Best cheap automatic cars

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

BuyaCar team
Jun 8, 2021

Want to make driving that little bit easier, or want to take the pressure off your left foot in heavy traffic? Automatic models were previously reserved for high-end vehicles, but the option has become far more accessible in recent years. The best automatics not only provide a smoother, more relaxing drive but can be just as enjoyable to drive and economical - if not more economical - than manual alternatives.

Expect to pay a £500-£2,000 premium for automatic gearboxes on newer models. Fortunately, there are 403 examples of used cars with automatic gearboxes starting at £4,795 on BuyaCar.

So, if you like the idea of a car that lets you sit back and relax, let us take the stress out of finding an affordable automatic car. Click on the button below for all the used automatic cars currently available on BuyaCar or keep reading for our selection of some of the best value options below.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to purchase an automatic car, but it can be hard to separate the models that offer slick, smooth automatic gearboxes from those with dim-witted gearboxes that aren't well suited to the engine. Below we've rounded up cars that work well in automatic form and are available for less than you might think.

Click on the button below to start your finance quote and find out how much you can afford and read on for our favourite affordable automatic cars from the comfort of your sofa. All examples can be ordered online and delivered to your front door.

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, sometimes referred to as a torque converter, 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 your next gear to make shifting slick and smooth; these are well suited to acceleration.
  • A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt to change gears. It works by keeping the engine running at its 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, and are often noisier.
  • An automated manual gearbox (AMT) 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 £8,300
Monthly finance from £176*

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 in later models, adaptive cruise control, which can accelerate and brake the car to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Fiesta

Best cheap automatic car for choice

Used automatic Ford Fiesta deals from £7,847
Monthly finance from £156*

There's still a reasonable selection of automatic Ford Fiesta models to choose from, with 9 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.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Renault Zoe

Best cheap automatic car for electric motoring

Used automatic Renault Zoe deals from £6,458
Monthly finance from £126*

You might not have thought it, but an electric car is comfortably within reach even on a tight budget. 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 drops drastically at high speeds. It's the perfect choice for town drivers with short commutes. 

Be aware that the cheapest Zoe models may not come with batteries included, which will mean that they need to be rented for an additional cost; prices start at £50 per month, so it's vital to check whether or not batteries are included with any Zoes you're considering getting.

RENAULT ZOE BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Toyota Yaris

Best cheap automatic car for efficient hybrid power

Used automatic Toyota Yaris deals from £8,288
Monthly finance from £149*

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.

TOYOTA YARIS BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Vauxhall Mokka

Best cheap automatic car for a high driving position

Used automatic Vauxhall Mokka X deals from £6,995
Monthly finance from £163*

Vauxhalls make for 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 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, is just about within reach, too. Be sure to compare both models, as older (and cheaper) models might be available in higher specifications, and have more equipment.

VAUXHALL MOKKA X BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Kia Soul

Best cheap automatic car for standing out

Used automatic Kia Soul deals from £7,661
Monthly finance from £149*

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.

If you can afford a little more, the electric version of the Soul is available from £15,750 or £289 per month. Its 132-mile range is slightly better than the Renault Zoe, but is no match for the latest round of electric cars which promise easily more than 200 miles.

7. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Best cheap automatic car for seven seats

Used automatic Citroen C4 Picasso deals from £8,598
Monthly finance from £198*

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is not on 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 which starts at  or the more expensive Kia Carens, available from .

CITROEN GRAND C4 PICASSO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Hyundai i30

Best cheap automatic car for an unlimited mileage warranty

Used automatic Hyundai i30 deals from £7,995
Monthly finance from £155*

Pay a little more for a newer model, and you'll still be covered thanks to the manufacturer’s five-year cover from new, which provides a bucket full of reassurance.

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.

HYUNDAI I30 BUYERS' GUIDE

*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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