The average transaction price of a new vehicle in June of this year was $39,075, according to the autoTRADER.ca Price Index, so we understand if folks looking for a new car on a smaller budget feel a bit priced out of the market right now.
Worry not, car shoppers, because we’re compiling lists of every vehicle on sale in Canada for under $35,000, giving you an easy-to-read resource of all of the budget-friendly vehicles available. Last time, we looked at all the new SUVs you can buy for under $35,000. This time, we’re looking at a market segment that is smaller in size and growing smaller in number: sedans and hatchbacks. Canadians may be flocking to SUVs and crossovers, but it’s here where you’ll find the best bang for your buck.
Start scrolling to see what the market has to offer. Fair warning: this is a hefty list, although quite a number of these vehicles will be discontinued after the 2020 model year.
Chevrolet Spark – $9,998
With the departure of the Nissan Micra, the Chevrolet Spark is now the cheapest car in Canada at a hair’s breadth under $10,000. This subcompact hatchback is powered by a 98 horsepower 1.4L four-cylinder engine and comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which operates in a similar fashion to a traditional automatic, is available for a small premium. Notably, the Spark comes with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, despite its low price tag.
Mitsubishi Mirage – $12,298
The Mitsubishi Mirage is the second-cheapest car in Canada behind the Spark. Despite the higher price tag, the subcompact hatchback has a less powerful, 78 hp 1.2L three-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a CVT is available as an option. Looking for the Mirage G4 sedan? It was discontinued last year.
Hyundai Accent 5-Door – $14,949
The Hyundai Accent is a five-door subcompact hatchback that comes in at a hair under $15,000. Power here comes from a 120 hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual. Like the Spark and Mirage, the Accent also offers a CVT for a price premium. If you’re shopping for an Accent, the time is now, as the hatchback is following its sedan counterpart into the history books at the end of 2020.
Kia Rio – $15,495–$18,045
The Kia Rio 5 shares many components with the closely related Accent. This subcompact hatch has the same 120 hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual transmission as the Accent, though it differs in its exterior and interior appearance.
At $15,495, the Kia Rio 5 hatch is quite a bit cheaper than the Rio sedan ($18,045) and therefore probably the better deal, but some folks just prefer four doors instead of five. Just like the hatch, power comes from a 120 hp 1.6L four-cylinder. Unlike the hatch, though, the sedan does not offer a six-speed manual – only a CVT.
Honda Fit – $16,390
The Honda Fit is a subcompact hatchback but it places an emphasis on interior space and hence has an impressive 1,492 L of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded down. Under the hood is a 130 hp 1.5L four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a standard six-speed manual or optional CVT. As a bonus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims except the base LX. The new generation of the Fit won’t be making its way to Canada – effectively discontinuing the model here – though buyers after its clever use of interior space will find a worthy (if pricier) successor in the Honda HR-V.
Hyundai Elantra – $17,149–$27,249
The Hyundai Elantra is a competent compact sedan. It comes standard with a 147 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, while a CVT is available for extra. A faster Elantra Sport is also available, which gets a 201 hp 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual, starting at $25,599. The automatic transmission option in Sport models is a seven-speed dual-clutch.
The Elantra GT hatchback starts at $20,749. Its 2.0L four-cylinder engine puts out 161 hp and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic. A performance-oriented N Line version of the Elantra GT starts at $27,249, with a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine good for 201 hp. Like the Elantra Sport, it has a standard six-speed manual and can be optioned with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Toyota Yaris Hatchback – $17,290
Toyota’s subcompact Yaris hatchback is powered by a 106 hp 1.5L four-cylinder engine, which is linked up with a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic. The 2020 Yaris is something of a unique beast: discontinued in the US in 2019, the 2020 model is actually based on the Mazda2, which the discontinued Yaris sedan was also based on. Alas, after 15 years, the Yaris name is disappearing entirely from Canadian showrooms in 2021.
Kia Forte – $17,695–$22,245
The Kia Forte is a compact sedan that is powered by a 147 hp 2.0L four-cylinder and features a standard six-speed manual or optional CVT. Range-topping models also get a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder in place of the 2.0L and a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Kia Forte5 is a five-door version of the Kia Forte compact sedan. It is powered by the same 147 hp 2.0L four-cylinder, though it features a standard CVT. Well-equipped turbo models also get the same turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder in place of the 2.0L and a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Mazda3 – $18,000–$21,300
The Mazda3 sedan starts at $18,000 on the dot and comes with a 155 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine, though a 186 hp 2.5L four is available too. The 2.0L gets a standard six-speed manual and optional six-speed automatic, but the 2.5L is available with the automatic transmission only.
The hatchback variant of the Mazda3, known as the Mazda3 Sport, is slightly more expensive than the sedan at $21,300. Power comes from a 155 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic. A more powerful 2.5L four-cylinder, which is good for 186 hp, is also on offer here.
If you’re looking for all-wheel drive (AWD), both the Mazda3 and Mazda3 Sport offer it as an option, though you’ll be stepping up in trim and in price: $26,000 for the sedan, and $27,000 for the hatchback.
Honda Civic – $18,390–$30,290
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The Honda Civic is a compact car that needs no introduction. The latest Civic Sedan, starting at $18,390, is powered by a 158 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual transmission. Just like nearly every other compact or subcompact on this list, a CVT is also available for a fee. A more powerful, 180 hp 1.5L four-cylinder turbo is also available in the Touring trim, while Si models ($30,290) make 205 hp from the same 1.5L.
The Honda Civic Hatchback ($24,190) is powered by a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder, which is good for 174 hp in base models and 180 hp in Sport and Sport Touring models. A six-speed manual is standard and a CVT is available as an option. The high-performance Civic Type R model ($43,690) gets a 206 hp 2.0L and a six-speed manual.
Nissan Sentra – $18,798
The Nissan Sentra recently received an update and is now a much more up-to-date and competitive compact sedan than before. Under the hood of the latest model is a 149 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a standard six-speed manual, or an optional CVT. The standard model also gets automatic front emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and other active safety tech, which is nice to see on a vehicle at this price point.
Toyota Corolla – $18,990–$24,790
The Toyota Corolla sedan is another compact that really needs no introduction. This world-famous compact sedan, which starts at $18,990, is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder engine, which produces 139 hp. A six-speed manual is standard and a CVT is also available. Coming in at $24,790 is the Corolla Hybrid, the first on this list.
Slightly more expensive than the Toyota Corolla Sedan is the Corolla Hatchback, at $21,050. The hatch gets a more powerful 169 hp 2.0L four-cylinder engine – available as an upgrade option on the sedan – though the transmission options stay the same: a six-speed manual or a CVT.
Subaru Impreza – $19,995–$29,995
The Subaru Impreza wins buyers over thanks to its status of being the cheapest car with standard all-wheel drive, at $19,995. It is powered by a 152 hp 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine, which is paired with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT.
The Impreza 5-Door hatchback starts slightly higher at $20,995 and features the exact same powertrain configuration as its sedan counterpart.
The Subaru WRX ($29,995) is a more powerful, rally-inspired take on the Subaru Impreza. Power comes from a 268 hp 2.0L four-cylinder, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and standard AWD. Those who don’t want a manual can upgrade to a CVT, as well.
Volkswagen Jetta – $21,245–$31,945
The latest iteration of the VW Jetta compact sedan is powered by a 147 hp turbo 1.4L four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission. A traditional eight-speed automatic is also available for extra. Speed freaks may want to have a look at the Jetta GLI, too, which has a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 228 hp for $31,945. The GLI gets a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch.
Hyundai Veloster – $22,449–$35,049
The Hyundai Veloster is a sporty hatchback with a unique asymmetrical three-door design. While not quite as practical as some more traditional hatchbacks, the Veloster is fun-to-drive thanks to its sharp handling. Power comes from a 147 hp 2.0L four-cylinder and standard six-speed manual/optional six-speed automatic. A 201 hp 1.6L turbo four is also available, along with a 275 hp 2.0L turbo in the performance-focused Veloster N, which at $35,049 just crests our budget limit.
Volkswagen Golf – $22,570–$32,895
The VW Golf is a practical, well-built compact hatchback. Power comes from a 147 hp turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder, which is available with a six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic. Sporty GTI models ($30,845) have a turbo 2.0L, which makes 228 hp. The fully electric e-Golf ($32,895) comes in a single trim with 134 hp and a battery pack that lasts for about 200 km on a single charge.
Mini 3-Door – $24,590–$34,990
The Mini 3-Door is a stylish city commuter that comes standard with a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder engine, which makes 134 hp. A seven-speed double-clutch automatic is standard. Sporty “S” models ($28,890) get a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine good for 189 hp, while the range-topping JCW ($36,540) makes 228 hp from the same 2.0L.
The Mini SE 3-Door is a battery-electric vehicle that runs purely on electricity. Its MSRP is $39,990, but thanks to the federal green vehicle rebate of $5,000, the Mini EV slides in just under our price cap.
The Mini 5-Door is identical to the Mini 3-Door – save for the extra set of doors, of course. Power comes from the same 134 hp turbo 1.5L three-cylinder engine and standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Again, S models also get a turbocharged 2.0L with 189 hp, though no JCW version is available.
Chevrolet Malibu – $25,248
Now we’re starting to move away from compacts and get into mid-size sedans. The Chevrolet Malibu comes with a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder good for 160 hp, which pairs with a standard CVT. Chevy also has a 250 hp 2.0L turbo on offer in the sedan, though it is only available on the range-topping Premier trim.
Hyundai Ioniq – $25,399–$31,249
The Hyundai Ioniq comes in three variants: hybrid (Ioniq Hybrid), plug-in hybrid (Ioniq Electric Plus), and fully electric/battery-electric (Ioniq Electric). In hybrid guise, it comes with a 139 hp 1.6L four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic.
The plug-in hybrid version has an MSRP of $33,749 but the federal rebate brings that down to $31,249. It too features a 1.6L four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic, but boasts a power output of 164 hp. The Ioniq EV meanwhile, starts at $41,499 – even with the full $5,000 rebate, it’s a bit out of our price range.
Fiat 500L – $25,495
The Fiat 500L is a style-forward compact hatchback. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder engine good for 160 hp, which is paired with a standard six-speed automatic.
Subaru Legacy – $26,395
The Subaru Legacy mid-size sedan comes with standard AWD, a 182 hp 2.5L four-cylinder boxer engine and a CVT. Subaru also offers a turbocharged 2.4L boxer in its venerable mid-size sedan, which makes a very respectable 260 hp.
Toyota Camry – $26,620–$31,550
The Toyota Camry needs no introduction. This hugely popular mid-size sedan is just as practical and reliable as it has always been and now comes standard with a 203 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic, with optional AWD (starting at $29,850). Hybrid models (starting at $31,550) pair the 2.5L engine with a CVT, and make 208 hp.
Hyundai Sonata – $26,999
The Hyundai Sonata mid-size sedan starts at $26,999 and comes with a 191 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and a standard eight-speed automatic. Curiously, the up-level turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine claims only 180 hp – but sees its full torque come online at just 1,500 rpm.
Also curious is the Sonata Hybrid: It’s only available in the top Ultimate trim, which puts its price at a staggering $40,099 – though it’s only a $1,500 premium above the non-hybrid Sonata Ultimate.
Volkswagen Passat – $27,145
The VW Passat is a mid-size sedan with a 174 hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It saw a significant update in 2020, with fresh styling and features, though the underlying platform is unchanged.
Mazda6 – $27,350
The Mazda6 is a well-built mid-size sedan that comes standard with a 187 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Customers who want more power can opt for the 227 hp 2.5L turbo, which also makes a meaty 310 lb-ft of torque.
Nissan Altima – $28,098
The Nissan Altima mid-size sedan has a 182 hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and a CVT as standard. Know what else is standard? All-wheel drive, which Nissan identified as a key feature for the Canadian market.
Honda Accord – $28,490–$34,490
The Honda Accord is unique among mid-size sedans in that it is offered with a six-speed manual transmission, and not just at the base level (in fact, the base LX trim has a CVT as standard). Lesser trims get a 192 hp 1.5L turbo and either the manual transmission or CVT. High-end models, starting at $34,190, get a 252 hp 2.0L four-cylinder turbo with either the six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.
The Accord Hybrid starts at $34,490 and offers a 2.0L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that, in tandem with the electric motor, puts out a total of 212 hp.
Honda Insight – $28,490
The Honda Insight is an ultra-efficient compact sedan based on the Honda Civic and is a direct rival to the Toyota Prius. It has a 1.5L four-cylinder engine, electric motor, and CVT transmission, which together make 151 hp.
Kia Optima – $28,495–$30,995
The Kia Optima is offered with a 185 hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. In anticipation of a new generation arriving later this year (and with a new name – “K5”), the Optima is reduced to two trims this year, which also explains how it leapfrogged from being the cheapest mid-size sedan to one of the most expensive. However, for the money, buyers will find plenty of upscale features, including standard leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and hands-free automatic trunk opening.
The Optima Hybrid ($30,995) gets a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that puts out a combined 192 hp through its six-speed automatic transmission. There is also an Optima PHEV, but at $43,995 it’s priced well beyond our bracket.
Toyota Prius – $28,550–$30,490
The well-known and long-running Toyota Prius starts at under $30,000 and comes with a 1.8L four-cylinder engine, 8.8-kWh battery, and CVT transmission. The electric motor is integrated into the transmission, providing partial electric drive. This setup makes 121 hp. Toyota now offers the Prius e-AWD ($29,550) as well, which has an additional rear electric motor and produces 120 hp.
The plug-in hybrid version, the Prius Prime, starts at $30,490, after a $2,500 federal rebate is applied. It has the same 1.8L engine and 120 hp output as the regular Prius, but can run on its batteries alone for an estimated 40 km.
Mini Clubman – $28,690
It would be a stretch to call the Mini Clubman a wagon, being shorter than the Corolla Hatchback, but that’s the niche it occupies in the automaker’s lineup, with a set of instantly recognizable split rear doors in place of a traditional hatch. Its power figures are identical to the 3-Door – a 134 hp 1.5L turbocharged three-cylinder and a 189 hp 2.0L turbo four-cylinder – except that its John Cooper Works variant boasts an astounding 301 hp. Oh, and it has standard AWD.
Ford Fusion – $28,985–$34,430
The Ford Fusion mid-size sedan is offered in a single trim for 2020 with a 181 hp 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic. The Fusion Hybrid ($32,375) has a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making a combined 188 hp. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid ($34,430) shares the same powertrain figures as the hybrid and an all-electric driving range of about 40 km. As with other American manufacturers, Ford has been transitioning away from sedans and hatchbacks and investing in SUVs and crossovers – as such, all versions of the Fusion will be discontinued at the end of 2020.
Acura ILX – $30,490
The Acura ILX is a compact sedan with a 201 hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a bit of an oddball because it’s a scant $200 more expensive than the Civic Si, despite ostensibly being a luxury offering. The Civic Si also pips the Acura’s performance numbers – which may be expected since the ILX is based upon the previous generation of the Civic.
Buick Regal Sportback – $32,248
Like the ILX, the Buick Regal Sportback is based on a more mainstream offering: the Chevrolet Malibu. It’s hard to imagine a premium offering as the value leader, but the Regal shares its powertrain – a 250 hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a nine-speed automatic – with the top-trim Malibu Premier, which costs $37,848 – over $5,000 more! This strange state of affairs won’t last forever as – you guessed it – the Regal is discontinued after 2020.
Audi A3 Sedan – $34,500
Rounding out the set of premium vehicles at the top end of our list, the compact Audi A3 sedan starts at $34,500. Base “40” models have a 184 hp 2.0L turbo, while the “45” versions have a 228 hp version of the same engine. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard; AWD is available with the higher-spec engine.