What Is the Cheapest Car in the U.S.?

Despite being a necessity for most people, vehicles are gradually costing more thanks to their advanced technology. But even though it’s harder to find an affordable new car, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Let’s take a look at the cheapest car right now: the Chevy Spark. It’s a great subcompact for new drivers and anyone who needs reliable transportation without breaking the bank.

The 201 Chevy Spark has a really low price for a brand-new car

A silver 2021 Chevy Spark three-door hatchback parked outside a Jolly Pumpkin bakery and café
2021 Chevy Spark | Chevrolet

When you’re looking for an affordable new car, the sticker price is the most obvious place to start. Thankfully, that’s one of the best things about the 2021 Chevy Spark. According to Cars.com, the MSRP for a brand-new Spark is only $13,600. (Chevrolet goes even lower at $13,400.)

Kelley Blue Book says the average price for a new small car in 2021 is about $20,000. That means the Chevy Spark would save you a good $6,000 over similar cars.

Even if you upgraded to the top-trim 2LT, it would still come in under $18,000. So, based on sticker price alone, the Spark really is the cheapest car you can buy new in America right now.

The Chevy Spark is a great value for the price

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Beyond just the MSRP, the Chevy Spark offers plenty for the value. After all, what’s the use in saving on your purchase if the car you buy is a hunk of junk? 

First off, the 2021 model offers 10 exterior paint colors to choose from, including fun hues such as Cayenne Orange, Red Hot, Mystic Blue, and a light purple called Passion Fruit. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some of the best bits about this car.

Though its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes only 98 hp, this subcompact offers decent acceleration. Though Chevrolet didn’t build the Spark for speed, most people don’t plan to go drag racing in this little hatchback. More important is the excellent gas mileage — an EPA-estimated 38 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg in the city, per Chevrolet — potentially saving you plenty in fuel costs.

Though the base-model Spark is sparse on amenities, that doesn’t mean it’s barren. Sure, it comes with the mandated rear-view camera, but it also boasts 10 airbags. And it has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, plus a Wi-Fi hotspot. Several other performance and cosmetic enhancements are available with upgrades.

And thanks to its small stature, the 2021 Spark can zip in and out of cramped areas and parking spaces. It also offers relatively good cargo space with the rear seats folded — 27.2 cubic feet, Chevrolet claims.

It’s also 1 of the few new cars with a manual transmission

Depending upon how you like to drive, this next point might make or break the Chevy Spark for you. Even though most vehicles today come with only automatic transmissions, the cheapest car in America actually has a five-speed manual transmission option for every model. It’s one of the last of a dying breed.

If you’re already a fan of manuals, this probably makes your day. But if you aren’t fond of stick shifts or have never driven one before, you might be skeptical. But quash those feelings long enough to check out this hatchback. Regardless of your experience with manual transmissions, the Chevy Spark is a little car with big value.

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