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The 2015 Nissan Micra will mark a new era of unbeatable value for Canadians when it arrives this spring. Combining Japanese quality with European styling and heritage, Micra will provide Canadians with more fun, more attention to detail and more value than they've ever expected in a small car. (Nissan/Nissan)
The 2015 Nissan Micra will mark a new era of unbeatable value for Canadians when it arrives this spring. Combining Japanese quality with European styling and heritage, Micra will provide Canadians with more fun, more attention to detail and more value than they've ever expected in a small car. (Nissan/Nissan)

In Pictures

Top 10 cars for first-time buyers Add to ...

Buying your first car can be intimidating and costly, especially when you’re juggling student loans and rising living expenses. If you’re a young buyer on a tight budget we have the solution. Here are ten cars that won’t break the bank.

1. Nissan Micra

Why bother buying a used car when the cheapest new car on the market costs less than 10 grand? The 2015 Nissan Micra, which starts at $9,998, is a steal for any cash-strapped, starving student counting their pennies. If you’re on a budget, stick with the bare bones S base trim with a 5-speed stick. If you want to splurge, a fully-loaded SR model costs $16,748 and adds a 4-speed automatic transmission, front fog lights, and a rear-view monitor.

Preview: Is Canada’s teeny car with the tiny price a big bargain?

2. Honda Fit

The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit is a versatile car that’s cheap, practical, and spacious. One lever lets you drop the rear seats to reveal a large, flat cargo floor, perfect for moving your possessions. Prices for the 2015 model aren’t available yet, but a 2014 Fit is $14,635. Add air conditioning and an automatic tranny and the price climbs to $17,245. But you might be able to get a deal on the 2014 models when the 2015 Fit hits dealerships this summer.

In Pictures: A first look at the 2015 Honda Fit

3. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta sedan offers distinct European flare at an affordable price. The base model is $14,499, which includes power door locks, manual windows, and a driver’s knee airbag. Add $1,200 for air conditioning. Its funky colours, including blue candy, ruby red, and green envy, are a bonus for any fashionista. Plus, it’s fuel efficient, averaging 5.2 litres/100 km on the highway.

First Drive: Tiny Fiesta a serious competitor in the subcompact market

4. Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is an Italian icon, oozing pizzazz and flair. You can chose between 15 shades of exterior colours such as Rame (aka copper), six different wheels and 11 interior trim combinations. The base “Pop” model is $13,495 and includes power windows, locks, and mirrors, and an AM/FM/CD player. Moving up to the “Sport” model at $16,495 adds air conditioning and a leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control functions.

Review: Cute, tiny economy car looks expensive

5. Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is a hot little hatch with character, space, and headroom worthy of the Sistine Chapel thanks to its tall, boxy design. At $16,995, the Soul comes well-equipped with fog lights, steering wheel audio controls, power windows, doors, and locks, and a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. Up the ante by adding heated seats, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and bigger 16-inch alloy wheels for $18,695.

Review: Boxy Kia Soul a funky urban commuter car

6. Chevy Spark

The made-in-Korea Chevy Spark is a cheap little runabout, starting at $11,945. Sure the base LS trim is pretty basic, but it does come with 10 airbags and a Top Safety Pick designation from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - a plus for parents concerned about their kids’ safety. Add a continuously variable automatic transmission and air conditioning and the price climbs to $14,895.

Review: Chevrolet Spark a tiny car with a price tag to match

7. Hyundai Accent

At $13,549, the Hyundai Accent sedan comes standard with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability control, traction control, and vehicle stability management – safety items you’d expect to pay extra for. Air conditioning adds another $2,125.95 to the base price. Instead, consider a mid-level GL with a 6-speed auto, heated front seats, air conditioning, cruise control, and a telescopic steering wheel for $17,299.

Review: Hyundai Accent Hatchback: The apple of my eye

8. Mazda2

Two rear doors on the Mazda2 hatch make it a cinch to enter and exit the back seats without disturbing the driver. The 1.5 litre 4-cylinder engine with 100 ponies is sporty and fun to drive. It starts at $14,450 and includes power windows, door locks, and mirrors. An $895 Convenience Package and adds remote keyless entry, a trip computer, and steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls.

Review: On a budget? Check out the Mazda2

9. Toyota Yaris 3-door hatch

The Yaris is anything but small on the inside. For $14,255, the Yaris 3-door hatchback and comes with many standard safety features including nine standard airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes. But stick with the base model five-speed manual gearbox. You’ll save a grand by learning to drive a stick.

10. Volkswagen Jetta

If you’ve dreamed of owning a German vehicle but can’t afford an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes, the next best thing is a Volkswagen Jetta for $14,990. The base Trendline model doesn’t come with floor mats, air conditioning, heated seats, or cruise control. To add those features, choose the $17,190 Trendline+ trim. It’s still a fraction of the price of a higher-end German ride and is fun to drive, especially with a manual transmission.

Review: 2014 Volkswagens to have new turbocharged engine

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