Purchasing a new vehicle in these economic times can take a lot of forethought. Criteria has changed, and affordability ranks high on the list, more so than it had for many years. Few want gas guzzling, sizable, and powerful vehicles to take the check any more.
The auto industry has rolled with the punches, and these changes have brought sleek new designs, better gas mileage, and more affordability overall. Here are some examples of this with three affordable vehicles for 2009 and 2010.
2009 Chevrolet HHR
This SUV is ranked number 1 in safest affordable vehicles of 2009 by Autotropolis. One of their criteria for this list is that the vehicles must have a list price of under $20,000. This one starts at $18,720, making it a nice buy. This vehicle has a unique look to it in retro styling, making it difficult to classify as an SUV simply by looking at it. It almost looks like a cross with a car.
One nice thing about this vehicle is that it has flex fuel capacity, so can use E85, the 85% ethanol blend that some gas stations carry. Regular fuel mileage is estimated at 22mpg in the city, and 30mpg for highway driving, which helps with affordability.
The cargo area is nice and roomy, with a hatch back that doesn’t interfere with seating. The down side is that it is 2 wheel drive, and the towing capacity is rather minimal.
2010 Honda Fit
Winning the 2010 Best Value in America Award in the subcompact category from Vincentric , low fuel, maintenance, and repair costs made this one stand out above the rest. With an aerodynamic yet sporty look, this vehicle starts at only $14,900. Gas mileage comes in at 28mpg for city driving, and 35mpg on the highway.
With 4 doors and a hatch, everyone can get in and out with ease, even with a full load. Seats adjust in numerous configurations, offering plenty of interior room for carrying any variety of necessities.
The down side of this vehicle is that upgrading to anything more than the regular Sport version at $16,410 will increase the cost to that of a much larger vehicle. Even this one could get costly, for someone who wishes to enhance it with “Fit Mugen” interior and exterior accessories (offered by Honda), though it could be a lot of fun. Then, too, there is the Fit Sport with Navigation, starting at $19,110.
2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid
This car won in Forbes compact sedan segment on their list of affordable cars for 2010, taking numerous criteria into consideration. This vehicle starts at $22,800. The kicker here is gas mileage at 50mpg. Of course, there is always the electric motor to add to this.
Though the Prius does have the aerodynamic look, the overall effect is a bit on the plain side, as with most sedans. Although this vehicle has the appearance of having a trunk, the back seats actually lie down to make a cargo area sufficient for general purposes.
Several versions of this vehicle also offer lots of bells and whistles, with the top end version starting at $28,070.
The down side to this one is that it is still a compact vehicle, so it will ride and drive like a compact vehicle, without the smoothness of a larger sedan. Then, of course, there is also that nasty little brake recall that everyone has heard about, though the Prius is still highly recommended by too many to be ignored.