Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Frugal Shopper: Five Most Miserly Models

Follow Bengt

2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base

2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base

Enlarge Photo
2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base

2009 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base

Enlarge Photo
Run all the numbers for overall ownership costs—including depreciation, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and the like—and you'll almost always find that holding on to that used car, or getting a 'new' used one, is going to be cheaper.

But sometimes even cheapskates want a new car.

If you simply want the most affordable new car possible, and to assure relatively low running costs as well, getting one of the lowest-priced cars on the market is a decent option. Though the list of offerings (and features) gets a lot more exciting if you're willing to spend more than $14,000, there are still a few models that ring in under the $13,000 mark.

With these lowest-priced new models—many of them pitched to those who are penny-pinching to the max—you're likely to find that they're strictly no-frills. Air conditioning is unlikely, power steering isn't common, and performance might be slightly worse due to taller gear ratios. And sound systems? You'll probably be packing a boom box or making a stop at Pep Boys. The plus side, of course, is that there's less to break. But you shouldn't expect much out of the interior appointments either as they're likely to have drab, basic trim and upholstery and a number of caps and plugs for the instrument panel, constantly reminding you of controls and features that your base model doesn't have.

Another one of the caveats with these bargain-basement models is that availability is limited, and since profit margins are so low it's unlikely that dealerships will be as willing to whittle the price down as much as with more expensive models.

However, if a quick survey of TrueCar market pricing—featured here at TheCarConnection.com alongside our reviews, pictures, and detailed model information—is any indication, in today's car-shopping environment, you're still likely to strike a deal on some of these models, thanks in part to various incentives. And it's still possible to get a new car for less than $10,000. For instance, TrueCar says that a 2010 Hyundai Accent Blue, which stickers at $10,690, has been selling for a national-average $9,738.

Whether you call it an econobox, a stripper, or el cheapo, a no-nonsense, no-frills miser of a vehicle is worth considering sometimes as a second or third vehicle.

Click through to see our frugal five—models that currently sticker at less than $13,000.


Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (10)
  1. Cars for Cheapskates. What a great post.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. in these challenging times, definitely a timely / relevant article. agree with the introductory discussion that it MAY be better to take a hard look at some used cars in this price range before pulling the trigger on these cars. if there is significant highway driving likely, would likely err to the side of larger/heavier used car.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Why not a used car with A/C, some comfort, and street cred? Heat and boredom can work people into a road rage.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. No, the smart isn't for everyone, but I commute on the Interstate every day with one and have averaged 43 mpg over the past 26K miles. For my wife and I (no kids), it is the most efficient way to transport two people 75 miles a day to and from work. Of course, it's also been to DC, Philly, Indy, Montgomery, AL, etc. on vacations/road trips as well. Add cruise control and two people are ready to go. This June it will in Kansas City for the first national smart rally. :)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Oh, c'mon. We all know that the salesman will do EVERYTHING in his power to convince the buyers, "C'mon, guys, for only TEN DOLLARS A MONTH MORE, you can have a REAL CAR, not this smaller vehicle ... do you really feel safe ... would you really want people to see you in this ... look at the deals we have on this MUCH NICER and BIGGER car ... " and these vehicles will gather dust at the back of the lot.
    If we could buy cars from the manufacturers, those guys would be out of business and more people might actually drive basic transport. Which is all most of us need. Absent the slimeballs in the checked sports coats.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. With the exception of the Smart these cars get poor mpg for thier size. I would expect 40+ mpg if I drove one of these tin cans.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. I think the purchase of these cars are a classic case of being pennywise and pound foolish. You can get a certified used car with a 100,000 mile warenty. That sure beats the usual 3 year 30,000 mile warenty providrd b y most car manufactures. The car itself will be heftier and more comfortable and safer. Cheaple people unite. Stay away from these bogus bargains. Buy a real car and let others pay for the depreciation. I usually get 4 year old cars and get a warrenty from a source other than the dealer. It is far better and cheaper.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  8. My 1986 Sprint (striped model) never got less than 50 mpg city and averaged 60-70 highway. Chevy stoped selling it after a few years. It had nothing except the 1 liter Mitsubushi engine. No radio, AC, etc. I drove it from Nashville to Branson weekly at 60 mph for 6 years and had no problems. So why are these only getting 30-35 mpg? Better has been done before, why not again?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  9. @Earl: A few things come into play: 1) The EPA changed their fuel economy rating scheme to be more 'accurate' so that 2008 and newer cars appear to get less mileage than previously, but it's just a ratings game. You have to compare apples-apples. For example, the smart would be rated more like 40 - 45 under the old system which would ironically reflect my real world average of 43. 2) Newer cars have gotten heavier, better equipped, and safer, but all of these enhancements add weight which decreases mileage. 3) Emissions regulations have become stricter adding more weight and additional systems that reduce economy. 4) Last, but not least, people drive differently than they did in the 80s - as city congestion increases, time spent idling in traffic or sitting at red lights increases; people accelerate and drive faster just because they can; we expect to run A/C constantly just so we can turn up the heated leather seats a little more for the one person in that eight passenger SUV sitting in traffic, etc. These were the reasons that the EPA changed their rating formula to be more accurate.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  10. I thought I was being frugal by not buying the SRT8 on Wednesday and by purchasing the new Plum Crazy RT Challenger...I have banked money, continue to work hard and love my wife so what if it gets 15mpg. the government is going to take it from you one way or another so you might as well be able to chirp 'em in 4th!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.