The Tata Nano was all the rage a few years ago when it was introduced in India as a new car for about $2,500. In the past year, the Elio, a three-wheel concept vehicle with a price of $6,800, has gotten a lot of attention as the first of several pending forward-thinking cheap cars for the masses in the United States.
Since neither car is available in this country, two of the most popularity vehicles in the crowd entry level segment are the Honda Fit and the Nissan Versa Note.
And a cheap new car in the United States means a starting price of about $15,000 for a base model, sometimes a little more, sometimes slightly less. That’s about half the price of the average new car.
Introduced in 2007, the Honda Fit quickly became an economy segment favorite. It has an odd but spacious design inside and out, and its cargo area and seating configurations are forward thinking.
The Fit was redesigned for 2015 and is now in its third generation. It remains fun to drive with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine generating 130 horsepower. Six-speed manual and CVT transmissions are available depending on trim chosen among four. The high-end Fit’s 0-60 mph time of 8.8 seconds provides another reason why the Fits remains its high “fun-to-drive” demeanor.
Nissan Versa Note
Available in an impressive array of five trims in a hatchback and also as a four-door sedan, the 2015 Nissan Versa Note has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 109 horsepower and front-wheel drive. The base S model only comes with a five-speed manual. Higher trims receive a CVT.
Like others in the segment, the Nissan’s petite stature is its attraction. It has nimble steering and maneuverability, but its material quality and overall performance aren’t on the same level as many of its competitors. Gas mileage estimates are 30 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) for the manual transmission and 35 mpg (31 city/40 highway) for the CVT version.
Competition for entry level, inexpensive new cars is fierce. As such, there’s a substantial list of manufacturers making good cheap cars.
Here’s the list of theweeklydriver.com’s top 10 cheap new cars:
My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay.