Best new cars for under £15,000

The best new cars for under £15,000 all have one thing in common - they're great value for money

Ben Custard
Jun 7, 2021

To most of us, £15,000 seems like an awful lot of money. But the average cost of a new car sold in the UK is actually considerably more - partly thanks to the rapid increase in the uptake of car finance, especially PCP finance, which allows you to get a new car for a far lower monthly payment than with an equivalent traditional car loan.

British drivers typically pay well over £20,000 to buy a factory-fresh car. So narrowing down the choice when your budget is £15,000 takes dedicated detective work to make sure you're getting the most car for your money. Fear not, however. We've rounded up the most appealing options available for less than £15,000.

With cars getting more and more expensive, there’s not the wide variety of different models and body styles that £15,000 used to buy. City cars and superminis, are in abundance. But motorists who need something more practical, such as a sport utility vehicle (SUV) or estate car, will be pleased to learn there are still some good models available, too.

Popular cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Crossland X and Ford Fiesta have now crept above £15,000 brand new, but this budget is enough to buy a nearly new or pre-registered example of each with just a few hundred miles on the clock. If you're after the best car for your money and are open to getting a second-hand car, check out the best value used cars available for less than £15,000.

Meanwhile, if you’re sure you want a brand new car and have £15,000 to spend, read on for our roundup of the best options. Or, if you can stretch your budget even slightly, make sure to check out our guide to the best new cars for under £20,000 as well.

Best new cars for under £15,000

1. Volkswagen Up

Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 5dr
List price £13,075

Widely considered the yardstick by which other city cars are measured, the Up is getting on a bit now but still has a mature, big-car feel - and is more spacious than you’re probably expecting.

All Up models besides the GTI and electric e-Up models cost under £15,000. With just 60hp available, the cheapest Up models aren’t quick cars, but they are agile and fun to drive. More powerful engines were previously available, so it’s worth finding a used example with a bigger engine or a nearly new Up GTI if you want a faster version or one that is better suited to faster roads.

We like the way the Up feels stable on the road, with low levels of noise, a smooth ride and safe handling. It can handle longer journeys with ease, although the limited amount of power available means you might struggle up the steepest hills. It also has enough interior space for four tall adults, and the 251-litre boot is large for this size of car.

Nearly new deals from £11,991
Monthly finance from £210*
VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Fabia

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 60hp SE
List price £14,410

The Skoda Fabia is a great small car that just sneaks under our £15,000 budget. It’s built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Polo, which means it feels mature and well built. For this price you can choose the entry-level S model with the punchy 95hp turbocharged engine, or the better-equipped SE version with the lower-powered 60hp engine - so your choice may come down to whether you prefer performance or equipment.

With the same 60hp engine as the Up but a heavier body, the lowest-powered Fabia will take a while to reach A-road and motorway speeds. It’ll be sufficient if you’re mainly going to be driving around town, though, and provides the cheapest insurance of any new car on sale. We think it’s worth going for the SE trim over the S, as it adds rear parking sensors, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, air-conditioning and an alarm.

Consider a second-hand model and you can choose from plenty of low-mileage Fabias that are only a couple of months old, with the desirable turbocharged petrol engine and well-equipped SE Drive and Colour Edition specifications. The Fabia comes as a practical estate model as well, and plenty of nearly new ones are available for under £15,000.

Nearly new deals from £11,950
Monthly finance from £198*
SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Hyundai i10

Our pick Hyundai i10 1.2 MPi SE Connect
List price £17,390

With the launch of the latest model, the Hyundai i10 looks sharper than ever. Space for five people (just), a generous boot and equipment from more expensive cars means the i10 is seriously impressive, and one to consider if you’re after a city car or a supermini.

Both engines return over 50mpg, but we’ve picked the 1.2-litre as it’s more powerful than the 1.0-litre engine - making it easier to keep up with traffic on the open road. If you’re predominantly going to be driving around town, the 1.0-litre engine should be fine and will save you £800.

SE Connect specification is one model up from the base version, but includes all the equipment you’re likely to want: air-conditioning, cruise control, a rear-view camera and an eight-inch touchscreen media system with a digital radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

But, if you’re after the best value, you can get all this for £2,000 less by choosing a pre-registered car; we have 1.2-litre SE Connect examples with just 10 miles on the clock for under £12,500.

Nearly new deals from £10,359
Monthly finance from £194*
HYUNDAI I10 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Dacia Duster

Our pick Dacia Duster TCe 90 Comfort
List price £15,095

If you want to spend as little money as possible on a new SUV for the family, Dacia sells a version of the Duster for just £10,995, which, on the face of it, appears to be remarkably good value for money. But is it?

It does without things such as a radio, air-conditioning and split-folding rear seats, so maybe not. Meanwhile, Comfort trim is just a whisker above our £15,000 budget and includes plenty of extra features including luxuries like a reversing camera.

In fact, for under £20,000, you can have a diesel engine and four-wheel drive, which transforms the Duster into one of the toughest budget 4x4s off the beaten track. If the Dacia isn’t quite to your taste, entry-level SsangYong Tivoli and MG ZS models both come in under £15,000.

Nearly new deals from £10,990
Monthly finance from £186*
DACIA DUSTER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mini Hacthback

Our pick Mini One Classic 3dr
List price £16,190

If you don’t need a practical car, then why not go ahead and spoil yourself with something that’s cool, feels special to sit in, and will have you grinning all the way down the road like the Cheshire Cat that’s got the keys to the creamery?

The Mini ticks all those boxes and more. However, there’s a snag. It costs over £16,000 in One Classic, three-door guise. But we reckon that a quick look at nearly new models with less than 1,000 miles could even bring the more desirable Mini Cooper 3dr down to around £15,000.

It’s worth persevering. The Mini doesn’t just look cool, it feels a cut above other cars when you sit in it. The sporty driving position, wide windscreen, upright dashboard and excellent quality fittings all help it feel different. The 1.5-litre engine is perky, the handling around corners is a joy and the car generally feels satisfying to drive.

Nearly new deals from £20,000
Monthly finance from £307*
MINI HATCHBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Fiat 500

Our pick Fiat 500 1.0 MHEV Dolcevita
List price £15,005

It might be getting on but Fiat has been doing a pretty good job of applying anti-wrinkle cream because the 500 is still one of the most charming little cars on the road – and with its cheery face and popularity, it will make your Instagram feed the envy of friends and family.

With the new electric Fiat 500 now available, the newly hybridised petrol seems better value than it was previously. You don’t have to stick to the basic Pop trim, either, with both Connect and Dolcevita trims coming in at a mere £5 over budget. These add a glossy seven-inch touchscreen media system and styling bits, and the Dolcevita also gets a sunroof and rear parking sensors.

There are a lot of barely run-in Fiat 500s on BuyaCar, so you should still be able to pick the spec and colour of your dreams if you are open to going used. They’re eye-catchingly cheap, with six-month-old models coming in at under £11,000 - giving you enough spare change for an Italian adventure!

Nearly new deals from £10,950
Monthly finance from £178*
FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Kia Rio

Our pick Kia Rio 1 1.2
List price £13,850

Gone are the days when buying a Kia might have saved some money but also meant sacrificing a good deal of style and quality. The latest Rio is a supermini that’s more than capable of standing its ground against cars like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, and the seven-year warranty is a big selling point too.

One area where there has been a noticeable improvement with this generation of Rio is the look and feel. The five-door hatchback body is more eye-catching than in the past, and the interior has a more upmarket feel than Kias of years gone by - although there’s not much to play with on the entry-level ‘1’ trim. It also delivers a generous level of interior space, with better accommodation than, say, a Ford Fiesta.

The ‘2’ trim level is easier to recommend, but a price rise means that’s now out of budget if you wanted to order one from the factory. But looking at lightly used, nearly new examples means the whole range is available to you - including the top-spec GT Line model with heated seats, sat-nav and the punchiest petrol engine.

Nearly new deals from £14,843
Monthly finance from £234*
KIA RIO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Nissan Micra

Our pick Nissan Micra IG-T 92 Acenta
List price £15,970

If it’s a sensible £15,000 new car you’re after, look no further than the Nissan Micra. The smartened-up hatchback does without the cheeky personality of a Mini, and can’t match a Ford Fiesta for driving pleasure. But it counters with plenty of space for a young family, a good level of standard equipment and the latest safety features.

As for the version, we’d recommend the 1.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine, with a manual gearbox and Acenta trim level. Base-spec Visia comes with the essentials, but Acenta trim adds a few more luxuries which we think are well worth having.

Brand new, Acenta is knocking on for £1,000 over our budget, but buying a pre-registered example with only a handful of miles on it can save you up to £4,000 on BuyaCar - putting it well within budget.

Nearly new deals from £12,289
Monthly finance from £203*
NISSAN MICRA 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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