It is nearly impossible to purchase a new car for under $20,000 in the US.
The Mitsubishi Mirage is is the only new car available under $20,000.
Here are the five cheapest new cars you can buy in the US.
Those looking to buy a new car on a budget are in a worse position than they would have been just five years ago.
In 2018, a price-conscious auto shopper in the United States could choose from among a dozen new small cars selling for under $20,000. Now, there's just one: The Mitsubishi Mirage. And even the Mirage appears headed for the scrap yard.
At a time when Americans increasingly want pricey SUVs and trucks rather than small cars, the Mirage remains the lone new vehicle whose average sale price is under $20,000 — a figure that once marked a kind of unofficial threshold of affordability. With prices — new and used — having soared since the pandemic, $20,000 is no longer much of a starting price for a new car.
This current version of the Mirage, which reached US dealerships a decade ago, sold for an average of $19,205 last month, according to data from Cox Automotive. (Though a few other new models have starting prices under $20,000, their actual purchase prices, with options and shipping, exceed that figure.)
The Mirage, with hatchback and sedan versions, costs less than half of what the average US new vehicle does. That average is now just above $48,000 — 25% more than before the pandemic struck three years ago.
Michelle Krebs, an analyst at Cox Automotive said she expects new-auto prices to drop slightly as factories produce more vehicles, likely forcing automakers to offer discounts. Price declines among electric vehicles, led by Tesla, have helped lower overall auto prices, too.
But don't expect the return of the $20,000 new car.
"I can't imagine that unless a Chinese automaker came in and sold cheap," Krebs said. "Politically, that doesn't seem likely."
Here are the five new vehicles with the lowest average selling prices in the United States, according to Cox.
5. Nissan Sentra: $23,994
With the Nissan Sentra you may get what you pay for: The car was listed as the fourth-least reliable new car of 2023 by Consumer Reports.
4. Hyundai Venue $23,791
The Hyundai Venue is the only SUV on this list. Insider's Alanis King found to the car to be a steal for its price when she tested it in 2021.
3. Nissan Versa $20,763
One of two Nissan models on the list, the Versa is an affordable subcompact sedan.
4. Kia Rio $20,157
The Kia Rio, a classic inexpensive model, saw its price shoot up — even used models are going for over $20,000.
5. Mitsubishi Mirage $19,205
The Mirage was the lone vehicle with an average selling price of under $20,000, but that may be coming to an end soon as the model will be retired by mid-decade, trade publication Automotive News reported.
The latest data suggests that Mitsubishi's decision to phase out the Mirage might be premature. Overall sales of small cars, after having dropped in seven of the past 10 years, are up 11.7% in the first half of the year.
Krebs said she thinks sales of the Mirage would be stronger if more customers knew about it.
"There aren't that many Mitsubishi dealers, and they don't have a very loud voice in the advertising world," she said.
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