Any way you look at it, a new car is an investment. The cost of the vehicle itself plus registration, insurance, maintenance, and petrol can really add up. But there is no substitute for the convenience offered by owning a vehicle, and sometimes it is the only practical way to get to work on time. 

Luckily, smart shopping can help you snag a reliable new vehicle for a reasonable price. One good strategy is to pinpoint vehicles that are sold only in South American countries, not the United States. Vehicles peddled in North America are often loaded with unnecessary features that bloat the price.

Used cars are always less expensive, but they don’t come with that new car smell. You also get a manufacturer’s warranty with a new vehicle that protects you from getting hit by a huge repair bill in the first months of your car ownership. If you are committed to buying new, stick with us to discover 7 great makes that won’t break the bank.

1. Dodge Atos

Base Price: 149,844 pesos ($7800 USD)

If you don’t need a ton of space in your new vehicle, consider the subcompact hatchback Dodge Atos. Though it comes in at just 137.6 inches long, it does have four doors. The Atos is powered by a 1.1 liter, four cylinder engine that pushes this lightweight vehicle to a top speed of 159 km/hr. You can expect to get ABS, airbags, and air conditioning standard in your Atos.

Interestingly, though the Atos is sold under the Dodge label, it is actually made by Hyundai in India. It is considered a reliable vehicle and is frequently used as a taxi for that reason. Incredible deals can be found on the Atos because it has The i10 has attractive styling with pulled-back headlamps, chrome lined grille, and integrated clear lens fog lamps. On the tailgate you will find a chrome-lined boot release handle. If you are comfortable spending a bit more, the i10 also comes in a Grand version with sleeker styling and more space.

recently been replaced by the Dodge i10, also made by Hyundai.

2. Dodge i10

Base Price: 166,584 pesos ($8600 USD)

The i10 is also built in India and has a 1.1 liter, four cylinder engine. And unlike the Atos, the base price does not include air conditioning. But the i10 is a bit more spacious with 140.35 inches in length. More legroom has been built in for the backseat passengers, and a variety of ergonomic features accommodate drivers of different heights.

3. Nissan March

Base Price: 175,932 pesos ($9100 USD)

The Nissan March is a sporty little hatchback that has been described as happy-looking due to its double-layer grille and huge headlights. Made in Thailand, the March features a long wheelbase for a hatchback of 2440mm. It also has a high roofline and ample rear leg room, making it comfortable for the driver and passengers alike. The interior styling is based on circles, with round vents and a circular disc for ventilation and audio controls.

You get a 1.2 liter, three cylinder engine with the March that can get you up to 152 km/hour. The automatic version comes with air conditioning standard, but the manual one does not. The suspension handles the bumps and ridges of city driving, but is not equipped for off-roading. All in all, the March is a sturdy city vehicle that keeps you comfortable behind the wheel.

4. Chevrolet Beat

by Peter Broster under CC BY 2.0

Base Price: 186,032 pesos ($9700 USD)

The Chevrolet Beat is also sold in the United States under the name Spark, but there its price reflects some extra costs related to U.S. regulations, including 10 airbags! In South America, you get the same 103-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine without expensive unnecessary elements. The Beat is made by GM Daewoo in South Korea.

The first generation of Beat featured distinctive cat-eye headlights but these have been swapped out for more understated rectangular lights in the newer model. The new front end has a lower front fascia and the rear end features new taillights and hatch door. Inside, you’ll find that the revised Beat has a stylish new gauge cluster and center stack, plus an updated Chevy My Link infotainment system.

5. VW Nuevo Gol

Base Price: 191,093 pesos ($9950 USD)

Built in Brazil, the Gol features the same platform as the VW Polo but is a couple of inches shorter. The engine varies across South America; in Mexico it is a 1.6 liter, four cylinder model. The Gol could be ideal if you have a family, especially if you need to secure a car seat in the back. It offers extremely safe ISOFIX anchorages for that purpose. ABS braking and a seat belt alarm add to the safety features.

All kinds of other comfort features are built in as well, including a third headrest in the back, electric windows, and a rear parking signal. You will also enjoy the App Connect system that allows you to connect your cellphone and control it via buttons on the steering wheel.

6. Ford Ikon

Base Price: 196,581 pesos ($10,200 USD)

The Ford Ikon is virtually identical to the Ford Fiesta, but both models are available for sale across South America. The Ikon is a rare affordable sedan, but it also comes in a hatchback if you prefer. The sedan has a 1.6 liter, four cylinder engine and comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. Built sturdy, the Ikon can stand up to rough driving and handles beautifully.

One downside of the Ikon is the maintenance cost. Ford prefers to simply replace, rather than fix, their parts. That means that even minor damage can be quite costly to repair. Some users also complained that the interior does not provide good places to store loose items.

7. VW Vento

Base Price: 209,990 pesos ($10,900 USD)

The Volkswagen Vento was introduced in the South American market in 2014 to replace the VW Clasico. It has two options for engines: a 1.6 liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic DSG gearbox, and a 1.6-liter diesel engine mated only to a five-speed manual gearbox (TDI).

The most affordable entry version is called Style. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power locks, remote trunk opening, 3-point seat belts in both the front and back seats, three read dome lights, single front headlights, center rear brake light, driver and passenger airbags, ABS, electric windows, and four speakers. The 15” aluminum wheels are matched with 185/60R15 tyres.


With careful shopping, you can score a great deal on your next new car. Models that have been discontinued in your home country are almost always an incredible value, because dealers need to clear these vehicles off their lot to make way for new stock. Sporty little hatchbacks are also quite affordable and ideal for city driving. Families can also find a nice sedan that offers plenty of cargo space for the whole family, though this becomes more challenging on a budget.

Your best strategy is to carefully research various models of car and choose one that is made specifically for the South American market. That way, you’ll get just what you need without any useless extras.