It is an exciting time to own a new vehicle, if you can afford it.
New technologies have made the latest model car or truck seem decades ahead of models that rolled out of factory floors just a few years ago. Now, cars for the masses can come with standard features like radar-based collision warning systems, touchscreen-based dashboard controls, and semi-autonomous cruise-control features. These are some of the technological advancements you could soon find in your car.
The new tech, however, comes at a cost. The average sticker price of a new vehicle in the U.S. market continues to break records, topping $37,000 earlier this year, according to automotive pricing and research company Kelley Blue Book, and that doesn’t even include the cost of repairs or insurance. These are the cheapest cars to insure.
But not all vehicle prices increased at the same rate. A report last December from Cox Automotive found that while U.S. prices of all new cars have increased by more than 10% from 2012 to 2018, the largest increases have been for full-size pickup trucks (up 21%) and mid-size SUVs (up 14%). In fact, strong demand for trucks and SUVs, decked out with the latest in-car technologies, is the main reason average prices have been on a sharp rise.
So which segment had the slowest increase in price? Compact cars, those boring, no-frills small sedans people buy when they need a reliable and economical car. Compact car prices increased by just 2%, according to the report, or about the same pace or slower than overall inflation over that same period of time.
From the automakers bottom line perspective, compact cars are not ideal sales. But there is enough demand for these and other low-cost vehicles that automakers continue to churn them out even if the profit margins on them are razor thin.
Though the low-end vehicles may not have all the technological bling of pricier cars, even the cheap sedan of today is more comfortable and feature-laden than its counterpart from just a decade ago. Cars with sticker prices below $18,000 come with dashboard touchscreens, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports and smart key systems.
The following is a list of the lowest priced models sold by 38 major brands. With the exception of some of the luxury vehicle brands on this list, all of them are priced well below the current average price for all cars, and some are priced below $15,000.