The 10 cheapest cars for 2012

Here's a look at the new car purchases that will put the smallest dent in your wallet. Each averages less than $6,000 a year in purchase and ownership costs.

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May 7, 2012 5:10PM
also, should be titled 10 cars no one wants to own
May 7, 2012 9:56PM

They might be cheap to own if they didn't cost so much. I haven't bought new for a long time.


I take my time and find a good deal from a private party, pay cash and...


Let someone else take the big hit on depreciation.

May 7, 2012 9:04PM
I used to own a 2010 Toyota Yaris, and can not understand how it made the list.  The door's weld was faulty and the door started to fall off the car and the Dealer wouldn't cover it and said I must have shut the door too hard.  The air conditioner compressor failed after 2 months and had to be replaced, and it squeeled like crazy when I took short corners. The city mileage was poor also even though it had pinto type of acceleration.  Just wanted to warn anyone before they bought that useless piece of garbage.  On the bright side I sold it for a different make and it had a high resale value due to people being brainwashed into believing Toyota was a good manufacturer.  (like I was)
May 8, 2012 2:04AM
Article mentions 3 names, and then goes on and on about KBB and how they did their work. I don't care, I chose the article to see which cars were cheapest to own, not to have click all over hell and half the internet. But as misleads go this was a good one.
May 7, 2012 5:28PM
I wouldn't be caught dead in any of these.
May 8, 2012 4:04PM
Being in the car business these are all great in town commuter cars that are very cheap to own and operate. I find in funny that Kia/Hyundai cars are so far apart in the ratings as they are the exact same cars under their metal skins. Please don't expect anything great out of these cars such as great rides or any type of comfort for anything over a 30-45min trip.
May 7, 2012 6:05PM

Cheapest car for me is my 72 Ford Pinto man! It is a classic, sips fuel, and is supercool baby! I can hardly wait for the new 2014 model coming out dudes! I can't afford one man, but maybe some of you rich dudes can. Check out me and my dog Toby doing an awesomely cool smoky burnout on utube, type 72 Ford Pinto man!!!! Toby loves doin burnouts with me man!!!

Yeeeehaawwwww!!  Nerd

May 7, 2012 6:53PM

I'm happy with my 1999 Honda Accord..about 28mpg on hwy..23 in city driving...

Its been paid for many years, and I cant afford any of the new over priced autos...

Ive been trying, over the years to spend less for fuel, and still be able to pass a state inspection

Honda has been my car of choice for those reasons...

May 7, 2012 10:50PM

RT in Nashville has the right idea and I follow it.  We had a 1977 Pinto for many years and was one of the most reliable cars we ever owned.  It had 144,000 on it the last time we saw it and was headed for another cross-country trip from Phoenix, Az to upstate NY.  A 1986 Escort was good but still had some things that could have been better.  Toyota says they are the best but they make lemons like any other manufacturer and hide them because they are not required to make the same defect reporting as American brands.  Same goes for other foreign makes.  All these cars are out of our price range and will be for some time.  Gas economy is not enough.  In fairness though, I feel the article at least computed their overall purchase and estimated operation cost.  However, it assumes that third-party warranty services cover all consumables and that is not true.  Tires, brakes, belts and struts are all normal wear items and excluded.  Read those exclusions or it is just more pure profit for the dealer and issuer.  There are also no annual mileage numbers given.  It is sad that nearly all are foreign.  As for me, I will continue to stick with used cars that are solid and operate them for at least 100K or more, sometimes for 10 years before replacement.  I drive about 20,000/year and annual cost of a used car and operation is about $5000/year.  My current car is a retired police cruiser and is about the $5K/yr mark and has 190,000 miles on it.  My wife's car is a 1999 Taurus and is about $3300/year and cost more to purchase but is driven far less.  $4/gal of gas is used but we pay less than that.  Our daughter has a 1995 Pontiac Grand AM that got her through college and to and from her job until the economy opens the door for an Accounting job.  Cost, about $2300/year for this strong V6.  Insurance is one thing not factored and that can add $800 - $1000/year even with a good driving record and student discounts while in school.  Same with adults, depending on car and where you live.

May 7, 2012 10:36PM
I rented a Versa once in winter.  A stiff breeze blew the a55 end around, and shockingly the 13 x 2 tires didn't hold the road.  7 other cars went off the road trying to avoid me, 2 collided, 1 rolled.
May 7, 2012 9:40PM
I wanted to buy the Versa, but the wife talked me into the Yaris.  Honestly the Versa is better, at least they weld better, that yaris I had was crap.
May 8, 2012 10:02AM

I do a lot of driving, mostly rental cars.  Have driven every car on this list except the kias (not a fan of kias after the dashboard died on a 2.5 year old elantra, NOT covered by warranty).


Anyway now as I am older and appreciate peace and quiet (peace from reliability and quiet...from well a quiet ride).


The Nissan Versa is a great car, be careful arrive at the dealer thinking you will buy a $12,500 car, but Nissan dealers know these cars are popular and load them up with will end up paying $18k.  Stick to your guns or be prepared to walk away.


For my money favorite is Scion Xd...scion has fixed pricing and are easy to order without unwanted extras, roomy, reliable, great on gas, a more refined car than the Yaris for only 1500 more.  Honda Fit is also a quiet, reliable, comfy ride.

May 7, 2012 7:31PM
These cars all SUCK! You get what you pay for and down the road these will fall apart quicker than their more expensive rivals. Additionally, if your buying your a car for you daughter to go to college with you obviously have money to burn. Pay for her education and let her worry about the car.
May 15, 2012 4:03PM
Forgot to mention they all double as coffins on wheels. Lets see what they look like in an average crash, not much left. I will stick with something that cost a little more.
May 15, 2012 3:15PM
Jun 13, 2012 7:46PM

Protecting the environment is great, but these rolling  rat coffins are too much to ask. I've been in the Auto  Body business for 45 years with many years also as an accident investigator and an insurance adjustor. 


Small cars result in more injuries and deaths than larger cars. That's a fact. Impact design bumpers, crumbling substructures and air bags help a little, but common sense says the heavier the car the more protection you have.


From what I've seen,  older 1960's and 70's cars did much better jobs of protecting occupants especially the larger size cars .


Driving what is best described as an over priced, oversize roller skate is not on my agenda nor that of my family


May 7, 2012 7:42PM
Drive a 2000 Mazda Protege, still going strong even though it has had some issues due to age. Is mostly in good condition, gets good gas mileage and I paid $1800 for it. Does not use any oil and has had only 1 costly repair an ERG valve to pass inspection.  Anyone who thinks that buying new is worth it, should look at a used Japanese car instead. 
May 8, 2012 12:07AM
Beats those gazzz guzzling PU's MSN was showcasing yesterday;   4 x 4's with tow pkgs., hemis, racing stripes, ground effects, light bars, winches, 2 inch lift, mudder tires...................................only to travel to grocery store and nail salon.

Better off buying army convoy vehicle; not having to worry about door dings.
May 15, 2012 11:21AM

Cheap cars, you are right. I grew up in cheap cars, they serve their purpose. But sooner or later build quality, ride quality, etc. over rules price and you buy what you really want. These are great little starter cars, but do you really, really think there are all that?

Jun 13, 2012 9:44PM

Buy 2 older cars in good shape for up to $2,000 each, but shop as hard as possible because you can get a nice ride for $500 or less if you are diligent.


Get a good unlimited towing policy .


Check put all the junk yards/scrap metal buyers in a 20 mile radius and find the top 3 highest payers


Drive it til it dies,


get it towed to the highest paying metal buyer and sell it for scrap


transfer the registration to the 2nd one you bought and shop for a replacement for car 1.


Keep repeating.



If you shop when you do NOT need a car you’ll find the best deals and will not overpay


I bought clean and running 2 Jeep Grand Cherokees, 1 B3000 & 1 B2300 Mazda PU’s, 2 Ford Rangers, a Trans Am, and a super clean 1995 S10 blazer all running and looking good for only $175 each except for 1 ranger step side that I paid $300 for.


When the trans went on 1 jeep after 2 years of driving it, I swapped plates and registration to the other that I used for 8 months til the front suspension went bad. I then registered the B3000 and 5 years later it’s still going strong. My Girlfriend used the Trans Am til the head gasket went and now drives the S10 .


It’s a simple plan that costs you basically nothing except for gas and insurance . If you have a place to park the extra cars this is the way to go . I've been doing this for over 20 years

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