Cheap cars on finance

Want the best car for your monthly budget? Opt for one of these PCP finance deals and you could get more for your money than you might think

Chris Rosamond
Apr 29, 2020

Looking for a new car but working to a tight budget? For most drivers, paying for a car with cold hard cash is out of the question, so chances are you're going to be taking a car finance deal. If you're after a cheap deal, one of the quickest ways to slash your monthly payments is to go for used car finance, as used cars are typically many thousands of pounds less than new ones, so the amount you're paying every month is likely to be less.

Another way to cut your monthly bills is to choose PCP finance over Hire Purchase. Unlike Hire Purchase or a loan where the entire cost of a car is split across a deposit and a series of monthly payments, with PCP your monthly payments only cover a proportion of the car's value - the amount it's expected to lose over the length of the contract.

That means that you could get the keys to a car that you wouldn't be about to afford with Hire Purchase or cash by choosing PCP. Just remember that if you want to own the car at the end of the contract with PCP, you have to make the large optional final payment to take ownership. Here, we've put together 10 of the best used cars that might be wildly out of reach in terms of cash prices for many drivers, but can be picked up for an affordable monthly payment when you get them on finance.

Read on to find out more about these great finance bargains. We’ve found trendy SUVs, cool crossovers, practical family hatchbacks, stylish superminis and even a hot city car to tempt you with, and all for a surprisingly low monthly cost that won’t do much damage to your bank balance.

Cheap car finance deals

1. Mini Cooper S

Used deals from £9,500
Monthly finance from £130

The Mini Cooper is one of the most desirable superminis around. As long as you can live with an interior that’s less roomy than some cheaper rivals, you’re guaranteed a terrific driving experience.

All Mini models offer perky performance in an agile shell that is great at darting around corners, but the Cooper S takes things up a level with the extra power needed to make best use of this car's impressive grip, responsive steering and roll-free cornering.

You can even get an economical but still rapid diesel version - the Cooper SD - which is one of the most compelling Minis around. Its stonking 2.0-litre engine punts it to 62mph in just over seven seconds, while official fuel economy figures of almost 70mpg mean that fuel bills should be surprisingly affordable too.

MINI HATCHBACK 5-DOOR BUYERS' GUIDE
MINI HATCHBACK 3-DOOR BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Mercedes A-Class

Used deals from £10,295
Monthly finance from £159

A Mercedes for less than £150 per month? Believe it or not, that’s all you need to find for a 2015 example of this upmarket hatchback. The latest Mercedes A-Class launched in 2018, but the previous generation is still an appealing option, as it really took the fight to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.

Both the previous version of the A-Class and the current 2018- model look sharp on the outside, but if you want the most design flair on the inside, go for the later model. Regardless, both versions feel like a bigger car to drive and are especially at home on the motorway, where their quiet cabins and smooth ride will keep you comfy you for hours at a time.

The most affordable versions are previous generation cars with Mercedes' smooth and relatively strong 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine. Look out for cars with the excellent eight-inch touchscreen media system option, too, as this makes the cabin feel more high-tech.

2012 MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Seat Ateca

Used deals from £11,295
Monthly finance from £172

Seat’s take on the compact family SUV formula is very similar under the metal to the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Karoq, which all take on the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai. You can spend a lot more than £150 per month on a Seat Ateca - and it's a good choice even if you do have more to spend - proving a better all-rounder than the Nissan, but you can squeeze into one for that budget if you go for a slightly higher mileage early model.

The Ateca still looks great value though, especially if you can grab one that's packing the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine, which should be super-cheap to run and has plenty of pulling power for easy driving and overtaking. If you don't cover many miles, consider the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol instead, as this is surprisingly punchy in what feels like a pretty big car - and it's smoother and quieter than the diesel.

For the money, you’ll be getting a fab family car that’s not only versatile but fashionable too.

SEAT ATECA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Renault Clio GT Line

Used deals from £9,683
Monthly finance from £145

There’s an all new Renault Clio out now, and that makes it a great time to get a top-value used car finance deal on the previous generation model. In particular, our eye has been caught by the number of 0.9-litre petrol GT-Line models, as these are reasonably well equipped and available on some very cheap-looking finance deals.

While 2019 models are available to buy with cash prices starting from around £10,000, you can find finance deals with prices from around £140 per month. Not bad for a car that should feel virtually new from behind the wheel, and doesn’t look a lot different from the very latest model that replaced it.

The 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol is the engine we’d have recommended in the last-generation Clio when it was new because it’s got plenty of muscle considering its small size and it doesn't use much fuel, either.

2013 RENAULT CLIO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. DS 4

Used deals from £7,351
Monthly finance from £123

The DS 4 was never a good purchase new, as it shed value so quickly that the first owner would have lost many thousands of pounds in a very short space of time by the time they came to sell it. However, that makes it a much better second-hand purchase, as it's a huge amount of car for the money used - whether you pay with cash or finance.

While DS isn’t a terrifically well-known manufacturer, Citroen's upmarket wing prioritises comfort over sportiness, so if you want a comfy, refined car to cruise around in, it could be a good option.

With used prices being so low, you can choose from low-mileage 2017 models with excellent 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel engines or a punchy 1.2-litre petrol, often for well under £150 per month. You can even find examples of the trendy Crossback model with its SUV styling cues for a similarly modest outlay.

DS 4 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Abarth 595

Used deals from £8,795
Monthly finance from £126

The Fiat 500 is a characterful car in its own right, but the sporty Abarth version takes the image to a new level – not to mention the performance. And just look at it. This small car manages to look cute to some and menacing to others.

There aren’t many speedy city cars around, as most of these small cars focus on low fuel bills rather than driving fun. Not so the Abarth 595, which is basically a Fiat 500 fitted with a punchy 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, lowered suspension, an aggressive looking body kit and a pair of sporty bucket seats. What’s not to like? The harsh and jiggly ride, perhaps, but we’ll gloss over that in case we sound old and boring.

Cut to the chase, and the feisty little Fiat - or Abarth if you're being pedantic - typically costs around £10,000 for one that's a few years old, but plump for the finance option and you should be able to squeeze into a 595 for a monthly cost around the £150 mark. Go for a car that’s a year or so older, and you could be looking at one of the even more potent Competizione versions.

ABARTH 595 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Kia Sportage

Used deals from £7,990
Monthly finance from £138

The latest Kia Sportage arrived in 2016 when it made quite an impact. Not only did the large family SUV compete hard against the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga on price, but it delivered the goods too. It’s a spacious and practical family SUV that’s always been well-equipped and pleasant to drive, while an industry-leading seven-year warranty makes ownership all the sweeter for those drivers looking at a car that’s a few years old, since you'll have plenty of warranty cover left.

If you want a Sportage for less than £150 per month, you’ll probably be looking at one of the older models in a more basic specification. However, the Sportage is still an appealing model, with more kit than you might expect. Consider that these models may have a cash price of up to around £11,000 and PCP makes them far more affordable.

If you have a slightly larger budget, you only need to push the budget up a few pounds per week to get into a 2017 car. Consider that these typically have low mileages and should have up to four years' warranty cover remaining and the Sportage should be a trouble-free choice.

KIA SPORTAGE BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mazda CX-3

Used deals from £10,200
Monthly finance from £156

The Mazda CX-3 is undoubtedly a classy compact SUV. It’s based on a small car - the Mazda 2 - and designed to compete against the likes of the Nissan Juke, but it has a much more grown-up feel.

It’s great to look at and to drive, and while it’s not as roomy as some thanks to its sharp, sporty styling that reduces luggage and rear seat space, it does benefit from an upmarket interior. You also get to enjoy the high-up SUV driving position, backed up by a comfortable ride, yet it’s just as agile on the road as a decent hatchback.

If you want to drive a CX-3 then your £150 per month should put you behind the wheel of an appealing four- or five-year old model with either 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 1.8--litre diesel and two-wheel drive.

MAZDA CX-3 BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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