The Cheapest New Cars of 2019




Each year, I enjoy researching and publishing a ranking of the cheapest new cars sold in the US market. This post ranks the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2019, 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 2019 models, there is the potential to find a good deal on previous model years (and in most cases, they are the exact same car, with just 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 should easily be able to go 15+ years.
  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 2019When 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 TrueCar.com to see not only what the MSRP and factory invoices are, 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 $2.37 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 2019

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 – $2.50 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 2019.

Zero new subcompact or compact cars hit the market in 2019, out of 52 new or significantly redesigned vehicles. 5compact/subcompact cars will see a redesign in 2019 –  the Honda Insight, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, and VW Jetta – but none of them make this list of the 10 cheapest cars. If you’re interested in value, however, you may want to check out the Kia Forte – as it came in at #11 in price and significantly outsold most of the cars on this list.

Looking at a broader trend, a large number of cars are being killed off after the 2019 model year, in favor of more development into trucks and SUV’s:

  • GM: Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Impala, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Cadillac ATS, Buick LaCrosse
  • Ford: Fiesta, Focus Sedan (hatch will live on), Fusion, Taurus, C-Max, Lincoln MKX
  • Nissan: Juke

I find it interesting that the Cruz and Fiesta are the only true subcompact/compact cars on that list being killed off. In recent years, only the Fiesta and Focus have made the list of the cheapest new cars. So automakers are still seeing small, affordable cars as an entryway into their brands, which is good for consumers overall.

While the prices, and some of the specs have changed, the only major revision from last year’s list is that the Fiat 500 dropped from #6 to #10, due to a large price increase associated with a change in its base model’s engine.

The Nissan Versa, Chevy Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage (#1 – #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 lowest prices. And the Mirage has an excellent warranty.

Here are the top 10 cheapest new cars of 2019. Which would you pick, if you were in the market for a new car?

10. Fiat 500

  • 2019 Fiat 500Base Automatic Transmission model: Fiat 500 Pop, 2-door hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,990
  • Factory Invoice Price: $18,535
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 135 HP
  • City MPG: 24
  • Highway MPG: 32
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,700
  • Powertrain Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 4 years, 50,000 miles
  • Overview: Still waiting on release notes for 2019, but one big change is the switch from a 101 HP engine to a 135 HP turbo. Along with that, appears to be a significant price jump – the prior base model came in at just $15,990.

9. Honda Fit

  • 2019 Honda FitBase Automatic Transmission model: Honda Fit LX, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $17,885
  • 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: $1,000
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: Last year’s redesigned model with extended cargo space and new performance improvements was an Editor’s Choice award winner. The 2019 Fit only increased $5 in price. It is difficult to beat the Fit’s combination of of style, fuel-efficiency, utility, and resale value.

8. Chevy Sonic

  • 2019 Chevy SonicBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Sonic LS, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $17,595
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,960
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, 6-speed Auto, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 138 HP
  • City MPG: 26
  • Highway MPG: 34
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,250
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The 1 big change for 2019 is that the sonic went from a limited production 1.4L turbo engine (majority of Sonics were a 1.8L) to the base model now becoming a 1.4L Turbo. Despite the smaller engine, the Sonic is still rather inefficient compared to the other models on this list.

7. Toyota Yaris

  • 2019 Toyota YarisBase Automatic Transmission model: Toyota Yaris L, 3-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $17,470
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,809
  • Engine Specs: 1.5L, 4-Speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 106 HP
  • City MPG: 32
  • Highway MPG: 40
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,000
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: The 2019 Yaris has 1 rather big update. Last year’s model was a 2-door hatchback, while this year’s base model is now a 4-door sedan. The Toyota Yaris, similar to the Ford Fiesta, is really a re-packaged Mazda 2 (which is no longer sold in the U.S., ironically). There are fuel-efficiency improvements in 2019 over last year’s model.

6. Hyundai Accent

  • 2019 Hyundai AccentBase Automatic Transmission model: Hyundai Accent SE, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $16,880
  • Factory Invoice Price: $16,486
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 130 HP
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • 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: Last year was a new redesign. This year, the only difference is a slightly higher price.

5. Ford Fiesta

  • 2019 Ford FiestaBase Automatic Transmission model: Ford Fiesta S Sedan, 4-Door
  • MSRP: $16,330
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,962
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 120 HP
  • City MPG: 27
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,150
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years, 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years, 36,000 miles
  • Overview: Sadly, after a nice little re-birth in the last decade, the Fiesta will be getting axed out of Ford’s lineup by 2020. No improvements or changes in 2019, and none likely before the car gets shelved.

4. Kia Rio

  • 2019 Kia RioBase Automatic Transmission model: Kia Rio LX, 4-Door Sedan
  • MSRP: $16,195
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,744
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, 6-speed Auto Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 130 HP
  • City MPG: 28
  • Highway MPG: 37
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • 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: Last year’s model was a redesign with more head and legroom, and a cheaper price. This year’s model is the same, with a slightly higher price.

3. Mitsubishi Mirage

  • 2019 Mitsubishi MirageBase Automatic Transmission model: Mitsubishi Mirage ES, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,585
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,141
  • Engine Specs: 1.2L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 12 valve, 3 cylinder, 78 HP
  • City MPG: 36
  • Highway MPG: 43
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $950
  • 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: Newly redesigned model last year, with no updates for 2019. The Mirage is the only 3 cylinder engine vehicle on this list – which means it leads in fuel economy. The Mirage has the best warranty of any manufacturer on this list. Really strong value.

2. Nissan Versa

  • 2019 Nissan VersaBase Automatic Transmission model: Nissan Versa Sedan S+, 4 Door
  • MSRP: $15,890
  • Factory Invoice Price: $15,037
  • Engine Specs: 1.6L, CVT Transmission, 16-valve, 4 cylinder, 109 HP
  • City MPG: 31
  • Highway MPG: 39
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,050
  • Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Overview: No changes for 2019 other than an inexplicably large $755 MSRP increase over 2019, despite the factory invoice price declining by $130. Last year’s model made the switch from a 4-speed to a CVT transmission in the base model that improved the fuel efficiency by 5 MPG city and 4 MPG highway.

1. Chevy Spark

  • 2019 Chevy SparkBase Automatic Transmission model: Chevy Spark LS, 4-Door Hatchback
  • MSRP: $15,195
  • Factory Invoice Price: $14,722
  • Engine Specs: 1.4L, Continuously Variable Auto Transmission (CVT), 98 Horsepower
  • City MPG: 30
  • Highway MPG: 38
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100
  • 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 2019, with a minimal price increase of $170 (and a factory invoice decrease). No major changes in this year’s model. Side note: the EV version of the Spark was replaced by the Chevy Bolt last year.

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