Canadians love great deals, and finding the cheapest car in the country is no exception. With the automotive market constantly evolving, it's essential to do thorough vehicle research when searching for the most cost-effective option.
This article discusses Canada's most affordable vehicles and car types, keeping important factors such as fuel efficiency, reliability, and overall value in mind.
Each year, numerous car manufacturers introduce new models with numerous price ranges. When identifying the least expensive vehicle in Canada, not only does the initial price come into play, but maintenance costs as well. In addition, factors like fuel economy and insurance rates can take a bite out of your wallet and should no doubt be factored into overall costs.
Some people want some style and added comfort in their ride or features such as wireless Apple carplay, while other people are looking for the bare necessities, headlights, front seats, and a steering wheel. Fortunately, there is something for everyone in the low-cost car market.
When it comes to finding the most affordable vehicles in Canada, several options cater to various budgets and preferences. This section highlights some of the top choices for buyers seeking a mix of cost-efficiency, reliability, and practicality.
Lets get right into it, and go over the cheapest cars here in Canada.
The Cheapest Cars in Canada
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Chevrolet Spark
- Toyota Corolla
- Mitsubishi Mirage
- Hyundai Venue
- Nissan Versa
- Kia Rio
- Nissan Sentra
- Nissan Kicks S
- Hyundai Elantra
- Kia Forte
- Mazda 3
Fuel Efficiency: 8L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Transmission issues with automatic models
The Volkswagen Jetta is a popular compact sedan known for its stylish design, comfortable interior, and a range of engine options capable of roughly 8L/100kms in the city, including fuel-efficient turbocharged versions.
The Volkswagen Jetta is usually cheaper if you select the six-speed manual transmission.
The Jetta has a reputation for safety, with various driver-assistance features available. Starting at $25,772, the Jetta is a versatile choice for those seeking a well-rounded and practical sedan for daily commuting and long journeys.
Issues with the Volkswagen Jetta can include the electrical system, such as malfunctioning sensors, and problems with the transmission, particularly in automatic models.
MSRP: N/A, but plenty of used models exist for under $20,000
Fuel Efficiency: 7L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Malfunctioning ignition coils and jerky shifting
The Chevrolet Spark was discontinued in 2023. But there are still many 2022s on the market and they're very cheap, so we will talk about the car anyway.
The Spark is a small hatchback that offers a budget-friendly standard features alternative to larger vehicles. Chevrolet is more known for their trucks, not so much known for their cars.
However, I think we all knew at least one person who drove a Chevrolet Cavalier, and most of those cars are probably still zipping around today.
The Chevrolet Spark features a compact design that is perfect for city driving and parking in tight spots. Its fuel economy is also commendable, providing cost savings over time.
Common problems with the Chevrolet Spark often include electrical issues like malfunctioning ignition coils and transmission problems like jerky shifts. Some drivers have reported premature brake wear and occasional cooling system problems.
Fuel Efficiency: 7.4L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Burning oil and air conditioning issues
The Corolla starts at $26,265 and has fuel use of 7.4L/100km in the city (non-hybrid). The Toyota Corolla has long been a trusted choice for those seeking an affordable and reliable vehicle.
Toyota Corolla has proved itself to be one of the most reliable cars on the road. In general, Toyota has created some pretty robust models in the past. I think people are paying a premium price now for past performance regarding Toyota.
I think the question now is, will the newer cars also stand the test of time? Its fuel-efficient performance and safety features make it an ideal option for new drivers or families on a budget.
Some problems with the Toyota Corolla include issues with the transmission, such as rough shifting. Also, occasional engine oil consumption. Some drivers also report problems with the air conditioning system.
Fuel Efficiency: 6.2L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Issues with the suspension system
The Mitsubishi Mirage is another budget-friendly vehicle that provides a reliable and fuel-efficient ride.
Starting at $16,998 and 6.2L/100km combined fuel efficiency from a 1.2L engine with 3 cylinders, this compact car is perfect for those wanting a no-frills option that gets the job done without breaking the bank.
I feel that for Canadians, Mitsubishi strikes a particular chord. We see the rally cars flying around on TV and social media, and we see the snowy roads outside in most provinces for 6-8 months of the year; it's pretty easy to make the connection.
Common problems with the Mitsubishi Mirage typically involve issues with the transmission, including jerky shifts and poor acceleration.
Owners have also reported problems with the suspension system, such as noisy shocks, and occasional electrical issues.
Fuel Efficiency: 7.5L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Not the smoothest ride, and a poor quality interior
Hyundai is the world's third largest car manufacturer behind Volkswagen and Toyota. The Hyundai Venue starts at $23,299 and gets 7.5L/100km combined fuel economy.
The Venue is a small crossover SUV that offers a comfortable and affordable option for those seeking a practical vehicle with a budget. Its versatile interior and features make it an attractive choice for young professionals or small families.
Remember that the Venue has not been around for very long, being introduced in 2019. Even vehicles pieced together from proven platforms can still have their bugs to be worked out. But they should be well on their way now with the Venue.
Common problems with the Hyundai Venue include occasional transmission issues like erratic shifting and rough ride quality. Some owners have reported concerns with the electrical system, such as connectivity problems and interior rattles.
Fuel Efficiency: 6.7L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Transmission problems
The Nissan Versa is a compact and affordable vehicle that offers a smooth and comfortable ride for those looking for a simple yet practical option.
Its fuel efficiency and relatively low price point make it an attractive choice for buyers on a budget, starting at $22,397 for 6.7L/100km combined fuel economy.
Common problems with the Nissan Versa include transmission issues like jerky shifting and occasional engine noise.
Some drivers have reported problems with the air conditioning system and issues with suspension components leading to a rough ride.
Fuel Efficiency: 7.7L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Brake and suspension issues. In addition, poorer fuel economy than advertised
Kia has taken the car and SUV market by storm recently. The Kia Rio is a well-rounded compact car that offers an affordable and reliable option for those seeking a daily driver.
Its stylish design, fuel efficiency, and sufficient features make the Rio popular among budget-conscious buyers. The Kia Rio starts at $19,916 and gets 7.7L/100km in the city.
Common problems with the Kia Rio may include transmission issues like jerky shifting, electrical problems such as malfunctioning sensors, and occasional brake or suspension issues.
Some drivers have reported concerns with engine performance and fuel economy as well.
Fuel Efficiency: 8L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Engine oil consumption, and minor issues with the entertainment system
The Nissan Sentra is a dependable and reasonably priced vehicle that offers a generous amount of space in the cabin and trunk.
Its fuel-efficient performance and moderate price point make it an appealing choice for those on a tighter budget, starting at $25,147 and 8L/100km combined fuel economy.
Some problems with the Nissan Sentra often involve issues with the continuously variable transmission, including jerky or delayed shifting.
Some drivers report concerns with engine performance, such as excessive oil consumption and minor electrical or infotainment system glitches.
Nissan Kicks S
Fuel Efficiency: 7.2L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Engine performances and stereo issues
The Nissan Kicks S is a subcompact crossover starting at $24,477 that combines affordability, fuel efficiency at 7.2L/100km combined fuel economy, and practicality in a stylish package with 122 HP.
Its attractive design and low cost make it a popular choice for those seeking a budget-friendly vehicle with more space.
Some drivers have reported concerns with engine performance and occasional electrical or stereo system glitches.
Fuel Efficiency: 6.4L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Transmission issues and malfunctioning sensors
The Hyundai Elantra is a popular and affordable sedan that offers a comfortable ride and spacious interior for its size.
Its fuel efficiency and reasonable price make it a top choice for those searching for an economical vehicle, starting at $22,949.25 and fuel economy of 6.4L/100km combined.
Common problems with the Hyundai Elantra often involve transmission issues, particularly in models with the CVT. Some drivers have reported minor electrical issues, such as malfunctioning sensors, and occasional suspension or brake concerns.
Fuel Efficiency: 7.9L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Air conditioning issues
The Kia Forte is a budget-friendly compact car with a well-rounded balance of style, comfort, and reliability. Starting at $23,166, the Forte delivers on affordability without compromising features and performance. The Kia Forte states a fuel economy of 7.9L/100km in the city.
Common problems with the Kia Forte may include issues with the transmission, such as jerky shifts, and occasional electrical problems like malfunctioning sensors.
Some drivers have reported concerns with the air conditioning system.
Fuel Efficiency: 7.5L per 100 KM
Common Problems: Suspension issues causing a rougher than usual ride
The Mazda 3 is an affordable compact car known for its engaging driving experience and fuel-efficient performance.
This vehicle stands out among other budget-friendly options with stylish design and high-quality materials. Starting at $24,200, the Mazda 3 gets 7.5L/100km combined fuel economy.
Common problems with the Mazda 3 may involve transmission issues, rough shifting, and occasional engine-related problems like oil leaks.
Some drivers have reported concerns with the infotainment system and suspension components causing a rough ride.
Which car is best to have in Canada?
There has been an increasing demand for affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles and those capable of handling the diverse Canadian terrain and weather conditions. Front-wheel-drive cars are known to handle the snow and ice pretty well, but ideally, AWD is the way to go for a person driving Canadian winters. Y
ou can also check the ground clearance on these cars in the specs. Sometimes, cars lower to the ground have a higher chance of getting stuck in snow and ice.
What is the number 1 selling vehicle in Canada?
The number 1 selling vehicle in Canada is consistently a pickup truck, and over the last few years, the Ford F-Series has taken the lead in terms of sales figures. The F-Series includes the F-150 as well as its heavy-duty versions, the F-250 and F-350. With its combination of reliability, fuel efficiency, and impressive capabilities, the Ford F-Series has been a popular choice among Canadians, often outselling its competitors in this market segment.
In recent years, industry news has highlighted the Ford F-Series' dominance at various auto shows across the country. Displaying cutting-edge technology and innovative features, the F-Series continues to capture the attention of consumers. Advances in efficiency and performance have contributed to their rise in market share in Canada.
Although the Ford F-Series is currently the number 1 selling vehicle in Canada, trends in consumer preferences and advancements in technology may contribute to shifts in sales rankings in the future. For now, pickup trucks, particularly the Ford F-Series, continue to hold a significant portion of the Canadian market.
Understanding additional vehicle costs
Now that we've gone over the most affordable vehicles, lets dig into the additional expenses of vehicle ownership.
Insurance and maintenance
When purchasing a car in Canada, it is crucial to consider insurance and maintenance costs. These expenses can vary depending on factors like the make and model of the vehicle, where you live, and your driving history.
Researching and comparing insurance rates before choosing a car can help you to stay within your budget. Make sure to consider the cost of routine maintenance, such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake servicing, as well as any potential repairs that may arise.
Budgeting for annual maintenance expenses is essential for owning a vehicle in Canada.
Taxes and additional expenses
Besides insurance and maintenance costs, taxes and additional expenses play a significant role in the overall cost of a vehicle in Canada. These can include:
- Provincial and federal sales taxes
- Licensing and registration fees
- Emissions testing fees (if applicable)
- Delivery and destination charges for new vehicles
Researching these costs ahead of time is essential to avoid surprises and ensure you can afford the vehicle you are considering purchasing.
Used vehicle guides can help provide information on taxes and fees associated with pre-owned cars.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a car in Canada is the depreciation of its value.
Depreciation refers to the decrease in a vehicle's worth over time. All cars depreciate, but some models lose value more rapidly than others. It's essential to research the expected depreciation of the vehicles you are interested in and consider selecting a model with a slower depreciation rate.
Choosing a pre-owned vehicle can also be a wise option, as some or all of the depreciation has already occurred, significantly reducing the impact on your budget.
Important vehicle categories
Sedan and SUV
In the Canadian market, sedans and SUVs are popular choices among car buyers because of our weather.
If affordability is a priority, consider vehicles on this list like the Mitsubishi Mirage and Hyundai Elantra. These models offer a combination of fuel efficiency, practicality, and functionality.
The Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta are solid options for budget-conscious shoppers who want a Sedan over an SUV.
Luxury and performance vehicles
For those seeking a more upscale driving experience, luxury and performance vehicles are the way to go. Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes are well-known for producing high-quality vehicles with exceptional driving dynamics, advanced technology, and sophisticated style.
While these vehicles come with a higher price tag, their overall quality and performance are unmatched in the automotive world. These days, with technological advancements, it is not uncommon to find budget-friendly cars that contain things like lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, bluetooth connectivity, or blind-spot monitoring.
It is important to compare features and price points and understand what you pay for in any car.
Crossovers and hybrids
In recent years, crossovers and hybrids have become popular due to their blend of style, practicality, and fuel economy. These vehicles balance efficiency and performance.
Crossovers, on the other hand, offer a combination of the space and versatility of an SUV with the fuel economy and maneuverability of a sedan. As a result, crossovers and hybrids cater to a wide range of driving needs, preferences, and budgets.
Which is the cheapest car brand in Canada?
In recent years, the Canadian automobile market has seen a surge in affordable vehicles, with various brands offering competitive prices. Notably, the cheapest car brand in Canada is often determined by factors such as MSRP, base model pricing, overall cost of ownership, and reliability.
Nissan has consistently been a frontrunner regarding affordable vehicles in the Canadian market. It's exactly why you see them have the most vehicles on this list today.
Another brand offering well-priced vehicles is Hyundai. Hyundai has gained popularity in the cost-conscious market because it is known for its fuel efficiency, reliability, and comprehensive warranty.
Kia is another affordable option, with their Rio model priced at $19,916. The Kia Rio offers a stylish design and competitive fuel efficiency.
What is the best month to buy a car in Canada?
In Canada, certain months are more advantageous for car buyers looking for a good deal. One of the best times to buy is December, as dealerships often have attractive offers and year-end sales to meet their annual targets and move old inventory off their lots.
Additionally, salespeople may be more willing to negotiate on price to close the year strong.
Another great time to buy a car is during auto show season. In Canada, this occurs from January through March, with notable events like the Montreal International Auto Show, the Toronto Auto Show, and the Vancouver International Auto Show.
These events usually coincide with various incentives and promotions designed to boost sales during the slower winter season, when vehicle sales typically dip.
Car buyers in Canada can also take advantage of the markdowns offered on outgoing models during new model release months. This usually occurs between August and October when dealerships need to make room for the following year's vehicles.
It's essential to keep an eye on industry news to know when these new releases are hitting the market, as this information can play a significant role in timing a purchase.
Where are cars cheapest in Canada?
One reliable source for tracking the best car deals in Canada is automotive news websites. Frequently updated with the latest industry news, these websites can provide valuable insights into the country's most affordable cars available in the market.
Observing price trends and watching special promotions can increase your chances of finding a quality vehicle at a reasonable price.
Checking out local auto shows is another valuable approach for those seeking the cheapest cars. Auto shows often feature discounted prices to attract potential buyers. Here, you can also engage with knowledgeable salespersons and gather essential information on specific makes and models.
Dealerships often offer sales promotions, so investigating multiple dealerships and comparing prices can provide a clearer understanding of the most cost-effective options.
Online car marketplaces, such as AutoTrader.ca and Kijiji Autos, help potential buyers conveniently browse numerous listings and compare multiple brands.
I think picking up any new car for less than $30,000 these days is not a bad price to pay for some new wheels. However, Canada's cheapest cars are not new at all. The cheapest car is the car that has been owned for a long time and is well cared for.
Buying new cars is never cheap. It is even worse if a person buys a new car regularly. A person who does this is never getting any good deals, and they are never saving any money. They are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars over their life span.
The cheapest car is used, well cared for, and owned for a long time. After about 10 years, a lot of the depreciation has occurred for a vehicle. So in buying used cars, it can help to buy something that is at least 5 years old, if not 10 or more.
In summary, finding the cheapest cars in Canada requires time and effort spent comparing offers and considering pre-owned vehicles. With a keen eye on the market and a patient approach, Canadians can discover the most cost-effective cars suited to their needs.
Are cars cheaper in Canada or the U.S.?
Various factors are at play when comparing car prices between Canada and the United States. In some cases, cars can be cheaper in Canada, while in others, they may be more affordable in the US.
One key factor to consider is the exchange rate between the Canadian and US dollar. Rate fluctuations can significantly impact the relative cost of cars for buyers.
Another crucial element to consider is taxes and fees. Canadian buyers may face additional costs like sales tax, environmental fees, or import duties. These fees can sometimes make a car more expensive in Canada compared to the US.
On the other hand, in certain provinces, tax incentives for electric vehicles can make those cars more affordable than in the US.
Is it worth buying a used car in the U.S. and bringing it to Canada?
In some cases, used cars in the US can be significantly cheaper than their Canadian counterparts. However, it's important to remember that currency exchange rate fluctuations can hugely affect these savings.
Once a suitable car is found, potential buyers should know the importation regulations. All imported vehicles must meet the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and may require modifications to comply with these standards.
Additionally, buyers must ensure they possess the necessary paperwork, such as the vehicle's title and a recall clearance letter.
Next, there are several taxes and fees to consider. Importing a used car from the US to Canada will generally subject the buyer to multiple fees. Lets go over that next.
How much will it cost to import my car to Canada?
Importing a car to Canada can have various associated costs, depending on the vehicle's country of origin, value, and the year it was manufactured. The process typically involves paying import duties, taxes, and fees, as well as meeting various regulatory requirements.
In terms of import duties, the rate is typically dictated by trade agreements. For example, cars imported from the United States, which falls under the CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement), usually do not have any duty fees. However, vehicles imported from non-CUSMA countries are generally subject to a 6.1% import duty.
In addition to import duties, other taxes and fees may apply. Some common ones include:
- Goods and Services Tax (GST): A tax on the value of the imported vehicle.
- Provincial Sales Tax (PST): This tax varies depending on the province.
- Air conditioning tax: A $100 charge on vehicles with air conditioning.
- Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) fee: A fee paid to the RIV, which is responsible for ensuring that imported vehicles comply with Canadian road safety standards.
Once the car arrives in Canada, certain modifications may be required to comply with Canadian regulations and pass the RIV inspection. These can include changes to lighting, tire standards, and child safety systems. The cost of these modifications varies based on the required components and the complexity of installation.