Best 2020 cars

Fancy a 2020 car, but want great value for money? These eight models look practically brand new but cost far less than you might expect

Chris Rosamond
Jan 21, 2022

Like many of us, you might dream of owning a brand new car at some point in your life. Unfortunately, though, the reality is that they’re usually seriously expensive unless you go for a low-spec model. However, if you go for one of the best cars from 2020, you’ll be getting the latest in-car tech and modern looks for a fraction of the price.

To give you a good idea of what’s about, we’ve rounded up the best cars of 2020 for different uses - you may be after a zero-emission electric car to silently dart around town, an affordable large luxury car to treat yourself to, or a cheap fun-to-drive hatchback that’ll put a smile on your face.

With carmakers wanting to make a lasting impression at the dawn of a new decade, 2020 was a good year for cars. Read on to see which cars were the best of 2020 to decide which one is right for you. You can also click the button above to take a look at all 2020 models and best nearly new cars on sale in the uk right now on BuyaCar.

You can filter cars by your monthly budget, specific equipment you want to be included such as reversing cameras or sat-nav, or even filter by fuel economy or insurance group depending on your priorities. If you still need some inspiration, here are our best cars of 2020 that’ll give you the new-car image at an affordable price.

Best cars 2020 UK

1. Kia Niro

Best car for the school run

Used deals from £20,500
Monthly finance from £338*

Lots of drivers with kids like the secure and solid feel of an SUV-style vehicle, and the raised driving position can provide a feeling of confidence when battling with urban traffic.

What’s less appealing for many these days is the prospect of adding to urban pollution with a traditional diesel engine fitted to many such cars, and that’s where the partly battery-powered Kia Niro comes in. It’s a crossover so is as easy to park and drive as many family hatchbacks, with plenty of space for kids and their kit. The plug-in hybrid model comes with a battery and electric motor as well as a petrol engine - you just have to charge the batteries regularly to get the best economy and cut your emissions.

Fully charged, you may be able to drive the kids to school without burning a drop of petrol as the Niro is able to cover up to 35 miles on electric power alone. Just remember to plug in again when you get home, so you can do the same the next day. While the car is more than capable of covering many hundreds of miles when the petrol engine kicks in, bear in mind that this is when the Niro will be least efficient, as it has to lug around the weight of the motor and batteries, with little electric assistance.

If you're unable to charge the Niro regularly, the self-charging hybrid model might prove more efficient. It's lighter, so 60mpg should be achievable. On the opposite end of the scale, the e-Niro is an electric car that can do over 200 miles from a single charge.


2. Nissan Leaf

Best car for zero-emission travel

Nissan Leaf driving

Used deals from £21,000
Monthly finance from £329*

If you want all your trips to be zero-emission ones, the Nissan Leaf could be for you, as it's fully electric and can travel up to 168 miles - or 239 miles if you go for the 'Leaf e+' - per charge.

The first experience of a Nissan Leaf will likely come as a bit of a revelation to drivers who still think of electric vehicles as ‘alternative’. The Leaf is as pleasant to drive as many conventional hatchbacks, with the party trick that you can effectively drive it using one pedal, if you select the right setting. The 'e-Pedal' mode allows you to accelerate using the throttle pedal as normal and when you lift your foot off the pedal the car slows quickly, providing enough braking power to stop the car in many situations. The brake pedal is still there, however, should you need to stop the car as fast as possible in an emergency.

Good range means longer journeys can also be worry-free, but you may need to factor in a recharge stop if you're planning to cover more than several hundred miles. A 50kW fast charger will get you up to 80% capacity in 40 minutes on the standard battery, while a 100kW rapid charger will top up bigger battery versions in 35 minutes. If you use a wall box at home it’s 7.5 hours or so, but the decent range means you may not need to charge overnight more than once or twice a week.


3. Citroen C4 SpaceTourer

Best car for moving people and luggage

Used deals from £20,995
Monthly finance from £343*

While many large SUVs boast seven seats and lots of boot space, the truth is these fashionable load-luggers are not always as practical as the marketing blurb suggests. And they can be pretty expensive, too. They often have cramped third rows of seats - hard to get into and ideally sized for kids but less so larger passengers - while heavyweight construction, the inclusion of four-wheel drive and bluff aerodynamics can mean they get through more fuel, costing you more and increasing emissions.

The answer? The good old MPV or people-carrier, and one of the best of this now often overlooked bunch is the stylish Citroen C4 SpaceTourer. This is the five-seater version, but there is a seven-seat Grand C4 SpaceTourer model (pictured above), which offers a third row of seats with a good level of space.

Space-age styling cues and huge panoramic front windscreen mean the styling is more attractive than the boxy dimensions would suggest, and every one of the seven seats - in Grand versions - will happily accommodate a grown-up if necessary. The interior is impressive thanks to a futuristic digital dash design, and the model is impressively kitted out with loads of safety tech. Modern diesel engines give impressive economy too, with up to 74mpg claimed for the 'BlueHDi 100' variant.


4. Peugeot 508

Best car for luxury on a budget

Used deals from £19,679
Monthly finance from £338*

Even a high-spec city car can feel pretty luxurious these days, but for a truly upmarket experience, we think size still matters and it pays to go for something that’s a step up from a family hatchback.

There’s plenty of choice for luxury seekers from established upmarket makers - cars like the Jaguar XE, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class all offer seriously sophisticated transport, with relatively steep price tags to boot.

Then there’s the Peugeot 508, which is not only one of the best-looking large cars around but also one of the most comfortable. The interior ambience is superb thanks to its terrific contemporary design and technology features, including the 'i-Cockpit' electronic dashboard that comes as standard. Excellent build quality and plush materials complete the luxury feel inside.

On the road, a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines and great driving characteristics mean the 508 is as comfortable and cosseting as you’d hope for. The best part is the low used costs.


5. Ford Focus ST

Best car for affordable driving thrills

Used deals from £22,699
Monthly finance from £308*

Fans of fast Fords may find the latest version of the Ford Focus ST a little underwhelming, as in spite of its terrific performance, the design is less dramatic than some of its predecessors. But this is one serious capable car.

We don’t mind that the latest hot Focus is more subtle, and some would say the Ford hot hatch has grown up a bit in various ways. The newest version is bigger and more practical than the previous generation Focus, and comes in both five-door and estate formats. The 280hp 2.3-litre petrol engine is the one to go for if ultimate performance is your thing, but the lower-powered diesel ST makes a strong case for itself when you’re looking for a car that’s genuinely exciting to drive on a sensible budget - it gives away almost 100hp - with lower fuel costs.

As well as costing you less up front, a diesel should also be significantly cheaper to insure. Fuel costs will be greatly reduced too, as the diesel engine offers many more miles to the gallon - up to 58mpg is claimed. It won’t be as much of a thrill as the more potent 280hp petrol version of course, but it’s still a quick and highly enjoyable car to drive.


6. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Best all-terrain workhorse

Used deals from £31,999
Monthly finance from £429*

It may not be the newest SUV on the block, and the Discovery Sport features styling that’s more traditional than some of the funkier-looking SUVs on the road today. But class is timeless, and the Discovery Sport’s design looks right at home on the highways and byways of rural Britain, and more importantly for some, works just as well in the car park at Waitrose.

One thing that really sets the Discovery Sport apart, however, especially compared with fashionable French fancies like the Renault Koleos or more sporty German SUVs like the BMW X3, is its off-road ability.

If you want your SUV to have the ability to deal with real off-roading rather than just pretend that it can like most SUVs, the Discovery Sport offers the authenticity of purpose to serve you well, whether you’re a proud parent of a pony club member, or you need go-anywhere ability for your work.

With most models featuring seven seats, and all offering quiet and comfortable on-road driving manners, the Discovery Sport is a great all-round car - especially if you can take advantage of big savings on nearly new models.


7. Mazda MX-5

Best car for weekends away

Used deals from £19,000
Monthly finance from £317*

It’s almost annoying how easy it is to recommend the MX-5, but it’s impossible to ignore given that it does so much right. OK, so your 130 litres of boot space might only allow a short weekend away, but Mazda’s legendary convertible is absolutely full of character, very good-looking and extremely affordable for a sports car.

If you’re looking to take a romantic weekend away with your partner, you’ll absolutely love the journey there and back weaving around the country roads in the MX-5, and the money you’ll save on such a cheap driver’s car will go towards a lavish hotel and some fine food while you’re away.

For a more unique and refined style, go for the RF model (pictured above) which swaps the fabric roof for a retractable metal one, which surprisingly doesn’t rob any of the already-small boot space.


8. Skoda Octavia Estate

Best car for transporting the dog

Used deals from £14,721
Monthly finance from £232*

When it’s time for walkies lots of dog owners like to pack their pooches into the back of the car and head for their favourite bit of the countryside - but what’s the best car for your four-legged friend? We've rounded up a number of dog-friendly cars here and the best cars for large dogs here, but the Octavia Estate is a great 2020 option.

While some dogs owners prefer to let their canines travel in the cabin, many think it's better to have them ride in a big boot. As well as the potential for distraction, there’s no really safe way to harness a dog that protects it in the event of an accident. The harnesses that clip Rover to the rear seat belts are typically designed to protect the human occupants from flying canines, and do less to protect the dog.

So ideally the dog needs to be in the boot, whether inside a cage or behind a secure dog guard to keep them safe. There are plenty of models with lots of boot space, but one of the most spacious and affordable cars around is the Skoda Octavia Estate. It comes with a whopping 640 litres of luggage volume, which means there’s room for a dog cage and luggage. Dog owners will also appreciate the low load height, making it easier for smaller or less agile dogs to jump into the boot than might be the case with a similarly-sized SUV, for example.


*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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