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Cheapest Car Brands for 2023

These are the cheapest car brands ranked by the average of their new car starting price across their entire model line.

Car prices have skyrocketed in recent years, with the average new car costing over $45,000. Much of that increase comes from the popularity and high price tags of modern trucks and SUVs. But even base model subcompact cars like the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris have starting prices above $15,000, while finding an affordable vehicle in the midsize or larger categories can be increasingly challenging for young buyers just starting out.

The good news is that even today’s cheapest new cars include highly advanced standard features in their base price. The technology behind modern fuel-efficient powertrains and active safety features would have only been available on high-end luxury cars just a few years ago. Now small cars that focus on fuel economy also include everything from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning as standard equipment.

This means buyers on a budget can seek high mpg, low price models like the Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, and Toyota Corolla and still enjoy the benefits of the latest infotainment and safety tech. Shoppers seeking maximum affordability might consider recent model year used cars, which still offer many of these high tech features as standard or optional equipment. Shopping used might also allow features like all-wheel drive, bigger touchscreen displays, and larger crossover models with more roomy interiors, like the Kia Soul or Chevy Equinox, to fit into a buyer’s budget. Buyers seeking the lowest-price models should carefully consider what equipment is included for that price. Does the car have an automatic transmission or a do-it-yourself manual transmission? Also consider warranty coverage, as post purchase repairs can make a seemingly cheap car suddenly much more expensive to maintain.

Below you’ll find each automaker ranked by the average of their new car starting price across their entire model line. You’ll also see their models ranked by lowest to highest starting price, making it easy to identify the cheapest models from any brand.

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How We Rank These Cars

The Cheapest Car Brands lists rank vehicles by their starting MSRP for each car brand.

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 these 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).

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