March 15th, 2010 by Steve Cypher

How to singlehandedly lower the average vehicle transaction price in America

Opel Manta

Opel Manta

American history

At the risk of dating ourselves, there are a number of us here at that can remember when the average price of a family sedan was well under $10,000. The first new car that I purchased on my own was a metallic copper 1975 Opel Manta 4-speed manual (with the 1.3-liter Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injected 4-cylinder), which had a sticker price of just over $3,000.

But that’s enough of ancient history.

Today, according to Comerica Bank, the average new vehicle transaction price is somewhere in the neighborhood of $26,000. But despite this fact, there are still a number of vehicles out there that can be had for less than half that and, in the case of one in particular, nearly a third. Typically, the most affordable vehicles have the biggest new car rebates.

March’s top 10 cheapest new cars

At, we’ve taken the time to combine the most affordable new vehicles in the U.S. with their current new car rebates to come up with the ten most affordable vehicles for the month of March, 2010. It should be noted that all vehicle prices include destination charges, but not taxes or official fees that vary by state.

2010 Kia Rio

#10 – 2010 Kia Rio
Base price – $12,390
March rebate – $500
Price before taxes – $11,890
The sedan version of the Rio is not as versatile as the hatch, and the Rio is getting a bit long in the tooth, since it’s been around since 2005. But that being said, Kia’s smallest U.S. model is still a great value.

Chevrolet Aveo5

Chevrolet Aveo5

#9 – 2010 Chevrolet Aveo 5 LS
Base price – $12,835
March rebate – $1000
Price before taxes – $11,835
The 5-door hatch version is a step up from the base Aveo and offers a few more amenities in addition to the added versatility and cargo space of a hatchback.

#8 – 2010 Chevrolet Aveo
Base price – $12,685
March rebate – $1000
Price before taxes – $11,685
Chevrolet’s least expensive sedan is built by GM’s Daewoo subsidiary in Korea. What’s the biggest advantage of the Aveo?  That would be its ability to be serviced at any Chevrolet dealer in the U.S.

Kia Spectra

Kia Spectra

#7 2009 Kia Spectra
Base price – $14,245
March rebate – $3,000
Price before taxes – $11,245
The Spectra has been replaced by the more modern (and more pleasing to the eye) 2010 Kia Forte. The Spectra, being a C-segment vehicle, is larger than either the Aveo or the Yaris and comes with Kia’s 5 year 60,000 mile basic warranty plus an additional 10 year 100,000 mile power train warranty.

2010 Hyundai Accent

2010 Hyundai Accent

#5 (tie) – 2010 Hyundai Accent
Base price – $10,690
March rebate – $500
Price before taxes – $10,190
The Accent carries the same industry-leading warranty as Kia. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Plan protects you from “certain life-altering circumstances” such as job loss or medical issues during the first year of ownership.

#5 (tie) – 2009 Kia Rio
Base price – $12,190
March rebate – $2,000
Price before taxes – $10,190
Identical in just about every way to the 2010 model, the 2009 Kia Rio comes with a $2,000 rebate to sweeten the pot even further.

#4 – 2009 Chevrolet Aveo – Aveo5
Base price – $12,685
March rebate – $2,500
Price before taxes – $10,185
Chevrolet upped the rebate amount on the both the 2009 Aveo and the 2009 Aveo5 from $1,000 in February to $2,500 in March for an even better deal and to help move the last of these models off dealer lots.

2010 Nissan Versa

2010 Nissan Versa

#3 – 2010 Nissan Versa
Base price – $10,710
March rebate – $1,250
Price before taxes – $9,460
The Versa is one of the great automotive values for March, with Nissan having upped February’s rebate from $750 to $1,250 and coming in at less than $10,000 before taxes and fees.

#2 – 2009 Hyundai Accent
Base price – $10,690
March rebate – $1,500
Price before taxes – $9,191
Imagine getting a new car for just over $9,000 before taxes and one of the longest warranties in the business. Not bad at all.

#1 – 2009 Nissan Versa
Base price – $10,710
March rebate – $1,750
Price before taxes – $8,960
How about a brand new car for less than $9,000 before taxes? As far as we can tell, the 2009 Versa is the most affordable new car for March here in the U.S. of A. With an interior that belies its affordability, Nissan’s B-segment vehicle would make an ideal 3rd or even 2nd vehicle.

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