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10 Cheap Cars That CR Recommends Update

Here is an update of 10 solid, safe, and reliable new models recommended by CR analysts who state that these models have the lowest transaction prices today.

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According to a recent Consumer Reports newsletter update on the lowest price you can expect to pay on a new car, lower-priced models are not untouched by the current market and giving new car shoppers sticker shock when they discover that they will have to pay premium prices that reach $1,000 or more to the MSRP of the least expensive new models available today. Which is why it helps to find out what car buyers are actually paying right now with this recent update from CR analysts.

Doing the Work for You

Fortunately, CR analysts are watching the market closely and trying to find the makes and models that will provide new car shoppers with good, solid, and reliable cars without having to go into serious car debt.

“To help members find the best car at the lowest cost, we have analyzed the average transaction price for new cars using national data from TrueCar, a CR partner, and sorted all models based on their selling price. We then selected 10 models to highlight that are recommended by CR, meeting our stringent standards for road-test performance, owner satisfaction, reliability, and safety,” stated CR automotive experts.

Despite the lower transaction prices, all models listed, “…meet CR’s stringent standards for road-test performance, owner satisfaction, reliability, and safety from the list.”

What You Will Find from the List

From CR’s list you will find amongst the recommended models, “…those models ranked based on transaction price—not MSRP—starting with the cheapest model, at $22,853. Because we’re citing actual figures, we list the specific configuration. Other versions of the featured models often carry similar pricing, such as the percentage above or below MSRP.”

In fact, all 10 featured models from makers Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are selling for more than their sticker prices.

10 Cheap Cars That CR Recommends

1. Kia Forte 2024

Price Range:  $19,790 - $25,190

CR MPG:  Overall 34 / City 22 / Hwy 49 mpg

#11 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Kia Forte LXS IVT
Average transaction price: $21,215
Average spent over MSRP: $925
MSRP: $20,290

2. Nissan Sentra 2024

Price Range:  $20,630 - $23,720

CR MPG:  Overall 32 / City 22 / Hwy 44 mpg

#12 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Nissan Sentra SV CVT
Average transaction price: $22,030
Average spent over MSRP: $470
MSRP: $21,560

3. Toyota Corolla 2024

Price Range:  $21,900 - $28,140

CR MPG:  Overall 36 / City 24 / Hwy 51 mpg

#5 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Toyota Corolla LE
Average transaction price: $22,415
Average spent over MSRP: $515
MSRP: $21,900

4. Hyundai Venue 2024

Price Range:  $19,800 - $23,050

CR MPG:  Overall 32 / City 23 / Hwy 41 mpg

#2 of 6 Subcompact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Hyundai Venue SEL IVT
Average transaction price: $22,887
Average spent over MSRP: $1,087
MSRP: $21,800

5. Nissan Kicks 2024

Price Range:  $20,790 - $23,350

CR MPG:  Overall 32 / City 24 / Hwy 40 mpg

#1 of 6 Subcompact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Nissan Kicks SV
Average transaction price: $23,845
Average spent over MSRP: $1,195
MSRP: $22,650

6. Hyundai Elantra 2024

Price Range:  $21,475 - $28,315

CR MPG:  Overall 33 / City 21 / Hwy 49 mpg

#6 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Hyundai Elantra SEL IVT
Average transaction price: $24,056
Average spent over MSRP: $631
MSRP: $23,425

7. Toyota Corolla Hatchback 2024

Price Range:  $23,355 - $26,655

CR MPG:  Overall 36 / City 24 / Hwy 51 mpg

#9 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE CVT
Average transaction price: $24,219
Average spent over MSRP: $864
MSRP: $23,355

8. Mazda 3 2024

Price Range:  $24,170 - $36,650

CR MPG:  Overall 30 / City 20 / Hwy 44 mpg

#3 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Mazda 3 2.5 S Select Sport
Average transaction price: $25,079
Average spent over MSRP: $389
MSRP: $24,690

9. Kia Soul 2024

Price Range:  $19,990 - $24,290

CR MPG:  Overall 28 / City 21 / Hwy 35 mpg

#8 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Kia Soul EX IVT
Average transaction price: $25,658
Average spent over MSRP: $1,368
MSRP: $24,290

10. Honda Civic 2024

Price Range:  $23,950 - $44,795

CR MPG:  Overall 33 / City 23 / Hwy 44 mpg

#10 of 16 Compact cars

Recommended model: 2024 Honda Civic Sport CVT
Average transaction price: $26,459
Average spent over MSRP: $909
MSRP: $25,550

For a more detailed breakdown of the data, please visit the CR website. Note that while access to some information requires a CR membership, the potential savings make it negligible in comparison when looking for the latest information to aid your car buying research.

For more CR-related car reviews, here are three useful ones with car shopping advice for consumers:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on  “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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