What Do You Really Get in the Nation’s Three Cheapest Cars?

The Chevrolet Spark, Mistubishi Mirage, and Nissan Versa certainly bring value to the table — but what about everything else?

byCaleb Jacobs|
Car Buying News photo

New cars are often intimidating to first time buyers. The idea of debt is enough to scare most new-comers into a corner without much second thought, but does it have to be that way? Three of the nation's cheapest cars can be had for under $14,000, a sensible price for those looking to get into a vehicle with low payments and exceptional reliability. So, what exactly do you get with these budget-friendly choices?

You may first opt for the Chevrolet Spark. Starting at around $13,875, it's certainly got a head start on that used sedan with 60,000 miles at your local Buy Here - Pay Here. For that price, you can guess that you won't gain much equipment; however, the Spark did win JD Power and Associates Award for "Highest Ranked City Car in Initial Quality". It's powered by a 1.4L four cylinder engine which can achieve 38 MPG Highway without any hybrid aids. A 5-speed manual transmission comes as standard with an automatic option being available for an extra $1,100.  Special financing at 0% for 72 months is available for those who qualify, making sure that all of the (few) dollars you pay will go towards principle. Whether or not you want the extra features is up to you, but the Spark can be had with legitimate value for a superb price.

The Mitsubishi Mirage, America's second most affordable car, is a limited commodity. The manufacturer recently ended production in the United States, shifiting its focus towards overseas markets. Despite all of the drama, you can still buy the Mirage for a measly $12,995. That price is borderline comical! Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you thought the Spark was barren, you may want to turn a blind eye towards the Mirage. But, if all you care about is warranty and price, then you're in good hands. Mitsubishi offers a Powertrain Limited 10 year/100,000 mile Warranty, a respectable feature that you shouldn't overlook. Fuel economy is right up there with 43 MPG Highway, one of the Mirage's advantages over the Chevrolet. The 1.2L engine boasts only three cylinders, making it possible to haul around the car's 2,030 pound weight almost endlessly. A CVT option is available, but you'll want the 5-speed manual if you're extra conscious of cost. Six airbags come standard, helping the Mirage attain a 4 Star Safety Rating from the NHTSA. If you don't need frills or doo-dads, the Mirage may be the choice for you.

Cost-be-darned, the Nissan Versa is the cheapest car in America. With the S Trim punching in at $11,990, you simply won't find any new car for less. There isn't much to talk about in terms of features, but due to the price point, we can't fault it. You'll still get 36 MPG on the Highway, a respectable figure. The 1.6L engine does have Dual Overhead Camshafts, but it only produces 109 HP. Again, you can't expect the world for this kind of money. Sticking with the trend, a 5-Speed manual transmission comes equipped from the factory. This time, a 4-Speed auto is optional. The Versa S does feature speed-sensitive electronic power steering, making it easy to drive around town without much effort. Warranty options are 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper as well as a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain. All in all, you get what you pay for which, in this case, isn't all that much.

So there it is. Three new cars for used car prices, all with a warranty to last you the length of a short term loan. They're all affordable to run, maintain, and own, making them a modest choice for anyone looking to stick to their guns on budget. Make sure to consider these if you're in the market for an affordable new car that you can own for a long, long time. They won't let you down!