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Best Cars for the Money

The best cars for the money provide the longest potential lifespan at the lowest price, and our analysis has identified which new cars provide the greatest value for your car-buying dollar

Listed below are iSeeCars’ rankings of the best new cars for the money. These models offer the best combination of a relatively low new car price with a long potential lifespan. A wide range of vehicles are identified below, ranging from fuel-efficient small cars and compact SUVs to all-wheel-drive trucks and roomy minivans offering maximum cargo space and practicality.

While these models represent strong long-term value, when shopping for new vehicles a consumer should consider several factors beyond price and lifespan. Everything from fuel economy and ownership costs to infotainment features and powertrain options need to be evaluated.

For example, subcompact cars like the Nissan Versa offer accessibility to first-time buyers due to their low price tags, but they don’t feature all-wheel drive for inclement weather like the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid or Toyota RAV4, and their standard safety features aren’t as extensive as some of the best compact cars like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra Hybrid.

Buyers should also search multiple dealerships in multiple cities when shopping for new model year vehicles, as recent supply chain issues have restricted new car production while driving up used car prices. Even if a car is hundreds of miles away, the lower price can easily justify the time and energy required to purchase it. This is especially true for the cars on this page, which can serve as reliable transportation for hundreds or thousands of miles.

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How We Rank These Cars

The Best Cars for the Money list is ranked by the price per 1,000 miles of use for each vehicle based on how many miles the car can last.

iSeeCars analyzed over 2 million cars to determine how many miles each car can potentially last. Then we calculated the price per 1,000 miles of lifespan based on the average new car price of each vehicle. In the event two or more vehicles have the same price per 1k miles, 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).