The Cheapest New Cars of 2020

For 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 2020, by price.




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 2020 models, there is potential to find a good deal on previous model years (and in most cases, they are the exact same car, 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.

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 recommend everyone apply:

  1. Try your best to live without a motor vehicle. If you can, opt for public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling.
  2. If you have a 2-vehicle household, try to downsize from 2 vehicles to 1. I shifted from 2 cars to 1 eight years ago and it has saved a ton of money.
  3. Drive your vehicle into the ground by properly maintaining it, until the cost of maintenance clearly outweighs the benefit of holding on to it. New vehicles these days can often go 15+ years with regular maintenance.
  4. If you do need a vehicle, research and negotiate to get a great deal. I don’t believe in the “always buy used” motto. With proper incentives, a new car 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.

Cheapest New Cars 2020

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 (note: you should not pay this much if you use an effective new car negotiation strategy)
  • factory invoice price

Also, I’d recommend pricing out vehicles at KBB.com and nadaguides.com to see not only what the MSRP and factory invoices are (whic 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, at $2.54 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, as prices per vehicle can vary dramatically.

The Cheapest New Cars of 2020

We’re now solidly within a period of disappointing new market entrants in the economical compact and subcompact car segments, with gas prices being as low as they are. With prices staying within the $2.25 – $2.60 per gallon range for quite a while now, and no sustained increases in price in sight, manufacturers are moving away from adding small, fuel-efficient vehicles to their lineups because of their low profit margins and consumer purchasing behaviors. Fuel efficiency is gravitating more and more to electric-drive vehicles, and not smaller cars. I’ll be exploring this further in my upcoming ranking of the most fuel-efficient cars of 2020.

Just one new subcompact or compact car – the Hyundai Venue – hit the market in 2020, out of 47 new or significantly redesigned vehicles. It creeps in as the 10th cheapest new car in 2020. Only 5 compact/subcompact cars will see a redesign in 2020 –  the Kia Soul, Nissan Versa, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corola, and Toyota Yaris – with only the Versa and Yaris making this list of the 10 cheapest cars.

Looking at a broader trend, a large number of small cars have recently (or will be) killed off, in favor of more development into trucks and SUV’s:

  • GM: Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Sonic, Chevy Spark
  • Fiat: 500
  • Ford: Fiesta, Focus Sedan (hatch will live on), Fusion
  • Honda: CRZ
  • Nissan: Juke, Rogue
  • Toyota: Prius C
  • VW: Beetle, Touareg

Not a good sign for those who like inexpensive cars.

While the prices, and many of the specs have changed, the only major revision from last year’s list is that the Fiat 500 was replaced by the new Hyunda Venue, and a number of vehicles swapped spots in this ranking.

The Chevy Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage (#1 and #3 on this list) are still all winners at their price points. They offer the most value with their sizes, top in class fuel efficiency, and value. And the Mirage has an excellent warranty.

Here are the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2020. Which would you pick, if you were going to buy a new car?

10. Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Venue SE, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $19,545
  • Factory Invoice Price: $19,038
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 121 Horsepower
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 34
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,200
  • 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 brand new model from Hyundai that has 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.

9. Toyota Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Toyota Yaris L, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,705
  • Factory Invoice Price: $17,036
  • Engine Specs: 1.5L, 6-Speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 106 HP
  • City MPG: 32
  • Highway MPG: 40
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The 2020 Yaris is newly redesigned and shifted from a 4-speed automatic to a 6-speed, while only increasing $235 in price over last year.

8. Chevy Sonic

2020 Chevy Sonic

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Sonic LS, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,595
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,993
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, 6-speed Auto, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 34
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,300
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Chevy Sonic is back in 2020, despite reports of the model ending production. There are no new changes this year, and the price remains the same as last year. It is possible that the Sonic will be sunset after its remaining inventory is sold.

7. Nissan Versa

2020 Nissan Versa

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Versa S, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,325
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,914
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, CVT Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 122 HP
  • City MPG: 32
  • Highway MPG: 40
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Nissan Versa needed a refresh, and it got it for 2020. It now has a more powerful engine (122 HP versus 109), yet increased in fuel economy. The redesign does come with a notably higher price tag ($1,435 more than last year), causing it to fall from being the #2 cheapest new car last year to #7 this year.

6. Hyundai Accent

2020 Hyundai Accent

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Accent SE, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,225
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,816
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • 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 engine in the 2020 Hyundai Accent went from a 130 HP 6-speed to a 120 HP CVT this year. The payoff is a 3 MPG increase (city and highway).

5. Honda Fit

2020 Honda Fit

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Honda Fit LX, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $17,920
  • Factory Invoice Price: $17,434
  • Engine Specs: 1.5L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 128 HP
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 40
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: there was hope that the 4th gen Honda Fit which recently debuted at an auto show in Japan would make its way to the U.S. market for 2020, but it does not sound like that will happen. Still, the 2020 Honda Fit has a great combo of style, fuel-efficiency, functional utility, and resale value.

4. Kia Rio

2020 Kia Rio

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Kia Rio LX, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $16,675
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,211
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 41
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • 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: Similar to its sister model, the Hyundai Accent, the engine in the 2020 Hyundai Accent went from a 130 HP 6-speed to a 120 HP CVT this year. From the change, the Rio jump from 28 to 33 MPG city and 37 to 41 MPG highway. The Rio, however, didn’t have as big of a price jump ($480) as the Accent, with the engine change.

3. Mitsubishi Mirage

2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Mitsubishi Mirage ES, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $16,435
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,086
  • Engine Specs: 1.2L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 12 valve, 3 cylinder, 78 HP
  • City MPG: 36
  • Highway MPG: 43
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,000
  • 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: no updates in 2020 for the Mirage. The Mirage is the only 3 cylinder engine vehicle on this list, giving it excellent fuel economy. The Mirage has the longest warranty of any manufacturer on this list.

2. Ford Fiesta

2020 Ford Fiesta

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Ford Fiesta S Sedan, 4-Door
  • MSRP: $16,330
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,122
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,250
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: production of the Ford Fiesta has ended, however, you can still find a number of them on Ford dealership lots.

1. Chevy Spark

2020 Chevy Spark

  • Base Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Spark LS, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,195
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,751
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 98 Horsepower
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,150
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Chevy Spark retains the #1 spot as the cheapest new car of 2020, with zero price increases over last year. It has been reported that production of the Spark will end in 2020, so if you like it, you better snatch one up!

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