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Home » Auto Insurance, Auto Ownership, Budgeting

The Top 10 Cheapest New Cars of 2010

Last updated by on 32 Comments

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

I’m not an advocate for buying new vehicles versus used. However, there is some merit in buying an extremely cheap new car and driving it until it’s time to take it behind the woodshed and put it out of its misery.

That being said, below is a list of the 10 cheapest vehicles of 2010 (from most to least expensive), based on MSRP. If you only buy used, go out and get one of these models in 3 years as their resale values are typically only about half of MSRP.

Foreign Automakers Dominate The List of Cheapest Vehicles

You’ll find that foreign automakers swept the list: Nissan (2), Scion (2), Toyota (1), Hyundai (1), Kia (3), and Honda (1). At these prices, the 2011 Ford Fiesta would jump in at the #5 spot next year at a price of $15,065 for the automatic s sedan model. It would also be the most fuel efficient with 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

I decided to include only the automatic transmission versions of the models to compare apples to apples (sorry stick shift lovers). All associated costs are included. Sources include Vincentric, kbb.com, Edmunds.com, fueleconomy.gov, and each automaker’s website.

My Picks for Best Cheapest Vehicle of 2010

Based on price, aesthetics, and reputation, my money is on the Kia Soul, Nissan Versa, or Honda Fit. I’d stay away from Toyota and any of their brands, including Scion, at the moment. Next year, I’d put my money on the Fiesta. I’ve really been impressed with the quality of vehicles that Ford has been putting out lately.

10. Nissan Cube S 4dr hatch

2010 Nissan CubeSuggested retail price: $16,750
Dealer cost: $16,181
New Car Blue Book Value: $NA
5-year maintenance cost: $2,210
5-year repair cost: $916
Total 5-year service cost: $3,126
1-year insurance cost: $931
3-year resale value: NA%
5-year resale value: NA%
City MPG: 28
Highway MPG: 30
1-year fuel cost: $1,480
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles

9. Scion xB 4dr hatch

2010 Scion XbSuggested retail price: $16,420
Dealer cost: $15,632
New Car Blue Book Value: $16,420
5-year maintenance cost: $2,134
5-year repair cost: $924
Total 5-year service cost: $3,058
1-year insurance cost: $961
3-year resale value: 60%
5-year resale value: 42%
City MPG: 22
Highway MPG: 28
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
1-year fuel cost: $1,755

8. Honda Fit 4dr hatch

2010 Honda FitSuggested retail price: $16,410
Dealer cost: $15,858
New Car Blue Book Value: $16,410
5-year maintenance cost: $1,638
5-year repair cost: $916
Total 5-year service cost: $2,554
1-year insurance cost: $941
3-year resale value: 59%
5-year resale value: 40%
City MPG: 28
Highway MPG: 35
1-year fuel cost: $1,389
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles

7. Scion xD 4dr hatch

2010 scion xdSuggested retail price: $16,270
Dealer cost: $15,490
New Car Blue Book Value: $NA
5-year maintenance cost: $2,055
5-year repair cost: $916
Total 5-year service cost: $2,971
1-year insurance cost: $941
3-year resale value: 56%
5-year resale value: 40%
City MPG: 27
Highway MPG: 33
1-year fuel cost: $1,453
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles

6. Kia Rio LX 4dr

2010 Kia RioSuggested retail price: $15,390
Dealer cost: $14,895
New Car Blue Book Value: $NA
5-year maintenance cost: $2,147
5-year repair cost: $770
Total 5-year service cost: $2,917
1-year insurance cost: $899
3-year resale value: NA%
5-year resale value: NA%
City MPG: 27
Highway MPG: 36
1-year fuel cost: $1,405
Powertrain warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles

5. Kia Forte LX 4dr

2010 Kia ForteSuggested retail price: $15,390
Dealer cost: $15,105
New Car Blue Book Value: $15,390
5-year maintenance cost: $2,300
5-year repair cost: $965
Total 5-year service cost: $3,265
1-year insurance cost: $938
3-year resale value: 45%
5-year resale value: 28%
City MPG: 25
Highway MPG: 34
1-year fuel cost: $1,506
Powertrain warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles

4. Kia Soul 4dr hatch

2010 Kia SoulSuggested retail price: $13,995
Dealer cost: $13,450
New Car Blue Book Value: $13,995
5-year maintenance cost: $2,361
5-year repair cost: $965
Total 5-year service cost: $3,326
1-year insurance cost: $929
3-year resale value: 54%
5-year resale value: 37%
City MPG: 26
Highway MPG: 31
1-year fuel cost: $1,524
Powertrain warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles

3. Toyota Yaris 2dr hatch

2010 toyota yarisSuggested retail price: $13,905
Dealer cost: $13,247
New Car Blue Book Value: $13,905
5-year maintenance cost: $2,231
5-year repair cost: $916
Total 5-year service cost: $3,147
1-year insurance cost: $914
3-year resale value: 54%
5-year resale value: 37%
City MPG: 29
Highway MPG: 35
1-year fuel cost: $1,360
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles

2. Hyundai Accent GS 2dr hatch

2010 Hyundai AccentSuggested retail price: $13,715
Dealer cost: $13,380
New Car Blue Book Value: $13,715
5-year maintenance cost: $NA
5-year repair cost: $NA
Total 5-year service cost: $NA
1-year insurance cost: $NA
3-year resale value: 41%
5-year resale value: 24%
City MPG: 27
Highway MPG: 36
1-year fuel cost: $1,405
Powertrain warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles

1. Nissan Versa 4 Door

2010 nissan versaSuggested retail price: $12,710
Dealer cost: $12,423
New Car Blue Book Value: $12,710
5-year maintenance cost: $2,222
5-year repair cost: $1146
Total 5-year service cost: $3,368
1-year insurance cost: $883
3-year resale value: 53%
5-year resale value: 31%
City MPG: 26
Highway MPG: 33
1-year fuel cost: $1,487
Powertrain warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
Limited basic warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles

Cheap Car Discussion:

  • Do you own any of these vehicles? If so, would you recommend it or not?
  • Do you only buy used or new vehicles? Why?
  • Any automaker, including Ford, that you’d recommend or urge to stay away from?
  • Has the recent series of Toyota recalls changed your views of Toyota?

Related Posts:


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.


32 Comments »
  • Seska says:

    I’ve got a 2006 Scion xA, the precursor to the xD, and it’s a great little car. It’s been driven across the U.S. from coast to coast and border to border multiple times and has never had any problems and has never needed any repairs (and the ride is comfortable). If the 2010 xD is as good as its older sibling, I highly recommend it.

  • Paul says:

    I have to say, as a car guy, I am REALLY impressed with all of these vehicles.

    They are not the most fun to drive, but they are all fun enough and a few of them give you EXCELLENT space.

    I, personally, would recommend the Fit above all. The Accent would come in second, but loosing the set of doors is tough. The Fit will be the most interested to drive, and if you do get a stick will get great gas mileage.

    The Fiesta is going to be a real winner for Ford. Interior build quality is outstanding in its class and it is REALLY fun to drive.

  • Jamel Rose says:

    Buying a cheap car is a good thing. But we have to think many times, before buying a new one. The quality of the car should be the first thing to set in mind.

  • ParisGirl111 says:

    I have drove nothing but Nissans and Hondas all my life. I love my Nissan. It’s used…but the last one I had lasted over 12 years and it had over 100,000 miles on it when I bought it. Even when the transmission went out, someone still bought it from me to fix up. :) Nissans are great!

  • robert says:

    Go try to find these cars at this price. The cheapest I found was a Kia Forte that with tax, license it was 17,900 at the door.
    OTD is the bottom line. Just purchased a 2006 Red Ford Mustange Convertable today for 12,500, so the tax will be around 1,300 with license everything and a warranty which I dont have to buy is around 800 for 4 years powertrain. So under 14,000 I have a baddass red mustang convertable with 39,000 miles on it and with some good maintance with the 6 cyclinder it should last around 150,000 and no stupid Korean car and no rubber timing belt, plus it looks HOT!!! Remember thoses prices are for the base model, no ac and roll up windows, my Stang was 32,000 in 2006 and has everything. It is a pain in the ass to look for used cars but buy from a private party and find an old guy that babies his cars. Also look at the house and what area that they are in, for the Stang I wouldnt buy from a 18 year old in a white trash ghetto like Riverside.

  • Seska says:

    @robert: Not all “base models” lack features like AC. The 2010 Scions come with a ton of standard features that would normally cost extra on many other cars, such as AC, power windows, AUX jack for MP3 players, CD player that plays MP3 discs, ABS, tilt wheel, cruise control (a new addition; this used to cost extra on the older Scions), and power mirrors. Most of these features are also standard on the Honda Fit. I can’t speak to the others as when I was shopping for my car I only really looked at the Fit, the Scions, and the Yaris.

    Something worth pointing out is that the Yaris *is* dirt cheap because it has no features to speak of, and if you add all of the features to it that come standard on the Scions, the Yaris actually comes out costing more, so a Scion or Honda Fit is a better deal for your money.

  • Nicole says:

    Great list! I am a car lover but still do not own it.
    I have driven two cars in the above list: hyundai accent and nissan versa 4 door. I found nissan better and it is cheaper as well. :)
    I love hatchback cars more than sedan ones.

  • Ted says:

    I love seeing the new cars that are coming out. There are some great economical options. I tend to buy cars once they are 5-7 years old . So I imagine the used car prices are going to be slowly dropping over the next few years, meaning I can buy a better car with less money! Woo hoo!

  • A says:

    I have the Honda Fit and absolutely LOVE it. Great mileage, fun to drive, and I got a deal at $15300! Automatic with car alarm, but the base model.

  • Wait until the Indian cars enter the American market..then we’re going to have cars under the 8k mark!!

  • Paul says:

    Unfortunately we will not, Kevin. No vehicle could be priced like that and meet our crash requirements.

    10k is about the lowest you can get a product to market for in the US and you need LOTS of units to be able to do that.

  • Robert says:

    Wait until the Indian cars enter the american car gallery

  • Paul, the cheapest car in India sells for $3,000. The company decided to sell units in the US but has to pay extra to meet pollution and safety standards. They estimate a Per Unit retail price of $7,500

  • Paul says:

    I do appreciate Tata’s optimism, but as one that knows a great deal about the American Auto Market, I can say it is nearly impossible for them to be successful in getting it here @ that price point.

    As the price goes up to where I think their minimum really can be (9500 or so) they then start competing with vehicles like the Hyundai Accent which can be had for under $10,000.

    To bring a car to market here that is competing against an established brand with no discernible advantage is admirable (and great for the auto industry) but I would be surprised shocked to see a low cost, Indian built, vehicle in the first half of this decade, if in this decade at all.

  • gail says:

    Bottom line is, american cars have lost there edge do to price and features. I have had both and can say that even with toyotas 1st problem it does not even come close to all the problems my family and others haved faced with american cars. The first time i bought my 280zx the dealer said drive it off this lot the way you will drive it always, and i never had a problem with that car. Every american car i bought i remember the dealer saying take it easy for the first couple thousand miles till it breaks in, and boy did they. I had to take my brand new grand prix in 7 times just to fix what should of been right when i bought it. Common sence after obama gave that money out for cars, if you want to make this economy go back to normal, makes cars people can afford not the price of a house.Just recently some country made a car for 2500$, a four door small coop, if they can do that we can still make cars here 10,000 and under. So the big wigs dont get there million dollor boneises, news flash niether do any real americans.

  • Ron says:

    The reason cars are so expensive here is that the government keeps adding on safety and pollution requirements. So all you nanny staters have made it impossible for working class people to afford a new car. Cash for clunkers screwed up used cars. Wouldn’t it be nice If you could buy a new car for 8000 dollars that lacked some features but was reliabe? Government is not the solution,it is the problem

  • Jack says:

    Indian cars, ya right. You’d be safer rolling down a steep hill in a shopping cart.

  • mojtaba says:

    in iran kia pride is cheapest car it price 8000 dollar

  • Kate says:

    I bought a Toyota Yaris last March, and I think the financing details are particularly important when considering a car from this list, since there are few distinguishing factors among the 10 of them. Plus, at the end of the day, if you’re choosing from this list you want the lowest monthly payment possible :)

    Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

    *Dealer cost came to roughly $13,000

    *Put $2,500 down

    *Received a 5 year loan from Toyota Motor Credit with fixed 4.9% APR

    *Monthly payments come out to approximately $200 for 5 years

    * Car Insurance is $80/month (based on age of 25, clean driving record, and living in a safe zip code)

    The Yaris is extremely reliable and gets about 35-40mpg. Overall I’m very happy with the cost and the quality.

    The downside: I have the, at times unfortunate, pleasure of spending most of my time with successful 40 somethings in the Vanity capital of the world- Los Angeles, and admit that I feel a bit self-conscious in my Toyota sub-compact around their Audi’s. But at the end of the day my monthly car and insurance payments combined are less than what they even pay for insurance.

    There’s plenty of time for me to get an Audi, and for what I pay for my Yaris, I know I’ll have enough in my Savings to get it!

    (Plus I’d rather have a 25 year old wrinkle free body and a Yaris than 40 with bags under my eyes and an Audi)

    Happy Frugality Friends!

    • G.E. Miller says:

      @ Kate – thanks for the review!

    • Toni says:

      To Happy Frugality Friends – I’m probably a little bit older so am less susceptible to peer pressure. My decision to purchase my xb was based on cost (yes for sure) but I also consulted Consumer Reports. Both the 2010 and 2011 xb are recommended picks in its class. You would never know this by reading traditional car reviews. The writers appear to have love affairs with expensive cars and tend to bundle all cars under $20,000 in one category ignoring what I consider important characteristics. They do love the Honda Fit and the Kia Soul.

      In addition, there are other things I want to do – travel, pursue my interests in other areas, etc, having free time, gardening, painting and simply going out with friends and my other passions. More money in my pocket gives me more freedom.

      Of note, I think we as Americans are “cursed” with the belief that paying more means you get a better product. In many cases this is not true. I have had strangers, particularly men – at gas stations and the car wash, approach me about my experience with the xb and whether are not it was “roomy” enough to fit their frame. What is the point of driving a 4 x 4 with tremendous horse power, if your driving is more mundane.

      So when you finally save the money for the Audi, remember you have choices to pursue your other dreams.

    • Jim says:

      Idiot… you will be 40 with bags under your eyes..and probably either still driving a Toyota Yaris or 15 year old Audi!! LOL.

  • Bree says:

    We have a 2008 Scion xB and honestly we LOVE it. It was the first year of the newer body style, and it is roomy, affordable, and amazing.
    It fits my 6’5″ hubby, and one of my children {in a car seat} behind it, with room to spare. We have taken it camping and put enough for 4 people, and 3 days, easily.

    We’ve had it for 2.5 years, and LOVE it. It will be one we drive till it dies.

    And if Scion/Toyota comes out with a hybrid, we’ll be changing in our Altima for another one! :)

  • JJ says:

    Had my Scion xB for 5 years now and still loving it! It is a very roomy car that fits 5 people comfortably. (I actually moved an unassembled bed, mattress, a drawer from IKEA all on one trip, plus two peoples inside!) EVERYONE who have rode in my car complimented how much room it has.

    It came with a lot of standard features, but I ordered customs lights, clear covering for the hood, and sport tuning springs (installation included) all for under $17000 five years ago. It was a great price for the car. Highly recommended.

  • Pk Thomas says:

    I purchased a Ford Focus a couple of years ago for my teenage daughter. I never liked the Focus but it was on special for $9999. I thought –hey it’s cheap and it will last 2 to three years and then it will be junk. Now it has almost 50k miles on it and I have had no trouble or complaints. The Focus is a pretty darn good car especially for the price.

  • Rhonda Lopez says:

    I traded a 2006 Chevy Tahoe for a Nissan Cube last month, after researching and driving other small vehicles. I’m averaging 26 mpg city driving, and find the vehicle comfortable with very little road noise, which I can’t say for the others, although, the Kia Soul was a close second. I also have satellite radio, back up cameras, Ipod dock, blue-tooth, and Rockford Fosgate sound system. Not too shabby for the little guy!

  • StevieRocks says:

    What’s with crash tests and safety anyway…look at all the $20K motorcycles out there (and cheaper…do you really think they can stand up in a crash test?

  • john says:

    Nice discussion but what about real life. A new car getting 50000 miles should be expected not a surprise. I have driven the Geo Prism the last 10 years and the first one jade 170000 when an accident finally stopped it and the other has 200000 and just now showing signs of slowing down. So what Ind of cheap car on the market now can we expect to get 200000 plus from or are those a thing of the past. I tend to buy cars with 100000 and several years old. Have always had good results I had 204000 on 95 Chevrolet suburban when I let it go. So what do you think? Anything out there for a Guy like me?

  • Toni says:

    I recently traded my 1994 Camry for a 2010 Scion xb. I am absolutely satisfied with this purchase. Admittedly I added among other things several performance features – sports tuning springs, stability bar, cold air return and sports muffer – primarily because of the among of highway as opposed to freeway driving I would be doing. I sacrificed greater fuel efficiency for weight and greater driving precision. I am very happy with this decision.

    Although this car was designed for the younger driver, it very much satisfies the driving tastes of those of us who were young during the hay days of the ford mustang, pontiac firebird and GTO.

    This car is absolutely fun to drive and handles well.

  • Paul says:

    We have A Scion Xbox for our shop car. Did not like it at first–but it grows on you! I see what you like about it–Merry Christmas to all!

  • J. R. says:

    I have a 2007 Yaris 3-Door Hatch that I purchased new in October of 2006. It has carried me through 45 states + DC + Canada. It has over 192k miles on it. I’ve changed the oil about 10 times and the air filter once or twice and the wiper blades just before the state mandated yearly inspections. I replaced the front wheel bearings at 110k miles, the battery at 138k, the headlight bulbs at just over 140k, and the alternator at 169k. Each set of tires has lasted just over 70k miles. That’s it. No coolant flush needed yet, even with Gulf Coast summers……original brakes, original clutch with no adjustment, original spark plugs, etc……all while averaging 40 mpg combined city-highway and zero hassle re parking. It is the best car I have ever owned.

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