Hey Opponuts, what's your choice for best cheap new car that still provides some driving reward? By cheap, I don't mean the absolute cheapest new vehicle you can buy, as that would be some trashcan like a new Versa (is a Versa a real trashcan?). I mean something like less than $20k actual sale price with some reasonable options like power windows, points for more less than $20k.

And I am focused on new cars here because I drive a lot of miles and want something essentially disposable and ultra-reliable. I may put 40k+ miles per year, which also means I need it to run flawlessly every day. That many miles means I spend a lot of time on the highway at 80mph, so little micro buzz boxes are not a good choice. Four doors is highly preferred, but not strictly required.

Thoughts are the following, or other ideas?

  • Chevy Sonic RS. Maybe $18k or so, well equipped at that price.
  • Focus SE. Good size, but is the SE a decent enthusiast car? And can you get one with some options for <$20k?
  • Abarth 500. Maybe under $20k with incentives. Cons are it is very small, and maybe not the best highway commuter.
  • Mazda 2. I don't know much about it...
  • Dart. Is there a sport or enthusiast configuration?