Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Sedans in America for 2021

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn the cheapest sedans in america for 2021

Imagine for a moment you’re not a well-heeled connoisseur of expensive cars and high finance, and there’s not a Bentley Mulsanne and a Land Cruiser in your garage. Instead, imagine you have to buy one of the three cheapest sedans on sale in America in 2021.

Today it’s Buy/Drive/Burn meets Ace of Base.

Mitsubishi Mirage G4

The Mirage G4 is the cheapest sedan on sale in America. There are four total trims: ES, LE, Carbonite Edition, and SE. In ES trim the G4 starts at $15,295, and the SE tops out at $18,195. In its basic form, the G4 has a five-speed manual transmission, and the model’s only mill: a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine good for 76 horsepower. Niceties include a driver assist package and a seven-inch screen with a smartphone link. Six free colors are available on the G4, and all of them offer a choice between dark or light gray upholstery. Mitsubishi charges you a $995 shipping fee and forces a $145 welcome package that includes floor mats. The final cost of the SE is $15,295.

Nissan Versa

The second least expensive sedan in America is the Versa. Available in four trims: S manual, SR, S CVT, and SV, the Versa ranges in price from $14,930 to $17,740. The base S trim comes with a five-speed manual, 1.6-liter inline-four (122hp), a driving assist package, and is available in five free paint colors. Interiors are all black. Final cost including the shipping fee of $950 is $15,880.

Hyundai Accent

Hyundai’s Accent is the third least expensive sedan on sale in America right now. Across its three trims of SE, SEL, and Limited, the Accent starts at $15,395 and ends at $19,500. Base SE customers receive a 1.6-liter inline-four good for 120 horses, a backup camera, a five-inch interior screen, and a sporty six-speed manual. Six free exterior colors are on offer, and with a couple of those Hyundai offers a beige interior in addition to basic black. Hyundai charges $1,005 for shipping, so the actual base price of the SE is $16,400.

Three Aces of Bases, all quite close in price. Which one’s worth the Buy with your skinflint dollars?

[Images: Mitsubishi, Nissan, Hyundai]

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2 of 41 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 22, 2021

    Buy the Accent and drive it at least it will not leave you stranded. Burn the Mirage not worth the bother. Burn to a crisp the Versa with the Jatco CVT unless the transmission goes before you get a chance to burn it.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Feb 23, 2021

    Walked past an Accent in the grocery store the other night. A CVT perhaps? Owner was reving the piss out of it and it wouldn't move. I hustled by b/c had it suddenly gone into gear - someone could have gotten hurt. Nothing against any of these three. More inclined to keep my 20+ year old domestic sedan that costs me nothing and is valued at nearly nothing. For me its a toss up between the Kiayundai and the Nissan. I could make the Mitsu do the job and last but I can't warm up to it aesthetically. I want absolutely nothing to do with any of their CVTs or automatic transmissions. I like cheap and slow b/c I like to spend my money on fun weekend toys. Still, a used car seems like a better preposition.

  • Danddd Chicago at night is crazy traveling in and out from the 'burbs. Taking the Ike back home around midnight and you'll see racers swerving by at 100mph plus. Dangerous enough we rarely go down there anymore. I plan my city trips between 9:30AM and back out by 1PM to miss the worst traffic.
  • SCE to AUX Good summary, Matt.I like EVs, but not bans, subsidies, or carbon credits. Let them find their own level.PM Sunak has done a good thing, but I'm surprised at how sensibly early he made the call. Hopefully they'll ban the ban altogether.
  • SCE to AUX "Having spoken to plenty of suppliers over the years, many have told me they tried to adapt to EV production only to be confronted with inconsistent orders."Lofty sales predictions followed by reality.I once worked (very briefly) for a key supplier to Segway, back when "Ginger" was going to change the world. Many suppliers like us tooled up to support sales in the millions, only to sell thousands - and then went bankrupt.
  • SCE to AUX "all-electric vehicles, resulting in a scenario where automakers need fewer traditional suppliers"Is that really true? Fewer traditional suppliers, but they'll be replaced with other suppliers. You won't have the myriad of parts for an internal combustion engine and its accessories (exhaust, sensors), but you still have gear reducers (sometimes two or three), electric motors with lots of internal components, motor mounts, cooling systems, and switchgear.Battery packs aren't so simple, either, and the fire recalls show that quality control is paramount.The rest of the vehicle is pretty much the same - suspension, brakes, body, etc.
  • Theflyersfan As crazy as the NE/Mid-Atlantic I-95 corridor drivers can be, for the most part they pay attention and there aren't too many stupid games. I think at times it's just too crowded for that stuff. I've lived all over the US and the worst drivers are in parts of the Midwest. As I've mentioned before, Ohio drivers have ZERO lane discipline when it comes to cruising, merging, and exiting. And I've just seen it in this area (Louisville) where many drivers have literally no idea how to merge. I've never seen an area where drivers have no problems merging onto an interstate at 30 mph right in front of you. There are some gruesome wrecks at these merge points because it looks like drivers are just too timid to merge and speed up correctly. And the weaving and merging at cloverleaf exits (which in this day and age need to all go away) borders on comical in that no one has a bloody clue of let car merge in, you merge right to exit, and then someone repeats behind you. That way traffic moves. Not a chance here.And for all of the ragging LA drivers get, I found them just fine. It's actually kind of funny watching them rearrange themselves like after a NASCAR caution flag once traffic eases up and they line up, speed up to 80 mph for a few miles, only to come to a dead halt again. I think they are just so used to the mess of freeways and drivers that it's kind of a "we'll get there when we get there..." kind of attitude.