Best Of

Best cheap cars

Think you have to break the bank to buy a brand new car? Think again. The new car market has some great options that’ll set you back a similar amount to a used car. Here’s our pick of them.

Words by: First published: 22nd December 2017
Buying a brand new car can be an expensive business, but a tight budget doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll have to dip into the used car market instead. If you know where to look, there are several ways of putting a shiny new motor on your drive without breaking the bank, and the availability of various finance deals can make them even more affordable. Yes, many such cars are on the small side, but the best small cars these days are roomy enough and practical enough to cope with the needs of a small family, and there are a few options that give you a much bigger car for small-car money. Here, we give you a rundown of the best options available.
  • Dacia Sandero – the really cheap one
  • Skoda Citigo – the safe one
  • Kia Picanto – the long-warranty one
  • Dacia Logan MCV – the spacious one
  • Dacia Duster – the SUV one
best cheap cars
best cheap cars
Dacia Sandero – the really cheap one
The Sandero is the cheapest new car currently on sale in the UK, and for that reason, it simply had to make this list. The very cheapest version – the Access - checks in at around £6000, but in truth, it’ll be a little bit spartan for most tastes. If you can stretch another £1400, we’d recommend upgrading to Ambiance trim, which gives you most of the kit you really need for what is still a ridiculously low price. Yes, you have to make some sacrifices in dynamic polish and interior quality, but the Sandero has plenty of other stuff going for it aside from the price, such and smart looks and generous interior space.
best cheap cars
best cheap cars
Skoda Citigo – the safe one
There are many reasons that you might want a new car rather than an older, used one, and safety is one of them. The Citigo is the only car here with a maximum five-star safety rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP, which immediately makes it very appealing indeed. It’s also a superb all-rounder. It’s stylish, desirable, brilliant to drive and really practical for its size. We’d recommend the 1.0 MPI 60 SE 5-door version, because it provides the best of the Citigo’s abilities while keeping prices low.
best cheap cars
best cheap cars
Kia Picanto – the long warranty one
Another big reason for choosing new over used is the peace-of-mind you get from having a long warranty on your car in case anything goes wrong, and the Picanto comes with one of the longest. Your standard cover lasts for seven years, provided you don’t bust the mileage cap of 100,000 miles, but the Picanto isn’t the sort of car that you’re likely to cover that amount of distance in. What’s more, this cover is fully transferrable when you sell the car on, making it even more appealing for the new owner. And during your tenure, you’ll enjoy a car that’s good to drive, roomy inside and solid in quality.
best cheap cars
best cheap cars
Dacia Logan MCV – the spacious one
It’s no accident that the Logan MCV looks very similar to the Sandero at the front, because essentially, it’s the same car. However, the MCV has something the Sandero doesn’t, and that’s a bigger, boxier back end that gives you an incredible amount of space for a ridiculously low price. The 573-litre boot is bigger than you’ll find in many estate cars from the class above, making this a really effective load-lugger, and there’s just as much room for passengers. Like with the Sandero, you have to make some sacrifices in dynamic polish and interior quality, but in terms of providing maximum metal for your money, the Logan is pretty much untouchable.
best cheap cars
best cheap cars
Dacia Duster – the SUV one
Apologies if this is starting to sound like an advert for Dacia, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this brand provides exactly what buyers on a budget need, in other words, no-frills cars for exceptionally low prices. The Duster is the most expensive of Dacia’s offerings, but compared with other SUVs of a similar size – like the Nissan Qashqai or Seat Ateca – it’s several thousand pounds cheaper. It has the chunky looks and high driving position that SUV buyers love, while the cabin is roomy and the boot is sizeable. You can have four-wheel drive if you want your Duster to venture off the beaten track, but if you just want a stylish family car, we reckon the front-wheel drive 1.2 TCE 125 Laureate version is best.