Cars aren’t cheap. Everyone’s looking for something affordable. At SWEngines, we’re all about affordable options, so we wanted to create a list of the Best, Most Affordable Cars of 2015. It’s difficult to class a vehicle for affordability since “affordable” differs from person to person. We’ve selected cars that we believe will give you the most bang for your buck—cars that promise quality. Because quality is what everything ultimately boils down to. A cheap car that completely and utterly brakes down after a couple years is quite the opposite of affordable. So some of these might cars may exceed your price range, but only because they offer exceeding quality. You’ll find that many of these makes are available in alternate versions with more valuable features the more you’re willing to spend. We’ve broken the list up into the Best Affordable Cars as listed by Popularity, Safety, and convenience for Families. Look through this list and see if anything meets both your needs and your price range. If you don’t find anything, read the section at the bottom (titled “An even more Affordable Option”).
As listed by Popularity
Not everything popular is good. However, popularity can be a fair gauge or reliability and value in a vehicle. So what’s the most popular car of 2015 thus far? The following cars have been recognized for their popularity among buyers as well as their reputation on reviews. If you buy one of these cars, you’re buying with the assurance that many people have owned it with customer satisfaction.
It should be no surprise that the 2015 Ford Focus is among our most popular vehicle picks. The Focus has been garnering attention for years. At the comfortable starting price of $17,170, this year’s version of the Focus stands as Kelley Blue Book’s most popular hatchback of 2015. Its design is both aerodynamic and easy on the eyes. The engine gets at least 123 horsepower and 123 lb.-ft. of torque, which admittedly isn’t much compared to other comparable vehicles. More upgraded versions of the Focus can get 160 horsepower. The Focus may also have less interior space than other comparable 2015 five-seaters, but the real value of this car is in its reliability and its economic price tag. It’s available 1.0L EcoBoost® is an award-winning engine for increased efficiency. It also has advanced-technology systems like the AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to keep the car operating as smoothly and safely as possible.
KBB lists the Jeep Wrangler as their most popular 2015 SUV and also awards it “2015 Best Resale Value” in its class. It has a starting price of $22,795 with a V6 engine that has 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It boasts advanced temperature and audio controls and a comfortable overall interior design. The Wrangler is a very capable vehicle in many senses, but with 4WD, a rugged design, and heavily protected interior components, you can be sure that off-road capabilities is a lot of what you’re paying for. If this is not so much of a plus for you, it may be better to look elsewhere.
The Ford Explorer is among the top picks for 2015 midsize traditional SUVs by Edmunds.com, gauging by 2014 popularity. As a side note, this car has been listed for its popularity among buyers and reviewers, but it would also stand well in “As listed for Families” (see below). Edmunds states that they’ve found the Explorer to be “one of the best choices for a family-oriented SUV.” The Explorer has a starting price of $30,700 and boasts a smooth combination of comfort and versatility. It has an impressive 290 horsepower (among standard V6 engines) and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. Also available is a 2.0L EcoBoost® Engine (best-in-class highway fuel economy) and a Terrain Management System™ allowing you to easily adjust settings specific to you terrain for optimum performance. The Explorer makes an excellent family car and runs ideally on both highway and more rugged terrains.
The Chevrolet Trax is another good option and is listed among SUV2015.com’s “2015 Most Popular SUVs.” It has a very comfortable starting price of $20,120 and comfortable, fairly spacious interior design. It has an available 4WD option as well as available 4G LTE Wifi technology built in. With 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque, the Trax has less grit than competitors like the Wrangler and Explorer, but works well for everyday transportation and city driving. It has 34mpg on the highway. Chevy advertises it as “The City-Smart SUV.”
As listed by Safety
Especially if you commonly drive with other passengers, safety is an invariably important feature in a vehicle. There’s nothing as valuable as keeping your loved ones safe as you drive. If you want the latest in precautionary technology paired with a reasonable price tag, consider some of these vehicles.
An excellent mix of safety and affordability is embodied in the Mazda CX-5. The 2015 CX-5, with a starting price of $21,545, was named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS when equipped with the optional Smart City Brake Support feature, which brakes automatically between speeds of 2 and 18 mph as it detects unavoidable collisions. It’s 2.0L SKYACTIV® engine gets it 35 highway miles-per-gallon (best-in-class EPA-estimated), 155 horsepower, and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. Its other engine option, the 2.5L, gets 32 highway mpg, 184 horsepower, and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. It may not have the drive power of some other comparable vehicles, but with side-impact door beams, dynamic stability control, and an advanced airbag system that measures passenger-weight and the driver’s seat-position, the Mazda CX-5 certainly excels in the safety department.
The hybrid Toyota Prius v was named a 2015 Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS. With seven airbags (including a driver knee airbag), multiple internal safety systems, and anti-whiplash seats, it’s clearly designed for safety. As a hybrid, it gets an estimated 44/40 mpg. It also has an advanced system for viewing your fuel usage and setting how the car’s hybrid technology is used. If you haven’t driven a hybrid before, it may feel a bit daunting to lay down the money for relatively new alternative fuel technology, but at starting price of $26,675, the Prius v is a great hybrid for any driver to start with. But back to the safety features: the v’s available Lane Departure Alert system gives you an audible warning if it detects an inadvertent drift out of the road lane. Its Pre-Collision System detects via radar when a collision is unavoidable, and automatically hits the brakes and retracts the front seatbelts to reduce the damage and lessen the probability of injury as much as it can. One thing to keep in mind, though, about the Prius v is that a lot of its safety features are optional, meaning that to include them you will quickly begin to shoot above the starting price of $26,675.
The 2015 Honda Fit is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and has a wonderful suggested starting price of $15,650. It gets an excellent 41mpg on the highway (33 in city), 130 horsepower, and 114 lb.-ft. of torque. Its Anti-Locking Braking System and Electronic Brake Distribution system help drivers maintain control and brake effectively when braking hard. The car’s body is designed to distribute the force of a fontal impact throughout the entire car. Every Fit comes with a standard multi-angle review camera to help you be aware of your vehicle’s surroundings at all times. Honda claims this is part of an initiative to reduce pedestrian injuries. The Fit’s “Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control” dynamically reduces engine power or even brakes individual wheels if you under- or over-steer on a turn. With all of the above features and more, the Honda Fit is definitely a viable option for you if safety is high on your priority list.
As listed for Families
We realize that a lot of people are in need of a car that suits the need of a whole family, from infants to adults, so we’ve included a few of the best ranked cars with lots of seating, space, and comfort. These cars are ideal for both long family trips and daily runs. Whether you’re rushing out to soccer practice and then the grocery store or taking a trek down to the beach for a week, these vehicle will provide you and your kin with the most ease and comfort in transportation.
Ranked as one of Kelley Blue Books “15 Best Family Cars of 2015,” the Toyota Sienna is perhaps the ultimate family car. It has a somewhat hefty suggested starting price of $28,600, but with a roomy interior (8 passenger seating), capacious storage space, an advanced audio and dashboard system, and a 3.5L, 266 horsepower engine, you get what you’re paying for. The Sienna gets 18mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway. It’s the only minivan in America sold with an available all-wheel-drive. It has many useful (and more or less luxurious) interior features, so if you often take long car trips with kids, this might be the car for you.
If you’re looking for something that’s still sleek but will take less out of your wallet, consider another KBB “15 Best Family Cars of 2015” pick—the Kia Soul. It’s a smaller car (with seating for 5), but its boxlike shape makes it bigger on the inside than it would seem from the outside, and it gets much better mileage than the Sienna at 24/30mpg (highway/city). It drives with 130 horsepower and 118 lb.-ft. of torque, but has upgradeable options to 164hp and 151 lb.-ft. It may have less driving power as well as bells and whistles than the Sienna but, at about half the price, it’s a utilitarian and economic vehicle. For any family of five or less, it comes with all the essential specs like rear child-safety door locks, flexible seatbelt options, and side-impact door beams.
The 2015 Subaru Outback is another great family choice with seating for five. With an airy interior, a wide sunroof, and all-wheel-drive, the Outback is great for car trips and camping. It has a starting price of $24,895 and gets 33/25mpg (HWY/CTY) with a balance of 175 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. If this isn’t even, the 3.6R Limited version of the Outback offers 256hp and 247 lb.-ft. of torque. The Outback makes an excellent vehicle car for outdoorsy family. It has ample off-road capabilities, but still works well for everyday travel. This may be a viable alternative to the Jeep Wrangler (see above under “Popularity”) if you like getting in touch with nature but aren’t an uber-outdoorsy person.
An even more Affordable Option
This has been our list of the Best Affordable Cars of 2015. Hopefully you have found something that suits your needs at the right price, but if not, you may want to consider more economic options. This is particularly pertinent to your situation if you’re looking to buy a new car to replace an old, broken down one. Hop over to www.swengines.com and grab a quick, easy (and free) quote for a used engine of your car’s make and model. The engine is the heart of an automobile. If you replace it with a low-mileage used engine, you may find yourself in an entirely new car. SWEngines has a vast, comprehensive inventory so we’re able to offer both the best pricing and the best quality on used engines. Our staff comprises true engine experts who can answer all your questions and help you keep your car running optimally. Not many people realize it, but installing a used engine is a great potential fix for a fraction of the price. So what’s the best, most affordable car of 2015? Maybe it’s already sitting in your garage!
 Ford.com. Accessed 3/20/2015.
 KBB.com. Accessed 3/20/2015.
 Jeep.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 Edmunds.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 Ford.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 SUV2015.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 MazdaUSA.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 IIHS.org. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 Toyota.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.
 KBB.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.
 Toyota.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.
 Kia.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.
 Subaru.com. Accessed 3/19/2015.