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Affordable Cars for 2023

The most affordable new cars, trucks, SUVs and more are ranked based on our analysis of their lowest base prices, though local market conditions might push a specific model’s price above the starting MSRP for vehicles in short supply or with high demand.

Listed below are the most affordable new cars in 21 categories, as ranked by their lowest starting cost, or base price. These base prices represent the least expensive version of a new model, often referred to as the “base model” and representing the “cheapest car” in a given model line. This pricing information comes from the vehicle’s manufacturer, and is defined as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

While these prices represent the suggested price as determined by a car’s manufacturer, dealerships are allowed to charge whatever price they want. This can result in a car being priced lower or higher than the MSRP.

Shoppers can start their research by looking at these rankings, but buyers seeking the most affordable cars should always confirm a specific vehicle’s price by checking the dealer’s website listing or calling the dealership and speaking to a sales professional.

When seeking a cheap car it’s important to remember a vehicle’s purchase price represents the first of many costs related to owning and operating a vehicle. Everything from car insurance to fuel economy should be considered part of a car’s affordability calculation, and should be confirmed by checking vehicle specs and getting insurance quotes before purchase.

The best cars for saving money tend to be smaller subcompacts and hatchbacks powered by their three- or four-cylinder base engine. Over the past few model years these small cars have evolved past delivering the best gas mileage, useful cargo space, and low auto insurance rates. Their list of advanced technology and standard safety features goes well beyond cruise control, reading more like premium luxury cars than basic commuter cars.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, high-definition touchscreens, and Wi-Fi connectivity come standard on even the cheapest new cars today, with high quality interior materials, extensive warranty coverage, and advanced safety technology, including blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking, also quite common.

Consumers living in cold-weather climates can opt for all-wheel drive, and performance-enthusiasts can consider higher-trim levels with more powerful turbo engines, though both of these features will negatively impact mpg and increase insurance rates. Moving up from subcompact cars like the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio to compact models like the Honda Civic or Nissan Sentra will add more space and features, but also increase the up-front purchase price and long-term ownership costs.

See below for the most affordable cars in each category.

See more

How We Rank These Cars

The Affordable Midsize SUVs list is ranked by the starting MSRP for each new vehicle.

Starting MSRP is the lowest MSRP across all trims for a given new car model. In the event there is a tie, we use iSeeCars proprietary rating of the overall quality of the car (iSeeCars Score) to break the tie.

The overall iSeeCars Score is an analysis of three factors: reliability, resale value and safety. It is calculated based on the latest research and analysis by our data science team. The data analysis comes from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with NHTSA and IIHS Safety Ratings.

Vehicles are scored in three categories:

Reliability | 33.3%

The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.

Value Retention | 33.3%

The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.

Safety | 33.3%

The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).