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37 Cars You Can Own for Under $300 a Month

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed when shopping for a new car, with an array of different options and features to consider on hundreds of different makes and models. However, if you’re thinking that you simply won’t find something worthwhile if you’re on a budget, you might be wrong.

A recent GOBankingRates study uncovered a number of options for new cars that can be yours for less than $300 a month, depending on your credit.

Click through to see the dos and don’ts of buying a car.

37. 2018 Toyota Prius C

  • Starting MSRP: $20,630
  • Down payment: $4,126
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $300

Boasting a combined fuel economy of 46 mpg, this four-door hatchback gets competitive gas mileage for a reasonable cost of just over $20,000 MSRP. However, its 99 horsepower ranks 12th in its class.

36. 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE

  • Starting MSRP: $20,550
  • Down payment: $4,110
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $299

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE has a range of available features, including panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, hands-free smart lift gate and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

The fuel economy, though, could leave a bit more to be desired for some. At 26 mpg combined, it ranks 13th in its class.

But that price tag of just over $20,000 is about $17.1 million less than what you would pay for the 1961 Ferrari Spider.

35. 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

  • Starting MSRP: $20,395
  • Down payment: $4,079
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $297

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has five seats, a 10-year/100,000 miles powertrain limited warranty in addition to safety features like forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and auto high beam headlights.

It does only get 25 mpg combined, though, so consider what your potential fuel costs might be before taking out a car loan.

JAMES HALFACRE / Volkswagen of America

34. 2018 Volkswagen Beetle

  • Starting MSRP: $20,220
  • Down payment: $4,044
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $294

Volkswagen offers its transferable, bumper-to-bumper, “The People First Warranty” that’s good for six years/72,000 miles. It also has the second-best horsepower in its class at 174 and gets a combined 29 mpg.

If you can’t buy a car outright, check out the pros and cons of rent-to-own cars.

mike ditz / Mazda North America

33. 2018 Mazda CX-3 Sport

  • Starting MSRP: $20,110
  • Down payment: $4,022
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $293

Mazda’s 2018 edition of the CX-3 Sport features a 146-hp SKYACTIV engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, auto-off halogen headlights and the MAZDA CONNECT Infotainment System. The car also gets a combined 31 mpg in fuel economy.

Honda / Honda North America

32. 2018 Honda HR-V

  • Starting MSRP: $19,670
  • Down payment: $3,934
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $286

The Honda HR-V is among the top five in its class for both horsepower (fifth with 141 hp) and fuel economy (second with a combined 28 mpg), and it comes at a cost of less than $20,000.

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31. 2018 Hyundai Sonata SE

  • Starting MSRP: $19,550
  • Down payment: $3,910
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $285

In addition to its 185-hp 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, the Sonata SE comes with blind spot detection, a 7-inch color display with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and available heated and ventilated front seats. Its 29 mpg combined does mean the Sonata SE ranks 10th in its class, though.

Find Out: How to Buy a Used Car That Hasn’t Been Paid Off

30. 2018 Honda Civic Coupe

  • Starting MSRP: $19,350
  • Down payment: $3,870
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $282

The Honda Civic Coupe comes with a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including five-star ratings for frontal crash, side barrier, rollover rating and side crash. What’s more, its 158 hp ranks first in its class.

29. 2018 Mazda Mazda3 5-Door Sport

  • Starting MSRP: $19,345
  • Down payment: $3,869
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $282

In addition to a MAZDA CONNECT infotainment system and Smart City Brake Support, the Mazda3 Sport has a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA and the second-highest horsepower in its class at 155.

28. 2018 Nissan Frontier

  • Starting MSRP: $18,990
  • Down payment: $3,798
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $276

The Nissan Frontier might be the right mid-size pickup for someone looking to get more bang for their buck — and their gas. Not only does it have a first-in-its-class 261 hp, but its 19 mpg combined is still good for fourth in its class.

Honda / Honda North America

27. 2018 Honda Civic Sedan

  • Starting MSRP: $18,940
  • Down payment: $3,788
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $276

The second Honda Civic on this list comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, automatic climate control and a multi-angle rearview camera. That’s in addition to its five-star crash rating from the NHTSA.

26. 2018 Toyota Corolla iM

  • Starting MSRP: $18,850
  • Down payment: $3,770
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $274

The Corolla iM ranks fifth in its class for its 137 hp, but that extra power doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sacrificing fuel economy as its 30 mpg combined is the sixth in its class.

David Dewhurst Photography / Toyota

25. 2018 Toyota Corolla

  • Starting MSRP: $18,600
  • Down payment: $3,720
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $271

The second Corolla on this list also ranked fifth and sixth in its class for horsepower and fuel economy, respectively. That’s in addition to its five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

If you have bad credit, here’s how to find the best bad credit car loans.

24. 2018 Volkswagen Jetta

  • Starting MSRP: $18,545
  • Down payment: $3,709
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $270

In addition to its five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta’s 33 mpg combined is the second best in its class, only losing out to the 34 mpg combined that the 2019 Jetta gets.

Check Out: The Cost of a Car the Year You Were Born

23. 2018 Jeep Renegade

  • Starting MSRP: $18,445
  • Down payment: $3,689
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $268

The 2018 Jeep Renegade features Bluetooth streaming audio, a rear-view camera and a 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine that produces a first-in-its-class 160 hp. It did receive only a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, dragged down by three-star ratings for rollovers.

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Bruce Benedict / Kia

22. 2018 Kia Forte5

  • Starting MSRP: $18,300
  • Down payment: $3,660
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $266

The Kia Forte5 has the top horsepower in its class at 164 as well as an available UVO connectivity system and high-tech sensors that can adjust the airbag inflation to the severity of the collision.

When investing in a car, don’t forget to get the right car insurance to go with it.

21. 2018 Mazda3 4-Door Sport

  • Starting MSRP: $18,095
  • Down payment: $3,619
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $263

In addition to a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the Mazda3 4-door boasts the second-highest horsepower in its class at 155. Its 31 mpg combined, though, is only good for ninth in its class. To get an even better deal, be aware of what car dealerships don’t want you to know.

Kevin Necessary / The Ford Motor Company

20. 2018 Ford Focus

  • Starting MSRP: $17,950
  • Down payment: $3,590
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $261

Of course, the only sedan that tops the Mazda3 for its 155 horsepower is actually the next car on this list: the 2018 Ford Focus, which gives you an additional five horsepower for $145 less. And with 30 mpg combined, it’s getting slightly better gas mileage as well.

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19. 2018 Nissan Sentra

  • Starting MSRP: $16,990
  • Down payment: $3,398
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $247

The 2018 Nissan Sentra ranks fifth in its class for both horsepower (130) and fuel economy (30 mpg combined). The Sentra can only claim a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, but it did score five-star ratings for all of its side-crash scores.

When buying a car, watch out for hidden costs when taking out an auto loan.

18. 2018 Chevrolet Cruze

  • Starting MSRP: $16,975
  • Down payment: $3,395
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $247

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze compares favorably to the competition in its power and gas mileage in addition to its price. Its 153 horsepower is the best in its class, and its 32 mpg combined is good for third best.

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17. 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT

  • Starting MSRP: $16,850
  • Down payment: $3,370
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $245

The 2.0L GDI engine in a 2018 Hyundai Elantra produces a class-leading 162 horsepower, but the 26 mpg combined is less than seven other models in its class — including a whopping 10 mpg behind the 2019 Honda Fit.

The Elantra did ultimately score only a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, including a specific safety concern about the safety of rear passengers in side collisions.

If you’re applying for a loan to buy your car, know what you need before applying.

Bruce Benedict / Kia

16. 2018 Kia Forte

  • Starting MSRP: $16,600
  • Down payment: $3,320
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $242

The 2018 Kia Forte is second in its class for horsepower with the 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine producing 147-hp. The fuel economy might leave something to be desired for some consumers, though. At 28 mpg combined, there are seven other offerings in its class that get better mileage.

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Bruce Benedict / Kia

15. 2018 Kia Soul

  • Starting MSRP: $16,200
  • Down payment: $3,240
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $236

Your 2018 Kia Soul features a 1.6L engine, Bluetooth and a SiriusXM audio system. The car also gets 27 mpg combined on 130 hp.

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14. 2018 Honda Fit

  • Starting MSRP: $16,190
  • Down payment: $3,238
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $236

The 2018 Honda Fit is tied with the 2019 model for the best horsepower in its class at 130, and it scored a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. In fact, the Fit scored a five-star rating in each individual safety subcategory measured by the NHTSA — save for its rollover rating, where it only managed four stars.

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13. 2018 Toyota Yaris iA

  • Starting MSRP: $15,950
  • Down payment: $3,190
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $232

The 2018 Yaris comes with USB ports, a 7-inch touch-screen audio display, HD radio and a backup camera. And, the 34 mpg combined puts it in a tie for second in its class for fuel economy. Hopefully shopping for the right car helps you avoid issues, but if not, you’ll want to know if these repairs are worth the money.

 

12. 2018 Toyota Yaris

  • Starting MSRP: $15,635
  • Down payment: $3,127
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $228

The 2018 Yaris comes with hands-free phone capability in addition to phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth. Additionally, it ranks in the top five for its class in both horsepower (fourth with 106) and gas mileage (third with 33 mpg combined).

And as you’re saving money on your car, don’t forget to cut costs on your car insurance.

11. 2018 Nissan Versa Note

  • Starting MSRP: $15,600
  • Down payment: $3,120
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $227

Achieving only a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA might concern some consumers, but the Nissan does also boast a best-in-class 34 mpg combined and third-in-its-class 109 hp.

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10. 2018 Chevrolet Sonic

  • Starting MSRP: $15,295
  • Down payment: $3,059
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $223

The 2018 Sonic boasts the top horsepower in its class with 138, and it still manages a 29 mpg combined that puts it among the top five for gas mileage. Meanwhile, the car scored a five-star rating for its overall safety as well as each NHTSA subcategory save for one blemish — a four-star rollover rating.

It’s an even bigger saving if you live in one of the best states to own a car.

9. 2018 Hyundai Elantra

  • Starting MSRP: $14,450
  • Down payment: $2,890
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $210

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra packs some extra punch, with its 147 hp beating every other car in its class save the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze and the 2018 Kia Forte — both of which appear earlier in this study. However, like the GT version of the Elantra, the NHTSA tests turned up a potential safety concern for rear passengers in side collisions.

Insider Info: 25 Car-Selling Secrets Only Dealers Know

8. 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

  • Starting MSRP: $14,395
  • Down payment: $2,879
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $209

The only 2017 model to make this list also finished second in its class for fuel economy — to the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage, with both cars getting 35 mpg combined. That said, with a meager 78 horsepower, the 2017 Mirage is just eighth in its class.

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7. 2018 Ford Fiesta

  • Starting MSRP: $14,205
  • Down payment: $2,841
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $207

In addition to being one of the 10 cheapest options in this study, the 2018 Ford Fiesta ranks in the top five for its class for both its 120 horsepower and 31 mpg combined.

If you choose your car correctly, it won’t be an expensive car to insure.

Bruce Benedict / Kia

6. 2018 Kia Rio 5-Door

  • Starting MSRP: $14,200
  • Down payment: $2,840
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $207

With only two other models in its class, it’s not exactly a surprise that the Kia Rio 5-door was among the top-ranked for horsepower and fuel economy. However, although the Kia Rio has 10 more horsepower than the 2018 Ford Fiesta and 21 more than the 2018 Nissan Versa, it’s only trailing the Fiesta’s 34 mpg combined by 2 mpg.

After buying a car, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for any situation, including a potential car accident.

Bruce Benedict / Kia

5. 2018 Kia Rio

  • Starting MSRP: $13,900
  • Down payment: $2,780
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $202

The Kia Rio has a 6-speed automatic transmission in addition to motor-driven power steering and available smartphone connectivity options (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

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Morgan Segal / Hyundai Motor America

4. 2018 Hyundai Accent

  • Starting MSRP: $13,495
  • Down payment: $2,699
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $196

The 2018 edition of the Accent is well-placed among the competition, ranking in the top three for its class in both fuel economy and horsepower. The 130 hp provided by the 1.6L 4-cylinder engine is the third most in its class, and the 31 mpg combined it gets is second overall.

You’ll also want to check if your future car costs a lot to maintain.

3. 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Starting MSRP: $13,395
  • Down payment: $2,679
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $195

The combination of its low price and excellent fuel economy — getting 37 mpg city and 43 mpg highway — should make the Mirage an appealing option for someone looking to pinch pennies now and in the future. However, the car did manage just a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

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Andrew Trahan Photography LLC / Chevrolet

2. 2018 Chevrolet Spark

  • Starting MSRP: $13,050
  • Down payment: $2,610
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $190

The 2018 Spark is a city car that’s low on power (just 98 horsepower) but big on gas mileage (33 mpg combined). It also comes with a standard rear-vision camera, available phone integration and a 7-inch color touch screen.

For even smaller payments, you could consider a 96-month loan.

1. 2018 Nissan Versa Sedan

  • Starting MSRP: $12,110
  • Down payment: $2,422
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $176

With monthly car payments as low as $176 if you have excellent credit, the top car in terms of affordability for 2018 is the Nissan Versa Sedan, which gets 30 mpg combined.

Related: How to Get Out of a Car Loan You Can’t Afford

Top Cars Available for Under $300 a Month

When it comes to providing affordable cars, Japanese manufacturers appear to be at the top of the heap: 19 of the 37 offerings in this study come from Japanese manufacturers (Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan, in this case), and another 10 came from South Korean car makers (Hyundai and Kia).

The two manufacturers with the most models available for under $300 a month? That would be Toyota and Kia, each with five.

Click through to read more about buying a car with a co-buyer or cosigner.

More on Saving Money on a Car

Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only and might not feature exact models, base models or the cars’ specific trim levels. As a result, some of the cars in the photos might have different MSRPs than the ones listed in this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best vehicles you can own for a $300-a-month car payment or less by first making these assumptions: Five-year loan (60 months) and 20 percent down payment, excluding estimated tax, title, tags and other fees. Monthly payments based on a 2.00%-4.00% APR for excellent credit and sourced from CarMax calculator on May 15, 2018.