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14 Mar
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The Cheapest Cars in Kenya

The Cheapest Cars in Kenya

The economic landscape and an individual’s monetary budget can push one to look for affordable vehicles in the market. In Kenya, being affordable means cheap. In this article, we dwell on the cheapest cars in Kenya, which essentially are pre-owned imports from overseas, most likely Japan.

Being cheap doesn’t mean not worth it value but affordable enough to see one through the process of owning a car and making use of it for whichever purpose one intends. Locally, the cars below are deemed cheaply affordable as witnessed in the Kenyan roads and their owners.

Mazda Familia

Similar to Nissan Ad Van model and later (from 2018). The Mazda Familia is one of the cheapest cars to own in Kenya. The car comes with a 1500cc inline engine that generates nearly 100 Horsepower and can help move some luggage without much effort.

The car has a huge luggage booth which can allow for all types of luggage from bags to household goods and some farm produce. It’s a car fit for a huge family’s needs.

Most Kenyans like overworking and overloading their vehicles, but be careful with the Familia. Its gearbox will let you down easily if abuse otherwise your vehicle won’t last long. This is a good vehicle if well maintained regularly.

The Mazda Familia van costs from Ksh750,000 for ex-Japan, non-locally used cars. Its spare parts are readily available. However, its resale value can be low especially if poorly maintained.

Nissan Ad Van

No longer in production since 2018, the Nissan Ad Van has proven itself since its production began in 1982. The van comes with pretty much everything you would find in the Mazda Familia above.

It comes with an inline 4-cylinder engine generating 98 horsepower. It also boasts a CVT gearbox from JATCO.

If well maintained, the Ad Van can be a good beast of burden, otherwise, it will be problematic all its life. It has a delicate transmission and a less-than-stellar suspension. However, with thorough maintenance, the Ad Van can still get the job done and give its owner good value for money in the long run.

The car is easy to maintain as it shares most of its parts with other Nissan cars. It can also enjoy good resale value if well maintained.

An ex-Japan Nissan Ad Van will set you back some Kshs780,000.

Read Also: How To Apply for a Transfer of Vehicle Ownership

Toyota Passo

The Toyota Passo is one of the cheapest cars you can find in Kenya. This compact car has been in the market since 2004 and offers two engine variants namely 1000cc and 1300cc. It’s mated with a CVT gearbox.

The 1000cc engine generates 66 horsepower and can deliver a fuel economy of 20km/L. So indeed, this is a good car for anyone looking to venture into the taxi business – but it certainly won’t cut it if performance is what you are looking for.

The Passover is easy to maintain and its parts are readily available. It, however, is tiny in size meaning its interior feels a bit cramped up and its boot is only enough to carry a few bags of shopping. It has low ground clearance hence not good for offroad trips.

An ex-Japan Passo goes for Ksh820,000 and above depending on the year of manufacture and generation of the vehicle.

Nissan March

The Nissan March is your best bet especially if you’re on a tight budget as the vehicle comes with a 1200cc 3-cylinder engine generating 79 horsepower. The best thing about this engine is that it is highly fuel efficient – it is capable of delivering well over 18km/liter.

Also known as Nissan Micra in other markets, this cute little car comes armed with a CVT gearbox which aids in smooth acceleration, though previous versions of the March were mated with a 4-speed automatic gearbox.

Thanks to its fuel efficiency, the car can make a good choice for those looking to venture into the taxi business. Plus, it is comfortable and more spacious than either a Suzuki Alto, Pixis, or Daihatsu Mira.

The car is still in production and continues to enjoy raving reviews from its users thanks to the fact that it is easy to maintain. Needless to say, this is a high-demand car with good resale value but good maintenance is critical.

Its downsides are poor ground clearance, a delicate CVT gearbox, and a small booth.

A new one will set you back a cool Ksh800,000 on average.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage comes with either a 1.0L or 1.2L engine generating 70 – 74 horsepower. The car is powerful enough for most daily runs and can be used either as a personal car or for a taxi business. That’s because it comes with a continuous variable transmission which ensures its power reaches its wheels much better.

One thing you need to know about the Mirage is that it is built with reliability in mind. However, some of its parts are difficult to find. The car’s resale value is not too good either – and in some cases loses as much as 30% of its value within just 2 years of ownership.

If you wish to purchase a pre-owned Mitsubishi Mirage from Japan then you need about  Kshs900,000.

Nissan Wingroad

Nissan Wingroad is more like the Nissan Ad Van but it has a better-done interior – and generally looks better. The Wingroad comes with a 1500cc engine and a 4-speed gearbox (up to 2014). Post-2014 Wingroads come with the more advanced Nissan Xtronic gearbox.

Nissan Wingroad

The car has been around for close to a decade now and that means its spare parts and the technical know-how needed to fix its problems is readily available. The cargo booth is sizeable to carry loads of luggage.

However, the car has a delicate suspension which requires constant attention, especially for those who tend to drive on murram roads with potholes.

An ex-Japan will cost you from Kshs950,000. The car has a good resale value especially when properly maintained.

Read Also: How to Make a Vehicle Search in Kenya

Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift subcompact has performance and good looks. The car started production in 1983 and has evolved to change with the times. It currently features a 1300cc engine that generates 84HP.

Like all other Suzukis, the Swift can be reliable if well-maintained but problematic if abused.

Recent versions of the Suzuki Swift come with a CVT gearbox but earlier ones were either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manuals.

Its parts are expensive compared to what you would need to pay for Toyota car models.

To own a Suzuki Swift, one needs to spend at least Ksh1M or thereabouts.

Toyota Vitz

Available in both 1.0 litre and 1.3 litre variants, the Vitz provides you with ample performance and excellent reliability.

The car is renowned for its remarkable fuel efficiency something it achieves all thanks to its lively Super-CVTi gearbox from Toyota. One thing you should know about the Vitz is that it has been in production since 1999 and is popularly known in other parts of the world as the Toyota Yaris.

Thanks to its Stop & Start idling stop system, the Vitz is capable of delivering a staggering 18 km/L fuel economy.

An ordinary Vitz costs anywhere from Ksh1.1M but you can expect to pay slightly more for upper trims like the Jewela and RS-sport variants.

Nissan Note

The car previously came with a 1500cc engine but was later downsized to a 1200cc 3-cylinder engine in the quest for greater fuel efficiency. The new, smaller engine was equipped with a supercharger to enhance the car’s performance (although some non-supercharged variants are still available).

Nissan Note offers a sizeable booth, adequate leg and headroom, and above all – great performance for its price range.

However, it has a poor ground clearance and a finnicky suspension meaning this is by no means an offroad car. Above all, it comes with a JATCO CVT gearbox which needs lots of attention to remain in good shape.

The car’s parts are readily available. Generally, the Note is considered an easy-to-maintain car.

An ex-Japan Nissan Note will cost you from Ksh1,050,000.

Mazda Demio

Mazda Demio is one of the relatively cheap cars in Kenya. The subcompact car comes with a choice of two engines i.e., 1300cc petrol engine and 1500cc diesel engine.

The 1300cc engine produces 90 horsepower while the 1500cc produces 104 horsepower.

So, if you simply want a daily drive for use around Nairobi, the 1300cc would be a safe bet. The 1500cc variant offers slightly more performance and would be a good bet for long-distance use on major highways thanks to its well-tuned 6-speed gearbox.

Issues with the Demio would be that it offers limited head/leg room for its passengers and that it has a weak rear suspension.

One good thing about this car, however, is that its parts are readily available. And thanks to its popularity on our road, it continues to have an above-average resale value.

A pre-owned Demio from Japan will set you back a cool Ksh1.1M at best.

Toyota Probox

The legendary Probox needs no introduction! The car provides you with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end Saloon car but at a reasonable budget.

The Probox was launched in July 2022 and is categorized as a medium-sized van thanks to its massive headroom and cargo space. It has a sister called Toyota Succeed. Toyota Succeed differs from Probox by having a slightly longer cabin length. The Succeed is 0.5 Meters longer than the Probox.

Toyota Probox

Older versions of this car came with either a 1300cc or 1500cc engine. The 1500cc engine is more popular and generates a whopping 107 horsepower which is more than enough for this 1-tonne car.

The Probox spare parts are readily available across the nation.

Above all, the car has a fantastic resale value thanks to its popularity on the local car market scene. An ex-Japan Probox costs in the range of Ksh1.1M.

How To Choose the Best Cheap Car in the Kenyan Market

Don’t let the cost be the only factor in choosing a cheap car. Consider the following factors and you’ll end up with a better vehicle that lasts longer and has a better resale value.

Personal Needs

Are you planning to use the car for taxi business, cargo haulage, or as a personal car? If you’re thinking of trying your hand at the taxi business you might want to prioritize fuel efficiency. On the other hand, if you’re considering using the car for cargo transport you want to go for something that has got lots of space – particularly booth space.

Those shopping for personal cars might need to prioritize comfort features such as AC and quality infotainment systems.


Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in motor vehicle manufacturing technology, companies like Toyota, Suzuki, and Nissan are able to build cars that combine reliability with affordability.

Don’t settle for a poorly done vehicle all in the name of saving a few shillings. Always insist on reliability otherwise you’ll end up losing even more money in routine garage visits.

Availability of Spare Parts

When shopping for a low-budget car always remember that spare parts can be a bother. You don’t want to end up stuck with a car whose parts can only be shipped from abroad or cars that can only be handled by a few “specialist” mechanics. If affordability is what you crave, always go for cars whose parts are easy to find.


And the above list summarizes the best cheap cars in Kenya. Whether you are looking for a reliable van such as the Probox or are simply hunting for a subcompact hatchback like the Nissan Note, you’ll find every part of this article useful in your quest for the perfect match.

Comments (2)
  • author
    Brian Miheso

    3 or 4 years back the value was 600k hope with the dollar rate reductions will get back to this price.

    • author

      Hello Brian,
      Thank you for your great comment.

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