Not every new car buyer needs traction at all four wheels or snowdrift-clearing ride height. If you're trying to keep your overall new vehicle ownership costs down with a low purchase price and excellent fuel economy but also need the room and practicality to carry five passengers on board and some cargo, small, front-wheel drive hatchbacks are the way to go.
Based on the base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price in Canadian dollars, here are the 10 least expensive FWD hatchbacks in Canada. Just a reminder that if you're looking for more details or ready to buy, click on the model name link to find the relevant Kelley Blue Book Value.
10th-place: Toyota C-HR – Base MSRP $24,350 CAD
The 2022 C-HR comes with a single powertrain: the Toyota Corolla sedan’s 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gas engine making 144 horsepower mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Combined city and highway fuel economy is estimated at 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km). Key standard gear for the base LE trim includes an 8-inch touchscreen, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, keyless entry, 17-inch steel wheels and LED headlamps. Despite its faux-SUV styling, the 4-door/5-passenger C-HR’s ground clearance is only a few centimetres more than the Corolla sedan, and cargo space behind its rear seats is limited to only 541 litres.
9th-place: Kia Forte5 – Base MSRP $23,195 CAD
There's more to the 2023 Forte5 hatchback than its basic description of "reasonably priced compact" might suggest. It provides a civilized driving experience right from the entry-level EX trim. Standard Forte5 gear includes a 147-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with a CVT rated at 7.1 L/100 km, plus goodies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 4.2-in LCD instrument cluster. Forward collision-avoidance assist and lane keep assist are also included. Inside, the compact Kia hatch's dash houses neat circular vents and the standard-issue 8-in touchscreen. Plus, there are 741 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats.
8th-place: Mazda Mazda3 Sport – Base MSRP $23,050 CAD
Like the Kia, the 2023 Mazda3 Sport is directly aimed at buyers looking for a small but feature-filled 5-passenger compact hatchback. The base GX 6M trim gets a 155-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed manual transmission rated at 7.8 L/100 km. One look inside the Mazda3 Sport’s cabin, and you’ll realize this is no ordinary small car. Its driver’s seat is snug but comfortable, providing a good driving position regardless of the driver’s height. Cool white light illuminates the gauges and switchgear, while a bright 8.8-in view screen is controlled via a console-mounted rotary knob very similar to Audi’s MMI and BMW’s iDrive.
7th-place: Kia Soul – Base MSRP $22,595 CAD
If venturing off-pavement is not one of your small hatchback needs, the 2023 Soul is a nice-driving, spacious, inexpensive vehicle to propel you in style. Standard equipment for the base LX trim includes six airbags, halogen and automatic headlights, and solar glass. A 147-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and CVT combine for a 7.9 L/100 km estimate. Due to the Soul’s upright design, headroom for rear passengers is virtually the same for those up front. Rear legroom is also generous, and there’s up to 685 litres of rear cargo space.
6th-place: Toyota Corolla Hatchback – Base MSRP $21,450 CAD
The Toyota Corolla has long been a trusted name in compact cars, with a strong reputation for safety, reliability, and efficiency. That holds up for the 2023 Corolla Hatchback model as well, with 693 litres of space behind its rear seats. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard in the base 6MT trim and ups the car’s fun factor. It's mated to the only engine on the menu: a 169-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder that has plenty of thrust to make the daily commute enjoyable and still scores an efficient 7.6 L/100 km.
5th-place: Nissan Kicks – Base MSRP $20,548 CAD
Are you looking for a replacement for your older Nissan Versa hatchback? Consider the 2023 Kicks, Nissan’s smallest and least expensive new vehicle. Every Kicks comes with a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, rated at 122 hp and matched to a CVT. Fuel economy is 7.2 L/100 km combined city and highway. The base S offers Blind-spot Warning, heated outside mirrors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Nissan’s Safety Shield 360. While there isn’t much storage space up front for smaller items like phones or purses, there are 716 litres of storage space with the rear seats up.
4th-place: Hyundai Venue – Base MSRP $18,299 CAD
As the most affordable new Hyundai in Canada, the 2022 Venue is powered by a 121-hp 1.6L 4-cylinder engine matched to a 6-speed stick shift. Fuel economy is estimated at 7.8 L/100 km. Even in base Essential trim, the Venue features an 8-in touchscreen, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, and power-adjustable side mirrors. The Venue’s front seats are spacious, and the rear seats are suitable for kids and adults alike. There’s plenty of headroom thanks to the boxy shape of the Venue, but rear cargo space is limited to 528 litres.
3rd-place: Kia Rio – Base MSRP $17,395 CAD
Affordable yet still attractive, with a well-tuned suspension, standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, rearview camera, cruise control, sharp styling, plus an excellent factory warranty—the 2022 Rio’s base LX+ MT trim offers a lot of value at a very reasonable price. There’s 493 litres of space behind its rear seats and its 120-hp 1.6L 4-cylinder is hooked up to a 6-speed manual rated at 7.0L/100 km. The interior of the Rio 4-door hatchback is nothing fancy, but it’s pretty nice for its price point. And as long as no one expects a pocket rocket, the Rio is comfortable and surprisingly quiet.
2nd-place: Mitsubishi Mirage Hatchback – Base MSRP $14,098 CAD
Along with the Chevrolet Spark, the subcompact Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback is one of the last new vehicles Canadians can buy with a starting price under $15,000. Power comes from a 1.2L 3-cylinder engine that makes 78 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission is a standard in the base ES MT trim, rated at 6.5 L/100 km. Mitsubishi backs up these positives with an unbeatable powertrain warranty while including forward-collision warning and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration as standard. Room behind the hatchback’s rear seats is a bit tight, with only 484 litres of space.
1st-place: Chevrolet Spark – Base MSRP $10,398 CAD
The 2022 Spark is not only the most affordable new hatchback in Canada but also one of the most affordable new cars on the market. The Spark costs more like a used car but comes with a 3-year/60,000-kilometre factory warranty. Naturally, there’s a catch. A low price means a low level of equipment, like manual windows and door locks, modest engine power from its 98-hp 1.4L 4-cylinder engine, and a 5-speed manual transmission rated at 7.2 L/100 km. The Spark does well for headroom, but legroom for rear passengers will always be tight in a vehicle of this size.
*Based on prices as of August 1, 2022.