• The average new car price as of December 2018 is a staggering $37,577. Even before tax, tags, title, and options, this equates to a $677/month payment for 60 months with excellent credit.
  • There are still some really great affordable cars out there, considerably less than $37K. You don't have to spend a lot to get a car you'll be truly happy with.

kia soul lineup

There's no question that it costs a lot to buy a new car these days. But it doesn't have to. Just because you're eyeing that $60,000 BMW doesn't mean you have to have it. It used to be the case that inexpensive cars were cheaply made and were embarrassing to drive, but that's no longer true. Manufacturers are building better affordable vehicles, and the current crop is clear evidence. Here are five very affordable vehicles that you'll be happy to own, and drive. 

2019 Kia Rio

kia rio sedan blue

The Kia Rio sedan's sporty looks belie its $15,390 base price. Redesigned in 2018, it looks more expensive than before and drives way better than its asking price would indicate. Standard equipment even in the base LX includes steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, an automatic transmission, Bluetooth, USB ports, and a 5" touchscreen infotainment system.

Upgrade to the S for a mere $800 more, and you get a 7" infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote keyless entry with alarm and remote trunk opener, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and cruise control with steering wheel buttons. Whatever trim you choose the new Rio is a tremendous value that doesn't have economy looks.

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2019 Honda Fit

honda fit sport black

Since its inception, the Honda Fit ($16,190 base MSRP) has remained one of the best cars in the brand's lineup not because it's fancy but because it just does so much so well. A great mix of fun driving, crisp sheet metal, and one of the most versatile interiors in the business make the Fit a great affordable buy that you'll never grow tired of.

The second row Magic Seat has four configurations for ideal storage options, and there's even a nifty multi-angle rearview camera, both standard. For 2019, the Fit gets an available set of Honda Sensing safety tech, as well. The Fit can be upgraded for a pittance to the Sport model that has a sweet set of black wheels and a great standard manual transmission for even more driving fun.

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2019 Hyundai Accent

hyundai accent red

The Accent ($14,995 base MSRP) used to be a dumpy looking sedan, but look how far it's come. With the total redesign, it really does look like a smaller Sonata, replete with sporty styling cues like creased sheet metal, a cascade grille, and LED headlights on the Limited trim model. It really is one of the best looking small sedans on the market.

Even in base trim, the Accent comes with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, and AUX/USB ports for your devices. You can always move up trim levels and opt for great features such as automatic emergency braking,  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a larger color touchscreen with navigation. You'll get a car packed with features, great style, and it tops out at $20K with pretty much everything thrown into it. How's that for affordable? 

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2020 Kia Soul

kia soul red

The Soul ($17,490 base MSRP) is another great candidate for small practicality, right up there with the Honda Fit. For 2020, it gets totally redesigned into a more aggressive and refined hatchback crossover. The front fascia has slender lights, and the taillights have their own unique look that's Soul all the way through. The rear seats are deceptively roomy, as is the cargo section, and the Soul is remarkably well built, too. 

For 2020 there are two engine options, a 2.0-liter four with 164 horses and a 1.6-liter turbo with a healthy 201 horses. The X-Line gets a more rugged look (but no AWD), and the GT-Line sets itself apart with a sporty aesthetic and more aggressive suspension tuning for a firmer ride and better handling. And as with all Kia's, the superb UVO infotainment system is a breeze to use. 

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2019 Honda HR-V

honda hrv blue

The CR-V's baby brother is no slouch. The HR-V ($22,220 base MSRP) highly stylized for young buyers who want practicality and fun style that doesn't make it look like a kid-hauler. Not only does it have attractive looks, but the interior is also versatile and spacious for the crossover's compact dimensions.

In base LX trim, the Honda HR-V gets a 1.8L I-4 14-hp engine, a stepped 2-speed CVT transmission with overdrive, 17" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, Bluetooth streaming audio, a 5" color touchscreen, and that great 60/40 Split 2nd-Row Magic Seat from the Fit. It's one compact crossover that upstages so many would-be competitors in the segment.

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