For me, the most important feature of a car is its dependability. A smooth ride, great handling, and power are all meaningless if the car is in the shop. To get a car that is well made and reliable, you can spend a lot of money. However, it is possible to find a car that is dependable and still affordable. Here are three cars that start under $14,000 that should help make visits to the mechanic a rarity.
3) 2010 Nissan Cube(Base Model) – Price: $13,990(1)
The Nissan Cube is a stylish, compact, van-shaped vehicle that is geared to compete against vehicles like the Scion xB. The Cube has garnered a lot of negative publicity, mostly due to its boxy shape. For an example of this criticism, see here. It’s true that the shape is not aerodynamic and will not appeal to everybody’s tastes.
However, if you can get over the Cube’s unique looks, you will find a vehicle that is well-built, has lots of room, and gets fairly decent mileage(25 mpg city/30 mpg hwy(2)). Nissan has always built strong small cars, with the popular Sentra being a prime example. Nissans last well, hold their value, and are not outrageous to maintain.
The Cube is best suited for a small family that wants basic, affordable transportation. While deceptively roomy for a vehicle so compact, it is not ideal for hauling a lot of stuff along with the family. Consider the Cube if you want value with a touch of distinctiveness.
2) 2011 Ford Fiesta S Sedan – Price: $13,320(3)
While other automakers went gaga over SUVs a few years back, Ford remained committed to keeping a dependable, small car in its lineup, namely, the Focus. Now Ford brings us the Fiesta, a small car to compete with vehicles like the Honda Fit and Chevrolet Aveo. It is a small car with European styling, great handling, and decent power.
In my opinion, the Fiesta will dominate the small, affordable, sporty car market in short order. It gets excellent mileage(28 mpg city/37 mpg hwy(4)), has been dependable in the two years it has been on sale in Europe, and outhandles every other car its class.
The only(minor) drawback is the size of the Fiesta. It is quite small. If you are in the market for a small car and want something sporty and inexpensive, look no further than the Fiesta.
1) 2010 Kia Forte LX – Price: $13,695(5)
At one time, Kia made cheap cars that didn’t last very long. Over the years, their quality has improved dramatically, and the Forte is the latest example of Kia’s combination of quality and affordability. The Forte is a 5-passenger, four-door sedan that should meet the needs of budget-conscious families.
The Forte is visually striking and might even be called sporty. Its low-slung front end and sleek grill make you wonder what its packing under the hood. The answer is a 156 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine that manages to get 25 mpg city/34 mpg hwy(6). The 156 horses are actually quite respectable for a car the size of the Forte.
Expect the Forte to last well with a low overall cost of ownership. For the price, you might not find a better small family car out there.
If you don’t have much money to throw around, make sure that when you spend it on a car it won’t keep draining your finances with endless repair problems. Check into one of these three cars and you won’t be disappointed.