The 5 Cheapest Cars of 2012

Everybody loves a deal, especially when it comes to cars (and car insurance). So what new cars are going to be the most wallet-friendly in 2012? We found five that fit any price range…although you may not like what you have to give up.

#5) Ford Fiesta – Base Cost: $13,200

Considering this is less than half what Americans pay on average for a new car (that would be $28,000), the Focus is undeniably a deal. It’s fairly reliable, also, which is certainly a benefit.

What You’ll Be Giving Up: Not much, surprisingly. All of the Focus’ safety features are standard; you won’t have to pay any more to feel safe while on the road. Nor will you have to pay for entertainment: an AM/FM radio comes standard. You even get air conditioning, which is probably why the Focus is the most expensive of our cheap cars.

#4) 2012 Smart Fortwo – Base Cost: $12,490

Smart has actually been fairly secretive about their 2012 models. Rumors are swirling about a four-seater Smartcar, and a wider body. Nonetheless, the infamously tiny and maneuverable car is unlikely to be subject to massive price spike … unless they happen to make a lot more features standard. And that might not be such a bad idea.

What You’ll Be Giving Up: Pretty much everything that doesn’t have to do with safety. Part of the reason that Mercedes, the owner of Smart, can sell these cars so cheap is that they come with nothing. Radio? Well, it’s “radio-enabled,” which means speakers and an antenna are installed, but getting the radio is up to you. Air conditioning? Forget it. For the base price, you don’t even get power windows. It might not be the best choice considering the rest of the cars on this list.


#3) Hyundai Accent – Base Price: $12,445

The Accent has long been the entry-level car of choice, although the three-door version is being discontinued for the 2012 model year. So, how does this venerable line of affordable cars stand up?

What You’ll Be Giving Up: There are two big possible deal breakers here for car shoppers: the lack of any sort of automatic transmission (without paying more), and the lack of air conditioning. True, the other models listed here charge more for automatic shifting, but the Accent charges even more than the others to add it. If you must have an automatic, it’s worth looking at other options.


#2) Kia Rio – Base Price: $12,295

The Rio has rapidly become one of the more popular entry-level vehicles … but does it stack up?

What You’ll Be Giving Up: One big problem stands out: ABS brakes are only standard on the two upgrades, not the base tier. But if you can deal with that, and also no air conditioning, the radio is probably the best we’ve seen: AM/FM, satellite AND iPod friendly right out of the gate.


#1) Nissan Versa – Base Price: $10,995

Your eyes do not deceive you: meet the new cheapest car in America, stealing the honor from the Hyundai Accent. So what do you get for less than eleven thousand dollars?

What You’ll Be Giving Up: Surprisingly, less than you’d think. Air conditioning is standard, safety features are standard, the radio is great; in short, Nissan will surprisingly give you the most bang for your buck. And it’s sporty, too!

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