Cheap automatic cars

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

BuyaCar team
May 10, 2017


Best cheap automatic car for £5,000

Smart ForTwo

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If you’re looking for a relatively modern automatic car for under £5,000, then the vast majority of options are small cars with little engines. These are typically not best-suited to automatic gearboxes, as they aren’t powerful enough to enable smooth gear changes.

This previous-generation Smart ForTwo is no exception, so you’ll feel some jerkiness as the car changes up and down through the gears. It’s fairly in keeping with the car, which does bump up and down on rough roads, accompanied by a whirring soundtrack from the engine.

It makes city driving lively, if not soothing, particularly if you take advantage of the car’s tiny dimensions to dart through the traffic.

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Best cheap automatic car for £6,000

Renault Zoe

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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 fantastic choice, particularly 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.

However, there is a catch: the price of these cars excludes the batteries, so you’ll need to hire them from Renault, which starts at £50 a month, depending on your mileage. It does mean that you’ll save little in comparison to a petrol car.

Read the Renault Zoe buying guide

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Best cheap automatic car for £7,000

Seat Ibiza

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Seat’s Ibiza is a cheap second-hand supermini because it lost value quite quickly from new.

That’s bad news for the first owner, but offers fantastic value now, because the Ibiza is still a good choice - particularly if you rarely carry people in the cramped rear seats. It’s a car that’s fun to drive, thanks to responsive steering and a high level of grip, which makes the car feel agile in corners.

It’s also available with an excellent dual-clutch gearbox, which brings smooth and fast changes without a drastic impact on fuel economy.

Read the Seat Ibiza (2008-2017) buying guide

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Best cheap automatic car for £8,000

Hyundai i30

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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.

Read more in the Hyundai i30 buying guide

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Best cheap automatic car for £9,000

Volkswagen Polo

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It might be small, but the VW Polo feels like a larger family hatchback, thanks to its well-built interior and spacious rear seats, which can accommodate two adults - three if they are short.

The car aso benefits from Volkswagen’s excellent dual-clutch gearbox, which is smooth, quick to change and barely has an impact on fuel economy.

Read more in the VW Polo buying guide

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Best cheap automatic car for £10,000

Ford C-Max

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The Ford C-Max feels as small and nimble as a hatchback, when you’re behind the steering wheel, even though it’s a spacious people carrier with plenty of storage space.

Automatic cars have Ford’s Powershift gearbox, which has two clutches for faster changes, but it does make the car a little less economical than the manual version.

For under £10,000, you may even get lucky and find a Grand C-Max, which is larger, with seven seats.

In this price range, you’ll be looking at diesel models that are more than two years old, so these are likely to be among the cars that are subject to diesel charges in Clean Air Zones that are expected to start operating in several cities from 2019.

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