Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan; Elnur/manufacturer images

The days of the sub-$10,000 new car are long behind us, but if a rock-bottom base price is what you’re looking for, there are still a variety of models to consider. Many of them also get good gas mileage, which will help keep a lid on ownership costs for as long as you own it.  

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To help with your cheap-car search, we’ve rounded up the 10 least expensive new cars. They’re ordered by base price, from least to most expensive, and all prices include the model’s destination charge, but not any cash incentives that may be offered. To make the list useful to as many car shoppers as possible, all prices include an automatic transmission, which has increased the price of some models that come standard with a manual. For cars with more than one transmission choice, the EPA-estimated combined mpg rating is for the automatic version. 

Cheapest New Cars (With Automatic Transmission) 

1. 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS: $15,695
2. 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage ES: $16,590
3. 2021 Kia Rio LX: $17,045
4. 2021 Hyundai Accent SE: $17,500
5. 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 ES: $17,590
6. 2021 Nissan Versa S: $17,600
7. 2021 Kia Forte FE: $19,785
8. 2021 Nissan Sentra S: $20,410
9. 2021 Hyundia Elantra SE: $20,655
10. 2021 Hyundai Veloster 2.0: $20,905

2021 Chevrolet Spark LS

Price: $15,695, including $995 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 33 mpg

2021 Chevrolet Spark

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With a starting price of a little more than $15,000 when equipped with its optional continuously variable automatic transmission, the 2021 Chevrolet Spark four-seat subcompact hatchback is the cheapest new car you can buy today. Despite its low price, the Spark comes standard with important connectivity features such as Bluetooth streaming audio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot (data plan required after initial trial) and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. It also has 10 standard airbags. The Spark’s small four-cylinder engine doesn’t make a lot of power and the car has a tight backseat, but perhaps these characteristics aren’t deal breakers if you’re looking for an urban runabout.

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

Price: $16,590, including $995 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 39 mpg

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

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Like the Spark, the Mirage is a subcompact hatchback, but it has room for one additional person in its five-seat interior. The combination of a tiny 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine and optional CVT deliver impressive EPA-estimated gas mileage of 39 mpg combined, but it comes at the expense of performance; the Mirage is slow. That said, we thought it was reasonably fun to drive when we last reviewed it. For 2021, the Mirage gets a refreshed face and revised rear bumper, an updated interior with new soft-touch materials, a new standard 7-inch touchscreen and standard safety features including forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection across all trims.

2021 Kia Rio LX

Price: $17,045, including $995 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 36 mpg

2021 Kia Rio

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After receiving significant updates for the 2020 model year that included fuel-efficiency and connectivity improvements, the Kia Rio gets a light refresh for 2021. Outside, the 2021 Rio sports new front and rear bumpers as well as new grille intakes. Under the hood is a four-cylinder engine and standard CVT for a generous combined mpg rating of 36. An 8-inch touchscreen multimedia display with a rear camera and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now come standard across the lineup.

2021 Hyundai Accent SE

Price: $17,500 including $1,005 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 36 mpg

2021 Hyundai Accent

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The Accent subcompact sedan is Hyundai’s smallest car, and like its platform mate, the Kia Rio, it’s powered by a four-cylinder engine and available CVT that results in a combined fuel economy of 36 mpg. Higher trim levels add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, but convenience features on the base SE include power windows and locks; a 60/40-split, folding backseat; Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 ES

Price: $17,590, including $995 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 37 mpg

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

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The Mirage G4 is the sedan version of the Mirage subcompact hatchback. It receives the same updates for 2021, including a refreshed exterior as well as standard forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection across all trims. It’s a little pricier and gets slightly worse gas mileage than the hatch version, and it’s powered by the same 78-horsepower, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that works with an available CVT. ES features include automatic climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia system.

2021 Nissan Versa S

Price: $17,600, including $950 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 35 mpg

2021 Nissan Versa

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After a full redesign for the 2020 model year,  the Nissan Versa subcompact returns unchanged for 2021. The small sedan packed with active safety and driver-assist features you don’t often see at this price. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, reverse automatic braking, lane departure warning and high-beam assist. It’s also fitted with convenience features like cruise control, automatic headlights, push-button start and Bluetooth streaming audio. The updated Versa with optional automatic transmission costs significantly more than its predecessor, but as we noted in our review it’s a “much better car that’s still cheaper than most.”

2021 Kia Forte FE

Price: $19,785, including $995 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 35 mpg

2021 Kia Forte

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The 2021 Kia Forte is the last vehicle on our list to come in with a starting price below $20,000. Under the hood, the Forte FE houses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an available CVT. The compact sedan offers a commuter-friendly 35 mpg and is loaded with standard features like a large 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and automatic emergency braking. Although the Forte is a good value for a daily driver, shoppers looking for plentiful cargo space won’t find it in this sedan’s small trunk.

2021 Nissan Sentra S

Price: $20,410, including $950 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 33 mpg

2021 Nissan Sentra

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With a complete overhaul for 2020, the Sentra is now more than just a bargain buy thanks to styling improvements and a tech-focused interior. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a CVT, the Senta S gets a combined mpg of 33. Built on a new platform, the Sentra provides a controlled and comfortable ride with sharp steering, but the CVT lacks the giddy-up of some competitors. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on all trims, and Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 comes standard across the board.

2021 Hyundai Elantra SE

Price: $20,655, including $1,005 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 37 mpg

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

Car shoppers on a tight budget will be happy to learn that Hyundai has completely redesigned the 2021 Elantra with a more refined powertrain and larger interior. The new Elantra is available as a sedan only, with the GT hatchback discontinued for this model year. The most affordable SE trim is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a capable CVT. The Elantra gets an impressive 37 mpg that makes it as budget-friendly to own as it is to buy, and standard features include wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning system and lane-centering steering. Shoppers who can overlook the sedan’s low-rent interior will appreciate the Elantra’s value.

2021 Hyundai Veloster 2.0

Price: $20,905, including $1,005 destination charge
Combined fuel economy: 30 mpg

2021 Hyundai Veloster

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The 2021 Hyundai Veloster proves that “affordable” doesn’t have to equal “boring.” The sporty hatchback stands out thanks to a unique exterior that flaunts three doors (one driver-side and two passenger-side) and an engaging driving experience. The driving fun comes courtesy of the Veloster’s refined suspension and responsive steering. Equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and either a manual or six-speed automatic transmission, the base Veloster 2.0 gets 30 mpg combined, which falls short of some fuel-efficient competitors on this list. The 2021 Veloster comes with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto accessible via a 7-inch touchscreen, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and a driver drowsiness monitor.

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