Need a cheap new car.
July 6, 2005 3:10 PM   Subscribe

What's the cheapest new car on the market?

I'm looking for a new car that I can purchase for significantly less than $10,000. Hyundai, Kia, Saturn, whatever. It can be a subcompact. Anything out there for around $5-$6,000? I'm in the United States.
posted by exhilaration to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
Have you searched
posted by spilon at 3:12 PM on July 6, 2005

new will be a stretch. why new? Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent are available for $9,999 (sometimes less, depending on what dealers are offering). past that, you're looking at used unless you happen to find new old stock (which I'm not sure happens very regularly with car dealerships as they seem to want to hustle the old cars out when the new year models come in).
posted by mrg at 3:17 PM on July 6, 2005 has general price listings.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:18 PM on July 6, 2005 says the Chevrolet Aveo starts at $9500, but that page doesn't seem to list Daihatsu. They make cheap cars, don't they?

This page looks outdated, but it might offer some models to look into.
posted by box at 3:25 PM on July 6, 2005

Chevrolet Aveo: $9,455
Kia Rio $9,740
Hyundai Accent $9,999

why new? go find a VW GTI for $2000 and have a great time driving it. They're pretty easy to work on, parts are pretty cheap and easy to find.
posted by tumble at 3:43 PM on July 6, 2005

You will not find a new car for $5--6000.

You will find a very few cars available at about $9500. I wouldn't buy any of them. At that range, their low price is more of a gimmick than good value. Don't think sticker price, think lowest cost of ownership over 7 years or so.

For a shade over $10K, you can get a perfectly good Echo. For $13K or so, you can get a Civic, or a Sentra, or Focus, or Corolla. Any of those are a better bet than an Aveo, Rio, or Accent.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:44 PM on July 6, 2005

Even if you can find a new car at that price, count on it to have significant hidden costs, such as frequent mechanical problems, poor safety record, difficulty finding mechanics who have experience with that car line, delays while waiting for parts to be special ordered, etc. Consider buying a "lightly used" car instead. Depreciation in the first few years brings resale prices down rapidly, plus insurance will cost less for a used car, especially a model that has a known, solid track record.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:57 PM on July 6, 2005

Howsaboutsa motorbike?
posted by trevyn at 4:06 PM on July 6, 2005

You will find a very few cars available at about $9500. I wouldn't buy any of them. At that range, their low price is more of a gimmick than good value. Don't think sticker price, think lowest cost of ownership over 7 years or so.

That's a good point and something to consider, but to be fair I have a '98 Hyundai Accent that I bought new for just about $10k. In seven years, I've replaced the brake pads once, and replaced the clutch master cylinder for $200 (which would have been covered under warranty if I had bothered to get it fixed earlier, don't forget that many of these cheapo cars come with incredible warranties now). That's it. Not that there aren't a few superficial things wrong with the car due to its being cheap. If you absolutely must have a new car, I would recommend the Accent as the newer ones (~2001 and up) are supposed to be quite nice. But, you know, buy used if you can, you'll get a better deal.
posted by Who_Am_I at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2005

I love my 2000 4-door Hyundai Accent. Bought it used for $6500 two years ago and it's been great (if only I weren't such a horrible driver!).

IMO, there is absolutely no reason to get a new car when you can get a warrantied, clean, well-maintained used car for much, much less.
posted by elisabeth r at 4:25 PM on July 6, 2005

I'm looking for a new car that I can purchase for significantly less than $10,000. Hyundai, Kia, Saturn, whatever.
You won't be able to get a new Saturn for under 10k. My 2005 ION 2, with a few features, but not many, ran me about $16,000. However, I think Saturn's are great cars -- my last car was a '94 SL2 and it had almost 170,000 miles on it when I traded it in for the ION (and it was still running OK at the time) -- so if you decide to consider used vehicles, I recommend looking at a Saturn.
posted by whatideserve at 4:58 PM on July 6, 2005

Toyota Scion XB with AC, ABS, Airbags, etc for 14.9

The XA is even cheaper. No haggling, proven powerplant, good mileage.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:13 PM on July 6, 2005

My girl got a slightly-used (6,000 miles and 2004 model; this was last year) Scion xA for under $10k. I'd suggest looking at an almost-new (any 2004s still rolling around?) subcompact. Either that or as trevyn suggested, get yourself a decent motorcycle (sport touring, for your cargo/distance needs).
posted by Eideteker at 5:34 PM on July 6, 2005

I noticed a couple people have mentioned motorcycles. I love my motorcycle! It's a Honda F4i. It cost just over 8k and has a 5 year, unlimited mileage warranty. It gets 40 mpg. It's pretty clean since it has a catalytic converter and fuel injection. Comprehensive coverage is $750/year (CA, 25yo male, 3 tickets and a claim). Liability would be $300. It is insanely fast--production cars like the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari Enzo are not even close.

However, all awesomeness aside, a motorcycle is NOT the best vehicle for a super tight budget. There are a lot of costs that aren't initially obvious. The big ones are tires and safety gear.

Tires. Tire performance is far more critical for motorcycles. Figure $300 every 7k miles. And that's if you never ride aggressively. My rear tire hits the wear marks at 5k. You can save quite a bit (half?) if you install them yourself. It's not hard but you'll need some specialized tools.

The other cost is safety gear. A set of world class professional race gear (helmet, custom leather suit, boots, back protector, and gloves) will cost about $3500. Reasonable commuter stuff will start at $1000. The bare minimum (helmet, boots, gloves) can probably be had for $500. If you do get the minimum (don't) then forget the leather jacket--the flesh on your belly is less important than the little bones in your hands and feet. Besides, road rash won't kill you (but you will always be ugly when naked). Also, have health insurance.

Adding that all up, you get $1000 for gear, $3000 for a reliable used bike, and $300 every 7k miles. Plus maintainence, a training class, licensing, and a high theft rate. Screw that--get a used Corolla.

Eideteker: the person who posted this question might not realize your eBay link was made in jest.
posted by ryanrs at 2:38 AM on July 7, 2005

I'll add my voice to the "buy used" camp - for 5 or 6000, you should be able to find a great certified pre-owned car, with a warranty and everything.
posted by sluggo at 5:13 AM on July 7, 2005

The guys at have a booklet on how to buy a great used car but just buy their booklet set - it's cheap and they're all good. If you have a model type you like in particular call local specialty shops and ask if they know of any customers looking to sell one - they know the car and are motivated to make you happy so you'll become THEIR regular customer.

And sift through the askMe archives, car buying comes up over and over again. Odds are you're getting a lot of advice from people like me who aren't going to take the time to link that booklet set directly for the umpeenth time or retype the same old answer.
posted by phearlez at 1:56 PM on July 7, 2005

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