Feb. 25--Luxury cars and fully loaded trucks are driving the auto industry's profits these days, but there are new cars out there for those whose incomes have not grown much in recent years.
Cars.com, which like the Free Press is owned by Gannett, released a list of 10 cars with base prices that start below $18,000. That's less than half the average sale price of a new vehicle in the U.S.
Sure, you won't have the latest blinged-out accessories. You may need to feel comfortable with a stick shift. Your connectivity may still come from the smartphone you hold in your hand. But for people on a budget, or paying down that mountain of student debt, reasonably priced options remain.
The least-expensive new car is the Chevrolet Spark, which General Motors makes in South Korea. The manual transmission version of the 2014 Spark starts at $12,995.
The only other Detroit Three vehicle to make the Cars.com list was the 2014 Ford Fiesta, which Ford assembles in Cuautitlan, Mexico. At $14,925, the manual version of the Fiesta is the sixth-cheapest vehicle.
"You won't have to necessarily compromise on quality, but it really depends on what you want," said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor. "There is quite a disparity on quality among the vehicles on the list. The Mitsubishi Mirage is pretty bare bones and it's a very lightweight car. Whereas we've driven the Spark and felt it was a little more substantial."
The list is packed with minicars and subcompacts that aren't big profit drivers.
But they can serve as viable choices for young buyers.
They are also vital in helping automakers meet the government's corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements.
Average combined fuel economy ratings for the cars on the list range from 31 m.p.g. for the Kia Rio, Scion iQ, Fiesta and Hyundai Accent to 37 m.p.g. for the Spark.
"There's a certain crowd of people who don't really care what car they drive, in particular," Cars.com analyst Aaron Bragman said. "They just want whatever is the cheapest way to get from A to B, period. They want something new, something with a warranty, something efficient."
Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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Original headline: The 10 most affordable new cars
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