They all start with the letter S.
We spend a lot of time at Motor1.com focused on the latest and greatest makes and models. We highlight expensive supercars and everyday crossovers. But not everyone is looking to buy a brand-new car. Sometimes, all you need is something to get from Point A to Point B, and a new video from the Steve Lang YouTube channel has five of the cheapest brands you can buy that should offer affordable – and reliable – models. And they all begin with the letter S: Saturn, Saab, Scion, Suzuki, and Smart.
Now, not every brand has a stellar lineup of offerings. There are models you should aim for, and others you should avoid altogether, and much of a car’s future dependability relies on the previous owner’s maintenance schedule and records. One of the first brands explored is Saturn, which was a casualty of the Great Recession, which can offer Toyota-levels of reliability for half the price if the previous owner kept up on maintenance and made sure the fluids were fresh.
Saab is another cheap brand, but not one without its blemishes. They tend to have engine issues, and can easily throw a check engine light, which would make passing any government emissions test impossible. That’s something to think about when looking at a Saab, which many people aren’t doing right now. Smart and Suzuki are both solid brands, though look for Suzuki models build in Japan, like the Grand Vitara.
The last brand touched on is Scion, which is often a cheaper way to get into a Toyota; however, they have their own issues depending on the model and year. Many of the brands listed have models that are well under the $10,000 mark, making them viable alternatives for people looking to save money when buying a car. It’s certainly lovely having the shiniest new model in the neighborhood, but not everyone wants to spend that kind of cash on a depreciating asset.