As the nation struggles with balancing its budget and making difficult choices on where to spend available dollars, Americans around the country continue to downsize the vehicles they drive in their attempt to make current economic realities livable—if not survivable.
The latest trend has to do with “value” cars. These are new, but inexpensive vehicles that offer basic features most drivers want: air conditioning, a radio and/or CD player, and so on. But the price is so low that it’s affordable to a growing trend of drivers that fall into two general categories:
- Older drivers – Those who may have recently lost the home equity they were counting on for retirement. They may have also lost a substantial portion of their investment income in the economic downturn. Between these two significant setbacks, they are forced to stretch the money they still have.
- Younger drivers – Those who need practical, fuel-efficient transportation, but don’t want something beat-up, old, or lacking basic features. This group prefers an inexpensive, new car that carries a full warranty so they can also stay in control of future costs.
One of the least expensive vehicles in the U.S. is the Nissan Versa. It’s available as a sedan or a hatchback and is the epitome of a value car. Although somewhat boring to look at, the Versa is priced in the sweet spot of its target market: base 2011 models could be purchased for less than $10,000. The 2012 Versa has a starting price of $10,990. Read more in TheCarConnection’s full review of the 2011 Nissan Versa here.
Other contenders in the field of value cars include the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, and Chevrolet Aveo. Even the slightly more expensive Ford Fiesta falls into this category. These sensible solutions for price conscious car-buyers have initial sticker prices in the low to mid-teens. All are no-nonsense alternatives for those needing respectable—yet inexpensive—transportation.