These Three Cars Are Cheaper In 2025

The Nissan Leaf, Mazda3, and Honda Civic hybrid will all be offered for less than $30,000.

Redefining “Affordability”

From a gallon of milk to the monthly charges of your streaming apps, inflation has forced a reappraisal of how we define “affordability.” Even as the rate of inflation has cooled, prices in many sectors are and probably will hereafter remain higher than they were just a few years back. And while the price of eggs likely won’t be going back down, it appears that some sectors are seeing actual price decreases, including *gasp* the auto industry.

That’s right, some new models for 2025 are actually cheaper than they were a year prior. Three, the Mazda3, Honda Civic hybrid, and Nissan Leaf EV will all be offered for less than they were last year, and all under $30,000. For context, that number is two-thirds of the average transaction price in May for a new car which was just over $45,000. What kinds of compromises are necessary to save such a chunk of change? In the case of this trio, not a lot.

2025 Mazda3

2025 Mazda Mazda3 -
2025 Mazda Mazda3 -

The new 2025 Mazda3 subcompact offers much of what has distinguished the Mazda brand from the rest of the pack: a level of refinement both in drivability and interior quality that are uncommon at non-luxury price points. The entry-level Mazda3 therefore represents an impressive value. The hatchback version is now available in the base S trim, effectively dropping the price by $700 from last year’s model to $26,135. The mid-tier S Preferred trim clocks in at $27,525 or $28,875 for the hatchback version.

The Mazda3’s base engine is a 2.5L Skyactiv-G four-cylinder making 191 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque and available with the choice of a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, an increasing rarity these days. All-wheel drive is available on the Carbon Edition trim and above, starting at $30,595. For a bit more punch, there’s the Mazda3’s turbocharged 2.5L putting up a lively 250 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque (on 93 octane). All-wheel drive comes standard on turbocharged versions and the automatic the sole transmission.

At less than $30,000, the Mazda3 is a bargain. Athletic driving, the availability of a hatchback, and a gorgeous interior make it one very best compact sedans in its class.

2025 Nissan Leaf

2025 Nissan Leaf -
2025 Nissan Leaf -

The 2025 Nissan Leaf is not the newest or slickest EV on the market (a new generation should be in the offing in the next year or two). It is, however, the cheapest EV on sale in the US and comes decently equipped for the money.

The entry-level S trim starts at $29,280 and comes with a 40-kWh battery offering up to 149 miles of range and 147 horsepower. While that’s a long way from the Lucid Air’s highway worthy 500-plus miles of range, the Leaf is more than sufficient as an urban runabout. The Leaf is also offered with a larger 60-kWh battery capable of 212 miles and 214 horsepower, but at $37,330 the value proposition is a lot less convincing.

The S trim comes with enough standard equipment to make its sub-$30,000 price tag enticing. Nissan’s driver assistance suite, Safety Shield 360, comes standard as does heated front seats and an eight-inch touchscreen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As EV’s expand their presence in the market, prices will eventually align with their gas-powered counterparts. Until then, the Leaf will remain a respectable entry-point to the EV segment.

2025 Honda Civic Hybrid

2025 Honda Civic Hybrid -
2025 Honda Civic Hybrid -

Honda’s Civic hybrid makes one of the strongest cases among any sub-$30,000 car on the market. Stylish inside and out, nimble, and roomy, the Civic has a strong claim as the top compact sedan and now its hybrid iteration is ducking under the $30,000-mark to $29,845 (the non-hybrid starts at $27,345). The hybrid Civic is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder and two electric motors for 200 horsepower and 232 lb.-ft. of torque, that’s more torque than the sporty Civic Si. Of course, the Civic hybrid is efficient as well, netting 50 city and 47 highway mpg. The battery is under the rear seats, so the hybrid doesn’t give up cargo or interior space over its internal combustion counterpart. We expect the 2025 Honda Civic hybrid to give the newly revised and very impressive Toyota Prius a run for hybrid-buyers’ money.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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