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Best looking affordable cars

If you want a car that looks nice but won’t cost the Earth, here’s our list of the best-looking affordable cars on the market

Catherine King

Words by: Catherine King

Published on 19 February 2024 | 0 min read

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That being said, looks still play a massive part in how we feel about a car and undoubtedly influence the decision-making process. Although those first impressions might be the initial draw, what’s on the inside matters too. Beautiful interiors aren’t just the preserve of luxury cars, there are plenty of affordable options that look as good from the driver’s seat as they do when admired from afar.
So, if you are after something good looking that can give you both style and substance, here is our list of the most stylish yet also affordable cars out there.

Peugeot 208

Everything Peugeot produces is designed with French flair and the 208 is no exception. It has bags of kerb appeal with its striking looks inside and out. Available in petrol, hybrid, or pure electric versions, the starting prices look high, but there are deals to be had on finance. To keep costs down, the petrol engine would be the cheapest choice, but the e-208 will offer an improved driving experience and will be economical to run if you can charge at home.
Find out more about the Peugeot 208 here
Yellow Peugeot 208 rear

Fiat 500

Since its launch in the 1950s, the Fiat 500 has sold on its Italian charm and it remains one of the prettiest cars on the road. Last year Fiat decreed that it would only paint cars in bright and beautiful colours, so if you are after a grey car you’d better look elsewhere. The petrol 500 is the cheapest, but if your budget can stretch the newer electric 500e is a much more modern car and comes with the option of gorgeous rose gold paint.
Find out more about the Fiat 500 here
Rose gold Fiat 500e front

Toyota Aygo X

The Aygo X is a compact and nimble little hatchback with crossover styling. It’s a great city car with a higher driving position usually found in cars twice its size. Two tone paint and large rubber clad wheel arches give the outside a distinctive and slightly rugged look, while some fun curvy shapes add personality within. We recently had one on long-term test and we loved its eager driving style and how frugal it was to run.
Find out more about the Toyota Aygo here
Red Toyota Aygo X from above

Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto is the cheapest new cars you can buy, slightly undercutting the Dacia Sandero with its starting price. It’s a nice-looking little car and, although the entry level trim is rather basic, the higher-grade models offer far more mod-cons. GT-Line cars look particularly smart with a contrasting pinstripe across the front grille and along the side sills. Alternatively, you could consider the Hyundai i10. It is closely related to the Picanto, and entry level cars come better equipped – though they are more expensive.
Find out more about the Kia Picanto here
Blue Kia Picanto front


Confusingly there are two Mazda2 variants. There’s the Mazda2, Mazda’s petrol-powered supermini and the Mazda2 Hybrid which is really a Toyota Yaris in disguise. We think the petrol Mazda2 is better looking, it also has a lower starting price. The Mazda2 has a smart interior while the manual gearbox is precise and satisfying, reminiscent of Mazda’s iconic MX-5. It’s well equipped too with all the technology and safety features you’d expect. Though the infotainment system is starting to show its age, it does the job and means the Mazda2 remains a solid choice if you’re style conscious.
Find out more about the Mazda2 here
Blue Mazda2 Front

Vauxhall Corsa

All Vauxhalls have a heightened road presence since the futuristic ‘Vauxhall Vizor’ front grille update. The Corsa is the most affordable in the range and although the paint colours are a little on the safe side, there are some smart wheel options to elevate the overall look. The Corsa is closely related Peugeot’s 208 so if you are after a car with more avant-garde styling then that might be the one for you.
Find out more about the Vauxhall Corsa here
Red Vauxhall Corsa Front

Smart #1

Smart has recently reinvented itself. So, it’s out with the tiny ForTwo and in with a whole new line up of electric cars, starting with the #1. This funky compact crossover costs slightly more than a Vauxhall Mokka Electric but it is cheaper than the Volvo EX30. It’s much more stylish on the inside than the Vauxhall and the infotainment system is hosted by a friendly cartoon fox who is there to offer assistance. It’s a bit like the Microsoft Office paperclip back in the 1990s, but cute rather than annoying.
Find out more about the Smart #1 here
Blue Smart #1 side

Renault Clio

The Clio retains all its va va voom and the petrol variant means it’s affordable too. However, if your budget allows there’s a hybrid version that offers more refinement. We enjoyed living with the previous Clio and the current model is more sophisticated with its textured front grille and premium-feel interior. The highest level Esprit Alpine trim is especially smart.
Find out more about the Renault Clio here
Blue Renault Clio front

Mini Hatch

The Mini was born an icon and it still looks fresh today. It has won so many fans due to the level of personalisation combined with its renowned go-kart handling and remains a firm favourite for those looking for a small car with a big personality. Just be aware as you work your way down the options list that many of the extras don’t come cheap. To keep things affordable, you can always check out the vast array of pre-loved Minis for sale as there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for you.
Find out more about the Mini Hatch here
Black Mini John Cooper Works front


MG has really embraced electric cars and the MG4 with its sub £30,000 starting price offers great value for money. The inside feels modern, but it is a little grey scale, however the outside has sharp lines giving it real visual impact. If you choose one of the bright coloured paint options such as ‘Volcano Orange’ or ‘Holborn Blue’ your MG4 is sure to be a real head-turner.
Find out more about the MG4 here
Orange MG4 side