Best new cars for under £25,000

Hatchbacks, SUVs, convertibles, and even sports cars. These are the best new cars you can buy today for less than £25,000

James Mills
Dec 6, 2021

If you have £25,000 lined up for a new car, you can take your pick from dozens of interesting new models. Whether you're looking for a practical hatchback, a sporty convertible, or a high-riding SUV, chances are that you'll be able to find something that's perfect for you.

The good thing about spending around £25,000 on a new car is that you get to choose from some of the best value models on sale. While you could spend much more on super-luxurious and tech-laden cars, you'll more than likely find that everything you need is available right here.

There are upmarket cars with good quality and well-equipped interiors from the likes of Audi and Volkswagen, affordable convertible sports car thrills in the form of the Mazda MX-5, and sensible and practical family motoring from Skoda and Hyundai, all available within budget.

However, if you want the best car for your money, it's worth considering that you could take an alternative route and opt instead for a nearly new or used car. For the same kind of price, your Audi A1 could become an Audi A6, or your Nissan Qashqai could become a Range Rover Evoque

There are thousands of used cars currently available on BuyaCar for less than £25,000, so if you're intrigued to see just how far your money could go, click on the buttons above. 

Meanwhile, if you're set on getting a shiny new car and you're willing to pay a premium for it, then keep reading to check out our pick of the best value new cars for less than £25,000. Or, if you're working with a tighter budget, our list of Britain's cheapest new cars might well include something you like the look of.

Best new cars for under £25,000

*List prices correct as of December 2021

1. Volkswagen Golf

Our pick Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI 130 Life
List price £25,040*
Used deals from £19,965
Monthly finance from £289**

The VW Golf is the car by which other hatchbacks are judged. Some, like the Mercedes A-Class may have fancier tech such as slick voice controls for the media system. Others, like the Ford Focus, might be a little more fun to drive. But the fact is that the Golf is either very good or excellent in every single area, making it a great car for a huge number of drivers.

It offers plenty of space in the cabin, the quality of the interior is impressive and the safety systems - and associated top-notch crash safety score - are all present and correct. The media system and air-conditioning functions aren’t as intuitive as they used to be - as you're forced to prod the touchscreen for many functions - but even the cheapest Life versions feature bright LED headlights, internet-connected sat-nav and adaptive cruise control to make motorway driving a doddle.

Equipped with this 1.5-litre petrol engine, the Golf is pleasant to drive and zips along with enthusiasm, while adding the automatic gearbox makes for a thoroughly relaxing driving experience. We also rate the 2.0-litre diesel for high-mileage drivers, as it offers plenty of muscle, strong refinement and impressive fuel economy.


2. Audi A1

Our pick Audi A1 Sportback 30 TFSI S line
List price £22,745*
Used deals from £18,998
Monthly finance from £275**

The Audi A1 is not a small car, it’s a small Audi. At least, that’s the claim from the German car maker. Pleasingly, it lives up to the hype. The A1 really is every inch a distilled version of the Audi experience associated with the company's larger models, with this latest-generation model proving a compact hatchback that’s unusually desirable - even if it’s more expensive than the last A1.

We especially like the new look of the interior. It feels as special as an Audi costing four times as much, and packs in a similar level of tech and phone connectivity. With the ‘30’ engine - a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor - there's 116hp which delivers brisk enough performance for most drivers, while the S line trim comes with sports suspension to make this a responsive small car to drive around corners.

More affordable versions are available, but we reckon this one strikes a great blend between affordability and desirability - even compared with the pricier A1 options available.


3. Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST front three quarters view

Our pick Ford Fiesta ST-2 3-door
List price £21,955*
Used deals from £15,739
Monthly finance from £250**

It’s amazing to think that, for well under a £25,000 budget, you can drive one of the most fun cars on sale right now. The Ford Fiesta ST is absolutely astonishing on a twisty road, feeling light on its feet and having a steering setup that gives you a very precise feeling of what’s going on. Not many new cars offer that these days. The Fiesta ST is quick in a straight line, too.

Perhaps even more impressive are the other selling points offered by the Fiesta ST. Its engine has fuel-saving technologies that kick in when you’re driving more sedately to boost your fuel economy, and there’s plenty of space plus a stylish, uncluttered interior.

Rivals include the Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen Polo GTI, but we’d pick the Fiesta even above these cars. A new one isn’t quite the bargain it used to be, but a quick flick through our listings reveals plenty of low-mileage cars that have dropped below £20,000, making these an appealing value option.


4. Skoda Karoq

Our pick Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 SE
List price £25,025*
Used deals from £16,499
Monthly finance from £240**

The Skoda Kodiaq is a great large SUV with the option of seven seats, but surprisingly the more compact Skoda Karoq is every bit as good, despite its lower pricing and smaller size. It's a far more rounded car than the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai, too.

If your budget is strictly £25,000, then plump for the 1.0-litre 110hp engine in SE trim, as this is more than capable of hauling a family round, whatever the driving conditions.

However, if you can stretch beyond this a little - or if you're open to used models, in which case you can take your pick from dozens of affordable high-spec Karoq models - then consider the SE Drive or SE L versions with the 1.5-litre, 150hp petrol engine, which is a little more pleasant in use than the diesel, and add the slick automatic gearbox.


5. Mazda MX-5

Our pick Mazda MX-5 1.5 Skyactiv-G SE-L
List price £24,355*
Used deals from £13,700
Monthly finance from £243**

The Mazda MX-5 is not only one of the most exciting sports cars to drive at any price, it's also incredibly satisfying to simply cruise around town in. For less than £25,000, you could own a car that’s more rewarding on any stretch of public road than a Ferrari or Porsche, because whereas in an expensive and overpowered supercar you'll be forever panicking about oncoming traffic, and keeping both eyes on your speed, you can drive the MX-5 comfortably and controllably, and enjoy it immensely at the same time.

Not only that, the MX-5 is one of the most well-conceived convertibles. The fabric roof can be unlatched and folded back quicker than you can put on a pair of sunglasses. And with the roof down, this petite sports car lets you listen to the birdsong while your toes and backside are toasted by a great heater and heated seats.

The punchy 2.0-litre engine with 184hp has given the MX-5 a little more muscle than previous versions had, making it a quick car. But to be honest, those who want to save money will not be disappointed by the smaller 132hp engine; it may not be rapid, but however fast - or slow - you're going, this car’s a joy to drive. If you do want the most power for your money, though, going used to get a speedy 2.0-litre model will give you a faster and better equipped car for your budget.


6. Nissan Qashqai

Our pick Nissan Qashqai DIG-T 140 Visia
List price £24,555*

The Nissan Qashqai is by no means the best car in its class. If we were writing its school report, we’d say it could try harder in all subjects. But look at the sales figures and you'll see it's hugely popular and hugely desirable. If you want to join the crowd, you can get a well-equipped version with a punchy petrol engine for less than £25,000.

Our pick of the range would be the 1.3-litre, turbocharged petrol engine, which returns up to 40mpg and is smoother and quieter than the diesel options. Underneath, the suspension provides a smooth ride, and in the car noise levels are low and there’s a good amount of passenger space. The biggest gripe, especially for busy families with shopping, pushchairs and bikes to lug around, is the car’s relatively small boot.


7. Seat Arona

Our pick Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 110 SE Technology DSG auto
List price £22,255*
Used deals from £11,495
Monthly finance from £166**

The Seat Arona might be the smallest SUV in Seat’s car range but you won’t feel short changed by it. This compact crossover does a good job of eking out as much space from the cabin as possible, so that a young family should feel comfortable rather than cramped here.

Our pick of the range would be the petrol-powered 1.0 TSI engine, in 110hp form. Pair this with a fast-shifting 'dual-clutch' automatic gearbox, and you’ll have a relaxing drive whatever the conditions.

Perhaps the greatest surprise is that Seat’s engineers have done such a good job of making this SUV feel responsive to drive. It’s stable in all situations and impressively comfortable, too. Throw into the mix good fuel economy - up to 48mpg - and this is a sound, small SUV. Only the very top trim levels with the most expensive engine tip over the £25,000 mark too, so you should be able to pick your ideal Arona and stay in budget in most cases.


8. Hyundai Ioniq

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SE Connect
List price £24,045*
Used deals Limited stock

Many drivers are under the impression that hybrid cars are expensive to buy. But Hyundai’s clever Ioniq shows that’s not the case. It’s available from under £24,000 for the normal hybrid model, while plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions of the Ioniq are also available for around £30,000.

The Ioniq Hybrid doesn’t offer an electric range as such, but the electric motor assists the petrol engine and creates a car that’ll match a diesel for fuel economy. SE Connect trim includes heated seats and a heated steering wheel, a rear-view camera and all the latest smartphone connectivity, so you’re not missing out on much at all. It’s even better value second-hand, though, as the Ioniq loses value quickly from new, and you can find low-mileage Ioniq Electric models for comfortably less than £25,000.

The car seats four in comfort and the boot’s a fair size, though the fit and finish isn't quite as plush as a comparably priced Volkswagen Golf. But then again, a similarly priced Golf can’t dramatically reduce your driving costs - or emissions - as much as this can.


**Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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