When you’re on a budget, buying a brand new car may seem like a stretch, but cheaper models could be within reach. Our team scoured the web searching high and low for the lowest price offerings. No list was missed and no brand was excluded in our search for Canada’s most affordable car, SUV, and truck!
If you’re searching for cheap new cars, you’re in good company since even deep-pocketed-yet-frugal-minded billionaires opt to drive them on a regular basis. To help you narrow down your search for an affordable daily driver, we take a look at what’s currently on offer in Canada’s new car market.
For argument’s sake, a “cheap car” is something we think you can drive off the lot for under $30,000 but a couple of the cars on our list can be purchased for around $10,000!
Price: Starting from $10,488 MSRP
Engine: 109HP HR16DE – 1.6L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine
Fuel Economy: 8.7 Highway / 6.8 City
Other Highlights: Good handling, 7.0” display with rearview camera
The Micra comes in three different trims, with the cheapest of the trio (the Micra S) being the only one with manual transmission. Even if you do go with the SV or SR models, which bring in automatic transmissions, you would still fall under the $20,000 mark. They also give you cruise control, power locks, and more speakers.
What makes this car compelling is that it sports a nice design, can fit up to five people and drives with some pep and agility through tight city streets. The horsepower doesn’t make the car a thoroughbred, but the fact that Nissan hosts its own Micra racing event says something about their belief in the car’s potential.
Price: Starting from $9,998 MSRP
Engine: 98HP 1.4L ECOTEC 4-cylinder engine
Fuel Economy: 8.0 Highway / 6.2 City
Other Highlights: Electronic traction control, 7.0” touchscreen with rearview camera plus CarPlay and Android Auto
Chevrolet calls the Spark the “ultimate mobility device” because the automaker doesn’t skimp on connectivity. All trims, including the entry-level (and cheapest) LS Manual, come standard with a 7” touchscreen, support for CarPlay, and Android Auto and a 4G LTE hotspot. You don’t often see an infotainment package like that in a vehicle at this price point.
Despite having the lowest horsepower in its class, the Spark handles well in the city, especially in tighter parking spots. All four trims beyond the LS Manual keep the price tag under $20,000, while three of the trims come with automatic transmissions. There won’t be a dramatic difference in how it drives because the engine and most parts are the same, but you do get a higher quality interior plus additional features.
Price: Starting from $14,845 MSRP
Engine: 130HP 1.6L GDI 4-cylinder engine
Fuel Economy: 8.3 Highway / 6.4 City
Other Highlights: Cruise control, heated front seats and steering wheel, 5.0” touchscreen with rearview camera
Not every car in this category has to be a hatchback, and that’s where the Kia Rio comes in. There’s a dizzying array of six trims to look at, with a $3,000 premium if you want an automatic transmission starting with the LX+. The LX MT and LX+ MT use a manual gearbox, if you want to go that route and lower the upfront cost. Once you go beyond the LX+, you also go north of $20,000.
This is a standard sedan in many respects, and is merely a slightly larger version of the Rio 5-door hatchback model. It also has a lot in common with the Hyundai Accent, as both vehicles share similar specs and performance. It also helps that the Rio gets a five-year and 100,000 km warranty, adding two years to the usual coverage. List pricing always refers to the black version, whereas choosing another colour will add $200 to the price.
Price: Starting from $18,298 MSRP
Engine: 122HP 1.6L DOHC 4-cylinder engine
Fuel Economy: 7.7 Highway / 6.6 City
Other Highlights: Intelligent Emergency Braking, remote keyless entry, 7.0” display with rearview camera and Siri Eyes Free, cargo space
The Kicks holds an advantage with its generous cargo capacity, which is more spacious than a hatchback, and comparable to higher-cost crossover SUVs. Rear seats fold down to open things up further. It has some decent room for drivers and passengers when you remove the centre console storage bin and armrest at the front.
The base S trim includes Nissan’s Intelligent Emergency Braking and remote keyless entry systems, but doesn’t include the wider infotainment package. Add another $3,000 toward the SV trim and you get CarPlay, Android Auto, and a better head unit screen. You also get the two-tone colour combo, plus heated front seats and 17” alloy wheels for a little extra comfort.
Price: Starting from $20,198 MSRP
Engine: 141HP 2.0L DOHC 16 valve 4-cylinder engine
Fuel Economy: 10.1 Highway / 8.1 City
Other Highlights: Heated front seats, Siri Eyes Free, 7.0” display with CarPlay, Android Auto and rearview camera
The Qashqai falls between the Kicks and mid-size Rogue in Nissan’s lineup of compact and crossover SUVs, but it’s been a popular ride for Canadians since it first arrived in 2017. It actually resembles the Rogue in both styling and performance, except the Rogue tends to get certain advanced features first, like the semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist, for example.
Because of the Qashqai’s slightly wider and higher frame, there’s some extra cargo space to work with. Nissan doesn’t make the same Intelligent Emergency Braking system available in the S trim, like it does with the Kicks, though it is in the SV and SL trims. In turn, the infotainment setup is more intact here, with CarPlay and Android Auto coming standard on all Qashqai trims.
Price: Starting from $21,199 MSRP
Engine: 147HP 2.0L Nu DOHC MPI Atkinson 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 7.0 Highway / 8.6 City
Other Highlights: SUPERSTRUCTURE, 7.0" touchscreen with rearview camera plus CarPlay and Android Auto
The Kona’s Essential trim does leave some things out, like Hyundai’s SmartSense active safety system and blind-spot and cross-traffic collision warnings. Add another $1,750 to the Preferred trim and you will get the latter and lane change assistance technology. For SmartSense, you would have to spend close to $6,000 more to get the extras in the Trend AWD trim.
Despite the trim discrepancies, the Kona has an acclaimed history, with the 2019 model winning North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. The 2020 model retains a lot of the same sleek design and features, making it a compelling option among compact and crossover SUVs. Essential also includes CarPlay and Android Auto. Cargo space won’t be as spacious on its own, so you may have to fold down the rear seats to push the margins out further.
Price: Starting from $24,598 MSRP
Engine: 152HP 2.5L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 13.7 Highway / 10.7 City
Other Highlights: Rear flip-up seats, rearview camera, full-length boxed ladder frame
For a mid-sized truck, the Frontier keeps things as basic as it gets, complete with limited features, a dated interior and a slew of upgrade options. There are three trims to consider, starting with the S trim, which comes with a 4x2 automatic transmission. You would need to upgrade to the SV or Pro-4X to get a 4x4 transmission. Infotainment options are also limited with no CarPlay and Android Auto, in spite of the 7” display.
This pickup might be better suited as a work vehicle for the simple fact it doesn’t offer much in the form of luxury. Nissan has hinted at a new look for a prospective 2020 model.
Price: Starting from $27,000 MSRP
Engine: 200HP 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 9.2 Highway / 11.9 City
Other Highlights: Extended cab, 7.0" touchscreen with rearview camera plus CarPlay and Android Auto
The Colorado comes in a variety of different trims and sizes, with two cab and cargo-bed styles, along with various powertrain options. The base model WT 2WD has an extended cab with long box, and runs on a standard six-speed manual transmission. Towing capacity depends on the trim, but the truck can still pull its weight when needed. The lower the trim, the more limited the options, and with the WT 2WD, they are quite frugal.
Despite the trade-offs, Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system is mostly intact, starting with a 7” lower-resolution display that comes with CarPlay and Android Auto included. That, and everything else, gets better with each successive upgrade, of which there are many. While the Colorado kicks off at a lower price, going fully-loaded with the ZR2 4WD trim more than doubles the price.
Price: Starting from $27,481 MSRP
Engine: 310HP 2.3L GTDI 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 7.3 Highway / 11.2 City
Other Highlights: LED headlights, independent rear suspension, six-speaker sound system
The base EcoBoost model starts off with a 4-cylinder engine and similar styling, but move on up to a Bullitt, GT, or Shelby trim and the feature set — not to mention the price — roar considerably louder. That’s the price to pay to get extra muscle with eight cylinders and a big increase in horsepower. Still, the EcoBoost trims are faster than most popular vehicles, and they look as sporty as a Mustang should. Even so, driving safely should be paramount.
Ford adds its basic SYNC infotainment system, with the option to upgrade to SYNC 3 and support for CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard features include a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and manual air conditioning.
Price: Starting from $29,145 MSRP
Engine: 275HP 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 7.9 Highway / 11.9 City
Other Highlights: LED headlights, Wi-Fi hotspot, six-speaker sound system
Driving around in a Camaro isn’t totally out of reach with the starting price point under $30,000. That would be the 1LS Coupe rear-wheel drive, which comes with a manual transmission and the option to go with an automatic one. You do sacrifice muscle for practicality and aesthetics with the lowest-trimmed Camaro models, but you do get a decent infotainment setup that also includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.
Still, the 1LS and other starter trims have some horsepower to work with, so they’re not going to feel totally neutralized. With up to 13 different trims and variants (coupe or convertible) to choose from, pricing can more than double once you go to a fully-loaded ZL1 with a convertible top.
It’s not always easy to determine which vehicle is the cheapest to insure because it can depend on so many factors. The more accident claims in a certain area, the higher the premium. Model year, driver experience, and cumulative kilometres also play a role.
According to ThinkInsure.ca, here are some of the cheapest new vehicles to insure:
Fuel-efficiency always matters given today’s fluctuating gas prices. It’s hard to reduce the number of visits to the pump if you have to be on the road often, so if you spend a lot of time in your car, avoiding a gas guzzler might be the next step to consider after affordability.
Fuel-efficient vehicles do exist, and are getting better all the time. Some of the best ones might even surprise you for their ability to sip on fuel instead of draining it fast.
Or maybe you’re considering a switch to something electric? We have a breakdown of the most affordable electric cars too along with information on how you can take advantage of the government’s electric car incentive!
Maybe you’ve got your heart set on a brand new car, but whether you’re shopping on a budget or not, it’d be unwise to turn your back on the used car market. Whether you’re on the lookout for a car, SUV, or truck, you can maximize the value of each dollar you spend with a pre-owned vehicle.
Since 2010, Canada Drives has been helping customers narrow down their search for a great car. Simply fill out our 3-minute online application, and you could be sitting behind the wheel of your new daily driver within 48 hours!
Your online application takes only 2 minutes to complete and we only ask for information we actually need.
Or feel free to call us at 1-888-865-6402