There is no greater pain in your adult life than living through two recessions, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the absurd rise of enthusiast car prices, and figuring out that your money is worth a lot less now, for some reason. All of that, plus the average price of a new car being $49,507 means that it’s tough to find new transportation without going bankrupt. That is, unless you’re willing to plop yourself into the 2024 Nissan Kicks that starts at just $20,790 before destination. 

OK, it’s not the most glamorous choice, but it is a realistic new car purchase that will get you into a small SUV with a warranty. It’ll carry four people in relative comfort, get an EPA-estimated 36 mpg highway, come with standard Apple CarPlay (a $4,000 option on a Ferrari Portofino), and a suite of standard advanced driver’s assistance tech, including automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring (a $700 option on a Porsche 911).


Even if you wanted to spring for some extras like adaptive cruise control (a $2,050 option on a Porsche Taycan), 360-degree parking camera (a $700 option on a BMW 3 Series), remote start, a bigger infotainment screen, and a Bose stereo (a $990 on a Porsche Cayman), the Kicks SR includes all of that and tops out at just $23,350. No, you won’t get the glitz and glamour of a more expensive car; nor will you get the curb appeal; nor will the 122-horsepower 1.6-liter engine wow you with its acceleration. But this is a cheap car, damn you. Not all cars have to do everything. 

And there are still even cheaper options, like the Mitsubishi Mirage, Kia Rio, and Nissan Versa. Even with those three, I can count the $20,000 cars that exist right now with one hand. So while the Kicks isn’t glamorous, cool, or a car you want to be in long-term, it’s inexpensive, and it’ll move people around. There isn’t much more you can ask for. 

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