Every car buyer is different, and "best" is a subjective term. But we think there’s a good argument that one model in particular offers the best overall value for the money in 2024.
It’s the Hyundai Elantra, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a ride that’s more economical, upfront and for the long haul.
Hyundai's five-seat compact car packages great gas mileage, a best-in-class warranty and strong safety scores and performance, all for the low starting price of $21,475. That’s less than half the price of the average new vehicle sold today — it’s even lower than the average list price for used cars right now.
With new car MSRPs and auto loan rates shooting higher in recent years, finding a car with an affordable sticker price is clearly a high priority for buyers. According to a 2024 Cars.com survey, nearly half of consumers plan on spending less than $30,000 on their next vehicle. This will be hard to do if you want a larger or even mid-size SUV, yet you can drive off the dealership with a new Elantra for under $25,000, including taxes and fees.
(If you’re interested in a broader look at the new vehicle marketplace, check out our full list of the Best Cars & Trucks of 2024.)
The Elantra delivers segment-leading gas mileage, returning 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The estimated average annual fuel cost for a 2024 Elantra is just $1,300, according to the Department of Energy’s fueleconomy.gov, adding up to a savings of $1,750 over five years compared to the average new vehicle.
During our week-long test drive in suburban Florida, the Elantra delivered more comfort and performance than expected for its budget-friendly price. Its 147-horsepower engine is less robust than some other small cars’, but the Elantra handled well enough around corners and on pavement. As for space, the Elantra’s trunk may be on the small side, but its 14.2 cubic feet can accommodate a couple of suitcases or a typical grocery haul.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the Elantra is covered by a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. A comprehensive warranty could wind up saving you thousands of dollars over the span of your car ownership, and Hyundai’s offering is a standout in the small-car segment. This means you can drive the Elantra more miles, or hold onto it for more years, with the confidence that you will not have to pay for repairs out of pocket.
For all of these eminently practical reasons, we say the Hyundai Elantra is a tremendous value — the overall best new car for your money in 2024.
Does this mean that the Elantra is the best value for you and your particular needs? Not at all. A parent who routinely requires space for Costco runs will have a very different set of criteria than a single commuter logging in 700 miles a week or a construction contractor who is looking for durability, towing capacity and ample space for equipment.
So if the Elantra or any small car is not your cup of tea, fret not. Drivers seeking a larger or sportier ride should check out our winners in the larger vehicle categories such as trucks, minivans and SUVs. We also have categories devoted to the best electric cars, luxury cars, sports cars and more.
Depending on your personal preferences and sense of which features and specs are most worth the money, one of the winners among these options might provide much better value for you.