Best cheap new car

My daughter will be starting a longer school commute soon and I’m not thrilled with her driving the beater she has for that. One option is to get her a new but affordable car.

So what are your humble or not so humble opinions on what is the best most reliable cheap new car out there?

Please no “don’t get new get a used car” answers. I am already looking at that option as well. There also may be a possibility of buying a car in good condition off of a family member. That’s not what this thread is about and those answers will not be helpful.

Take a look at this link, which is a list of the top-rated cars for safety, based on testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. I don’t know which is cheap, but these will be safer. There are several Subarus among the small cars listed. Any of those would be nice, particularly as they have all-wheel drive.

I’d go with honda, toyota or hyundai.

Either the subcompacts (fit, yaris, accent) or compact model (civic, corolla, elantra) would be a good choice for reliability and affordability. But the Honda and Toyota would be best, their subcompacts get good ratings on crash tests and they have Japanese reliability.

The subcompacts start at around 15k. The compacts start at around 18k.

I’m hoping to get some opinions based on personal experience. I was wondering about the Nissan Versa. I have a Nissan and I’m very satisfied with it but I’ve never driven a Versa.

I adore my little Mazda2 hatchback.

And in trying to find you a link I see they aren’t selling it in the US anymore :frowning:

If that’s what you want, I can recommend the Honda Fit. I’ve been driving mine since 2010, when I bought it new, and like it a lot. I jokingly call it a cardis, because like the Tardis from Doctor Who, it’s seemingly bigger on the inside than the outside.

The last time I researched “best cheap car” was circa 1986, but it was interesting in that there was a huge difference that year. Looking at each carmaker’s cheapest offerings, the Toyota Tercel was light years better than any other cheapie. That year the cheapest Ford, Chevy etc had doors that felt like you could bend them with your bare hands; not so with the Tercel which was solid.

My general impression today is that there’s been a regression toward the mean.

Do you mean reliable for her use during school (short term reliability) or for 10 to 15 years (long term reliability)?

If only for short term, just get the cheapest well-known brand that’s out there. Everything from every major manufacturer has great short term reliability. I tend to want to keep my cars longer than average, so I’d never consider an FCA vehicle, for example, but if it’s something she’s going to be rid of once she graduates, even a crappy little 500 will be reliable long enough.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes is untrustworthy?

Let’s say up to 100,000 miles or so. After that she’s on her own

My wife has had a Fit since 2011 and loves it.

The Versa is, perhaps, the worst car ever made. It’s loud, uncomfortable, flimsy, slow, and miserable to drive. I’ve hated every single one I’ve gotten at the rental counter.

Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and even the Chevy Sonic are all much better options, even though they’re a few thousand more. You actually get a decent car for your money.

I’d recommend a hatchback or a CUV type of vehicle. At that age, the OP’s daughter is likely to be moving often, or transporting stuff, so these types of vehicles without a conventional trunk can be useful. (I used to drive a 1994 Honda Accord sedan, and the trunk had room but the opening wasn’t particularly large. So, for example, when I needed to buy a 17" CRT monitor, I wasn’t able to fit the box in the trunk. This was years ago, obviously.)

I’m always all about cheap and reliable. I drove about seven Toyota Tercels over twenty five years. When they stopped making those, I bought a Scion xA. Still have it after thirteen years. If I had to replace it today, I would definitely buy a Yaris. None of my cars have ever had a serious maintenance issue. Toyota reliability is legendary.

My daughter had a Fiesta and it served her well for a lot of years. We drive a Sonata, and if it’s indicative of Hyundai’s products, go for an Elantra or Accent. I also had a Scion xA, drove it daily for 6 years, then sold it to my sister, who’s still driving it 6 years later. Sadly, they no longer make them, but it’s a Toyota product, so maybe that translates to a Yaris as mentioned.

Each of our daughters got a Fit as a college graduation present. They’ve been super reliable. When we were dropping one daughter off at college one year I looked around the parking area and it seemed like there were Fits everywhere. It’s like it’s the car that concerned dads get for their little girls when they leave home. :slight_smile:

Keep in mind that those safety ratings are only comparable within weight classes. All other things being equal a larger vehicle will be safer in real world conditions.

Sure, but the OP used the words “affordable” and “cheap”, which is why I looked primarily at the small cars that were listed.

We have a 2004 Toyota Avalon and a 2004 Toyota Matrix.

The Matrix is a fantastic vehicle, even better if you get it in manual transmission like my gf drives.

The Avalon is perfect for me but I’d be fine with a Matrix.

When I bought my 2013 Corolla, I did all sorts of research with Blue Book and Consumer Reports. I have not been disappointed. It’s been cheap to run and reliable. My second choice would have been the Mazda 3.