Best cars under $18,000

If you are shopping for a car on a budget, you don’t necessarily have to go with a used vehicle. Many used cars are worth more than their new counterparts due to the state of the economy and the increased demand for used vehicles. There are also plenty of new cars on the market that are priced below $18,000. A bad credit car loan can put you behind the wheel of a new, inexpensive car.

The base model of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze costs around $16,500. All trim levels of the Cruze come with six months of OnStar services, including navigation and Automatic Crash Response. The Cruze Eco is rated at 42 miles per gallon on the highway, but Popular Mechanics employees found that it was closer to 48 mpg during their test drive.

The base Civic model – with a manual transmission – is roughly the same price as Chevy’s mid-size sedan. In terms of fuel efficiency, the 2012 Honda Civic gets an average 40 miles per gallon, just shy of Chevy Cruze’s average gas consumption rate, according to Digital Trends.

Honda updated the exterior to make it sleeker and more appealing, and the entry-level, four-cylinder engine 140 horsepower engine offers better handling than previous models, according to Business Week. However, the news source states that the improvements are modest at best.

One other car that fits the bill, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra, is the one of the least expensive options for new cars at around $15,000. The initial cost may be appealing for those who are applying for a car loan, and although the Elantra has the worst fuel economy out of these three vehicles, it can still get nearly 40 mpg on the highway. Kelley Blue Book states that a used 2011 Elantra is worth more than $19,500.

Older versions of the Civic and Elantra are also good bets for the money, and are often included on expert lists of best used cars, which make them a smarter purchase option with a car loan. A 2008 Civic is worthy approximately $14,000, while a 2008 Elantra has a $12,900 price tag. There are plenty of new and used cars that are affordable and stylish, even for people with bad credit.