A yellow 2023 Chevy Trailblazer parked outside.
2023 Chevy Trailblazer | Chevrolet

Larger vehicles are popular right now. A quick look around any parking lot in the United States will demonstrate that people are interested in large SUVs and pickups. points out how these big vehicles are both expensive and top-selling. 

For example, the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup has a median price of $55,000. A price tag like this would be prohibitively expensive for many consumers, but this has not stopped the Tundra from having tremendous sales success. In 2022, it saw an annual sales increase of 27%.

Another example is the Ford F-Series truck, which states is the bestselling vehicle in the United States. It manages to have this amount of success in sales even with a median price of $64,500. Ford’s midsize SUV, the Explorer, also achieved strong sales numbers despite its high median price of $50,500. 

Sedans and smaller SUVs have better value

What we’re seeing with bigger SUVs and pickup trucks is that consumers are flocking to them even if they are considerably more expensive than other offerings on the market. For some drivers, a large vehicle is a necessity, but for others, there may be a way to find an affordable new car, and that is to consider something smaller. discusses different categories of vehicles that are smaller and have lower median prices than some of the pickups and SUVs discussed above. Cars represent the most affordable vehicle category. In terms of the segment’s average median price, consumers can expect to spend around $25,745 for a sedan or hatchback. A smaller car could also be a great choice for fuel economy.

Small SUVs are another option for drivers interested in saving money on new cars. states that the median price for small SUVs is $34,195, which is more expensive than what potential owners pay for a standard sedan, but it is still significantly cheaper than most bigger vehicles.

A small SUV can be a great option because it can still offer benefits like extra space and all-wheel drive while still being somewhat affordable.


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Affordable models to keep an eye on

For drivers interested in a subcompact sedan, recommends the Kia Rio S. The median price for this Kia model is just $20,240, making it the perfect choice for a driver who wants a new car on a budget. It’s also a highly fuel-efficient option, as it can get 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. 

The Chevy Trailblazer LS is a small SUV with a median price of $23,440. This makes it even more affordable than most other small SUVs on the market. Front-wheel drive is standard for the Trailblazer, but states that upgrading to AWD costs between $1,500 and $2,500 for most vehicles. Even if AWD is essential, the Trailblazer will still be an affordable option.

Drivers who want a truck can still save money by looking at a smaller pickup. The Ford Maverick XL, for example, has a median price of $26,660. This makes it considerably more affordable than a bigger Ford F-Series truck, which as we mentioned above, costs around $64,500.