The Cheapest New Cars of 2022

Each year, I enjoy researching and publishing a ranking of the cheapest new cars sold in the U.S. market. This article ranks the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2022, by price (MSRP, but I’ve also included factory invoice pricing as well to help guide your negotiations with dealers).




If you’re in the market to buy, I’d also recommend pricing out the same models for the prior model year, when available, for comparison. With dealers wanting to get rid of last year’s inventory and shift focus to the 2022 models, there is potential to find a good deal on previous model years. In most cases, they are the exact same vehicle, with minimal tweaks.

I have made efforts to limit my vehicle use, but am still somewhat dependent on one 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 further down the road.

cheapest new cars 2022

Ford Maverick: did not make the 10 cheapest new cars in 2022 list, but a hybrid pickup at #15? That’s worth a shout out!

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 I would suggest readers consider:

  1. If you can, opt for public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling over driving. Start with a test run and see if you can progress from there.
  2. If you have a 2-vehicle household, is it possible for you to shift from 2 vehicles to 1? I shifted from 2 cars to 1 eight years ago and it saved me a lot of money.
  3. Get as much mileage as possible out of your vehicle by properly maintaining it, until the cost of maintenance clearly outweighs the cost benefits of holding on to it. New vehicles these days can often go 15+ years with regular maintenance and my personal goal is to go 10+ years, at a minimum.
  4. If you do need a vehicle, do market research and negotiate the best deal. I don’t believe in the “always buy used” motto (particularly with the prices seen in the used car market recently). With proper incentives, a new car may actually be a cheaper total cost option, particularly with the used car market being over-priced for many years now. Do your homework to find the most economical option for you.
  5. If you are in the market for a new car and can hold off for a bit, that might be best. Once the current vehicle microchip supply chain issues subside, I think we’ll see better availability, better prices, and better deals to be had.

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 convenience, I’ve focused on:

  • The base auto transmission model, without added options. 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 versus the prices highlighted in this article.
  • Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). There may be credits, rebates, or other incentives available for each model at any given moment. And you should never pay MSRP, as part of an effective new car negotiation strategy.

Also, I’d recommend pricing out vehicles at KBB.com and nadaguides.com to see not only what the MSRP and factory invoice costs are (which I’ve included below), but what actual buyers are paying in your local market.




I’ve also included other variables that impact total cost of vehicle ownership:

  • city and highway MPG fuel efficiency
  • average annual fuel cost (from the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website, at $3.32 per gallon of regular unleaded, and 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, as prices per vehicle can vary dramatically. No vehicle here will break the bank on insurance costs versus the others, but there may be some differences.

The Cheapest New Cars of 2022: Top 10 Ranking

We’re now solidly within a period of disappointing new market entrants in the economical compact and subcompact car segments. I think there’s a few big reasons for that:

  1. Gas prices (until recently) had been at consistently low levels. This led to decreased demand for small vehicles, which led to less automaker focus on this segment.
  2. There is lower profit margin to squeeze out of cheap cars, so there’s less incentive for automakers to develop and market them.
  3. Those looking for fuel efficiency are gravitating more and more to electric-drive vehicles, and not smaller cars. I explored this further in my ranking of the most fuel-efficient cars and cheapest electric vehicles of 2022.

There have only been 17 new or redesigned vehicle models launched in 2022 (compared to 29 last year and 47 the year before). None of the vehicles that made this cheapest new cars list are new or redesigned. Looking at a broader trend, a large number of cheap compact and subcompact vehicles have recently had their production end, in favor of more development and focus on higher margin, higher demand trucks and SUVs:

  • Chrysler: 100
  • Dodge: Dart
  • GM: Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Sonic
  • Fiat: 500
  • Ford: Fiesta, Focus Sedan (hatch will live on), Fusion
  • Honda: CRZ, Fit
  • Nissan: Juke, Rogue
  • Smart: ForTwo
  • Toyota: Prius C, Yaris
  • VW: Beetle, Touareg

Not a good sign for the future for those who like inexpensive vehicles.

There were only a few noteworthy changes to this year’s ranking. The Chevy Trailblazer was an exciting new entrant to last year’s list but dropped all the way from #8 on the list to off of the list completely (#22) with a price increase of $2,800 over last year in 2022. The Accent and Versa flipped spots on the list (#4 and #5 ranked, respectively). The Nissan Sentra rejoins the list – coming it at the #9 spot. Meanwhile, the Spark, Soul, Venue, and Mirage are still all high value returnees at their price points – with the Spark repeating as the cheapest new car in 2022.

And, although it did not make the cheapest list, coming in at $21,490 (which would rank it #15), I have to give the headline article photo and a special shoutout to Ford for the gutsy move of launching the new Ford Maverick. We haven’t seen a new entrant to the compact pickup segment in ages. The Maverick has quickly grown a cult following with sales that have shocked Ford’s executives and led the company to stop taking new orders until this summer because they cannot keep up with demand. For a few hundred dollars more than many of the vehicles on this list, the base-level Maverick packs a ton of value as a 4-door 2.5L hybrid pickup that gets 42 city and 33 highway miles per gallon. I have no ties to Ford as a company – but I do want to give credit where credit is due!

Here are the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2022. Which would you choose, if you were going to buy a new car right now?

10. Nissan Kicks

2022 Nissan Kicks

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Kicks S, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $20,775
  • Factory Invoice Price: $20,306
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 122 hp
  • City MPG: 31
  • 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
  • Overview: the Nissan Kicks reminds me a lot of a car that I previously owned – the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix. It is slightly smaller, but still is a good looking hatchback model, with solid fuel efficiency.

9. Nissan Sentra

2022 Nissan Sentra

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Sentra S, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $20,535
  • Factory Invoice Price: $19,752
  • Engine Specs: 2.0L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 149 hp
  • 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
  • Overview: The Nissan Sentra returns to the cheapest new cars list, coming in at the #9 spot. Good fuel efficiency and value at this price point.

8. Kia Soul

2022 Kia Soul

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Kia Soul LX, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $20,505
  • Factory Invoice Price: $20,015
  • Engine Specs: 2.0L, Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 147 hp
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,650
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles for original owner, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: The Kia Soul is still a solid offering for its size at this price level. However, the Soul is close to being the same vehicle since its launch 14 years ago, with only slight styling and engine updates. It would be nice to see further developments in these areas. The Soul is not an efficient vehicle for its size.

7. Hyundai Venue

2022 Hyundai Venue

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Venue SE, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $20,245
  • Factory Invoice Price: $19,897
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 121 hp
  • City MPG: 29
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,600
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles for original owners, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Overview: A new model to the Hyundai lineup 2 years ago, with many similarities to its sister model, the Kia Soul. The Venue has more of a sporty appearance than the Soul and is slightly less expensive. It also gets solid ratings from its users. Lots of value here.

6. Kia Forte

2022 Kia Forte

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Kia Forte FE, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $20,115
  • Factory Invoice Price: $19,630
  • Engine Specs: 2.0L, Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 147 hp
  • City MPG: 31
  • Highway MPG: 35
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles for original owner, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: the Forte is an all around solid car with good fuel efficiency, a great warranty, and strong user reviews.

5. Nissan Versa

2022 Nissan Versa

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Versa S, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,775
  • Factory Invoice Price: $17,354
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 122 hp
  • City MPG: 32
  • 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
  • Overview: The Nissan Versa was refreshed 2 years ago and looks a lot like the old Honda Civic. It offers outstanding fuel efficiency at 32 city and 40 highway MPG.

4. Hyundai Accent

2022 Hyundai Accent

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Accent SE, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,690
  • Factory Invoice Price: $17,437
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 120 hp
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles for original owner, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: the Accent is not the most beautiful entrant to this list, but excellent fuel efficiency, strong warranty, and good value.

3. Kia Rio

2022 Kia Rio

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Kia Rio LX, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,275
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,952
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 120 hp
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles for original owner, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: a sister model to the Hyundai Accent, with nearly identical everything. Strong fuel efficiency, warranty, and pricing, if you can get over the plain styling.

2. Mitsubishi Mirage

2022 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Mitsubishi Mirage ES, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $17,190
  • Factory Invoice Price: $17,099
  • Engine Specs: 1.2L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 12 valve, 3 cylinder, 78 hp
  • City MPG: 36
  • Highway MPG: 43
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,300
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles for original owners, 5 years/60,000 for subsequent owners
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Overview: the Mirage has a 3 cylinder engine, giving it excellent fuel economy. It also has an excellent warranty and a great price. But, it has a reputation of not having the greatest quality, from owners.

1. Chevy Spark

2022 Chevy Spark

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Spark LS, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,695
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,533
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16 valve, 4 cylinder, 98 hp
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,500
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Chevy Spark, somewhat surprisingly, retains the #1 spot as the cheapest new car of 2022. It had been rumored that production of the Spark would end a few years ago as Chevy axed most of their car lineup, but now the Spark is predicted to stay at least through the end of 2022. If you’ve had your eyes on one, now is the time to buy, before it disappears.

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One Response

  1. Anan