There's no better evidence that Canadian consumers are moving towards larger and more expensive new vehicles than our 2021 list of the 10 most affordable new vehicles in Canada. Compared to their 2020 counterparts, the least expensive new vehicles in Canada this year see affordable sub-compact cars being replaced by small SUVs and larger compacts, with the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent no longer available as 2021 models.
We can see the result in rising overall prices. This year's $16,948 average starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is a $2,333 increase compared to the 10 least expensive 2020 model year vehicles. Even 2021's most affordable vehicle, the Chevrolet Spark, saw its price rise from $9,998 to $10,198.
Amidst this growing trend of larger, more expensive new vehicles, here are the 10 most affordable new vehicles in Canada for 2021.
10th-place: 2021 Nissan Kicks S - $19,898* CDN
Are you looking for a replacement for your older, sub-compact Nissan Versa hatchback? Consider the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Kicks. With a starting MSRP sliding in just under $20,000, the 5-passenger Kicks S is Nissan’s smallest and least expensive SUV. Every Kicks comes with a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine, rated at 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Updates for 2021 include new options like heated front seats and steering wheel.
9th-place: 2021 Toyota Corolla Sedan L 6M - $19,350 CDN
With the sub-compact Yaris' demise, the compact Corolla Sedan L becomes the most affordable new Toyota in Canada. The FWD, 5-passenger Corolla gets a 139-horsepower and 126-pound-feet of torque 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual in base L trim. A CVT is optional. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 are notable standard equipment. The dash is dominated by an infotainment touch screen (7-inch diagonal on the L trim), and cloth upholstery is standard.
8th-place: 2021 Nissan Sentra S 6MT- $19,198 CDN
Another compact sedan entering this year’s list is Nissan’s latest Sentra. In base S trim, the FWD Nissan gets a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that makes 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque with a 6-speed manual (CVT optional). Standard equipment includes Nissan Safety Shield 360 and Apple CarPlay. Despite its value-pricing, the Nissan compact’s driving experience is relatively refined. The 5-passenger Sentra’s new independent rear suspension improves ride and handling over the older versions.
7th-place: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Essential - $17,899* CDN
Redesigned-for-2021, the new Hyundai Elantra offers loads of value—even in base Essential trim. Heated front seats, 8-inch touch-screen display, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, and alloy wheels all come standard. Power comes from a 147-horsepower and 132-pound-feet 2.0-litre 4-cylinder with a 6-speed manual transmission (a CVT is optional). Despite the FWD, 5-passenger Elantra’s swoopy coupe-like styling, there’s plenty of headroom and lots of rear legroom. Moreover, Hyundai’s 5-year/100,000-kilometre factory warranty gives peace of mind.
6th-place: 2021 Kia Forte LX MT- $17,895 CDN
The Kia Forte compact sedan shares a platform, powertrain, and high-value proposition with its Hyundai Elantra platform-mate. Inexpensive small cars have historically cut corners on standard equipment levels and things like sound insulation or the amount of seat cushioning. But the Forte provides a civilized driving experience right from the entry-level, putting advanced safety features and smartphone integration into the package. Wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, cruise control and Kia’s 5-year/100,000-kilometre factory warranty all come standard.
5th-place: 2021 Hyundai Venue Essential - $17,599 CDN
Taking over for the outgoing Accent sub-compact as the most affordable Hyundai in Canada, Hyundai's smallest SUV is powered by a 121-horsepower and 113-pound-feet 4-cylinder engine matched to a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT. Even in base trim, the 5-passenger Venue features an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, heated front seats and power-adjustable side mirrors. Offered with FWD only, Hyundai’s small SUV makes no pretenses of venturing far off the beaten path.
4th-place: 2021 Kia Rio 5-door LX+ MT- $17,295 CDN
Affordable yet still attractive, with a well-tuned suspension, standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, sharp styling, plus an excellent factory warranty, the Kia Rio 5-door offers a lot of value at a very reasonable price. The FWD, 5-passenger hatchback's 120-horsepower/112-pound-feet of torque 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine can be had with the standard 6-speed manual or optional CVT. As long as no one expects a pocket rocket, the Rio should please most buyers with its agreeable driving behaviour.
3rd-place: 2021 Nissan Versa S 1.6 5MT- $16,498 CDN
Replacing the smaller Micra as Nissan’s price-leader, the 2021 Nissan Versa sub-compact sedan provides much more than just a keen entry-level MSRP. The FWD, 5-passenger Versa comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission (or an optional CVT) with a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine making 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Now in the second model year of a new generation, the Versa has matured into a well-considered small car offering features more often found in larger and more expensive sedans.
2nd-place: 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage Hatchback- $13,858 CDN
Along with the Chevrolet Spark, the sub-compact Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback is one of the last vehicles Canadians can buy new starting under $14,000. The FWD, 5-passenger Mirage hatchback receives a styling refresh for 2021, complete with a much larger grille, restyled front and rear bumpers, and new head- and taillight designs. Power comes from a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine that makes 78 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, while a CVT is optional. Perhaps the best reason to opt for the new Mirage over a similarly-priced used car is Mitsubishi's 5-year/100,000-kilometre comprehensive warranty.
1st-place: 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS Manual - $10,198 CDN
If buying the most affordable new vehicle in Canada is your goal, welcome to the 4-seater Chevrolet Spark. Although a bit pricier than last year, the Spark costs more like a used car but comes with a 3-year/60,000-kilometre warranty. The FWD, Chevy sub-compact hatchback comes with a 98-horsepower/94-pound-foot of torque 1.4-litre 4-cylinder engine. Gearbox options include a 5-speed manual or an optional CVT. All Sparks get a full-colour 7-inch touch screen in the center stack. The Spark does well for headroom, but legroom for rear passengers will always be tight in a vehicle of this size.
* Based Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices in Canada as of February 1 2021.