You have probably heard a friend or relative complain about how expensive new cars are getting, or maybe it’s a trend you’ve noticed yourself while shopping for a new vehicle.
It’s easy to understand why automakers are jacking up car prices year after year, with stricter fuel economy and emissions regulations being implemented and safety technology like back-up cameras now mandatory equipment.
Luckily there are still quite a few affordable vehicles on sale in Canada in 2020. In this list, we’re going to count down the 11 cheapest cars you can buy in Canada, giving young families, students, or anyone else who may be shopping on a budget the perfect resource for finding an affordable vehicle!
Also See: Top 10 Cheapest Cars in Canada for 2022
It’s important to note that just because a car is affordable, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be terrible! Cheap cars used to be sort of a penalty box for drivers, but today’s affordable cars are safe, full of useful features, and have a lot to offer.
Scroll below to see the list. Please note that the prices listed do not include freight and PDI fees, so budget a bit extra for those.
11. Kia Rio – $18,045
Starting at over $18,000, the Kia Rio sedan did not originally make our Top 10 list, but seeing as the car in the #2 spot was technically discontinued after 2019, we figured we would include it, as it may stick around for 2020 and beyond, so now our list is a Top 11!
The Kia Rio is more up to date than many of its rivals and has very impressive standard equipment in its base LX+ trim, such as a heated steering wheel and front seats, automatic (CVT) transmission, and air conditioning. It also has a crisp five-inch display screen with Bluetooth connectivity.
10. Mazda3 – $18,000
The Mazda3 saw a new generation in 2019 and won the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Canadian Car of the Year award for 2020. Being so new, it boast a number of compelling features – 8.8-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and keyless entry – not to mention the fun-to-drive character Mazda is known for.
9. Kia Forte – $17,695
The second Kia on this list is bigger in size and newer than the Rio, and comes standard with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, as well as a larger, eight-inch display. However, the Kia Forte is equipped with a six-speed manual and doesn’t have a heated steering wheel (the front seats are still heated). The Forte does feature a larger engine that puts out 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, figures that are about 20 per cent better than the Rio’s, and at a lighter curb weight.
8. Hyundai Elantra – $17,149
Hopping over to sister brand Hyundai, the 2020 Elantra shares the same powertrain as the Forte, though is slightly thirstier (7.9 L/100 km combined to the Forte’s 7.6) owing to its heavier weight. Unlike the Forte, however, it’s missing cruise control, automatic high-beams, steering-wheel-mounted media controls, and has a smaller, five-inch display. The two are separated by over $500, which is comparable to the cost of an options package.
Note that a new generation of the Elantra is set to arrive in Canada this summer.
7. Hyundai Venue – $17,099
The Hyundai Venue is Canada’s cheapest crossover, coming in over $2,000 cheaper than its nearest competitor, the Nissan Kicks. But it’s far from a stripper model, having automatic headlights, heated front seats, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, an eight-inch display, and air conditioning. If you’re looking for some extra ride height without shelling out a lot of extra cash, the Venue is hard to beat.
6. Toyota Yaris Hatchback – $16,790
For 2020, the Toyota Yaris comes in a single body style as a five-door hatchback. For $16,790, you get a six-speed manual transmission, 7-inch colour display with Bluetooth, and air conditioning. Unlike other Toyota vehicles, the 2020 Yaris doesn't come with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of technologies – that's because it's actually a rebadged Mazda2, which isn't otherwise available in our market, but has established a reputation as a fun little runabout in other parts of the world.
5. Kia Rio 5-Door – $15,495
The Kia Rio 5-Door is another compact hatchback that falls within the $15,000–$16,000 range. It’s identical to the sedan, which is also on this list, save for the hatch. At same trim level, the sedan is slightly cheaper – the Rio hatchback manages its better showing by being available at a lower trim, with a manual transmission.
Some Canadian buyers may prefer the looks of the more traditional sedan, but the Rio 5-door has better packaging and is more versatile. Perhaps the best part is that the Rio doesn’t feel like a cheap car inside — the quality definitely punches above its price. Like its sedan sibling, the Rio’s impressive standard features and big-car refinement help set it apart – though air conditioning is notably absent.
4. Hyundai Accent 5-Door – $14,949
Coming in under its sister brand again, the Hyundai Accent 5-Door misses out on the heated front seats and steering wheel of the Rio, as well as the automatic high-beams and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Sound familiar? Of course, this particular hatchback lands just under the $15,000 mark (before destination fees and taxes). And while there’s a wide gulf in pricing between the Accent and the next vehicle in our ranking, the interior appoints alone should be enough to sway plenty of drivers.
3. Mitsubishi Mirage – $12,298
The Mitsubishi Mirage five-door is one of the cheapest cars in Canada and is much better value for money than the now-discontinued sedan, which offered no additional equipment (except Apple CarPlay/Android Auto) over the hatch and was nearly $5,000 more. It’s pretty barren in the five-door, however with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and 6.5-inch colour display with Bluetooth serving in the base ES model. It does, however, have a pretty generous warranty that includes five years of roadside assistance. Oh, and it’s the last vehicle on this list that comes with air conditioning.
Note that an all-new 2021 Mirage is set to debut later this summer, with pricing to be announced.
2. Nissan Micra – $10,488
One of the least expensive cars on this list also happens to be one of our favourites. For just $10,488, the base Micra S with the five-speed manual is decent value for money, offering up fun driving dynamics and a smartly packaged cabin that makes it a good vehicle for students and even small families. It is pretty barren inside but does, however, come with Bluetooth, a USB port, and excellent fuel economy.
As noted above, the Nissan Micra has been discontinued in Canada, but the automaker says it's “stocked to satisfy consumer demand well into 2020.”
1. Chevrolet Spark – $9,998
The Chevrolet Spark has the lowest MSRP in all of Canada and while it shows it with its tiny stature and barren interior, it actually offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – even in base LS form! That entry-level model also has a five-speed manual transmission, 7-inch colour touchscreen display and a tilt adjustable steering column. It may be the cheapest car in Canada, but it’s certainly not the worst.