Cheapest stylish cars

Cheap and chic – this combo may be hard to find with clothes, but there are plenty of cars that offer both. Here are some of the best

James Wilson
Jan 6, 2021

Low price and high style may be difficult to find in many areas of life, but if you know where to look you can get both with your car. Cheap and stylish cars are relatively common. There is a great selection of makes and models that range from small cars that are perfect for cutting through busy towns right up to spacious SUVs which are ideal for loading up the family and going on an adventure.

‘Style’ doesn’t come in just one flavour, though. You can choose from chic cars, such as the Fiat 500 and elegant models like the Mercedes E-Class Coupe to sporty machines like the Fiat 124 Spider and sharp-looking, high-riding 'crossovers' like the VW T-Roc. There can be a sensible side to picking a stylish car, too - especially the more affordable ones.

Part of the reason is that stylish cars are typically more desirable than bland ones. That desirability means that they are worth more used. That's good news for new car buyers as the car is either worth more when you come to sell, so you get more of your money back, or you get lower monthly payments with PCP finance (as the monthly payments effectively cover the amount of value the car loses over the length of the contract.

Those purchasing a used car can also benefit. Yes, the car may cost more to begin with, but again, you get more back when you sell the car on, or benefit from lower PCP finance monthly payments. So, picking a stylish car should not only please your heart but your head, too. Then there is the additional feel-good factor of having a stylish car to look at and be seen in. So keep reading to find our selection of eight of the cheapest and most stylish cars available.

Cheapest stylish cars

1. Fiat 500

Our pick Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Lounge
Used deals Limited stock

When it comes to small stylish cars the Fiat 500 is one of the best - although the Mini Hatchback gives it a good run for its money, despite being more expensive in many cases. The 500 isn’t just a pretty face, though. Thanks to its diminutive dimensions, economical engines and light steering, navigating tight urban environments is a doddle and so too is parking.

Out on the open road, the ride is softer than rivals - namely the more sporty Mini - meaning those wanting a stylish yet comfortable car will be well served. The Fiat 500 has been on sale in various guises since 2008 (although Fiat significantly updated the 500 in 2016 by refreshing the styling and equipment) so there are a lot of different versions to look at. This also means that if you really want to cut your costs, even going for an older model gives you nearly all of the later 500's style.

Our pick would be a post-2016 model with a turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine, if you can afford it, as drivers will benefit from the improvements Fiat made in 2016, which make the car feel more modern, and a characterful engine that suits the small Italian car’s personality, producing a deep thrum when you work it hard.

FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Peugeot 208

Our pick Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 Allure
Used deals from £13,600
Monthly finance from £203*

The current version of the Peugeot 208 is fairly new to the car world as it was launched towards the end of 2019. Even so, right from the beginning, it has stood out from rivals thanks to its striking styling both inside and out. Take the bright LED lights that appear to be slashed into the front bumper - they give the 208 a real aggressive but sleek look.

Out on the open road, the type of driving experience you get with the 208 varies depending on which engine you choose from the broad range of options, but overall all versions are a pleasure to drive, offering good levels of comfort. As for engines themselves, there are petrol, diesel and electric options available, although electric ‘e-208’ models are yet to drop below £20,000 second-hand.

Those looking for a good mixture of economy and performance will be well served by the 100hp 1.2-litre ‘PureTech’ petrol engine. The ‘hp’ figure (which refers to how much power the engine produces) is important here as there are a handful of different 1.2-litre PureTech engines but the 100hp version is the pick of the bunch.

Diesel engines make less sense in small cars like this - as you'll have to rack up very many miles before the increased fuel economy over already economical petrol alternatives will save you enough to offset the higher initial price - so we'd stick with petrol or look out for an affordable electric model instead.

MORE DETAILS ON THE PEUGEOT 208

3. Renault Megane

Our pick Renault Megane 1.5 Blue dCi 115 Iconic
Used deals Limited stock

The Renault Megane is a rival to cars such as the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. It wasn’t until 2016, though, when the current version of the Megane was launched that Renault’s offering was able to offer a serious alternative to the competition. Why is this? Simple - build quality, standard equipment levels and styling with the latest Megane are a big step forward from previous Meganes.

Renault decided to go for more supple suspension with the Megane to boost comfort and refinement, though this does result in a less sporty drive than with a Ford Focus. That said, the extra comfort is a big plus point for long journeys. Renault refreshed the Megane’s specification levels in 2018, but pre-2018 models are still worth shopping for. Regardless of age, there are frugal diesel and petrol engines available which should help keep running costs down.

RENAULT MEGANE BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc

Our pick Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI SE
Used deals from £14,526
Monthly finance from £224*

The Volkswagen T-Roc is best thought of as a Golf on stilts. That said, the T-Roc is arguably more desirable than its sibling thanks to its sleek looks and in-vogue high-riding 'crossover' body style. It is practical, too, what with ample space for passengers in both rows of seats and decent room for their luggage in the boot. Go for a two-wheel drive T-Roc and you get 445 litres worth of boot space, which is 64 litres more than an equivalent Golf.

There is quite the range of T-Roc models to choose from - and which one is best for you depends on the type of driving you do. Those who largely drive around town and occasionally tackle motorway journeys will be well-matched with a two-wheel drive 1.0-litre petrol T-Roc. Meanwhile, those who do many longer, high-speed trips might want to choose a 2.0-litre diesel model to benefit from its higher fuel economy. Four-wheel-drive is available, too, albeit only with certain engines, such as the most powerful 2.0-litre petrol.

VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mini Countryman

Our pick Mini Countryman 2.0 Cooper S
Used deals from £8,398
Monthly finance from £163*

Minis are inherently designed with retro style in mind. Consequently, they have a unique charm that comes from their distinctive looks and funky interiors. Perhaps surprisingly these features are not all that common amongst Mini’s rivals, with many going for more conservative designs or wacky modern looks, as seen with the Nissan Juke.

Mini offers its current Countryman (launched in 2017) with a number of engines but for those looking to reduce their exhaust pipe emissions, a plug-in hybrid model will be the best option - though you'll have to charge the batteries regularly to make the most of the plug-in hybrid's electric motor. This enables you to do more of your driving using electric power alone and consequently you should burn less petrol. Click here for all the details on what a plug-in hybrid is.

There are Countrymans solely powered by petrol or diesel, too, as well as two- and four-wheel drive variants. Meanwhile, equipment levels are fairly generous, so you should get more for your money than if you opted for something like an Audi Q2. In addition, the Mini Countryman blows the competition away when it comes to driving enjoyment - though the Mazda CX-3 is another fun to drive option. Not only that but the Countryman is more than refined enough to comfortably cruise up and down the motorway.

MINI COUNTRYMAN BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Our pick Mercedes E-Class E350 BlueTEC AMG Line
Used deals from £11,995
Monthly finance from £207*

Mercedes models tend to come with elegant styling rather than cutesy or flashy. There are exceptions, though, and the previous generation of the E-Class Coupe definitely fits this description. The E-Class Coupe highlighted here was launched in 2009 and taken off from sale in 2016.

When deciding upon the best model to go for, we'd recommend finding the newest possible one within budget, as Mercedes made a number of revisions throughout the E-Class Coupe's production run - including a significant reworking of the exterior styling in 2013. This makes it look more modern and feel like a more upmarket machine. Perfect if style is high on your wishlist.

Aside from hardcore AMG performance models, which don't come cheap, all E-Class Coupes drive well and promise a comfortable ride - helped by an overwhelming majority coming with an automatic gearbox. Diesel engines are a great fit for those wanting good fuel economy and in ‘E350d’ guise promise punchy performance, too.

If running costs are less of an issue, fast petrol E400 models will do 0-62mph in a rapid 5.2 seconds but will consume more fuel than a diesel equivalent while doing it. In case 5.2 seconds doesn’t sound that fast to you, it is only 0.1 seconds slower to 62mph than a brand new Porsche Cayman, which is one of the best sports cars currently available.

MERCEDES E-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Fiat 124 Spider

Our pick Fiat 124 Spider 1.4 Multiair Lusso
Used deals Limited stock

Fiat collaborated with Mazda to make its 124 Spider - ’Spider’ being Fiat’s preferred name for a sporty convertible. From an outsider's point of view Fiat seems to have got the most out of the deal. Not only did the Italian carmaker get to use the same underpinnings as the cracking Mazda MX-5 sports car but it also had free reign to make its own very stylish exterior. So Fiat did this and the finished product is arguably more stylish than the MX-5 for those who prefer curves to sharp, taut lines.

Away from its looks, the 124 is one of the best sports cars going when it comes to driving enjoyment. Fiat’s punchy  turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine is also quite impressive as it comes alive when accelerating. It is fairly common for sports cars to come with very stiff - and therefore uncomfortable - suspension, but there are no such problems with the 124.

Finally, for the 124, the interior is similarly stylish and cosy while standard equipment levels are good and an automatic gearbox is an option should you prefer one. We'd recommend sticking to the manual in a back-to-basics sporty car like this, though, as it adds to the engaging driving experience.

FIAT 124 SPIDER BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jaguar XE

Our pick Jaguar XE 2.0d R-Sport
Used deals from £13,699
Monthly finance from £209*

In the past upmarket saloons such as the Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series were seen as being bland and boring. For many years that's not been the case, though, with ever more stylish and fun to drive options. All it takes is one look at the XE to see that this is one car that offers plenty of style for its sensible format. Granted, some trim levels make the XE more stylish than others, but overall Jaguar has created one sleek saloon thanks to the large front grille, thin headlights and swooping curves.

As it happens, styling isn’t the XE’s only party-piece, as it is also very enjoyable to drive. There are a number of engines on offer that range from punchy-yet-economical 2.0-litre diesels to seriously fast 3.0-litre petrols. The XE’s interior, meanwhile, is a classy place to be - even if the media system trails some rivals (such as the BMW 3 Series) but build quality is good. The majority of second-hand models are two-wheel drive although four-wheel drive is available on more powerful versions, too, boosting traction when accelerating.

JAGUAR XE 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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