There are some times in life, when you’re single and working as a writer, for instance, when you need a reliable car but don’t have a year’s salary worth of cash to invest in it. Okay, maybe you have very little in the way of a down payment because you spent it all attending your friends’ destination weddings, but that’s neither here nor there.
The great thing about compact and economy cars is that you can often get one for a price that suits even a modest budget. And you don’t always have to compromise on the features, either. Check out our top picks for the best cars to buy on a tight budget.
Top Pick: Suzuki SX4 Sedan
Starting at $13,499, the Suzuki SX4 Sedan isn’t the lowest you can go in new cars, but it’s pretty inexpensive for what turns out to be a pretty fantastic totalpackage. First and foremost, the Suzuki SX4 has all-wheel drive. For any of you that have ever lived in a location with less than ideal weather (so, basically anywhere but LA), you know how important it can be to have all-wheel drive to handle those sticky (or slippery) situation with greater control. The Suzuki also scored highly in safety ratings, which is an area that is sometimes skimped on to reduce cost. It comes with a robust system of airbags equal to its pricier counterparts, so you can appreciate its economy and safety just as much as you enjoy its surprisingly sleek exterior. Who says practical can’t be hot?
At a jaw-dropping $9,990 base, the Nissan Versa Sedan is definitely queen of the coin in the affordable car category. Its base price is about as rock bottom as you’re probably going to find, and it’s classified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle, which means it’s welcome in California, and any other place where you’d like to express your concern for the future of our environment. While base price vehicles like the Versa aren’t going to give you all of the amenities of a higher-priced package, the Versa scored well on interiors. A roomy interior and trunk big enough to haul all of your IKEA finds were the most remarked-upon interior features, along with the aesthetics of the dashboard. Classy!
While, at $14,995, the Kia Forte is my priciest pick, I’ll tell you why: it snagged a nearly perfect score on the safety section of its test. Boasting a whole slew of safety features that include an advanced airbag setup and stability and brake assist, the Kia Forte comes straight out the gate with as much safety and support as a car twice its size. Take that! The ample cargo space is always a favorite among reviewers, and that, along with the affordable price and long list of standard features, is what makes the Kia Forte a fantastic deal that you’ve probably never considered.
Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for – to help you consider. And in the meantime, what cars are you currently considering?