Cheapest family cars

Looking for a decent family car that wont break the bank. The good news is, you don't have to, these are the cheapest family cars

BuyaCar team
Dec 19, 2021

Looking for a car that is going to work well for your family but at the same time save you money? There's certainly no shortage of choice. The family car market is such a huge sector in terms of sales that every manufacturer under the sun has tried to dip their biggest toe into the pool of keen and eager customers. 

The good thing about such a competitive sector of cars is that prices go down while quality goes up, as the likes of Ford, Nissan and Skoda are all vying for supremacy they're pushing the margins further and further to try and steal a march against the opposition.

So it's not at all difficult to find a number of great quality but cheap family cars that all do the job of taking you and your family from A to B in safety and comfort.

Family cars need to do three things: they need to be practical, they need to be safe, and they need to be cheap. With these criteria in mind, we've pulled together a list of eight excellent cars that represent a strong mix of all three.

These are all properly cheap cars too, with prices from well below £10,000 across the board - and PCP finance for much less than £200 per month with BuyaCar - we've taken value for money to a whole new level. Read on for our pick of the best cheap family cars.

Cheapest family cars

1. Ford Focus

Our pick Ford Focus Zetec 1.0 Ecoboost 125
Used deals from £5,395
Monthly finance from £209*

The Ford Focus is the benchmark by which other family cars are judged. It’s that good and in popular Zetec trim makes an excellent buy.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine is the top choice for petrol drivers but it does need a careful right foot if you’re not to blow its official economy figures wide open. There's plenty of models available on BuyaCar for less than £150 per month with the frugal 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine. If you’re a high-mileage driver, consider a same-age 1.6 TDCi for around the same price but beware: being only Euro 5 emissions compliant means it will attract inner-city clean-air charges, where they’re imposed.


2. Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra front

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SRi 5dr
Used deals from £5,795
Monthly finance from £200*

The Vauxhall Astra has always played second fiddle to the Ford Focus, being not quite as much fun to drive and really, a little drab inside and out. However, these shortcomings are reflected in lower prices, meaning that alongside a Focus, an Astra can look spectacular value for money.

SRi trim is popular since it brings smart alloy wheels, cruise control and sporty details including alloy tailpipes that help give the model a welcome lift. You'll barely need to go above £100 per month to find yourself a good quality modelwith mileage around the 50,000 mark.


3. Citroen C4 Cactus

Our pick Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech Feel
Used deals from £6,991
Monthly finance from £261*

Really, the Cactus should be among our cheapest SUVs selection but it’s too good a family car to ignore here. Too good? It’s very comfortable and its estate-like body promises good load carrying potential. Sadly, a high boot lip and rear seats that only fold as one rather than split dent its appeal in this respect but otherwise, it’s a useful family holdall.

The 1.2 Pure Tech petrol engine is economical, although if your driving involves more than the occasional long journey, avoid the cheapest 82hp version. Not that alternative will be any less cheap, you can get high-end C4 Cactus models on BuyaCar for much, much less than £200 per month.


4. Renault Megane

Our pick Renault Megane 1.5 dCi Dynamique TomTom 5dr
Used deals from £6,450
Monthly finance from £0*

Stylish it is not but with the excellent 1.5 diesel engine fitted, the previous-generation Renault Megane is, as you’d expect, economical. The model is very well equipped in Dymanique trim, too; more so with the optional TomTom sat nav.

Staying with the positives, the boot is a decent size, and the rear seats fold almost flat. The suspension is very comfortable and soaks up bumps and potholes with ease.

A Ford Focus is more fun to drive and a Vauxhall Astra better value. Even so, £5,995 or £117 per month, for a 2015-reg Megane 1.5 dCi Dynamique TomTom with 70,000 miles is a tempting proposition.

5. Peugeot 308

Our pick Peugeot 308 1.6 HDI Active
Used deals from £5,525
Monthly finance from £189*

The 308 was meant to be Peugeot’s answer to the VW Golf: a premium car with handsome looks and, promised Peugeot, better build quality than ever before. It’s hard to dispute those claims. What’s more, the 308 is a quiet and refined car that is fun to drive thanks to direct steering and good body control in corners.

Where it falls down is in a slightly cramped rear interior. What it loses there, though, it gains in the form of a roomy and practical boot.

What’s more, it’s great value for money. You can get high-end 2016 Allure models on BuyaCar for less than £130 per month.


6. Nissan Pulsar

Our pick Nissan Pulsar 1.2 DiG-T 115 Visia
Used deals from £6,290
Monthly finance from £0*

Going head to head with the Fiat Tipo, below, is this: the Nissan Pulsar. Like the Tipo, it’s astonishing value for money but where it stands apart from the Italian is in its enormous rear interior. Three large teenagers could sit quite comfortably back there.

Otherwise, it’s quite an ordinary car with dull steering and a plasticky interior. On the other hand, every model has radar-controlled city braking which helps bring down insurance premiums. If you’re looking for a safe and roomy car at a bargain price, you’ve just found it.


7. Fiat Tipo

Our pick Fiat Tipo Easy 1.4
Used deals from £7,995
Monthly finance from £0*

It’s not the most obvious choice but there’s no arguing with the Tipo’s low price. It’s the standout feature of this model but there are others including a roomy interior and good driving manners.

It's not up to the same quality as a Volkswagen Golf (few rivals can hold a candle to the VW), the ride is a bit jiggly and that basic 1.4-litre petrol is, well, basic.

On the flipside, the interior is roomy, although headroom in the back is in short supply, while even the basic Easy has Bluetooth, a digital radio and air-conditioning. On top of that, the boot is a luggage-swallowing 440 litres.


8. Skoda Octavia

Our pick Skoda Octavia S 1.0 TSI 115
Used deals from £8,100
Monthly finance from £487*

Skodas are no longer quite the bargain they were but as the old resistance to the brand evaporates, perhaps that’s only to be expected. They’re certainly only a few notches down from VW in terms of perceived quality, while the brand actually appears to perform better in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys.

The Octavia is an old friend of families; a comfortable car that is unique in somehow straddling the Volkswagen Golf and Passat classes in terms of interior space. There’s plenty of room in the rear seats for a trio of hulking teenagers while the boot is easily capable of taking everyone’s holiday luggage. So filled, however, you’d be advised to check out one of the more powerful petrol or diesel engines.


*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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