Friday, August 20, 2010

Least Expensive Cars of 2010

1.Hyundai Accent Blue, $10,690

Last year, Hyundai chopped the price of the Accent to undercut Nissan's Versa (see below) by $20, but you had to buy a more expensive model in order to get any options. The price is unchanged for 2010, but you can now add air conditioning for an extra $1,000, although you'll still have to buy the pricier Accent GS if you want a stereo or automatic transmission. Hyundai has tweaked the powertrain for better fuel economy -- hence the name change from "GS Base" to "Blue" -- but they've also limited color choices to blue (of course), white, and shades of gray. The Accent is good fun to drive in a back-to-basics sort of way, but the lack of advanced safety features and mediocre crash test scores make it difficult to justify.

2.Nissan Versa 1.6,$ 10,710

Compared to the Hyundai Accent Blue, the Nissan Versa 1.6 offers two extra doors, a nicer and roomier interior, and better resale value -- well worth the extra $20, if you ask me. That said, the base-model Versa is pretty well stripped. Color choices are limited, as are options -- you can get air conditioning ($1,000), an automatic transmission ($1,000), and antilock brakes ($250), but if you want a stereo or power windows you'll have to go for one of the pricier Versas. But even the pricier Versas aren't that pricey -- an automatic Versa 1.8S with a CD player, power windows and locks, A/C, and electronic stability control can be had for just over $16k.

3. Kia Rio Base Sedan, $12,390

For 2010 Kia has raised the base-model Rio's price by $250 and dropped the standard stereo, leaving the Rio Base with four airbags and little else (the only options are floor mats and, inexplicably, a trunk-mounted spoiler). If you want anything nicer, including a paint color other than white, black or silver, you have to buy the Rio LX, which gets air conditioning, a CD player, and antilock brakes (ABS) -- but at $14,490, it's a whopping $2,530 more than a Nissan Versa with optional A/C and ABS. (At that price, the Versa lacks a stereo, but that's easily solved with a trip to Best Buy.) And the Nissan has better resale values and crash test scores. Just goes to show that a low price doesn't always mean good value.

4. Smart Fortwo Pure, $12,635

It's no surprise that the smallest car in America is also one of the least expensive, but the cheapest version of the Smart Fortwo, called the Pure, is pretty sparse -- no power windows or mirrors, no air conditioning, not even a stereo. But it does include an automatic transmission and lots of safety gear, including side airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control  (ESC) -- in fact, it's the least-expensive car to offer this life-saving technology as standard. And the creature comforts missing in the Fortwo Pure come standard in the Fortwo Passion, which costs only $2,000 more.

5. Chevrolet Aveo LS Sedan, $12,685

Like most cars at this end of the price scale, the base-model Chevy Aveo is a stripped-down model, though it does get an AM/FM radio with an input jack for an MP3 player and a provision for dealer-installed air conditioning (at extra cost, of course). The Aveo offers a tan interior with fake-wood trim, which sounds cheesy but actually looks pretty nice, and you can get a hatchback version for $200 more. On the flip side, the Aveo doesn't drive very well, it's weak on safety equipment, and adding factory A/C, a CD player and power windows pushes the price well past $15k. For that kind of money, you can do much better.

No comments:

Post a Comment