2014's best bargain cars under $16,000
Our most affordable picks that won't break the bank
The 2014 Kia Soul starts out at $14,700.
Photo credit: Kia
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Are you currently in the market for a new car, but you aren't ready to take out a second mortgage in order to afford it? The automotive market these days is brimming with so many different models and options to choose from it can become quite an overwhelming process. Fear not, thrifty buyer, because you're in luck. This 2014 model year is producing some fully capable, and flat-out impressive, bargain vehicles that won't burn a hole in your wallet. We've come up with a list of 2014's top cars for under $16,000 -- nope, that wasn't a typo in the headline.
Now, before you turn your nose up at the lack of fancy navigation features and dual-climate control capability, keep in mind that these reliable, well-oiled machines are getting you from point A to point B for about half the cost of an average new car in the U.S. Your wallets will thank us later.
2014 Kia Soul
You might remember seeing the Soul in our September truck guide, and there's a reason it's resurfacing on our sub-16K list, aside from the ridiculously low price tag. The Soul is wildly popular with buyers, selling 115,000 a year, beating and out even the more mainstream subcompact vehicles.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Soul comes equipped with a 1.6-liter 130-hp six-speed manual. Its 118 lb-ft of torque is more than enough to handle any commute. The Soul also boasts an EPA estimated 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
BASE PRICE: $14,700
Photo credit: Chevrolet
2014 Chevrolet Sonic
This 2014 Sonic may be small, but haven't you always heard that good things come in small packages? The Sonic combines quality handling with an impressive ride and earns its reputation as a strong competitor in the market.
HIGHLIGHTS: Under the hood, the Sonic sports a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual transmission results in a respectable fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.
BASE PRICE: $14,770
Photo credit: Nissan
2014 Nissan Versa SV
HIGHLIGHTS: The 2014 Versa SV model puts out 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque. Under the hood, the Versa features a 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. With the four-speed automatic, the fuel economy is estimated to be about 40 mpg highway and 31 mpg city.
BASE PRICE: $15,240
Photo credit: Nissan
2014 Nissan Versa Note SV
Essentially the hatchback version of the Nissan Versa, the Note has also proved to be a big seller for Nissan. The 2014 Note combines great value with practicality.
HIGHLIGHTS: The 2014 Nissan Versa Note powertrain features 109 hp and 107 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual transmission gives you a 31 city, 40 highway, 35 combined EPA estimated fuel economy.
BASE PRICE: $15,990
2014 Ford Fiesta SE Sedan
The Ford Fiesta continues to impress with its combination of style and capabilities, and proves to still be a front runner in the competitive subcompact field.
HIGHLIGHTS: The 2014 Fiesta SE sedan has a 1.6-liter 16-valve I-4 engine under the hood capable of producing 120 hp and 112 lb-ft of torque. The Fiesta's fuel economy makes it competitive, boasting 27 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 31 mpg combined.
BASE PRICE: $15,745
Photo credit: Mitsubishi
2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
The 2014 Mirage claims that its all-new five-door sub-compact is the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid gasoline vehicle available in America. Quite a bold statement for this automotive underdog to make.
HIGHLIGHTS: The 2014 Mirage sports a 1.2-liter engine under the hood, producing 74-hp and 74 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual transmission earns an EPA estimated rating of 34 mpg city, 42 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined.
BASE PRICE: $13,790
Photo credit: Mazda
2013 Mazda 2 Sport
Now, we know it's not a 2014 model -- redesign is rumored to be possible for 2015 -- but we thought it would be a nice addition to the list, and frankly it's just fun to drive. This Mazda2 has everything you'll ever need in a spartan subcompact.
HIGHLIGHTS: The 2014 Mazda 2 Sport has a 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. The Sport puts out 100-hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual gives the Mazda 2 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.
BASE PRICE: $14,720