The Cheapest New Cars of 2017
Each year, I enjoy researching and publishing a ranking of the cheapest new cars sold in the United States. This post ranks the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2017.
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 2017 models, there is the potential to find a great deal on previous model years (and in most cases, they are the exact same car).
I have made efforts to limit my vehicle use, but am still somewhat dependent on a vehicle 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 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 should be applied:
- Try your best to live without a car. If you can, opt for public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling.
- If you have a 2-car household, try to downsize from 2 cars to 1. I shifted from 2 cars to 1 seven years ago and it has saved a ton of money.
- Drive your car into the ground by properly maintaining it, until the cost of maintenance absolutely outweighs the benefit of holding on to it. New cars these days should easily be able to go 15+ years.
- If you do need a car, research and negotiate to get a great deal. I don’t believe in the “always buy used” motto. With proper incentives, new cars 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.
When looking for the cheapest new cars, there is a whole lot more to finding the the most affordable car than just looking at sticker price. For your convenience, I’ve included:
- 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 (you should not pay this much if you use an effective new car negotiation strategy)
- factory invoice price
Also, price out vehicles at TrueCar.com and KBB.com to see not only what the MSRP and factory invoices are, but what actual buyers are paying in your market.
I’ve also included other variables that impact total cost:
- city and highway MPG fuel efficiency
- average annual fuel cost (from the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov at $2.16 per gallon of regular unleaded, 15,000 miles driven (45% city, 55% highway)
- length of basic and powertrain warranties
Finally, I highly recommend pricing out insurance premiums at a number of automotive insurers prior to choosing which car to purchase.
The Cheapest New Cars of 2017
We re entering a period of disappointing new market entrants in the economical compact and subcompact segments, with gas prices are as low as they are.
Zero new subcompact or compact cars hit the market, out of 51 new or redesigned 2017 model vehicles. The upside is that 2 redesigns in the compact/subcompact segment did make this list the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Chevy Sonic.
Unfortunately, I think what you’re seeing is a movement away from small, compact vehicles with gasoline prices dropping to $2 $2.25 per gallon, with no sustained increase in price in sight. Manufacturers are moving away from small, fuel-efficient vehicles because of their low profit margins and consumer purchasing behavior. I’ll be exploring this further in my upcoming ranking of the most fuel-efficient cars of 2017.
The big change from 2016 to 2017 is the addition of the Fiat Pop 500 at the #6 spot after Fiat chopped $2,000 off its previous model year MSRP. This pushed the Honda Fit off the top 10 list.
For my money, the Nissan Versa, Chevy Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage (#1 – #3 on this list) are all winners at their price points. They offer the most value with their sizes, top in class fuel efficiency, and lowest prices.
Here are the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2017, in order. Which would you pick, if you were in the market for a new car?