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10 cheapest new cars for sale in Australia

​Affordable motoring comes in all shapes and sizes, not to mention spec and safety levels.

A little cheap-car history; back in 2008, Indian automotive giant Tata produced the Nano; a stripped-bare economy box designed for its local market that cost a ridiculously low $2000. It was, Tata said proudly, the cheapest car in the world, and they expected it to do big things in the Indian marketplace.

But then... it didn't. It turned out that parking something known across the planet as the cheapest car in the world on your driveway did nothing to impress the neighbours, and so the Nano sat unloved in lots across India.

The lesson, of course, is that nobody really wants to be seen to own a 'cheap' car, do they?

Here at CarsGuide, we're nothing if not observant, and so to avoid Tata's mistakes, we won't be referring to the following list as the cheapest brand new cars in Australia in 2018, and instead call them the best-value new-car buys on offer today.

As well we should, because these represent so much more than just cheap new-car prices. In most cases, they're safe, packed with features and perfectly sized for navigating our cramped capital cities.

Oh, and they're also very, very cheap.

Mitsubishi Mirage - $12,250 ($13,990 drive-away)

Mitsubishi's Mirage city car leads the bargain-basement pack - it's the ​cheapest new car in Australia. Mitsubishi's Mirage city car leads the bargain-basement pack - it's the ​cheapest new car in Australia.

What is it: Few know more about shifting cut-price cars in huge numbers than Mitsubishi, and the Japanese brand's Mirage city car leads the bargain-basement pack - it's the ​cheapest new car in Australia.

Price: The ES manual version can be yours for just $13,990 drive-away.

Mechanics: A simple 1.2-litre petrol engine producing 57kW/100Nm is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Features: High-tech safety stuff is off the table at this price point, but you can expect front, front-side and curtain airbags, as well the usual suite of braking and traction aids. You'll also get power windows front and rear, while multimedia is handled by a simple letterbox-style stereo and CD player.

Pros: Cheap to buy, own and run, and with a turning circle that makes inner-city living a breeze. It holds the title of cheapest new car Australia.

Cons: No digital screen means no Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto, power-fiends need not apply.

MG MG3 Core manual - $13,990

The MG MG3 is the brand's cut-price city hatchback aimed unashamedly at first-car buyers. The MG MG3 is the brand's cut-price city hatchback aimed unashamedly at first-car buyers.

What is it: A Chinese car with a British badge, the MG MG3 is the brand's cut-price city hatchback aimed unashamedly at first-car buyers.

Price: An MG3 Core manual will set you back $13,990.

Mechanics: A 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 78kW/137Nm, and is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Features: A six-year/unlimited kilometre warranty goes some way to alleviating any ownership fears, while the LED DRLs add a sense of premium. A similar letterbox-style screen to the Mirage means true smartphone mirroring is out of the question. Six airbags and braking and traction aids are the highlights of the standard safety list.

Pros: Long warranty and premium-feeling touches.

Cons: No reversing camera, resale could be challenging.

Kia Picanto S manual - $14,190

Kia's take on a city car is one of the most convincing options on this list. Kia's take on a city car is one of the most convincing options on this list.

What is it: Kia's take on a city car is one of the most convincing options on this list, blending on-road skills with a killer ownership package.

Price: The littlest Kia will cost you $14,190 for an S with a manual transmission.

Mechanics: A 1.25-litre petrol engine will produce 62kW/122Nm. It's paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Features: It all starts with the warranty - a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre ownership package that is still a leader in the industry. Meanwhile, a 7.0-inch touchscreen in the cabin is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, so you can use the features of your smartphone (maps, podcasts etc) while driving.

Finally, AEB is standard in the Picanto - something no other car on this list can claim.

Pros: Apple CarPlay/Android Auto revolutionised the cheap-car cabin, strong ownership package.

Cons: Feels like a city car when you hit the open road.

Holden Barina manual - $14,990 (+$1000 drive-away)

The cheapest and smallest Holden might just be the best-value car on this list. The cheapest and smallest Holden might just be the best-value car on this list.

What is it: The cheapest and smallest Holden (the Spark has now been discontinued) might just be the best-value car on this list, packed with style and safety features despite its price.

Price: It'll cost you $14,990 (+$1000 drive-away) for the LS Manual.

Mechanics: The Barina makes use of a 1.6-litre petrol engine good for 85kW/155Nm. It's paired with, in its cheapest guise, a five-speed manual gearbox.

Features: The standard features list does not feel like a cut-price car. Expect 16-inch alloys, cruise control and auto headlights here, as well as an Apple CarPlay/Android Auto-equipped stereo with six speakers.

Kudos goes to the safety kit, too, with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, and a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011). A five-year warranty makes for a strong ownership package, too.

Pros: The standard features list is swollen with goodies.

Cons: Thirsty when it comes to fuel use.

Honda Jazz VTi manual - $14,990

The bite-sized Honda has been a staple of the L- and P-plate set for years. The bite-sized Honda has been a staple of the L- and P-plate set for years.

What is it: The bite-sized Honda has been a staple of the L- and P-plate set for years, owing largely to its practicality perks and its maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Price: A VTi Manual will set you back $14,990, or $16,990 drive-away... but haggle and you'll get a deal.

Mechanics: A 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 88kW/145Nm. It partners with a five-speed manual gearbox and drives the front wheels.

Features: The VTi's 7.0-inch touchscreen misses out on Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, but pairs with a four-speaker stereo.

The safety offering is impressive, with six airbags, cruise control and a multi-angle reversing camera - enough to earn the Jazz a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2014). Honda's patented 'magic seats' tilt up as well as split 60:40, meaning the little Jazz is surprisingly practical.

Pros: Practical, well-equipped interior that defies its price tag.

Cons: No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Mazda2 Neo - $14,990

The smallest Mazda punches above its weight, in quality and popularity. The smallest Mazda punches above its weight, in quality and popularity.

What is it: The smallest Mazda punches above its weight, in quality and popularity, with the 2 often duking it out for top spot in the segment.

Price: A Neo with a manual gearbox lists at $14,990, but Mazda is offering a $16,990 drive-away deal.

Mechanics: The Mazda's 1.5-litre petrol engine is good for 79kW and 139Nm. It pairs with a five-speed manual gearbox, but a six-speed automatic can be yours for an extra $2k.

Features: The Neo's safety kit is a hit-and-miss affair. Reversing sensors and AEB arrive as standard, but you do miss a reversing camera. Elsewhere, a fairly basic stereo pairs with four speakers. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but you can plug-in your phone or MP3 player to access your favourite songs.

Pros: Quality feel, strong re-sale.

Cons: No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, no reversing camera.

Toyota Yaris Ascent manual - $15,390

The Toyota Yaris is a mainstay of the first-car scene. The Toyota Yaris is a mainstay of the first-car scene.

What is it: The Toyota Yaris' perceived quality levels are through the roof, making it a mainstay of the first-car scene.

Price: The entry-level Ascent lists at $15,390 with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Mechanics: There's a 1.3-litre petrol engine under the hood, good for a (not overly impressive) 63kW/120Nm. It pairs with a five-speed manual gearbox in its cheapest guise, and drives the front wheels.

Features: A genuine all-rounder, the Yaris arrives with a air-conditioning, cruise control and a 6.1-inch touchscreen controlling the multimedia options. Safety is a strong suit, too, with a maximum five-star ANCAP rating  thanks to its seven airbags and reversing camera, all of which arrives as standard kit.

Pros: Killer reputation for reliability, no obvious equipment weak spots.

Cons: Engine outputs unlikely to get your pulse racing.

Hyundai Accent Sport manual - $15,490

The littlest Hyundai is well-equipped and arrives with a super-strong ownership package. The littlest Hyundai is well-equipped and arrives with a super-strong ownership package.

What is it: The littlest Hyundai is on something of a sales run in 2018, leading its segment so far this year. It's well-equipped and arrives with a super-strong ownership package.

Price: The Accent Sport wears a $15,490 price tag. Not the cheapest way into a new car, but there's plenty of kit and space to justify your spend.

Mechanics: A 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 103kW/167Nm. The cheapest version comes with a six-speed manual.

Features: It doesn't feel like a bargain-basement offering, the Accent Sport, with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control. The tech options are good, too, with an Apple CarPlay-equipped 5.0-inch touchscreen that partners with a four-speaker stereo. Importantly, a five-year warranty with capped-price servicing throughout makes for a strong ownership proposition.

Pros: Strong warranty, premium features.

Cons: Engine sounds better on paper.

Ford Fiesta Ambiente - $15,825

There's still value to be found in the Blue Oval's smallest offering. There's still value to be found in the Blue Oval's smallest offering.

What is it: The Ford Fiesta is showing its age in Australia, with an uncertain update still some way off. But there's still value to be found in the Blue Oval's smallest offering.

Price: The Ambiente will cost you $15,825 with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Mechanics: Ford's 'Duratec' 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 88kW/145Nm. A five-speed manual gearbox is the cheapest option, and power is sent to the front wheels.

Features: The Ambiente arrives with air-conditioning, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Tech is handled by a 3.5-inch screen that pairs with a Bluetooth-equipped six-speaker stereo. You'll be unsurprised to hear steel wheels and cloth trim are the order of the day here.

Pros: Still easy on the eye.

Cons: Getting long in the tooth.

Honda City VTi - $15,990

The sedan mechanical twin to Honda's Jazz hatch, the City lags its better-known sibling in the sales stakes. The sedan mechanical twin to Honda's Jazz hatch, the City lags its better-known sibling in the sales stakes.

What is it: The sedan mechanical twin to Honda's Jazz hatch, the City lags its better-known sibling in the sales stakes. Remains a surprisingly spacious and plenty practical option.

Price: A VTi Manual will set you back $15,990 - or $17,990 drive-away.

Mechanics: A Jazz-matching 1.5-litre petrol engine is good for 88kW/145Nm, pairing with a five-speed manual and driving the front wheels.

Features: There's some genuinely premium-feeling kit on the City's standard-feature list, with LED DRLs, a multi-angle reversing camera and a 7.0-inch touchscreen in the cabin. A five-year warranty, parking sensors and six airbags round out a solid kit offering.

Pros: Capacious boot, solid feeling of quality.

Cons: No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, steel wheels.

​Which affordable car would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below.

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