Can you believe that the average non-luxury new car sold in July cost $44,700? That’s according to Kelley Blue Book, a vehicle valuation firm with its nose to the grindstone on vehicle costs. Needless to say, most people can’t afford the payment that a $44,700 car entails, and with entry-level car options dwindling, it may feel like the demise of the cheap car is nigh. However, look a bit harder and you’ll find gems on the bottom end of the market. Good, no-nonsense, economical transportation like the surprisingly decent 2024 Nissan Kicks.
For 2024, the Nissan Kicks S starts at $22,125 including a $1,335 freight charge. You’ll notice that’s more money than a Chevrolet Trax LS for a less powerful, less mature vehicle, but the Kicks has substantially better highway fuel economy. The EPA rates the Trax at 28 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined, but the Kicks is rated at 31 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined. From personal experience, a 30 mpg average seems about right for the Trax, but the Kicks will happily exceed that combined rating, should you not be absolutely caning it. Thanks to its lightweight construction, that’s hard to resist.
Sure, the Kicks may only have 122 horsepower, but it only weighs 2,629 pounds in base trim. Combine that with a reasonable 14.7:1 steering ratio, and you end up with a car that feels agile in a way most modern cars just don’t. It’s a relatively unfiltered, low-risk, high-reward driving experience that tempts you into leaning on its 205-section all-season tires through bends. There’s even a hidden sport mode for the CVT (press the button on the rear side of the gear knob) to keep the revs up. There’s just something joyous about fizzy, simple motoring, and the Kicks fits that description.
Of course, you could also go nuts and spec a top-spec SR with the premium package for $26,075 including freight, a spec that included a heated steering wheel, pleather seats, a surprisingly decent Bose stereo, and a 360-degree camera package. Even at that price point, the 2024 Nissan Kicks includes an awful lot of kit for the money. Sure, it isn’t fast, but it’s a reasonably roomy, compact fuel-sipper that will get you and your things everywhere you need to go.
Although the variety of cheap cars on the market may be dwindling and prices may be going up, there’s still stuff out there in the low 20s. With late model used car prices still hovering in the stratosphere and new car interest rates typically more attractive than used car rates, now might be the time to go for something cheap, cheerful, and new over a second-hand car, be it a 2024 Nissan Kicks, a 2024 Chevrolet Trax, or even a new Mitsubishi Mirage.
(Photo credits: Nissan)
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