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Good cheap cars are actually plentiful on today's new car marketplace, as automakers the world over have poured substantial development dollars into making their entry-level models as appealing as possible. Excellent fuel mileage is almost a given when considering a good affordable car, and the list of expectations for first-time buyers and veteran shoppers alike has grown to include a reasonable list of comfort features, a few interesting entertainment and communications options, and even styling that is a cut above average.
Let's take a quick look at 10 good cheap cars and see what they have to offer.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 01 - 2013 Hyundai Accent
The 2014 Hyundai Accent is available in both sedan and hatchback editions, with the latter providing up to 47.5 cubic feet of cargo storage with the rear row folded forward. Each version of the car benefits from a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that has been tuned to provide 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque, and fuel mileage for the Hyundai Accent is listed at 28-mpg in city driving and 37-mpg on the highway regardless of whether its six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission are ordered. In addition to an attractively-designed interior, the Accent also comes with the availability of Bluetooth connectivity, a rear spoiler, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 02 - 2013 Nissan Sentra
A complete redesign has helped the 2013 Nissan Sentra stake a claim on good affordable car status. The most appealing aspect of the new Nissan Sentra is its passenger compartment, which delivers a huge amount of interior room for such a compact sedan. Buyers are also likely to appreciate the Sentra's fuel efficiency of 30-mpg in city driving and 40-mpg on the highway, a feat made possible by its available continuously-variable automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is standard on the base model). The 1.8-liter Sentra squeezes 130 horsepower and 128 lb-ft of torque from its four cylinders.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 03 - 2014 Toyota Corolla
The 2014 Toyota Corolla is another compact sedan that has gone back to the drawing board in order to revitalize its platform and maintain its competitive fire. Although always a popular choice, the Toyota Corolla's recent update helps to modernize what had been an aging package. In addition to conservative yet classy styling, the Corolla gains a continuously-variable automatic transmission in order to bump up its fuel mileage figures to 30-mpg around town and 42-mpg on the highway when ordered in the Eco edition, which comes with 140 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque from a 1.8-liter engine. The base version of the Corolla - which can be had with either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox - offers slightly less output from a different 1.8-liter mill.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 04 - 2014 Chevrolet Spark
The 2014 Chevrolet Spark is a subcompact hatchback that offers city dwellers a vehicle that is easy to park, cheap to run, and affordable to purchase. The Chevrolet Spark can even be had with the Chevrolet MyLink feature, which seamlessly links the car's communications and entertainment system with a range of mobile devices. It's a bit tight inside the Spark's rear seat, but folding it forward reveals 31.2 cubic feet of cargo space, a respectable number for such a small car. The Spark's 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine offers 84 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, and its five-speed manual transmission helps it to deliver 31-mpg city and 39-mpg highway (a CVT is also available with the Chevrolet).
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 05 - 2013 Mazda MAZDA2
The 2014 Mazda Mazda2 is one of the more fun-to-drive entries on our list of good cheap cars, thanks in part to its lightweight design and the efforts of Mazda's chassis engineers. This hatchback almost matches the Spark in terms of cargo space (just under 28 cubic feet altogether), but with the added bonus of 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque from a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. Frugality for the Mazda MAZDA2 pays a price due to the absence of a CVT (the vehicle's five-speed manual delivers 29-mpg city and 35-mpg highway, with its four-speed autobox offering a bit less), but this very affordable car is still popular amongst entry-level buyers.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 06 - 2013 Hyundai Elantra
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra is offered in sedan, coupe, and even hatchback (GT) editions, allowing it to cover the entire spectrum of compact car body styles. Most shoppers choose the Hyundai Elantra over the competition due to its exceptionally long warranty, its style-first looks, and its top-notch interior materials. The Elantra also provides 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque from a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine, and its six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission options each return the same fuel mileage of 29-mpg in stop and go driving and 40-mpg on the highway.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 07 - 2014 Nissan Versa Note
The 2014 Nissan Versa Note was introduced this year in order to give the most affordable car in North America - the Versa sedan - a hatchback sibling. Like the Sentra, the Nissan Versa Note is considerably larger inside than many of its rivals, giving it not just excellent passenger room but also the ability to haul as much as 38.4 cubic feet of cargo. Efficiency is also a catchword for the Versa Note, as it posts 31-mpg in city driving and 40-mpg on the highway when its 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is paired with the vehicle's optional continuously-variable automatic transmission. The Nissan's 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque can also be managed by a standard five-speed manual transmission.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 08 - 2014 Ford Fiesta
The 2014 Ford Fiesta - like the MAZDA2 with which it shares a few platform details - is an engaging good cheap car to drive. The Ford Fiesta continues the brand's policy of making class-leading technologies available even in its most affordable models, which means that the Fiesta can be equipped with the MyFord Touch entertainment and communications interface. Sedan and hatchback editions of the Fiesta are available, and both are outfitted with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that is good for 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the subcompact car include a six-speed automated manual and a five-speed traditional manual. The former gives the Fiesta the ability to register 30-mpg around town and 41-mpg on the highway.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 09 - 2013 Dodge Dart
The 2013 Dodge Dart is a good-looking compact sedan that also happens to be a very affordable car - and the first such vehicle from Chrysler since the departure of the popular Neon. The Dodge Dart borrows much of its DNA from an Alfa Romeo model offered only in Europe, which gives it intriguing styling and a good amount of interior room. The Dart's base 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill provides drivers with 160 horses and 148 lb-ft of torque to play with, while an available 1.4-liter turbo cranks torque up to 184 lb-ft (while maintaining the same level of horsepower) and also improves fuel mileage to 28-mpg city and 40-mpg on the highway. A more robust 2.4-liter mill - found exclusively in the Darth GT - is also available (184 horsepower, 171 lb-ft of torque), and the sedan features the choice between six-speed manual, automatic, and automated manual gearboxes.
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10 Good Cheap Cars - 10 - 2014 Kia Rio
The 2013 Kia Rio (both sedan and hatchback) can be thought of in many ways as a more aggressively-styled version of its corporate sibling, the Hyundai Accent. The Kia Rio is known for offering a good amount of equipment for not much money, making it a hit amongst buyers on a budget. Also wallet-friendly is its fuel efficiency: the Rio provides 37-mpg during highway cruising and 29-mpg around town when ordered with the Eco package, and its 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine generates 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes free of charge with the Rio, while a six-speed autobox is also available.
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