Top 10 Best Cheap Cars
There are plenty of cheap cars that will get you from to A to B and we’ve got all the information you’ll need to pick out the perfect model at a pocket-friendly price.
Cheap doesn’t need to equate to poor quality – if you’re willing to overlook luxurious extras, there are tons of motoring bargains to be had on a tight budget.
In fact, even in the lowest price bracket of under £10,000 there are more than a dozen cars to choose from, and if you take into account cheap PCP deals and shop around for finance, there are extra savings to be made.
Some cars have more to offer than others, of course, and that’s where we come in – we’ve created this guide to the top ten best cheap cars on the UK market in 2020 so you get maximum bang for your buck.
The top ten best cheap cars on the UK market in 2020 are below:
- Citroen C1
- Skoda Citigo
- Mazda 2
- Fiat Panda
- Volkswagen Up!
- Peugeot 108
- SEAT Mii
- Kia Picanto
- Dacia Sandero
- Hyundai i10
1. Citroen C1
Fun and funky, the Citroen C1 is a city car with character. Eye-catching inside and out, there are lots of colourful touches that add to the C1’s cheerful charm, and it’s a comfortable ride around town thanks to the supportive seats up front.
Priced at £10,270, the basic three-door C1 ‘Touch’ trim is a no-frills model that doesn’t compromise on safety – it’s fitted with a speed limiter, airbags, electronic stability programme and remote central locking with deadlocks.
The ‘Feel’ trim, priced from £12,120, adds more features, including split-folding rear seats, air conditioning and an adjustable driver’s seat, but both trims use the same engine, which achieves an average of between 47.7 and 52.2 miles per gallon. Not too shabby.
The C1 is also pretty cheap to insure, with the entry level model slotting into group 7E.
Where the low price point does show is in the interior plastics, which aren’t as high-quality as you might find in more expensive options. In terms of space, while there’s enough room in the front, rear adult passengers might feel a bit cramped. At such a low price, though, who’s to complain?
Price: Starts from £10,270
- Cheap to run
- Good standard of safety
- Very basic entry level spec
- Cramped in the back
2. Skoda Citigo
Skoda’s smallest car is also one of the best cheap cars on the market. The Citigo looks remarkably like a couple of other models on our list, and while it may share the same body style as the Volkswagen Up! and the Seat Mii, it undercuts its doppelgangers on initial outlay.
With a starting price of just £8,890, the Citigo three-door ‘S’ model is as cheap as chips yet offers impressive value for money.
There’s a vast array of standard features, including an anti-lock braking system, immobiliser, electronic stabilisation control and ISOFIX child seat fittings, and the entry level model even gets electric front windows and remote central locking, too.
A practical and charming city car, Skoda’s Citigo offers a remarkably smooth ride despite its diminutive proportions and tiny RRP. Comfort doesn’t suffer on the motorway, either, although the single 0.9cc engine on offer throughout the range is really built for cruising around town.
The steering is precise and the drive is quiet, the only real area in which the Citigo suffers is pretty obvious: space.
Although the driver and front passenger get plenty of room, there’s not so much space in the rear, and the boot is expectedly compact. The folding rear seats don’t split in the entry-level model, which can be annoying.
Even so, it’s not really a deal breaker – the Citigo still lords it over most competitors in the same price bracket.
Price: Starts from £8,890
- Remarkably smooth ride
- Practical comfort
- Engine is sluggish
- Boot space is lacking
3. Mazda 2
The Mazda2 isn’t the cheapest of the cheap cars, but it’s still pretty budget-friendly while packing a punch in the style stakes. An agile, award-winning model, the smallest Mazda on offer is about as big as a Ford Fiesta but over £2,000 cheaper.
Priced from £13,795 for the entry-level ‘SE+’ model, the Mazda 2 has a lot to offer, including a sporty yet refined ride and responsive handling, not to mention sleek external looks and an upmarket interior for its price range.
The basic model comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, manual air conditioning, electrically adjustable heated folding door mirrors and a steering wheel with audio controls, not to mention a decent amount of space, both up front and in the rear.
Fitted with a 1.5L petrol engine, the Mazda 2 just misses the 50 mpg mark according to official figures, but 49.6 mpg is still a figure not to be sniffed at.
Low CO2 emissions of 111g/km also make the Mazda2 relatively cheap to tax – the model sits in tax band C.
Price: Starts from £13,795
- Stylish inside and out
- Efficient and economical
- Boot could be roomier
- Not as practical as some competitors
4. Fiat Panda
Fiat’s Panda is an economical small car with eye-catching, quirky styling and a pleasing price tag. Offering great value, the model is cheap to buy and cheap to run, thanks to its small engines.
Performing best in the city, Fiat’s Panda is compact enough to manoeuvre into those tight parking spaces and handles slower speeds well. Challenge the car to motorway driving, however, and it becomes a bit breathless.
Inside, the entry-level model is sparse on spec, but it does come fitted with driver, passenger and window airbags, central locking, 14-inch alloys and a CD player. More enticingly, the car is priced at under £10,100, which more than makes up for the less-than-generous kit.
The Panda is a lofty car, which provides plenty of headroom for taller drivers, and the cabin easily accommodates four adults in comfort. There are more than a dozen cubby holes dotted around inside too, so drivers won’t be short of handy storage options.
Price: Starts from £10,080
- Cheap to buy and to run
- Ideal for town driving
- Sparse spec at entry level
- Higher speeds are a struggle
5. Volkswagen Up!
Remarkably similar to the Skoda Citigo in looks, the Volkswagen Up! is cute, compact and affordable, even if the pricetag is a little higher than that of the Citigo.
Volkswagens tend to retain their value, which is reflected in the initial outlay. Don’t be put off, though – the value retention can add to the car’s appeal if you want to recoup more of the initial price when selling up at a later date.
Available at entry level as a three-door in the ‘Take Up’ trim, the Up! is priced from £10,080 and comes with 14-inch alloy wheels, electric front windows, a height-adjustable steering wheel and vehicle assistant Volkswagen Connect.
Like the Citigo, the Up! is solidly built and offers decent ride comfort. Inside, the model has the high-quality, upmarket feel you’d expect from a VW, despite its diminutive proportions.
There’s enough space for four adults to sit at a squeeze, and although the boot is predictably small, it might be worth overlooking in favour of the vehicle’s many positives.
The Up! was named City Car of the Year by Auto Express in 2018 for its fun-to-drive handling and impressive fuel economy, being described as “brilliantly packaged for a car with such a small footprint”.
We’re inclined to agree.
Price: Starts from £10,080
- Smooth ride quality
- Impressively economical
- No built-in infotainment screen
- Can be noisy at higher speeds
6. Peugeot 108
Peugeot’s 108 is the smallest model in the manufacturer’s lineup, and the cheapest, too.
Compact and stylish, the 108 starts at £12,065 but benefits from a good level of kit compared with many lower priced rivals.
Fitted with airbags, electric front windows, a height adjustable steering wheel, remote central locking and an antilock braking system, the 108 also boasts an uncommon feature for the price bracket – a seven-inch touchscreen and in-car entertainment.
With Android Auto and Apple Play functionality, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and steering wheel controls, the 108 offers more in terms of tech than many competitors – at a wallet-friendly price.
Cheap to run, the 108 is also one of the lowest costing cheap cars to buy on personal contract purchase finance.
Ride quality isn’t the best in class but the steering is relatively responsive and parking is a doddle. The 108 is best suited to city driving – it’s quite a slow model, so doesn’t shine on the motorway. As a local runaround with plenty of kit, however, it’s well worth considering.
Price: Starts from £12,065
- Cheap to run
- Impressive tech
- Interior could be better quality
- Slow compared with some competitors
7. SEAT Mii
The Seat Mii is a stylish city car that closely resembles the VW Up! and the Skoda Citigo. Just like its doubles, the Mii comes in at a low price point and benefits from the same solid build.
It sits somewhere between the slightly more prestigious Up! and the budget Citigo as a sportier alternative.
Priced from £11,905, the entry level ‘Design Mii’ is kitted out with 15-inch alloys and BEATSAudio, as well as four airbags and sporty tinted rear windows.
There’s no inbuilt satnav but drivers can download the DriveMii App and connect their smartphone via the docking station to access a satnav system and other tech functionality.
The second and final trim level, ‘FR-Line’, adds bigger wheels, sports suspension and aluminium front door sill trims from £12,265. A single petrol engine is offered across the range.
Ideal for town driving, the Mii is a nifty nipper that handles well at lower speeds. Out on the open road the Mii can feel slow.
SEAT have also just released a fully EV version of the Mii, the Mii Electric.
Price: Starts from £11,905
- Quality build
- Cheap to run
- Engines can be slow
- Entry-level kit is minimal
8. Kia Picanto
Scooping the What Car? City Car of the Year 2019 award, the Kia Picanto is a spacious compact city car that’s plenty practical and priced at under £10,000.
The entry-level Picanto ‘1’, from £9,895, boasts distinctive styling that catches the eye, as well as a decent array of spec that includes front electric windows, remote central locking, electronic stability control, twin front, side and curtain airbags and a brake assist system, in addition to loads of standard security kit.
Notably, the tech specification is lacking, but for the price it’s not particularly surprising. The Picanto ‘2’ offers more nice-to-haves such as air conditioning, heated door mirrors and Bluetooth with music streaming from £11,250 if the ‘1’ is just a bit too basic.
Kia’s smallest model is roomy inside and the interior quality has improved in recent years, as has the styling. Even with these upgrades, it’s still one of the lowest priced cheap cars on the market.
Easy to drive with a spacious boot for the size of car, the Picanto also offers class-leading peace of mind in the form of a seven-year warranty, so it’s safe to say you really do get your money’s worth.
Drive-wise, the Picanto is easy and enjoyable to control, both in the city and further afield, and the steering is light and responsive.
Price: Starts from £9,895
- Well-built and reliable
- Cheap to run
- Minimal tech at entry level
- Low-power engines need pushing
9. Dacia Sandero
The absolute king of cheap cars available in the UK, the Sandero is priced from just £6,995 new, Dacia’s little run around is also among the most spacious and sturdy for its price bracket.
Named Car of the Year 2019 by What Car? in the Small Car Less Than £12,000 segment (for the seventh year running), the Sandero is all about value.
The basic ‘Access’ trim is frill free but fitted with the important essentials, such as several airbags, electronic stability control, an anti-lock braking system, split folding rear seat and ISOFIX points.
While the drive quality isn’t bad and the steering could be more responsive, the engines are smooth. Inside, the Sandero is a bit bland but there’s loads of room and the boot is extremely generous.
For pocket-conscious motorists who don’t need to kill it in the style stakes, the Sandero could be a great choice.
Overall, the Sandero does a good job at an astounding price, it truly is the cheapest of the cheap cars on the market we’ve found. It sets the standard high for the price bracket – nothing else really does what the Sandero does for the money.
Price: Starts from £6,995
- Incredible value
- Low running costs
- Very basic spec
- A bit of a dull drive
10. Hyundai i10
Hyundai’s i10 is a fun to drive, fuel-efficient supermini that’s full of surprises. It’s also one of the cheapest cars on the market today.
Deceptively spacious, the i10 is ideal for city driving but also handles itself well on the motorway too, which is quite a rare achievement for the price bracket.
Available from £9,200 Hyundai’s i10 is sharply styled to give the car an air of simple sophistication. Boasting one of the largest boots in its class, the i10 is also practical and cheap to run.
The i10 feels well engineered and the interior is among the classiest for the price point. At entry level, the ‘S’ model comes with electric front windows, ISOFIX points in the rear, an immobiliser, remote central locking, split folding rear seats and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Fitted with the base 1.0L engine, the i10 glides quietly through the city and has plenty of pull. On faster roads, the engine just about manages to keep up but the sprightlier 1.2L powertrains available on the ‘SE’ trim and above make for a more comfortable ride at speed.
For the most part, the drive is settled around town. The handling is light, too, with lots of grip, which makes squeezing into small spaces a breeze.
Price: Starts from £9,200
- Fuel efficient
- Spacious interior
- Minimal equipment at entry level
- Some competitors offer a slicker ride
More ways to find cheap cars
There are literally dozens of cars to choose from if you’re looking for cheap cars to take you from A to B.
All the cars that have made our top ten list are great options to consider for a new car bargain buy that doesn’t compromise on quality.
With prices ranging from £7,000 to £14,000, there’s something to suit all budgets, from the most modest to the upper end of the economy bracket.
Want to cut your costs even more? Don’t forget to check out tax and insurance bands if you’re in the market for a new motor, and it’s always worth seeing what special manufacturer discounts you might be eligible for too.
If you’re buying a cheap car on finance like PCP, shop around for the best APR and look out for zero per cent deals, manufacturer contributions and larger deposit offers to potentially make even more savings. Here are some handy guides to help you cut the cost of motoring: