Compare the market new cars
The Cheapest New Cars of 2019
If you’re in the market to buy, I’d also recommend pricing out the same models for the prior model year for a comparison. With dealers wanting to get rid of last year’s inventory and shift focus to the 2019 models, there is the potential to find a good deal on previous model years (and in most cases, they are the exact same car, with just minimal tweaks).
I have made efforts to limit my vehicle use, but am still somewhat dependent on one and I know many others here are too. As a vehicle consumer, I think it is interesting to see what’s trending in the automotive market and what cost and fuel-efficiencies have been gained. There is value in knowing what to look for now (in limited circumstances) or further down the road.
That said, it’s worth noting that this list of the cheapest new cars is not an endorsement for everyone to go out and buy a new car. When it comes to optimizing your finances, vehicle ownership has a few rules that I would recommend everyone apply:
- Try your best to live without a motor vehicle. If you can, opt for public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling.
- If you have a 2-vehicle household, try to downsize from 2 vehicles to 1. I shifted from 2 cars to 1 eight years ago and it has saved a ton of money.
- Drive your vehicle into the ground by properly maintaining it, until the cost of maintenance clearly outweighs the benefit of holding on to it. New vehicles these days should easily be able to go 15+ years.
- If you do need a vehicle, research and negotiate to get a great deal. I don’t believe in the “always buy used” motto. With proper incentives, a new car may actually be a cheaper option, particularly with the used car market being over-priced. Do your homework to find the most economical option for you.
- the base auto transmission model. Some of these vehicles don’t have a manual transmission option. And if they do, they can be hard to find and sell. If you can find and drive a manual, it could save you roughly $800 – $1,200.
- MSRP (note: you should not pay this much if you use an effective new car negotiation strategy)
- factory invoice price
- city and highway MPG fuel efficiency
- average annual fuel cost (from the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov, at $2.37 per gallon of regular unleaded, 15,000 miles driven (45% city, 55% highway)
- length of basic and powertrain warranties
The Cheapest New Cars of 2019
We’re now solidly within a period of disappointing new market entrants in the economical compact and subcompact car segments, with gas prices being as low as they are. With prices staying within the $2 – $2.50 per gallon range for quite a while now, and no sustained increases in price in sight, manufacturers are moving away from adding small, fuel-efficient vehicles to their lineups because of their low profit margins and consumer purchasing behaviors. Fuel efficiency is gravitating more and more to electric-drive vehicles, and not smaller cars. I’ll be exploring this further in my upcoming ranking of the most fuel-efficient cars of 2019.
Zero new subcompact or compact cars hit the market in 2019, out of 52 new or significantly redesigned vehicles. 5compact/subcompact cars will see a redesign in 2019 – the Honda Insight, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, and VW Jetta – but none of them make this list of the 10 cheapest cars. If you’re interested in value, however, you may want to check out the Kia Forte – as it came in at #11 in price and significantly outsold most of the cars on this list.
- GM: Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Impala, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Cadillac ATS, Buick LaCrosse
- Ford: Fiesta, Focus Sedan (hatch will live on), Fusion, Taurus, C-Max, Lincoln MKX
- Nissan: Juke
I find it interesting that the Cruz and Fiesta are the only true subcompact/compact cars on that list being killed off. In recent years, only the Fiesta and Focus have made the list of the cheapest new cars. So automakers are still seeing small, affordable cars as an entryway into their brands, which is good for consumers overall.
While the prices, and some of the specs have changed, the only major revision from last year’s list is that the Fiat 500 dropped from #6 to #10, due to a large price increase associated with a change in its base model’s engine.
The Nissan Versa, Chevy Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage (#1 – #3 on this list) are still all winners at their price points. They offer the most value with their sizes, top in class fuel efficiency, and lowest prices. And the Mirage has an excellent warranty.