If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll discover that the average price is around $33,000. But what’s great about this number is that it means you can find a new car that is lower than this amount. If your budget is half the national average, fear not.
You can find a decent, reliable car for about $15,000. This list of the best new cars for under $15,000 will give you trustworthy transportation without breaking the bank.
The Versa is the darling of rideshare drivers and rental agencies. This affordable car is known for having an attractive price tag and getting decent gas mileage. It hasn’t been known for having style or panache. That’s changing with the 2020 model, however.
- Trim Options
Designers changed the stance of the car by making it wider, longer, and lower. It also has new headlights, taillights, and C-pillars. If that isn’t enough, the look changes slightly depending on the trim level you choose. There is the S, SV, and SR, but only the S comes in under $15,000.
Our focus is on the S model since it fits within the $15,000 limit. Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that can produce 122 horsepower. Paired with this engine is a five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive.
Nissan included technology that you would expect to find in higher-priced models. There’s a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes voice recognition, Bluetooth, and three USB ports. You’ll also get lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking.
There are several safety and driver-assist features that come standard on the Versa. These include a rearview camera, emergency braking, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, forward collision warning, and automatic high beams. There are also several features that are available for inclusion, including rear-seat reminder, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and driverless alert monitoring.
There was a time when the subcompact car was a vehicle that you were forced to buy out of utility. They tended to lack style and features. The Spark says goodbye to that dark time and proves that you can have modern features at an affordable price. The Chevy Spark’s small size makes it perfect for city dwellers looking for a commuter car with conveniences.
It features smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A 4G LTE WiFi hotspot is also included to make connectivity possible anywhere you drive. Control everything on the Spark’s infotainment system through the seven-inch touchscreen.
Chevy doesn’t scrimp on the infotainment system either. You’ll find the touchscreen responsive and crisp graphics for the display. Plus, the entire system is user-friendly.
- Trim Options
The LS trim level comes in below the $15,000 threshold. The other trim options of 1LT, ACTIV, and 2LT are all just above this mark but still under $20,000.
Under the hood of the LS model is a four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a five-speed manual transmission. This gives you 98 horsepower, which is plenty for inner-city commuting or running errands. You’ll find the engine to be more responsive than other compacts in its class. Fuel economy is on par with others in its class at 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
The Spark has gone through standard safety testing and performed well enough to receive top marks. When it comes to additional safety features, though, only a rearview camera comes standard. There are more that are optional, including rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning.
The Accent is a strong middle-of-the-pack runner. It doesn’t disappoint, but there are other options available with more impressive performance capabilities. A big advantage of the Accent is the ample-sized seating and comfortable interior. Other subcompact cars tend to feel cramped and limited in space inside.
- Trim Options
While all three trim models are under $20,000, only the SE trim package is under $15,000. Despite it being the base model package, it still comes with plenty to make your daily commute comfortable.
The base model of the Accent comes with a simplified infotainment system and a five-inch touchscreen. You get one USB port, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. It’s worth considering upgrading to the SEL that’s just over $15,000 to have the upgraded infotainment system. The SEL comes with a larger seven-inch touchscreen display and smartphone connectivity with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Powering the Accent is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. This will get impressive fuel economy at 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. If you want an even more impressive fuel economy, then opt for the upgraded engine and transmission, giving you 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.
You’ll have an enjoyable and smooth ride as long as the road is smooth. Handling starts to get a bit rocky when the pavement is rough.
The Accent does fall short when it comes to safety features that are standard. You’ll get a rearview camera. There are some features that are optional, such as automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning.
The 2020 model of the Mirage got a much-needed facelift. The new design features a more dynamic exterior with sharper details. The interior has a more elegant design that helps to elevate this subcompact.
- Body Styling
There are two body options of the Mirage that come in comfortably under $15,000. You can choose the Mirage G4, which is a subcompact four-door sedan with a trunk, or there’s the traditional Mirage, which is a hatchback.
Both body styles come with a five-speed manual transmission. Powering the Mirage is a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. You’ll have 78 horsepower powering your subcompact.
The car has a seven-inch display in the dash, rearview camera, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and keyless entry. There’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity through the infotainment system.
The front seats have a comfortable amount of legroom. In the back, there’s plenty of cargo space (up to 47 cubic feet). This makes the Mirage a front runner for maximizing space despite its smaller size.
- Cost Savings
The Mirage boasts one of the lowest prices on this list and is paired with impressively long warranty coverage. You save even more with the impressive fuel economy of 36 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.
Safety features in the Mirage include both a backup camera and parking sensors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have more advanced driver-assist features available. It did perform well in safety testing, earning four out of five stars.
There are a few cars that previously sold for less than the $15,000 mark, but this year the prices increased slightly above that threshold. If you’re willing to spend a few extra hundred dollars, you can have a quality affordable car.
The L model of the Yaris hatchback is the base model starting at $15,650. This six-speed manual front-wheel-drive car has a 1.5-liter engine that produces 106 horsepower. The biggest advantage of the Yaris is the attractive 34 mpg fuel economy. There is an automatic transmission option if you’d prefer.
The interior of the Yaris is quite comfortable with steering wheel mounted controls, smart device integration, and a responsive seven-inch touchscreen. The 60/40 split fold-down rear seat gives you plenty of cargo space that’s easily accessible through the hatchback.
Last year Ford announced that 2019 would be the last year for the Fiesta. So, while the Fiesta isn’t new for 2020, it’s still a reliable contender as a used car. This lively and nimble car stands out for its performance among its peers. This is mainly thanks to the 120 horsepower that the four-cylinder engine produces. Plus, now that there are used options, you may be able to stay under $15,000 while upgrading to the 197 horsepower turbocharged EcoBoost engine.
If safety is a priority, then the Kia Rio needs to be at the top of your list. This car has some of the highest safety scores in its class. Unfortunately, you’ll need to sacrifice some features and options for that safety rating.
While in previous years the Rio came in under the $15,000 mark, the 2020 model starts at $16,790. For the extra cost, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. There’s also a seven-inch touchscreen with a full-color display.
Time to Test Drive
With so many affordable options, your next step is to start seeing these vehicles in person. Sit inside and see how you feel, and take one or two for a test drive. Choose the option that feels right, is enjoyable and comfortable to drive, and fits within your budget.
You can find several affordable new car options that are packed with several standard features. If you aren’t ready to buy a new vehicle, there are plenty of used cars available in these models that provide an even better value.