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Canada's cheapest car blog

Right now, there is no cheaper new car in Canada than the Hyundai Accent.

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Right now, there is no cheaper new car in Canada than the Hyundai Accent.

It’s part of a special deal that Hyundai’s been carrying nationally since March, when it dropped the price of its stripped-down three-door Accent L to $9,995 – the first time a new car has been listed for less than $10,000 in probably a couple of decades.

Not to be outdone, Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, dropped the price of its base Rio sedan to the same $9,995.

Which you buy comes down to whether you want a three-door hatchback or a four-door sedan.

Something must be working. Since March, Hyundai’s sold more than 8,000 of the base level three-door Accent L, with almost half of those being complete strippers – no air conditioning and standard five-speed transmission. And Hyundai claims it’s still making a profit on them.

The two Korean companies got to this figure by taking all the list prices for the various versions of the Accent and the Rio and lopping $3,600 off the total, before taxes. If you go to their websites, there’s very little explanation of how this works because they prefer you wander into a dealership to ask the question.

And although this special offer is good through to at least the end of this month, it could end anytime. Hyundai and Kia are holding that “rush into the dealership” card up their sleeves.

There’s a proviso, of course – there’s always a proviso. This is the cash price.

If you want to lease or finance the car through the manufacturer, that $3,600 goes back on, and that’s a massive penalty to pay for having to borrow the money.

But if you can afford to pay for the car outright, from a bank line of credit or loan, or a family loan, or – just maybe, unlike most car purchasers – because you have the money already sitting in the bank, you won’t find anything new that’s cheaper.

There are other costs, of course – there are always other costs. Delivery is a fairly high $1,345. Taxes, both provincial and federal, add another $2,270.85.

So out the door, to buy Canada’s cheapest new car, you’ll have to come up with $13,610.85.

What do you get for that? Here at Wheels, we wanted to know, so we asked and Hyundai gave us a brand-new, $9,995 Accent L to keep for the next few months.

In fact, our car is not quite the very base model. I caved in and asked for air conditioning to be fitted as an option, which is installed at the dealership and costs about an extra $1,130. If you were buying the car, I’d suggest just going up to the GL version for the extra $1,700 over the base price, so that you get central locking doors, keyless entry and power windows as well.

But our car has wind-up windows, individual door locks, a 1.6 L engine and a five-speed transmission, and we plan to put it through the wringer. Every Wheels contributor will drive it for a week or so and our running blog is already up at wheels.ca. There’s no log book – everything will be on the blog.

There, you can read about the fuel consumption I got over the first week and how it reacted it to me stuffing a 12-foot length of 4×4 into it at the lumber yard last Sunday.

Jim Kenzie is driving it right now and his full review will appear in Wheels next week.

After that, we’ll run stories on this little car every month or so, and I encourage you to write to us at wheels@thestar.ca if you can think of a suitable test for it – or a wildly unsuitable test, for that matter.

I can’t say that we’ll drive it up to James Bay to take part in the winter caribou migration, as we did our last long-term tester, the Toyota Prius, but it’ll be interesting.

Anybody curious how many students we can stuff into it?

mrichardson@thestar.ca

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