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Compare the cheapest new cars of 2019

Explore 10 picks under $20,000.

Not everyone is able or willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a car — but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy new. Several manufacturers still offer cars under $20,000 — and many come with strong safety and reliability ratings to boot.

Top 10 cheapest cars of 2019

Below are 10 cars with manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRPs) under $20,000. These prices reflect the basic trim package with no additions — and no negotiations. The actual price you pay will vary based on any features you add, where you live and your negotiation skills when you head to the dealership.

ModelStarting MSRPYearly fuel cost*5-year cost to own*
2019 Nissan Versa$12,460$1,000 to $1,200$25,429
2019 Chevrolet Spark$13,220$1,000 to $1,200$25,323
2019 Ford Fiesta$14,260$1,200 to $1,350$26,925
2019 Mitsubishi Mirage$13,795$900 to $1,000$26,716
2019 Hyundai Accent$14,995$1,100 to $1,300$26,964
2019 Kia Rio$15,390$1,100 to $1,300$27,169
2019 Chevrolet Sonic$15,420$1,200 to $1,350$30,717
2019 Toyota Yaris$15,600$1,100 to 1,300$26,756
2019 Honda Fit$16,190$1,000 to $1,100$26,457
2019 Kia Soul$17,490$1,300 to $1,450$26,977

*Yearly fuel cost and 5-year cost to own prices are sources from’s True Cost to Own calculator. Your specific costs will vary based on where you live, your credit profile, how many miles you drive each year and other factors.

2019 Nissan Versa

  • City/highway MPG: 31/39
  • NHTSA safety rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

With the sedan coming in at $12,460, the Nissan Versa is one of the most affordable new cars out there. And despite its low starting price, J.D. Power and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) give it high reliability and safety ratings. The basic trim comes equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen, but lacks a center armrest and automatic transmission. It’s overall a good car, but you’ll get what you pay for when it comes to luxury features and engine power.

2019 Chevrolet Spark

  • City/highway MPG: 30/38
  • NHTSA safety rating: Not available
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Chevrolet Spark is affordable and comes with a few new tech perks, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But it’s not without a few drawbacks. It has limited cargo space, and like many cars on this list, automatic transmission will cost extra. And with no NHTSA safety rating available, you may want to check out reviews from other drivers who own a Spark before committing.

2019 Ford Fiesta

  • City/highway MPG: 27/35
  • NHTSA safety rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you’re interested in the Ford Fiesta — whether the less expensive sedan or the pricier hatchback — now may be the time to buy. Ford has planned to stop production of the car in 2020. The basic sedan trim comes equipped with a few standard features, including an infotainment system and backup camera. But J.D. Power gives it a subpar reliability rating.

2019 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • City/highway MPG: 36/43
  • NHTSA safety rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the few cars on this list where the hatchback is more affordable than the sedan. And best of all, it comes stocked with the same equipment as its sedan counterpart. But while it has a decent safety rating, its low reliability rating could be a turnoff if you’re looking to drive your Mirage for more than a few years.

2019 Hyundai Accent

  • City/highway MPG: 28/37
  • NHTSA safety rating: Not available
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you’re interested in a manual transmission, the Hyundai Accent might be for you, as it comes standard with the basic trim package. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay extra for an automatic transmission. Though Hyundai is no longer producing the Accent in hatchback styles, the car is still known for its roominess and fuel economy. But with no current safety rating from the NHTSA, you might want to check out former customer reviews before making a decision.

2019 Kia Rio

  • City/highway MPG: 28/37
  • NHTSA safety rating: Not available
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Despite the midrange price on the Kia Rio, it lacks some of the standard tech and safety features other cars in this price range come equipped with. But it’s still considered a practical drive with good handling and a quiet interior. And it’s been ranked as one of the best subcompact cars by U.S. News. However, the sedan isn’t quite as spacious as the hatchback, so you’ll be paying more if you want a sportier, roomier look.

2019 Chevrolet Sonic

  • City/highway MPG: 28/37
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With a superb safety rating from the NHTSA and a midrange price, the Chevrolet Sonic is hard to beat. Like the Kia Rio, it’s ranked as one of the best subcompact cars. But it doesn’t quite have the reliability found in other cars. And you’ll face below-average fuel economy — making it the most expensive car on this list to own over five years.

2019 Toyota Yaris

  • City/highway MPG: 30/39
  • NHTSA safety rating: Not available
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The basic trim of the Toyota Yaris comes standard with power windows — which isn’t always a guarantee — and other modern features like keyless entry and automated emergency braking. While it hasn’t received a full safety rating from the NHTSA, it has received four out of five stars for its frontal crash and rollover tests. The Yaris also has a high reliability rating and superb fuel efficiency, making the sedan a good choice for commuters or frequent drivers.

2019 Honda Fit

  • City/highway MPG: 29/36
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Honda Fit is one of the more expensive options on this list, but it’s also one of the best-ranked cars of 2019 because of its good fuel economy and equipped technology. While that includes a 5-inch touchscreen and keyless entry, it doesn’t include automatic transmission — that’ll cost you an extra $800. However, if you’re looking for a roomy interior and a safe drive, the Honda Fit may be for you.

2019 Kia Soul

  • City/highway MPG: 25/30
  • NHTSA safety rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • J.D. Power reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Not only is the Kia Soul one of the safest and most reliable cars out there, it’s also one of the cheapest to own in the long run. The difference between the five-year cost of a Soul and the base price you pay at the dealership is less than $9,000. And it might be worth that higher starting MSRP: Kia has one of the longest manufacturer new car warranties, and the Soul is considered one of the best in its class.

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Bottom line

When you’re shopping for a new car and don’t want to break the bank, a subcompact car may be for you. These 10 options all come in under $20,000 with many offering good fuel economy or reliability and safety ratings. But remember that customizing your vehicle or opting for a more luxurious trim can quickly increase the price you pay.

Didn’t see anything you like? Check out our list of the best new and used cars $20,000 and less. Then when you’re ready to buy, compare your car loan options to find the best deal available to you.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get a new car for under $10,000?

While a skilled negotiator may be able to get the cheapest car on this list for under $10,000, it’s extremely unlikely. Instead, you might want to compare used car loans or look into leasing a new car to keep your costs down.

How reliable are inexpensive cars?

It depends on the model. However, most of the cars on our list received a decent reliability score with J.D. Power. For added peace of mind, you may want to read reviews from other drivers before you buy.

Where can I shop for more affordable new cars?

The best place to start is on the manufacturer’s website. This will give you a clear breakdown of the potential cost based on customization and trim level. But when you’re ready to buy, visiting a manufacturer-licensed dealership may be the smartest choice because it will give you the chance to negotiate.

Why aren’t there many SUVs on this list?

While the Kia Soul makes the list with a starting MSRP of only $17,490, the majority of SUVs come with higher sticker prices. Check out our list of the cheapest cars by class to find other lower-priced SUVs on the market today.

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