When you consider total cost of ownership like special financing programs, repairs, fuel efficiency, wear and tear…, purchasing a new car can make more sense than buying used. If you’re looking for practical and affordable, we got good news for you: you can still buy a good new car under $15,000. If you have a good credit and put some money down, you can be rolling in low budget style for less than the cost of breakfast and lunch out every day.

We included some choices on the list that include sedans, hatchbacks and coups. The prices are the sticker price for the cheapest version of the model, so you may be prepared to drive a stick shift and may forgo some luxuries like air conditioning.

Ranked in order of cheapest (don’t confuse with Best Value) to most expensive, the winners are:

1. 2010 Hyundai Accent Blue Coupe, $10,690.00

2. 2010 Nissan Versa 1.6 Base Sedan, $10,730.00

3. 2010 Kia Rio Base Sedan, $12,390.00

4. 2010 Chevy Aveo LS Sedan, $12,685.00

5. 2010 Chevy Aveo5 LS Hatchback, $12,835

6. 2010 Toyota Yaris 3 Door Hatchback, $13,365.00

7. 2010 Toyota Yaris 5 Door Hatchback, $13,665.00

8. 2010 Kia Soul Base, $13,995.00

10. 2010 Suzuki SX-4 Base Sedan, $14,094.00

The Suzuki SX-4 is one of the better looking cars on the list that also commands great reviews. But no air conditioning would be a deal breaker for us (considering our Defensive Driving Course Headquarters are in Los Angeles… where it hit 115F this summer).

Operating a traffic school, gives us an access to many experts and individuals with automotive expertise. A quick research has confirmed that if we were handing out the award for best value on the list, it would go the new Ford Fiesta S (which is the only 2011 model on the list). Ford packed a lot of extra goodies into the Fiesta, including power mirrors, capless gas filler, aux in / USB jacks and A/C, yet has managed to keep the price reasonable for the entry level model. Surprisingly it also offers a sportiest ride on the list. If you enjoy getting your freak on with a twisty road, this is where you should begin shopping.

Word of caution: it isn’t easy to find base models on dealer lots, since they take up as much room as loaded models, have less margin and can be hard to move. If you have to special order one, expect to pay full sticker price instead of haggling over invoice plus $500. On the other hand, sometimes a dealer can be very motivated to sell a year old entry level car, even if it’s in a higher trim level. It may take some time (and travel) to find exactly what you’re looking for, but we always thought that the hunt is half the fun.