Recent grads or first-time buyers may be hesitant or intimidated when buying a new car. Many often opt for purchasing a used-vehicle or even just using public transportation.
Yet with many manufacturers offering low monthly payment plans for the latest models, it's never been easier to ditch the bus and get behind the wheel.
GOBankingRates measured the suggested retail price of vehicles from several manufacturers and applied three assumptions —a five-year auto loan term, a 20 percent down payment and estimated monthly payments for those with excellent, good and fair credit — to find the vehicles with the lowest payments.
Here are the top 10 cars you can buy for $300 a month or less, according to GOBankingRates, proving you don't have to break the bank to own a new set of wheels.
Some photos might not depict base models and could list for more.
The Sonic comes with features, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, that any tech-savvy shopper would love. Downside: Fuel economy is less than average for its class, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Fiat 500's size makes it easy to park, which may be ideal for city dwellers. On the flip side, the Fiat 500 lacks a lot of cargo space and doesn't have much of a rear seat.
The Accent's 10-year warranty and generous space makes this vehicle an ideal purchase for many first-time buyers.
The small footprint of Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe makes this another contender for city buyers, and the model was named the "ultimate city car" by Kelley Blue Book. The gasoline version requires premium fuel, which may be a minus for those trying to save at the pump.
The Rio offers an upscale interior that could easily be mistaken for that of a more expensive car. Other features include heated leather seats and high-quality interior trim, in several models.
This vehicle offers a generous decade-long warranty and is one of the least expensive cars in the class. A loud engine, slow acceleration and simple interior features may leave some drivers wanting more, according to Kelley Blue Book.
The Fiesta comes with features such as touch-screen capability. Cargo and rear-seat space tend to be limited, so it's not ideal for driving around groups, according to Car and Driver.
The Spark offers one of the lowest base prices, which makes it a good option for many budget consumers. It has features such as built-in Wi-Fi and touch-screen capability. Buyers with families may be deterred by its relative lack of legroom and cargo capacity.
The Mitsubishi Mirage ES also boasts a generous decade-long warranty. Being one of the cheapest cars in the class comes with some trade-offs, such as a loud and slow-accelerating engine and a something-to-be-desired interior, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Versa Sedan tops the list with a spacious interior and trunk, two features many budget cars lack. For consumers looking for the smallest monthly payment — less than $150 for buyers with excellent credit — the Versa is a reliable pick.