The Nicest New Car The Average Salary Buys In Each State

By Kathy Morris
Jun. 3, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

New cars are expensive- and prices are only going up. Many financial experts warn due to longer term loans and other unfavorable financial circumstances, workers are over burdened by their car loans.

However, in a majority of the US a car can be a necessity for work and other life obligations.

To get a picture of what responsible new car ownership looks like in the US, we hit the numbers. Using average income and most common payment structures, we found the nicest new car that is affordable in each state.

Below you can see the more luxurious cars that are doable on more robust salaries- and the more basic cars that are the ceiling in poorer states.

10 Most Expensive Cars

  1. Hawaii – 2021 Tesla Model S
  2. California – 2021 Volvo S90 T8 Recharge
  3. Massachusetts – 2021 Audi Q5
  4. Colorado – 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  5. Washington – 2021 Buick Enclave
  6. Oregon – 2021 Lexus NX
  7. New York – 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-class
  8. New Jersey – 2021 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe
  9. Maryland – 2021 Toyota Sienna
  10. Utah – 2021 Mazda CX-9

Unsurprisingly, bigger salaries can support bigger car prices. However, higher cost of living might leave you living in your Tesla if you stretch your budget too far.

10 Cheapest Cars

  1. Arkansas – 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS
  2. West Virginia – 2020 Nissan Versa
  3. Mississippi – 2021 Hyundai Accent
  4. Oklahoma – 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage ES
  5. Indiana – 2021 Kia Rio Sedan
  6. Ohio – 2020 Honda Fit
  7. Kentucky – 2020 Honda Fit
  8. Iowa – 2021 Nissan Versa
  9. Alabama – 2021 Nissan Versa
  10. Kansas – 2021 Kia Soul

Keep reading to see how we determined this- and how all these cars translate to dollars.

How We Determined This

We started with average salary in each state to US Census. We then divided by 12 for the monthly income.

From there, we applied a 65 month loan (the most common) and 4.67% interest (current average car interest rate) to work out the maximum monthly payment the average salary could sustain without exceeding 10%.

It is recommended by financial advisors that no one have debt payments greater than 36% on total debt servicing. More specifically, it is recommended that car payments and car costs (including gas, maintenance, taxes and other costs) not exceed 20% of your income.

With this in mind, we conservatively allotted a max of 10% of monthly income to account for miscellaneous costs.

From there we used Kelly Blue Book to find the “nicest” (or most expensive) new car that budget could afford.

We tried to get as close as possible, opting to go lower when possible rather than exceeding (and only exceeding by a couple 100 dollars when we did go over). This means, particularly lower cost cars where there are less options, some states share a car type.

Keep reading to see the full list– and the car price that breaks the bank for each state.

Don’t Break The Bank To Buy A Car

Ultimately, personal finances are personal. Someone with excessive student loans, heavy credit card debt, or incoming consuming mortgage, would need a lower car payment.

Before purchasing a car, you should carefully consider your present day circumstances and future goals.

Below you can see a breakdown of our findings:

The Nicest New Car The Average Salary Buys– And What That Is In Cash

State Max Affordable New Car Cost New Car
Hawaii $70,175 2021 Tesla Model S
California $61,013 2021 Volvo S90 T8 Recharge
Massachusetts $44,482 2021 Audi Q5
Colorado $42,136 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Washington $41,782 2021 Buick Enclave
Oregon $38,196 2021 Lexus NX
New York $37,754 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-class
New Jersey $37,156 2021 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe
Maryland $35,607 2021 Toyota Sienna
Utah $35,298 2021 Mazda CX-9
Nevada $34,191 2021 Hyundai Palisade
Virginia $32,753 2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Alaska $31,182 2021 Chevrolet Traverse
New Hampshire $30,385 2021 Kia Sorento
Connecticut $29,810 2021 Chevrolet Blazer
Rhode Island $29,433 2021 Chrysler Voyager
Arizona $28,703 2021 Chrysler Voyager
Montana $28,659 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Delaware $28,061 2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Idaho $27,928 2021 Jeep Cherokee
Florida $27,353 2021 Toyota RAV4
Minnesota $26,999 2021 Nissan Rogue
Wyoming $25,494 2021 Jeep Compass
Vermont $25,339 2021 Mazda Mazda6
Texas $24,100 2021 Subaru Legacy
North Dakota $23,790 2021 Subaru Legacy
Illinois $23,436 2021 Subaru Crosstrek
Georgia $23,281 2021 Chevrolet Malibu
Maine $22,484 2021 Honda HR-V
North Carolina $22,462 2021 Honda HR-V
Pennsylvania $22,042 2021 Honda Civic
Tennessee $21,820 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Wisconsin $21,466 2021 Hyundai Kona
South Carolina $21,311 2021 Mazda3
South Dakota $20,935 2021 Toyota Corolla
New Mexico $20,537 2021 Hyundai Elantra
Louisiana $19,939 2021 Volkswagen Jetta
Nebraska $19,607 2021 Subaru Impreza
Michigan $19,319 2021 Hyundai Veloster
Missouri $18,877 2021 Kia Forte
Kansas $18,811 2021 Kia Soul
Alabama $17,615 2021 Nissan Versa
Iowa $17,527 2021 Nissan Versa
Kentucky $17,461 2020 Honda Fit
Ohio $17,328 2020 Honda Fit
Indiana $17,107 2021 Kia Rio Sedan
Oklahoma $16,819 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage ES
Mississippi $16,243 2021 Hyundai Accent
West Virginia $16,155 2020 Nissan Versa
Arkansas $15,978 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

Related posts

Topics: Study