If you plan to finance your new car but want to keep your monthly payments to a minimum, there are plenty of affordable choices that offer modern features, comfortable interiors, lots of safety features, and unexpected technology.
Even though the number of new cars available for under $20,000 is disappearing, there are still plenty of great vehicles that list for as low as $16,000. A good negotiator may even be able to snag a few thousand more off the list price, and of course shoppers will want to look closely for special low-interest financing deals.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best ways to get that new car smell — and new car warranty — without breaking the bank. All of these should be available to good-credit shoppers for $300 or less spread out over a 60-month loan. Special financing deals come and go, but these cars provide a great baseline for starting your search.
1. 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
If you like SUV practicality and a high seating position, look no further than the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer. Chevrolet revived the Trailblazer name for this cheeky-looking SUV with a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine.
You’ll bust our budget for all-wheel drive, but all Trailblazers including the base L come with a touchscreen head unit with Bluetooth as well as Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Also, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and 10 airbags are standard fare.
2. 2021 Hyundai Accent
The subcompact 2021 Hyundai
Accent packs a lot of features and style into a bite-size package, and certain versions are rated as high as 41 mpg on the highway. The base Accent SE lacks advanced smartphone capability, but it does come with a backup camera and Bluetooth. It’s the only version with a 6-speed manual transmission, though. Stepping up to the SEL adds a bigger screen, alloy wheels, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Just nudging the top of our budget before any discounts, the range-topping Limited adds heated seats, automatic emergency braking, and a hands-free truck opener.
3. 2021 Nissan Versa
The latest Nissan
Versa is a remarkably tech-forward small car with great road manners and up to 40 mpg on the highway. Less than $16,000 buys a base Versa S with a manual gearbox, which still has automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane-departure warnings.
You won’t even have to push the limits of our budget to grab a range-topping Versa SR, which lists for about $19,400 and includes a proximity key, alloy wheels, a high-tech touchscreen, and blind-spot monitors.
4. 2021 Hyundai Venue
The 2021 Hyundai Venue may not be the most recognizable name, but it’s one you should get to know. Think of it as an Accent hatchback with more personality and a slightly higher seating position. You’ll need to stick with the base SE trim to keep payments below $300, but even that model comes with a big 8-inch screen and various collision-avoidance features.
The Venue comes only with a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive, but it’s still perky to drive and sized perfect for urban use.
5. 2021 Kia Rio
Forget any notion of the 2021 Kia Rio as a bargain-basement subcompact. It’s still small, but the latest Rio is refined, spacious, and it boasts subtly upscale style. Kia
offers two versions of the Rio, both of which come with unexpected niceties such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You’ll even stay under $300 a month with the Rio S, which adds cruise control and keyless entry. Opting for the Technology Package nearly busts our budget, but it may be worth it for the active safety features and upgraded touchscreen display.
6. 2021 Subaru Impreza
Impreza scores big practicality points thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, its good infotainment system, and top-notch safety scores. It also happens to be a hoot to drive with the standard manual gearbox and it boasts a particularly good resale value.
Our budget will grab a base Impreza sedan, though shrewd negotiators should be able to go for the more spacious and practical hatchback, which has a list price of $500 higher than the four-door.
7. 2021 Kia Soul
The 2021 Kia Soul lives up to its name with more styling and driving personality than most small hatchbacks. Its boxy shape has made it something of an icon in its own time, and Kia will even build you an orange one for about $19,000.
Kia requires a continuously variable transmission with most exterior colors, though, so if you’re really trying to keep costs low with a manual gearbox you’ll have to stick with white, silver, or black. Still, this is a quirky little car with plenty of practicality for less than $300 a month.
8. 2021 Volkswagen Jetta
Don’t write off a sedan just because it seems like everyone is buying SUVs these days. The 2021 VW
Jetta is a screaming deal for a tick under $20,000. Even in base S trim, it comes with alloy wheels, LED lighting, collision-avoidance tech, and an unusually advanced infotainment system.
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And that’s before we even talked about its turbocharged 4-cylinder, its slick-shifting manual gearbox, and its poised chassis. The base Jetta is seriously fun — arguably the most polished car to drive on this list, and all for under $300 monthly.
9. 2021 Hyundai Veloster
Fancy something a little sportier? Look to the Hyundai Veloster. This hatchback has great moves on the road and 147 horsepower from its 4-cylinder engine. It’ll also satisfy your needs for practicality thanks to its innovative third rear door, its spacious cargo area, and its plentiful standard features list.
You won’t pay extra for a big touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Hyundai throws in automatic emergency braking, LED running lights, and alloy wheels.
10. 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage
Mirage wins points for its comprehensive standard equipment list, which even includes a standard 10-year powertrain warranty. Our budget will net you just about any Mirage, from the G4 sedan to the smaller but slightly more practical hatchback.
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It may not be the most refined car for under $300, but we can’t argue with its feature count or the safety net provided by its warranty.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.