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Larry Printz: Frugal finds: The 10 least-expensive vehicles under $19,000

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

If you have found yourself furloughed or are facing a reduced paycheck, and need some new wheels, you'll want a new ride at the lowest possible cost. Enter the frugal finds, the 10 least expensive new vehicles you can buy, ranked by base price of the base model. Each price includes destination charge, but excludes incentives.

All are built on front-wheel drive car platforms with independent front suspensions, torsion-beam rear suspensions and -- with the exception of the Kia Soul and Forte – rear drum brakes. Cars in this class are all about value for the money, and in that regard, they are hard to match.

That said, here's what you'll find.

Kia Forte FE -- $18,855

While it is the most expensive sedan here, the Kia Forte's cabin sports a sophisticated minimalism that lends it a spacious feel. There's lots of standard gear, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on an eight-inch touchscreen with auxiliary and USB ports, along with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, parking assist, lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance. Handling is nimble, with exceptional compliance and composure. A six-speed manual is standard; a CVT automatic transmission is a $900 option.

Kia Soul LX -- $18,610


The only crossover on the list, the Kia Soul offers boatloads of style and a tall boxy shape that provides generous space for its size and a high seating position. Easy to drive smoothly, it's not ultimate power that makes the Soul so impressive, it's the vehicle's nuance and poise. A six-speed manual is standard; a CVT automatic transmission is a $1,500 option. However, if you want any advanced safety gear, you'll have to opt for the S trim, which costs an additional $1,680 over the LX, but includes an automatic transmission as standard equipment.

Chevrolet Sonic LS -- $17,595

The Sonic punches above its weight, delivering a quiet comfortable ride with responsive handling. A turbocharged four is mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission that provides enough punch to keep you amused. The Sonic's design may have been around awhile, but it comes with a seven-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, keyless entry, and power door locks, but not power windows. A funky five-door hatch is also offered, starting at $20,295.

Honda Fit LX -- $17,145


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