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What's the Cheapest New Car for 2017?

img 529818402 1472573264310 jpg 2017 Nissan Versa | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — Trying to buy a car on a budget is no easy task, especially when you are shopping for a new car as opposed to an older used vehicle. The days of the $10,000 new car are probably behind us, but you can still get one close to that. For the 2017 model year, the Nissan Versa sedan’s $12,825 starting price (all prices include destination) carries over unchanged. Barring a big price drop from some of its competitors, that still makes the Versa sedan the cheapest new car in America. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, you may be wondering if this car is right for you. Let’s take a closer look. 

Related: Subcompact Heat-to-Head: Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note

The 2017 Versa is on sale now; the base price gets you a base S subcompact sedan with a five-speed manual transmission, 1.6-liter engine, air conditioning, power mirrors and a four-speaker stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The four-cylinder engine puts out 109 horsepower, so it’s far from a powerhouse, but it will get you from point A to point B. With an highway rating of 34 mpg, the small engine will get you there without using a lot of gas. The sub-$13,000 Versa S also has a few drawbacks. It lacks power windows and many features found in more expensive cars. It also has manual door locks and no height-adjustable driver’s seat, center armrest or folding rear seats.

Those features show up if you climb the car’s trim levels: the S Plus ($14,825), SV ($16,415) and SL ($17,975), all of which have a continuously variable automatic transmission and cruise control. Even with these additional features, the Versa still remains one of the cheapest new cars on the market.

Not too many shoppers buy the car’s cheapest unadorned base model, Nissan spokesman Dan Passe told us. Dealers “have a few” of these cars in stock, but “usually they’ll go up one more to get the automatic transmission.”

Check a few more boxes and you can upgrade your vehicle to 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels, a 5-inch stereo display or 5.8-inch navigation system, Bluetooth audio streaming, keyless access with push-button start, and a backup camera.

Nissan has yet to share details on the 2017 Versa Note hatchback. The 2016 Versa Note starts at $15,065. The 2017 hatchback vehicle is “on its way,” Passe said, and “for the most part, it’s very similar.”

Given that very little has changed, shoppers looking for the cheapest car might want to shop the outgoing 2016 model year. Nissan offers $500 to $1,000 in national cash incentives on both 2016 variants, according to Automotive News, but those incentives expire Aug. 31.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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