Cheapest possible automobile
December 27, 2012 10:25 AM Subscribe
The cheapest car, period. Don't care about safety, looks, frills, country of origin, or anything else except as to how it relates to cost.
posted by Etrigan to travel & transportation (20 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
So I'm thinking of buying a new (to me, at least) car, and I want to make sure it's the most affordable-over-its-lifetime that I can find. Everything I can find online seems to be full of caveats ("Cheapest in class") or doesn't visibly balance purchase vs. operational cost very well, or recommends a lot of things without giving good numbers to differentiate among them, so I'm turning to the hivemind to ask: Counting purchase price, cost of maintenance, and cost of fuel, what is the very cheapest car that I can drive for, say, the next 5-10 years?
I have a 30-mile one-way highway commute around Detroit, but occasionally, Google Maps tells me that a route that's about 1/3 surface street is faster. I presume this will be the case for the foreseeable future.
I know that used cars are way cheaper, and there will doubtless be argument about it, but for sheer ease of finding and pricing, I'd rather not go back more than a couple of years.
I can drive stick. I had a bunch of other pre-answers listed here, but it's easier to assume that my answer to any follow-up question will be "I don't care if it doesn't make the car cheaper."