Best cheap automatic cars

Take the hard work out of traffic jams with a cheap automatic car for under £10,000

BuyaCar team
Oct 19, 2020

Are you in need of a car with an automatic gearbox? If you were to look at a brand new car you would expect to add around £2,000 to the price of an identical manual version. But if you instead turn to the used car market you'll quickly discover you don't have to spend as much as you might think.

Automatic cars are often treated harshly. Yes, they're more expensive and yes, they also get rid of the enjoyment and responsiveness of driving a manual. But they do offer a much smoother, relaxing drive for those of us who simply what to sit back and enjoy the ride. An automatic gearbox also opens the door to individuals who may be restricted to driving such cars by their driving licence and, actually, they can be better to drive too in some cases.

We can think of plenty of reasons why you might want to purchase an automatic car, but we'd also recommend you restrict your search to the used car market, as you'll find prices are both considerably cheaper and more comparable with their manual alternatives.

At BuyaCar, we have some of the best cheap automatic car deals around, and you can be sure to find excellent finance offers on a whole range of cars that ought to catch your attention. Read on for more details on some of our favourites.

Cheap automatic cars - types of gearboxes

An automatic gearbox or transmission can come in a handful of different forms; a standard automatic, a dual clutch automatic, a continuously variable automatic or an automated manual. You can read our in-depth guide to gearboxes here.

  • A standard auto gearbox is a smooth alternative to a manual gearshift, but tends to be slightly delayed under sharp acceleration.
  • A dual clutch transmission (DCT) features, as the name implies, two clutches that can pre-select you next gear to make shifting slick and smooth.
  • A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt to change gears. It works by keeping the engine running at it's most efficient speed according to your throttle inputs. Mostly seen on newer hybrid cars, CVT models will feel different to a normal car under acceleration.
  • An automated manual gearbox requires your manual inputs, but a computer changes the gears, so there is still no clutch pedal. Often implemented as paddles behind the steering wheel, these tend to be jerkier than a standard automatic.

Best cheap automatic cars

1. Volkswagen Golf

Best cheap automatic car for value

Used automatic VW Golf deals from £8,899
Monthly finance from £147

It's only recently that automatic versions of the previous generation Volkswagen Golf have been available on BuyaCar for under £10,000. It's excellent value for an all-round family car with solid build quality and Volkswagen's smooth, fast-shifting dual-clutch automatic gearbox, badged DSG.

The gearbox suits the character of the comfortable and quiet Golf, which is often available in Match specification at this price. This includes parking sensors, alloy wheels and adaptive cruise control, which can accelerate and brake the car to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead.


2. Ford Fiesta

Best cheap automatic car for choice

Used automatic Ford Fiesta deals from £6,795
Monthly finance from £117

There's still a reasonable selection of automatic Ford Fiesta models to choose from, with 15 vehicles currently for sale on BuyaCar for less than £10,000. This is the previous generation model as the latest model has not quite dipped under the £10,000 threshold yet, but you will have a choice of petrol and diesel engines, as well as mid-range Zetec trim and the better-equipped Titanium version.

Ford's Powershit gearbox is a dual-clutch model, which isn't quite as slick as Volkswagen's DSG technology, but not far off, so you can expect smooth and fast changes.


3. Renault Zoe

Best cheap automatic car for electric motoring

Used automatic Renault Zoe deals from £6,300
Monthly finance from £126

Electric cars only have one forward gear, so you don’t even get the option of a manual gearbox, making life very easy for anyone searching for an automatic electric car. The Renault Zoe is a good choice for driving in town, where it’s extremely quiet and where the soft suspension can smooth out speed bumps and potholes.

It will drive along happily at 70mph too, but long journeys are not the speciality of the three- to four-year-old Zoes that are available in this price range. Unlike newer cars, they have a range of around 80 to 100 miles, which covers most commutes. Be aware that the cheapest Zoe models may not come with batteries included, which will mean that they need to be rented; prices start at £50 per month, so it's vital to check.


4. Toyota Yaris

Best cheap automatic car for efficient hybrid power

Used automatic Toyota Yaris deals from £7,290
Monthly finance from £130

The Yaris comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox, which suits this car perfectly. It boosts economy because it's designed to keep the engine at its most efficient speed for as long as possible. Combined with the hybrid system, which has a battery and motor to recover energy under braking and then use it to provide power, this results in excellent fuel economy figures at slower speeds.

When maximum power is demanded, at high acceleration, the combination is less successful and the gearbox sends the engine revs soaring, resulting in noisy progress until you've reached your desired speed.


5. Vauxhall Mokka

Best cheap automatic car for a high driving position

Used automatic Vauxhall Mokka X deals from £7,299
Monthly finance from £142

Vauxhalls make fantastic second-hand cars, thanks to extremely attractive prices and decent all-round performance. That's the case with a 2015 automatic petrol or diesel Mokka, which costs less than £10,000 even in top-of-the-range SE specification, which includes part-leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as sat-nav.

It's not a bad family car for the price, with rear seats that can accommodate growing teenagers and an average-sized boot that's similar in size to the current Ford Focus. The ride is a little firm, though, so it does bob over speed bumps. An updated version of the car, renamed Vauxhall Mokka X, isn't quite within the £10,000 budget yet.


6. Kia Soul

Best cheap automatic car for standing out

Used automatic Kia Soul deals from £8,500
Monthly finance from £162

Not everyone will love the Kia Soul's gawky looks, but those that do are a captive audience because there's nothing quite like it on the roads. Underneath the distinctive design is a spacious car that cushions rough roads effectively.

This does mean that it leans a little in corners, so it's best driven smoothly, which makes an automatic gearbox the ideal choice.

7. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Best cheap automatic car for seven seats

Used automatic Citroen C4 Picasso deals from £9,795
Monthly finance from £160

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is not in this list because it has a good automatic gearbox. In fact, the automated manual shift is slow and jerky. However, this is one of the few seven-seat cars less than five years old that's available with an automatic gearbox for under £10,000.

As such, it could be a godsend if you're looking for a large vehicle on a limited budget. If you can spend a little more, then it's worth looking at other options, such as the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer or Kia Carens.


8. Hyundai i30

Best cheap automatic car for an unlimited mileage warranty

Used automatic Hyundai i30 deals from £8,491
Monthly finance from £150

You’ll still have some warranty left on some Hyundai i30s that are selling for less than £8,000, thanks to the manufacturer’s five-year cover from new.

It buys you a modern, comfortable family hatchback, with plenty of space and good fuel economy. The car was recently replaced by a new model, but still feels up to date. For this price, you have the choice of diesel or petrol automatic cars.



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