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:

  1. Try your best to live without a car. If you can, opt for public transportation, biking, walking, and carpooling.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Cheapest-New-Cars-2017When 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?

10. Chevy Sonic

  • 2017 Chevy SonicBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Sonic LS, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,270
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,942
  • Engine Specs: 1.8L, 6-speed Auto, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 110 HP
  • City MPG: 24
  • Highway MPG: 34
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: Newly designed 2017 model, with an $800 increase in price. GM, unfortunately repeated the same mistake in performance, despite the re-design. The new engine drops from 138 to 110 horsepower, but fuel economy did not increase (in fact, highway mgp is +1). There is a 1.4L turbo Sonic also available, but still in limited production and it is more expensive. The 1.8L is inefficient (least efficient car on this list) and is even less efficient than the much larger Malibu. This is, however, one of the top selling compact cars on the market.

9. Toyota Yaris

  • 2017-Toyota-YarisBase Automatic Transmission model: Toyota Yaris L, 3-Door (Liftback/Hatchback)
  • MSRP: $16,865
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,727
  • Engine Specs: 1.5L, 4-Speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 106 HP
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $950
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: Same Yaris, same car. +$420 in price over last year. And still drastically in need of an update.

8. Hyundai Accent

  • 2017-Hyundai-AccentBase Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Accent SE, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $16,580
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,133
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 137 HP
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: Same car and price as the previous 2 model years. Formerly the “Accent GLS” 2 years a go, this model now has a much more appropriate name with “Accent SE”, but there are no changes to the vehicle itself.

7. Kia Rio

  • 2017-Kia-RioBase Automatic Transmission model: Kia Rio LX, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $16,245
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,928
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 36
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,000
  • Powertrain Warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Overview: The market average price for this car is down to $14,402 at the time of writing. At that price, this car is a steal. It’s a good looking car and it has an outstanding warranty.

6. Fiat 500

  • 2017 Fiat 500 PopBase Automatic Transmission model: Fiat 500 Pop, 2-door hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,990
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,940
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 101 HP
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 33
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,400
  • Powertrain Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Overview: New entrant to the cheapest new cars list in 2017. The Fiat 500 Pop saw a significant price drop of $2,000 over the prior year’s model, for the same car. This is the 2nd smallest car on the list behind the Smart ForTwo.

5. Ford Fiesta

  • 2017-Ford-FiestaBase Automatic Transmission model: Ford Fiesta S Sedan, 4-Door
  • MSRP: $15,630
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,637
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The 2017 Fiesta is $430 cheaper than last year’s model, and listed at $7 below invoice. The Fiesta is still hanging around in the top 5 and is one of the best selling compact cars in the U.S.

4. Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe

  • 2017-Smart-ForTwo-Pure-CoupeBase Automatic Transmission model: Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe
  • MSRP: $15,400
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,375
  • Engine Specs: 1.0L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, Turbo, 12-valve, 3 cylinder, 89 HP
  • City MPG: 33
  • Highway MPG: 39
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,150
  • Powertrain Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Overview: I’ve always said this about this car – I love the efficiency and price, but compared to other cheap cars, I don’t see the value with the tiny size.

3. Mitsubishi Mirage

  • 2017 Mitsubishi MirageBase Automatic Transmission model: Mitsubishi Mirage ES, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,030
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,721
  • Engine Specs: 1.2L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 12 valve, 3 cylinder, 78 HP
  • City MPG: 37
  • Highway MPG: 43
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $850
  • 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: Mitsubishi jumped from 2015 to 2017 (skipping a 2016 year model). The car has been redesigned. It still has outstanding fuel economy and a really strong warranty. Great value.

2. Chevy Spark

  • 2017-Chevy-SparkBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Spark LS, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $14,975
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,764
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 98 Horsepower
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,000
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Chevy Spark was just re-designed during the last model year. Great fuel economy, and an all around strong value.

1. Nissan Versa

  • 2017-Nissan-VersaBase Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Versa Sedan 1.6S, 4 Door
  • MSRP: $14,545
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,710
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 4-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 109 HP
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 35
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The Nissan Versa retains the #1 spot as the cheapest new car of 2017, mostly due to a price increase of only $220 over last year. It is really hard to beat the value of this affordable model.

12 Comments

  1. FRANCIS MCMASTER
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