Best new cars for under £12,000

Looking to buy a new car with £12,000? You can get great value from a huge selection of SUVs, city cars and hatchbacks

Simon Ostler
Dec 12, 2019

So you’re looking for a new car on a modest budget? £12,000 will get you the keys to some pretty exciting and capable cars.

Indeed, £12,000 is where the real car market starts, with a majority of consumers looking to spend around this kind of money, manufacturers are hell-bent on putting out a car that’s going to entice as many of those buyers as possible.

That means you have a broad choice of options that includes city cars, small hatchbacks and compact crossovers from the likes of Dacia, Skoda and Volkswagen.

There’s quality to be had for sure, but let us take a moment to avert your gaze towards our used car deals at BuyaCar. For the same £12,000 budget, you could get a three year BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class or even a 2018 or 2019 Nissan Juke.

New cars are exciting of course, but you could make your money go a lot further if you do take a trip down used car lane, so don’t discount the savings you could make.


But, if you’re sure a brand new car is what you’re after, we’ve listed eight cars here that are all available for under £12,000.

Best new cars for under £12,000

1. Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster front three quarters view

Our pick Dacia Duster 1.6 SCe 115hp Essential
List price £11,695

Big, tough, and with the option of four-wheel-drive. The Duster provides one of the best value offerings on this list

Size-wise, it sits in between the Renault Captur and Renault Kadjar, while being much, much cheaper than both. Inside, it’s easy to see where costs have been cut. Most don’t get leather, the plastics feel scratchy - and Access model cars go without a radio.

Your £12,000 will get you into an Essential model. This trim line adds much-needed equipment like front fog lights, air-conditioning, and yes, even a radio.

Dacia Duster buyers' guide

2. VW Up

Our pick VW Up 1.0 60hp Beats
List price £11,285

The VW Up is the only city car on this list, because it’s the best city car on sale today. It proves that small cars don’t need to feel cheap and nasty, all while providing just enough room and power for city dwellers.

Four adults can fit in, for short journeys anyway, while it’s 1.0-litre engine feels zippy enough around town. The 251-litre boot is big enough for most shopping trips or school bags, and considerably larger than most rivals, such as the 168-litre Toyota Aygo.

Beats trim is the one to go for in this price range, and comes with a 300-watt Beats audio stereo system, as well as alloy wheels and sat-nav.

VW Up buyers' guide

3. Citroen C3

Our pick Citroen C3 1.2 Puretech 68hp Feel
List price £12,145

The chunky styling of the Citroen sets it apart from other cars of this size and price, as does one other important characteristic - comfort.

It’s aimed at being spongy and forgiving, not sporty. The C3’s seats are softer than you’ll find in most cars, and the suspension has been engineered to soak up jolts from potholes or speed bumps as a priority.

At this budget, you’ll be looking at the base spec Touch models. They still get lane departure warning, DAB Radio, and speed sign recognition, but you’ll have to cough up some extra dosh to get alloy wheels and Apple CarPlay.

Citroen C3 buyers' guide

4. Hyundai i20

Our pick Hyundai i20 1.2 75hp S Connect
List price £12,145

You might lose it in a supermarket car park if you’re not careful, but the i20 is a sensible, no nonsense car with a better-than average five-year warranty.

Light steering and clear visibility make it easy to drive and park, while it also has one of the biggest boots in its class, at between 301 and 326 litres depending on if it’s a three-door or five-door. S Connect is the bare-bones trim level, and the only one available at this price. It does feel basic, but it does at least have smartphone connectivity.

Hyundai i20 buyers' guide

5. Skoda Fabia

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 MPI 60hp S
List price £12,255

“Doing the basics well” has long been an idiom used to describe everything from football teams to bakeries, but it could have been created for the Skoda Fabia.

There’s space for four adults, even on longer journeys, while inside, the well-put together interior doesn’t wow, but a driver can get to know it nearly instantly. A five-star Euro NCAP rating confirms the feeling of solidity.

S trim is the one to go for in this price range. Don't expect it to come with the latest gadgets or poshest materials. It does however, come with adjustable heated mirrors, electric front windows, digital radio, and Bluetooth, but does without alloy wheels and air-conditioning.

Skoda Fabia buyers' guide

6. Vauxhall Corsa

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i 75hp Active 3-door
List price £12,025

This generation of Corsa has been with us since 2014, and there’s an all-new one on the horizon too. And while this one (pictured) does feel dated, it still makes a good new buy.

There’s no denying that it is a comfortable and economical car, great for small families.

The very cheapest Corsa is what you’ll have to settle for at this price, but it does have cruise control, electric front windows, a heated windscreen and Bluetooth.

Vauxhall Corsa buyers' guide

7. Suzuki Ignis

Our pick Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ-T
List price £11,499

Distinctive city cars don’t come much more distinct than this. Its slightly raised ride height gives it a mini-SUV feeling, and also makes getting in and out slightly easier.

The 1.2-litre petrol engine makes a healthy 89bhp, which feels quite sprightly in a car this small.

Inside, it does feel notably cheaper than many rivals. But hey, your £12,000 does go further than with other models. It affords you a mid-spec SZ-T model. These come with alloy wheels, roof rails, DAB radio and smartphone connectivity.

Suzuki Ignis buyers' guide

8. MG 3

Our pick MG 3 1.5 Excite
List price £11,395

Traditionally known for its classic two-seat sports cars, things have changed at MG. The company is now Chinese-owned and specialises in practical and cheap family cars.

The smallest car in its range is the 3. It looks, and feels cheap, mainly because it is. £11,395 will get you into a mid-spec Excite model, complete with Apple CarPlay, reverse parking sensors, and Bluetooth.

It rides well, and is even feels quite sporty thanks to direct steering. There’s only one engine available, and it’s the thing that lets it down the most. The 1.5-litre petrol needs to be worked hard to get the most out of it.

MG 3 buyers' guide


Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars with high torque

  2. Best cars with adaptive cruise control

  3. Best cars with reclining back seats