Cheap New Car: What Are the 8 Cheapest New Cars in Australia?

Mitsubishi Mirage

Labelling something as ‘cheap’ can be a bit of a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to cars.

On one hand, people love a bargain, but the C-word also comes with connotations, like a lack of quality or a sense that something is not built to last.

That may be true for things like knock-off luxury handbags and pretty much any t-shirt you buy at a tourist shop while on a holiday, but it doesn’t really apply to cars: it’s a competitive marketplace, and any budget vehicle that’s sub-par simply won’t survive, or will get slammed so heavily online that you’ll know to stay well away before you even set foot inside a dealership.

Still, we’ll play it safe and give you a list of new car prices that are affordable (see what we did there?), giving you an overview of the vehicles that represent the best value for money, while still packing in features and performance that make them attractive propositions to new-car buyers.

The list, of course, is made up of mostly compact cars that are perfect for city driving and parking – you’re clearly not going to get a full-sized 4×4 SUV or a luxury sports car for a price under $20K – and they all represent what we think offers buyers the most bang for the least amount of dollars.

8 “cheapest” new cars for sale in Australia

1. Mitsubishi Mirage ES manual – $14,990 MSRP

Japanese manufacturers Mitsubishi know a thing or two about mass-producing reliable and affordable cars, and the Mirage ES manual has the distinction of currently being the cheapest new car Australia has to offer.  Known by the far cooler name ‘Mitsubishi Space Star’ in Europe and Singapore, the Mirage ES manual four-door hatchback comes with a 1.2-litre engine and a five-speed manual gearbox (auto will cost you $1500 extra).

A standard warranty is included that covers it for five years/100,000km, whichever occurs first (if you book in for all your scheduled services through the authorised Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Network, you’ll find yourself eligible for an incredible extended warranty that covers 10 years/200,000km).

2. Kia Picanto S manual – $15,990, MSRP

Kia’s smallest and most affordable offering is the Kia Picanto S manual, a supermini five-door city hatchback with a 1.25-litre petrol engine delivering 62kW of power and 122Nm of torque, and a five-speed manual gearbox.

The second-cheapest brand-new car in Australia has also had its suspension and steering tuned to Australian driving conditions, which is mighty considerate.

The car also comes with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) – a rarity for a car with this kind of price tag – and a hefty seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which should offer considerable peace of mind.

3. MG MG3 Core auto – $18,490 drive-away

The compact MG3 from Chinese-owned, notionally British brand MG has made a large impact on the Australian car market in a relatively small amount of time, due to it being a stylish and solid offering for a decent price.

For that low price you’ll get a 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 82kW/150Nm that’s coupled with a four-speed automatic gearbox, as well as a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

The MG3 Core also comes with anti-lock brakes and six airbags, but disappointingly it still hasn’t been tested by ANCAP (and received  three stars when assessed by Euro NCAP in 2014). So you might want to think about safety very carefully.

4. Suzuki Baleno GL manual – $18,490 MSRP

The Baleno GL is a Suzuki model that appears to be a little more popular with the older set, who are likely drawn to it for its practicality and attractive asking price.

It still hasn’t been given an ANCAP safety rating – something that would likely give the Baleno GL’s target market cause for concern if they knew about it – but it does come with some appealing extras, like sat nav, a reversing camera, fog lights, and auto on-off headlights.

Under the hood it has a 1.4-litre petrol engine delivering 68kW of power and 130Nm of torque, coupled with a five-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive.

5. Skoda Fabia 70 TSI manual – $18,390 MSRP

The Fabia, from Czech brand Skoda, is a compact city hatchback that shares the same drivetrain as the more expensive Volkswagen Polo, making it an attractive option to the budget conscious.

The Fabia 70 TSI comes with some nice touches for a car in this price range: an LED torch in the boot, an umbrella under the passenger seat, a 6.5-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and a rather efficient fuel-consumption rating of 4.5L/100km.

If you’re after more space, there’s a wagon version of the Fabia 70 TSI on offer for an extra $1100.

6. Suzuki Ignis GL manual – $19,490 MSRP

If Australian car sales are anything to go by, SUVs have been in favour with buyers for a pretty long time now, which gives the five-seater Suzuki Ignis GL manual some of its appeal.

Never mind that it’s the tiniest SUV on the market or that proper off-roading in one is an unachievable fantasy — it’s got SUV styling, and that’s what people are clamouring for.

For the money, you’ll get a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, offering 66kW of power and 120Nm of torque, and a five-speed gearbox.

7. Fiat 500 Lounge – $19,550 MSRP

The Fiat 500 has a long history – it first appeared in 1957, before dipping out in 1975, then reappearing again in 2007.

The modern Fiat 500 takes cues from the car’s iconic original Italian design, but it’s thankfully much larger and better equipped than it was back in 1957.

The Fiat 500 Lounge hatchback comes with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine, along with a five-speed gearbox and front-wheel drive, as well as eye-catching style, which can’t be said for all vehicles in this price range.

8. Kia Rio S manual – $19,690 MSRP

The Kia Rio has been a huge hit with drivers since it launched in Australia over 20 years ago.

It’s not too difficult to see why: it’s the perfect size for city driving, and for a car under $20k, it comes with some decent features, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone-mirroring tech, a reversing camera, and rear parking sensors.

It’s also slightly larger than most of its competitors, meaning you’ll get more space for not a whole lot more coin.

By Stephen Corby


*Disclaimer: Prices, features, warranties and other information that may be shown in this editorial content (Review Information) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (CAMS) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Information was correct at the time of publication.  CAMS does not warrant or represent that the Review Information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon the Review Information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.

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