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Home » Auto Ownership

The Top 15 Cheapest New Cars of 2013

Last updated by on 14 Comments

Update: I have since published a more updated list of the cheapest new cars of 2014.

The Thing About New Cars

I’ve put together a 2013 edition of my cheapest new cars list. If you’re looking for year end deals, you can find my list of last year’s cheapest new cars as well.

Ideally, if you need a vehicle at all, you’ll purchase a cheap used car with low insurance costs and high fuel efficiency – and then drive it sparingly.

Used cars tend to offer the best value for most, particularly light drivers. Historically, the 3-year resale value of these vehicles is usually around 55-60% and the 5-year resale value is often around 40%. However, with used car prices being driven up by high demand due to the economy, hurricanes and other natural disasters, that’s not always the case, particularly for heavy drivers.

And just because this list has the 15 cheapest new cars by starting MSRP, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around to see what kind of deal you can get, which might bump others on to this list. In my experience, it’s tough to get a big discount on what is already a cheap new car. This past year, I purchased my first new car, a Chevy Malibu, when my 2000 Pontiac Grand Am bit the dust. I was able to get a great deal on it that would have placed it right at the bottom of this list – despite it having a MSRP of $23,000.

One New Addition to the 2013 Cheapest New Cars List

cheapest new carThere is only one new addition to this year’s cheapest new cars list – the Chevy Spark. It joins last year’s Chevy Sonic (a replacement of the Aveo), in Chevy’s sub-compact lineup. With the Chevy Cruze (added in 2011, replacing the Cobalt), that makes three new, fuel efficient, inexpensive vehicles in three years for Chevy. Recently, a severe laggard in the small car categories, GM has really upped their game with these three new model additions.

Just missing the list was another domestic 2013 addition, the Dodge Dart, with an MSRP of $17,890. The Dart is Chrysler/Dodge’s smallest vehicle since the de-commissioned Dodge Neon.

With Chevy’s additions, Dodge re-entering the small car market, and Ford’s Fiesta and Focus re-designs, domestic automakers have dramatically improved their offerings in the cheap new car category in recent years.

Dropped from the 2013 list was last year’s new addition, the Fiat 500, which increased in price by $950. In general, prices increased between 2-4% from last year.

Fuel, Maintenance, & Insurance Costs on Cheap Cars

Cheap cars are great, not only for their lower purchase prices, but also for the lower maintenance, fuel, and insurance costs that follow them.

That’s why I’ve added annual fuel costs to this list. Annual fuel costs are from the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov and calculated at $3.25 per gallon and 15,000 miles driven (45% city, 55% highway).

Insurance costs are going to vary by geography, so check with your insurer on the price for various vehicles before making a purchase. Generally though, the cheaper the vehicle, the lower the insurance costs over time.

Note that all of the vehicles listed (excluding the Scions) are available in a manual transmission, and the MSRP’s generally run about $1,000 – $1,200 less than the MSRP’s listed below. If you can find one (not easy) and know how to drive it, it could save you even more money. The only problem is your negotiating power is going to be limited due to short supply.

The 15 Cheapest New Cars

On to the list! We’ll start at the bottom and work our way to the cheapest.

15. Honda Civic

  • 2013 Honda CivicBase Automatic Transmission model: Honda Civic DX, 2-door Coupe
  • Engine: 1.8L, 5-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 140 HP
  • MSRP: $17,345
  • Factory Invoice: $16,192
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 39
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: Just a $170 price increase over last year, Civic sales are still going strong, as they have since the 80’s.

14. Scion XD

  • 2013 Scion XDBase Automatic Transmission model: Scion XD 4-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.8L, 4-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 128 HP
  • MSRP: $17,300
  • Factory Invoice: $16,483
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,700
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: There were hopes that the XD would upgrade to a 6-speed in order to increase fuel efficiency, but no such change was made.

13. Kia Forte

  • 2013 Kia ForteBase Automatic Transmission model: Kia Forte LX 4-Door Sedan
  • Engine: 2.0L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 156 HP
  • MSRP: $17,175
  • Factory Invoice: $17,016
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,600
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Notes: The 2013 Forte packs the largest engine with the highest horsepower on the list.

12. Honda Fit

  • 2013 Honda FitBase Automatic Transmission model: Honda Fit 4-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.5L, 5-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 117 HP
  • MSRP: $17,015
  • Factory Invoice: $16,588
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 35
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,550
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: No model changes. Still a great vehicle for a great price.

11. Kia Soul

  • 2013 Kia SoulBase Automatic Transmission model: Kia Soul 4-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • MSRP: $16,975
  • Factory Invoice: $16,511
  • City MPG: 25
  • Highway MPG: 30
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,800
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Notes: The Soul lost a whopping 5 hwy mpg in the EPA’s fuel efficiency revision, making it the least fuel efficient vehicle on the list, by far.

10. Mazda 2

  • 2013 Mazda 2Base Automatic Transmission model: Mazda 2 Sport 4-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.5L, 4-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 100 HP
  • MSRP: $16,355
  • Factory Invoice: $16,354
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 34
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,650
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: The cousin to the Ford Fiesta, it actually has a 4-speed transmission vs. the Fiesta’s 6-speed – giving it lower fuel efficiency. Price increase of almost $600 year over year.

9. Hyundai Accent

  • 2013 Hyundai Accent GLSBase Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Accent GLS, 4-Door Sedan
  • Engine: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • MSRP: $16,320
  • Factory Invoice: $16,047
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,550
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Notes: No changes this year other than a slight bump in price. Interesting note – the 4-door sedan version is cheaper than the 2-door coupe.

8. Scion IQ

  • 2013 Scion IQBase Automatic Transmission model: Scion IQ 2-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.3L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 93 HP
  • MSRP: $16,140
  • Factory Invoice: $15,382
  • City MPG: 36
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,300
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: The Scion IQ is tiny, but it gets an awesome 36 mpg hwy. This car was released in limited markets last year, but sees a nationwide release in 2013.

7. Chevy Sonic

  • 2013 Chevy SonicBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Sonic 2 LS 4-Door Sedan
  • Engine: 1.8L, 6-speed Auto, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • MSRP: $16,090
  • Factory Invoice: $16,030
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,550
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: A new addition to the list last year. Also comes in a 1.4L turbo version (if you can find one).

6. Toyota Yaris

  • 2013 Toyota YarisBase Automatic Transmission model: Toyota Yaris L 3-Door (Liftback/Hatchback)
  • Engine: 1.5L, 4-Speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 106 HP
  • MSRP: $15,890
  • Factory Invoice: $15,615
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: Yaris. It’s a car (that’s not selling well).

5. Kia Rio

  • 2013 Kia RioBase Automatic Transmission model: Kia Rio LX 4-Door Sedan
  • Engine: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • MSRP: $15,450
  • Factory Invoice: $15,092
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,550
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Notes: EPA revision lowered hwy fuel efficiency from 40 to 26 mpg. Still a great car for the price.

4. Ford Fiesta

  • 2013 Ford FiestaBase Automatic Transmission model: Ford Fiesta S Sedan, 4-Door
  • Engine: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • MSRP: $15,090
  • Factory Invoice: $14,778
  • City MPG: 29
  • Highway MPG: 39
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: Still a great, all-around quality sub-compact with good fuel efficiency. No major changes this model year, including an identical price.

3. Chevy Spark

  • 2013 Chevy SparkBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Spark LS 4-Door Hatchback
  • Engine: 1.2L, 4-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 84 Horsepower
  • MSRP: $13,920
  • Factory Invoice: $14,051
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: The only brand new model to make the list in 2013 and it checks in at the #3 spot. It joins the Chevy Sonic on the list (a new addition last year).

2. Nissa Versa

  • 2013 Nissan VersaBase Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Versa Sedan 1.6S, 4 Door
  • Engine: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 109 HP
  • MSRP: $13,780
  • Factory Invoice: $13,454
  • City MPG: 31
  • Highway MPG: 40
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Notes: With the EPA cracking down on Hyundai/Kia, the Nissan Versa is the only vehicle on the list that can claim 40 mpg hwy, proving it to be an excellent value.

1. Smart ForTwo

  • 2013 Smart Fortwo Pure CoupeBase Automatic Transmission model: Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe
  • Engine:  1.0L, 5-speed Auto Transmission, 12-valve, 3 cylinder, 70 HP
  • MSRP: $13,240
  • Factory Invoice: $12,446
  • City MPG: 34
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 2 years or 24,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 4 years, 50,000
  • Notes: No big changes for the Smart ForTwo, other than a $750 bump in price. However, it is still the cheapest car on the market with the tiniest engine for fuel efficiency. Fun fact: It’s 85% recyclable.

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


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