PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — December is regarded as one of the best times of the year to buy a car. If you’re looking, but might be leaning towards a used car, there are five cars on the market with high ratings and low sticker prices that you might want to consider.
The Ford Fiesta received high marks from Popular Mechanics for being the most fuel-efficient and rated as Kelly Blue Book’s coolest car. The Fiesta tops our list of the top cars under $15,000.
“Under $15,000, 40 miles-plus to the gallon. It says something about the car. Six-speed automatic transmission, 38 miles to the gallon,” Frank Davin from Woltz and Wind Ford said.
The Fiesta aims to compete with Toyota’s popular Yaris.
Just a few years ago, when gas prices hit $4, dealers couldn’t keep them in stock.
“We’re seeing the trend where gas is at $3 a gallon and of course, the economy cars are the ones people are looking for. Especially the ones with a significant amount of safety and nice features,” Kevin Kinsella from Rohrich Toyota said.
Consumer Reports ranks the Yaris with its highest level of reliability, and sits in the top five of Edmunds.com’s most fuel-efficient non-hybrids. Base models start around $12,500.
Remember when Steelers tough guy James Harrison showed up to camp last year in a Smart Car?
“It’s a very unique car. It doesn’t take up much room. You don’t have to pull up to a gas pump and you get a lot of looks driving it, it’s rather unique,” Gregg Szabatura from Smart Car Pittsburgh said.
From $11,000 for bare bones to $13,000 with air conditioning, Smart Car gets top reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. Edmunds ranks it the lowest car to own over time.
If you’re concerned about the size, believe it or not it gets a 5-star side impact rating.
In the meantime, Kia is making waves with its Soul hatchback.
“You get the lighted speakers that beat to the music, subwoofers and amplifiers. All kinds of things you can get at a really reasonable price,” Eddie Aguirre from South Hills Kia said.
While that option is enough to rank on Kelly Blue Book’s coolest cars list, it’s also a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It starts at around $13,500.
Finally, Hyundai rounds out the list with the Elantra.
You’ll notice, it’s the largest car of the lot.
“Here’s a four-door sedan with phenomenal gas mileage, automatic, power windows and locks with cruise control and a CD player, that’s under, well under $15,000 and the lease programs are out there where someone’s getting one for under $200 a month,” Tim Fitzgerald with Bowser Hyundai said.
Once again, Consumer Reports rates it with top reliability as well as a recommended buy with sticker prices around $14,000.
Now, even if you don’t hit that $15,000 mark on the nose, keep in mind that the dealer you go to might offer some incentives along the way. Ask about free maintenance, free oil changes, a free extended warranty.
Asking those questions might save you some money in the long-haul.