Top 10 Cheapest Cars in Kenya ( Top Rated For 2024)

Explore the world of the top 10 cheapest cars in Kenya, understanding how economic factors and social preferences shape your best affordable car choices.

Jan 22, 2024 - 08:45
Jan 22, 2024 - 08:44
Top 10  Cheapest Cars in Kenya ( Top Rated For 2024)
Top 10 Cheapest Cars in Kenya ( Top Rated For 2024)

In  Kenyan cities, cars are more than just a mode of transportation; they symbolize independence, convenience, and a touch of personal style for some. However, amidst the diverse automotive landscape, affordability dominates the decision-making process for most Kenyans. With the ever-rising cost of living and the nuanced economic challenges, finding a car that doesn't break the bank while still meeting essential needs is paramount. This blog post delves deep into the heart of Kenya's car market, uncovering the top 10 cheapest cars that blend cost-effectiveness with reliability and style.

But what does 'cheap' really mean in the Kenyan context? It's not just about the upfront price tag. We're talking about fuel-efficient cars withintenance costs, and offr greue for money in the long run. This article isn't just a list; it's a journey through the intricate network of factors that make a car affordable and suitable for Kenyan roads and lifestyles. From bustling city traffic to rural terrains, we understand that every car owner's needs are unique.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Car Dealerships in Kenya For 2024/2025( Top Rated)

Overview of the Car Market in Kenya

Kenya's car market is a vibrant and ever-evolving landscape, reflecting not only the country's economic status but also its people's aspirations and needs. In recent years, we've witnessed significant shifts in the types of vehicles Kenyans purchase, influenced by various economic and social factors. 

Economic Influences on Car Purchases

Like many others, the Kenyan economy has seen its fair share of ups and downs. These fluctuations directly impact the purchasing power of the average Kenyan, dictating what kind of cars are attainable for them. The inflation rate, for instance, influences the cost of living, affecting how much people can set aside for significant investments like cars. Additionally, the exchange rate plays a crucial role, mainly since a substantial portion of Kenya's cars are imported. A weaker Kenyan Shilling against the Dollar or Yen makes imports more expensive, thus affecting the final price consumers have to pay.

Social Influences and Changing Preferences

Social factors also significantly shape the car market in Kenya. Urban dwellers have a growing preference for compact and fuel-efficient cars, especially in congested cities like Nairobi and Mombasa. This shift is attributed to the increasing traffic jams and the scarcity of parking spaces, making smaller cars more practical and desirable.

Moreover, there's an emerging trend among the younger generation who favor cars not just as a means of transport but also as a statement of style and tech-savviness. This demographic is more inclined towards models that blend modern aesthetics, technological features, and environmental friendliness.

Importance of Fuel Efficiency and Maintenance Costs

In Kenya, the fuel cost is a critical consideration for car buyers. A car's fuel efficiency can significantly impact the owner's long-term expenses with fluctuating fuel prices. Kenyans are increasingly aware of this and tend to favor vehicles with higher mileage per liter, as these are more economical in the long run.

Maintenance costs are another crucial factor. Cars that are cheaper to maintain, with readily available and affordable spare parts, are highly sought after. This preference explains the popularity of brands like Toyota, which has a well-established network of service centers and surplus parts in Kenya.

The Pre-Owned Market and Its Appeal

The used car market in Kenya is thriving, offering a gateway to car ownership for many who cannot afford brand-new vehicles. These pre-owned cars, mainly imported from Japan and other countries, balance quality and price. However, this market also requires buyers to be more vigilant to ensure they get a car in good condition and at a fair price.

Criteria for Choosing the Cheapest Cars in Kenya

When Kenyans search for the cheapest cars, they're not just looking at the price tag. They're considering a complex matrix of factors that define true affordability. Let us look into these critical criteria, guiding potential car buyers on how to make savvy decisions that balance cost with long-term value.

1. Fuel Efficiency:

In Kenya, where fuel costs fluctuate dramatically, fuel efficiency isn't just a nice-to-have; it's essential. A car that guzzles fuel will quickly drain your wallet, making it expensive in the long run, regardless of its initial low cost. Kenyans increasingly favor cars with high fuel mileage – those that can travel more kilometers per liter of fuel. This shift is not just about saving money; it's also about reducing the environmental impact, aligning with a growing global consciousness about eco-friendly practices.

2. Maintenance Costs: 

If not considered, maintenance costs can turn an affordable car into a financial burden. In Kenya, where road conditions vary, and off-road driving is everyday, cars must be robust and easy to maintain. This necessity has led to the popularity of specific car models known for their durability and low maintenance requirements. Cars with readily available spare parts and service centers nationwide, such as those from well-established brands like Toyota and Nissan, are often preferred. This availability reduces downtime and ensures that repairs don't become a significant expense.

3. Resale Value: 

The potential resale value of a car is a crucial consideration for Kenyan buyers. It's common for car owners to sell or upgrade their vehicles after a few years. Hence, choosing a car that holds its value over time is wise. Models with a strong brand reputation and widespread acceptance in the Kenyan market tend to have better resale values. This foresight helps car owners minimize loss when it's time to sell, making it an integral part of the affordability equation.

4. Availability of Spare Parts and Service Centers

A car is only as good as the support it gets. In Kenya, a vehicle with scarce spare parts or limited service options can quickly become a liability. The ease of obtaining spare parts and accessing reliable service centers is vital. Brands with a strong local presence offer peace of mind, knowing that parts are readily available and there are skilled technicians to handle repairs and maintenance. This accessibility is particularly important for those outside major cities, where car service options might be limited.

Top 10 cheap cars in Kenya

This article will explore the top options for the cheapest cars in Kenya, helping you find the vehicle that best fits your needs and budget.


Let us get started:


1. Toyota Vitz

 The Toyota Vitz is a subcompact car from Japan that was first introduced in 1998 and is currently in its third generation, launched in 2010. This car is known for its small size, spacious interior, and stylish exterior design. Several variants of the Toyota Vitz are available, such as the Jewela, F Package, FL Package, F Limited, F Smile Edition, and U Package, each equipped with different features. 


The latest version of the Toyota Vitz has a 1.3-liter petrol engine that the company claims provides the highest fuel efficiency. It consumes 26.5 km per liter, making it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles powered by a petrol engine. The car also comes with electronic power steering and features such as dual airbags, ABS, power steering, a central locking system, front fog lights, steering adjustment, USB connection, AC, power door locks, and more. 


The Toyota Vitz has excellent resale value in the market due to its reliability, durability, exceptional fuel consumption, and superb engine performance. This car is one of the best cars in Kenya because it costs between Ksh 400,000 and Ksh 800,000 or less.


2. Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is a subcompact hatchback that offers exceptional versatility and practicality in a compact package. Despite its small size, the Fit offers more passenger space than most people expect and a multi-way folding back seat that allows it to carry more cargo than you would think. The 2020 Honda Fit has four trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L. The Fit comes with a choice between a six-speed manual transmission and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).


Fuel economy is one of the strong points of the Honda Fit. The LX model with the CVT has an excellent 40-mpg highway rating from the EPA, while all other Fits score a 36-mpg highway estimate. The Honda Fit is worth considering if you're looking for an affordable, fuel-efficient, practical, versatile car. It may not have the fun-to-drive personality of its predecessors, but it still offers an excellent combination of fuel efficiency, versatility, and comfort. It costs between Ksh 600 000 and Ksh 900 000.


3. Mazda Demio

The Mazda Demio is a compact car offered in 2WD and 4WD. It comes with two engine options: a 1.3L ZJ engine and a 1.5L ZY engine, both of which can be paired with a CVT, 4-speed automatic, or 5-speed manual transmission. The Mazda Demio is available in 5 different grades, including the base model 13C, the 13-SKYACTIV, the 13C-V, the 15C, and the sports-oriented 15S. The car has a stylish design that appeals to both masculine and feminine clientele.


The car has features like DVD/Navigation, Smart Start, adjustable steering, and safety features like SRS airbags, ABS, DSC, and TCS. On average, the Demio 13-SKYACTIV consumes 25.0 Km/L, while the 1.3L and 1.5L engines consume 20.6 Km/L and 18.2 Km/L, respectively. The car has a ground clearance of 6.1 inches (155mm), which is suitable for driving on Kenyan roads but may require modifications for some speed bumps. It costs between Ksh 500,000 and Ksh 700,000 depending on the year of production.


4. Nissan March

The Nissan March is a Japanese mini-car produced for five generations. The fourth generation, K13, was produced from 2010 to 2017; the fifth generation, K14, has been produced since 2017. The 2014 Nissan March has a three-cylinder, 1.2-liter HR12DE engine and an EXTRONIC CVT transmission. It is known for its efficiency, with features like idling stop, which switches off the engine when the car is not in motion.


The Nissan March is offered in various grades, including the base model 12S, the mid-level model 12X, and the luxury model 12G. The car is compact, making it best suited for light urban use, and it has several storage compartments in the cabin. The exterior design is conservative, with chrome trim on some higher grades. The 2014 Nissan March has a fuel consumption of 26.0 km/L and a fuel tank capacity of 41 liters. It handles well and has various safety features, such as SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, and 3-point seat belts with ELR. Nissan March costs around Ksh 300,000 to Ksh 700,000.


5. Toyota Auris

 The Toyota Auris is a practical, reliable, no-frills family car with three options: hatchback, hybrid, and Touring Sports estate. In 2015, the car received a facelift, and they added a new 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine to the range, which improved fuel efficiency over the previous naturally aspirated 1.33 unit. The new engine offers 114bhp and 185Nm of torque, making it flexible and robust. However, the 2015 facelift did not impact the car's styling, which remains bland and boxy.


The interior of the Toyota Auris is functional, with a straightforward design and an easy-to-use central touchscreen. The plastic materials feel durable but not as solid as those used by the best in the business. There are minor issues, such as a clock that is too far from the driver and a small tray ahead of the gear lever. Despite these minor issues, the Toyota Auris has a good reputation for reliability, making it an economical and practical choice for family car buyers. Toyota Auris cost between Ksh 800 000 and around Ksh 1200,000.


6. Toyota IST

The Toyota IST is a compact car first released for sale in May 2002. It was designed for young people, focusing on providing a compact vehicle for mobility. The car has a stylish design, featuring a wide front grille, wheel arches, and large 15-inch tires, which give it a sense of activity and high quality.


The interior of the IST is simple and dynamic, with a horizontal and vertical basic configuration combined with rounded front and rear parts. It has a comfortable interior, with enough space to accommodate four people. The car has various safety features, including dual SRS airbags, ABS, and brake assist functions. The driving system can be either front-wheel drive or full-time 4-wheel drive for the 1.5-liter model. A minor update for the IST in May 2015 improved the interior, exterior, and technical equipment. It costs between Ksh 400 000 and around Ksh 1000,000.


7. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is set to receive a hybrid powertrain in 2024. This hybrid model will be offered as a sedan and a hatchback, powered by the same hybrid powertrain found in the Honda Accord hybrid. This hybrid powertrain will consist of a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors providing 180-200 horsepower.


As for pricing, the EX sedan is the most recommended option, with a starting price of $28,000. This model has blind-spot monitoring, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, and heated front seats. 


The hybrid sedan is estimated to start at $29,000, while the well-equipped EX-L hatchback with leather upholstery is estimated at $30,000. When it comes to performance, the Civic is offered with a front-wheel-drive system and a CVT transmission. The turbocharged Touring sedan has a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds, while the manual Sport Touring hatchback is slightly faster at 7.3 seconds. It costs Ksh. 2,900,000 to Ksh 6,000,000.


8. Nissan Cube

 The Nissan Cube is one of Kenya's best se,li8ng cheap cars. The second-generation model of the Cube is expected to be a sales success with the full backing of Nissan Kenya. The new model boasts a distinctive design with round edges, flared wheel arches, and a long bonnet, making it 160mm longer, 25mm wider, and 10mm taller than its predecessor. The interior of the Cube has been designed to feel as relaxing as a jacuzzi and is much more spacious, with ample head and legroom for five tall adults.


A 1.5-liter petrol or diesel engine powers the Cube mated to a CVT auto or five-speed manual transmission. The petrol model has a 107bhp engine that returns 47mpg on the combined cycle and has improved response and fuel efficiency thanks to a revised CVT gearbox and a tweaked engine management system. The ride and handling of the Cube have been significantly improved, with a stiffer chassis, anti-roll bars, and independent struts up front, resulting in improved stability and a more compliant ride. The Cube is set to rival other supermini-MPVs like the Vauxhall Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso, and Ford's B-MAX. It costs around Ksh 600,000.


9. Volkswagen Golf

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf is a compact hatchback that offers excellent value for its price. The Golf's turbocharged inline-four engine is refined and reliable, providing enough power for around-town driving. Its compliant ride and athletic handling make it an enjoyable car to drive. The EPA estimates the Golf to have fuel economy ratings of 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, and 29 mpg city and 33 highway with the automatic.


10. Subaru Impreza

The 2023 Subaru Impreza is an excellent compact car, offering excellent fuel economy and standard all-wheel drive, which makes it feel sporty without sacrificing ride comfort. The interior of the Impreza is straightforward, with spacious seats and a good amount of cargo space in the hatchback model.


However, the Impreza has some downsides, including a sluggish engine and a smaller trunk in the sedan models. While budget-conscious shoppers or those wanting all-wheel drive should consider the Impreza, it is not as well-rounded as some of its competitors, such as the Honda Civic and Mazda3, which offer lively handling, inviting cabins, and technology features that the Impreza does not have. 


The cost of insuring the Impreza will depend on various factors, such as location, age, driving record, and the level of coverage chosen. Subaru Impreza costs between Ksh 400,000 and around Ksh 2000 000.

READ ALSO: Used cars for sale in Kenya by owner In 2024: Market Trends, Popular Models, Price Insights

Tips for Buying a Budget-Friendly Car in Kenya

Purchasing a budget-friendly car in Kenya can be a journey filled with excitement and, sometimes, a bit of anxiety. Navigating the options to find a vehicle that meets your financial and practical needs requires insight and strategy. Here are some valuable tips to help you make an informed decision when buying a budget-friendly car, ensuring you get the best value for your money.

1. Research and Knowledge are Key

Before stepping into the market, arm yourself with knowledge. Research the models that fit your budget and meet your needs. Online forums, car review sites, and local dealer websites can offer a wealth of information about different models' reliability, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs. Understanding the market trends, such as which cars are in high demand and why, can also give you an edge in making a wise choice.

2. Where to Find Budget-Friendly Cars in Kenya

In Kenya, there are several avenues for purchasing budget-friendly cars. You can opt for authorized dealerships, which often have a range of new and used vehicles. These dealerships are reliable sources but may be slightly more expensive. Alternatively, online marketplaces and local car bazaars offer a broader range of used vehicles at potentially lower prices. Remember to consider the reputation of the seller and the authenticity of the vehicle's documentation.

3. Negotiating the Best Deal

Negotiation is an art and a critical part of buying a car in Kenya. The listed price is often not the final price, and there's usually room for negotiation. Be confident, and don't hesitate to ask for a better deal. However, be realistic in your expectations and respectful in your approach. Knowing the average market price for the model you're interested in can help you negotiate effectively.

4. Quality Checks and Test Drives are Essential

Never purchase a car without a thorough quality check and a test drive. It's advisable to have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle for used cars. They can identify any underlying issues that might not be immediately apparent. A test drive gives you a feel of the car's performance and helps you assess its condition. Pay attention to the engine sound, brake efficiency, and overall driving comfort.

5. Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership

The purchase price is just the beginning. Consider the total ownership cost, including insurance, registration, maintenance, and fuel costs. Some models may be cheap to buy but expensive to maintain. Choose a car that is affordable to purchase and economical to run and maintain.

6. Paperwork and Legal Requirements

Ensure all paperwork is in order. This includes the logbook, insurance, and any transfer documents. Verify the car's history and ensure it's free from legal encumbrances. Understanding the legal process of buying a car in Kenya can prevent future complications.

READ ALSO: The Best Electric Cars in Kenya For 2024 (Models and Charging Stations)


In Kenya, purchasing a car, especially on a budget, balances cost against value. The cheapest cars aren't always the ones with the lowest price tags but offer the best combination of purchase price, fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, and longevity. With this guide's insights, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial and practical needs.

Remember, the key to finding the perfect budget-friendly car lies in thorough research, careful consideration of your specific requirements, and a keen understanding of the total cost of ownership. Whether you're a first-time buyer, a small family, or a professional seeking an economical commute option, a car out there fits your budget and lifestyle.

In a market as dynamic as Kenya's, staying informed and adaptable is crucial. The car market continually evolves, with new models and better deals emerging. Keep an eye on market trends, and don't rush your decision. The right car at the right price is worth the wait.

As you embark on your journey to find the ideal budget-friendly car, remember that this purchase is more than just a financial transaction. It's a step towards freedom, mobility, and the joy of the open road. Happy car hunting!