minimalist car

What is the Most Minimalist Car you Can Buy?

minimalist car
“Old car” by Manu Martinez

What is the most minimalist car you can buy? It might seem like a tricky question, making you wonder what you should look for in a car for it to be minimalist. The answer is, however, very simple:

The most minimalist car you can buy is the one that best suits your needs. You should, first, reflect on the decision of getting a car. However, here are some of (what we think are) the best minimalist cars:

Car ModelStarting Price‎‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎Why?
Toyota Prius$24,200Quality materials and practicality
Toyota Corolla, Subaru Legacy or Honda Civic$19,600Small cars, run for a long time, great fuel economy, cheap and their maintenance is also inexpensive
Honda Jazz or Honda Fit$15,490A lot of space due to magic seats, it doesn’t consume much fuel, and both its maintenance a and repair are cheap
Tesla Model 3$41,190More costly, but it might be the most minimalist car.
Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4$25,050Spacious car for a family or group of 4 or more
GMC Yukon XL$52,400Option for big families (up to 9)
GMC Yukon XL 4×4$59,000Serves the needs of big families that use the car often perfectly and live in the country, although it’s not eco-friendly

Bear in mind all the prices are for the latest models and for new cars. You can get better deals if you go to older models or to second-hand options.

To get a car or not to get a car? That’s a big question for minimalists. Minimalism is seen as a frugal lifestyle grounded on the essentials only. Is a car really an indispensable tool in one’s life? If so, should you look for the most minimalist car you can? But how does one go about the concept of a minimalist car?

What’s a minimalist car?

The short answer is that a minimalist car is eco-friendly, doesn’t occupy a lot of space, and has few features. As a minimalist, especially one that lives a sustainable life, you should also prefer a quality car that’s preferably used, to avoid waste.

Yet, above all, a minimalist car is one that serves your needs. In other words, it’s a car that’s useful.

Do you actually need a car?

Do you need a car? If so, why? As a minimalist, owning a car shouldn’t be a luxury, but a necessity – as with everything, really. If a car is missing in your life because you can’t perform all your daily compulsory tasks without it, you should get one. 

While owning a car may be looked down on by some minimalists, the truth is that Minimalism is about being practical and finding value in all of the things you own. Many people find themselves in need of a car because they aren’t able to use other types of transportation such as bikes or public transports. The reasons may go from weather and distance home/workplace to nursery runs. If a car is of value to your life in the sense that it’s needed, you should acquire a car. 

There are, yet, important questions – which we will refer to later – regarding the car you can buy. The answers can help you buy the ideal car that fits your needs while being in sync with your minimalist lifestyle as much as possible.

Guiding questions on getting a minimalist car

minimalist car
“Car door element” by Alex Kolbasov

Before purchasing a car, it’s relevant to first ask some questions or give them some thought. 

First off, are there any viable alternatives such as public transportation (cabs, Uber, etc. included), riding a bike or taking a lift with a neighbor or friend? You should check if the public transportation service fits your schedule; if it’s practical to ride a bike; and if the cost of public transportation is higher than the cost of having a car.

Do you live in a rural area or a city? It’s known by all of us that there are fewer transportation services in rural areas, which means that people who live in rural areas more often than not need cars because they’ve no other way to get around. If you live in a big city, it’s probably not even a good idea to get a car – you don’t to live through the snag of finding a parking spot near your house. 

Finally, what’s your budget? To get a car, you have to do some research on the average price of your desired car to see if you can afford it.

Viable options

In order to understand what type of car you need, there are a few aspects you need to consider:

  • Are you single or with a partner?
  • Do you have a small or big family?
  • Will you need the car frequently?

The answer to these questions will dictate what kind of car best suits you. 

Are electric cars the best option?

Electric cars are said to be the best option currently to invert the climate crisis.

It’s true that electric cars are better for the environment – there’s no doubt there. They’re more sustainable than gas cars and are even the chosen type of car by many minimalists precisely because they are quite minimalist. They’re usually smaller, simpler, and more sustainable. Tech Crunch uses the expression “Minimalist Tech” when speaking to the Head of Design of Polestar Maximillian Missoni. Missoni confirms that the design, the materials, and the technology are becoming more and more minimalist. 

Another option that is scarcely mentioned much because there’s not much attention drawn to it is hybrid cars. Although there are a few technical knowledge regarding hybrids that might discourage you from getting into it, hybrids are efficient cars that, unlike electric cars, don’t need to be constantly charged when the battery is low on power. 

To know more about both these cars, check out Motorway’s guides on the best electric cars and the best hybrid cars.

We’re not, however, telling you that electric or hybrid cars are the best option for you. Although they’re environmentally friendly, cheaper in the long run, and closer to the minimalist characteristics, electric and hybrid cars are much more expensive than the majority of fossil-fueled cars (for now, since the price of electric cars is decreasing quickly) and the time they take to charge might be inconvenient to you. The bottom line is that you should choose the car that best suits your needs and means. 

NOTE: if you’re interested in learning more about the relation between minimalism and sustainability, check out our article.

Inês Morais

Inês Morais is a content writer, proofreader, and a literary criticist. She studied linguistics, literature, and majored in North-American Studies. Inês is a lover of words and of the minimalist lifestyle.

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