Best cheap cars

Want the most car for your money? Here are the best value used cars available from less than £5,000 - with low PCP finance monthly payments

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Sep 29, 2021

Trying to find the best possible car for the lowest possible price? We're here to show you that cheap cars can be the best cars on the market if you cherish value for money. There's no need to panic about any lack in quality here either, these cars might be cheaply priced, but they aren't cheaply made.

The main reason why used cars like these can be so cheap is because of something called depreciation. A brand new car will lose a huge chunk of its original value (up to 40%) within its first year on the road. As a used car buyer, you're taking advantage of this and picking up a car that's worth a fraction of what it used to cost.

But, while the price of the car has gone down, the car itself will be as good as it was when it was new - as long as it's been looked after properly. Sure there might be a few signs of wear and tear, but the important bits will all still be working exactly as they were. The best part is that depreciation slows down over time, so while the first owner of the car will have lost thousands between buying and selling the car, you'll be losing a far smaller percentage of its value.

Below, we’ve listed some of the best value used cars you can pick up for under £20,000, which is less than the cost of a 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta. More importantly, you can finance these cars for a fraction of the cost on PCP finance, with very low monthly payments.

Best cheap cars

1. Hyundai i10

Best cheap city car 

Used deals from £5,699
Monthly finance from £114*

You don’t need £20,000 or even £10,000 to get a great value city car. Less than £6,000 is enough to get a three-year old, relatively low mileage Hyundai i10. The i10 is a wise choice, not least because it comes with a five-year warranty, with no mileage limit. This means that even if you get a three-year old i10, you’ll still have two years’ warranty left - giving you plenty of peace of mind when buying used.

Used prices of the current model start from around £5,000, but the lowest spec versions feel like holiday rental cars, so we’d recommend picking one of the higher trim levels - especially as these don't cost much more. The Premium SE feels positively opulent, offering heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, and a seven-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav.

It’s not an exciting car to drive, but the Hyundai i10 impresses thanks to its solidity, refinement and excellent value for money. Do you really need a bigger car? If not, choosing an i10 could save you a fortune in purchase and running costs.

HYUNDAI I10 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Octavia

Best cheap large hatchback

Used deals from £7,950
Monthly finance from £154*

The Skoda Octavia really is all the car most drivers could ever need, offering great value, tonnes of standard kit if you go for a higher specification model, impressive fuel economy with the smaller petrol engines and diesel options, strong performance in vRS form and four-wheel drive and off-road ability if you go for the Octavia Scout. The Octavia is closely related to the VW Golf, but the hatchback’s 590-litre boot is much larger - bigger than some estate cars which are sold on their boot size.

Move up to the Octavia Estate and you gain an enormous 610-litre boot, which extends to 1,740 litres with the rear seats folded down; that’s enough for everything from a couple of pushchairs, even the largest, most slobbery of dogs or the mother of all booze cruises.

There’s an Octavia for all, from the ultra-efficient GreenLine models through to the speedy and fun-to-drive vRS hot hatchback and estate. This budget will secure a nearly-new Octavia with very few miles on the clock and the remainder of Skoda’s three-year warranty. Skoda’s dealers tend to perform well in customer satisfaction surveys, which is an added bonus.

SKODA OCTAVIA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Suzuki Vitara

Best cheap small crossover

Used deals from £10,295
Monthly finance from £181*

Small crossovers are as popular as cheap televisions on Black Friday, so there’s no shortage of choice. It's not the newest model on the market, but the Suzuki Vitara is still one of the best, offering crisp styling, a decent level of equipment and a range of efficient engines.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is punchy, while the 1.4-litre version makes the Vitara surprisingly speedy to go with its impressive agility around corners, making it a fun car to drive. Four-wheel drive AllGrip models offer limited off-road ability, but the Vitara works best as a two-wheel-drive model for lower costs and the best fuel economy.

The range-topping SZ5 features upmarket SUV levels of kit, including 17-inch polished alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, suede seats and a panoramic sunroof.

SUZUKI VITARA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. BMW 2 Series Coupe

Best cheap coupe

Used deals from £12,200
Monthly finance from £230*

A BMW? Cheap? This might take some explaining. Fewer people are buying sleek coupes than in the past, with buyers shunning their good looks and exciting drive in favour of the high driving position offered by crossovers. But if you’re prepared to prioritise form over function, the BMW 2 Series is one of the best of the breed.

New, you’ll pay upwards of £25,000 for a 2 Series, but used prices start from around £11,000. For that, you’ll enjoy the small BMW’s fantastic rear-wheel-drive handling, superb cabin with slick media system and easy-to-use sat-nav and one of the most efficient engines.

In high-performance M235i and M240i guise, the 2 Series is like a ‘Diet Cola’ version of the full-fat BMW M2 performance model, with a smooth and potent 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. A kind of M2 sports car on a budget, if you like, although fuel economy is no worse than many heavier and far slower crossovers. Which is why it’s featured here.

BMW 2 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Dacia Logan MCV Stepway

Best cheap estate car

Used deals Limited stock

The Dacia Logan MCV is Britain’s cheapest new estate car, offering a load area that’s anything but small. Indeed, the 573-litre boot is only slightly smaller than the much more expensive Volkswagen Golf Estate, making it the ideal choice for those who make regular trips to the recycling centre, have a serious Swedish flatpack furniture habit, or own a couple of oversized dogs.

In Stepway guise, the Dacia Logan MCV features off-roader styling that won’t look out of place parked outside the farm shop. Don’t expect to go off-road in it, though, and remember it’s more expensive than the standard Logan MCV. However, the Stepway offers more kit and is offered with a pair of efficient and powerful engines, so it's still strong value.

DACIA LOGAN MCV BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Peugeot 5008

Best cheap large crossover

Used deals from £21,600
Monthly finance from £336*

Not to be confused with the dull and dreary old model, the new Peugeot 5008 is one of the best large crossovers you can buy. Gone is the boring styling of old, replaced by SUV looks that are influenced by the smaller Peugeot 3008. The positive vibes continue on the inside, with a cabin that’s high on quality and loaded with neat touches and a funky feel.

Thanks to a large boot and a third row of seats, the Peugeot 5008 is perfect for growing families, while good fuel economy from a range of efficient engines won’t leave a dent in the household budget. Early used examples are just creeping below the £20,000 mark – it’s worth being patient for the best seven-seat crossover on the market or looking into PCP finance to get one for an affordable monthly cost. Plus, you’ll get a relatively new car for your money. 

PEUGEOT 5008 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Seat Alhambra

Best cheap MPV

Used deals from £21,000
Monthly finance from £359*
MPVs – or people carriers – are about as fashionable as S Club 7, with buyers flocking to seven-seat SUVs in their droves instead. But while SUVs have their style, they can’t hold a candle to a proper MPV when it comes to outright practicality - and value for money. Unless your children are keen contortionists, they won’t thank you for being crowbarred into the third row of seats offered by most medium SUVs and even some larger ones.

This is where the Seat Alhambra comes in. It might have been around for a while, but there’s enough space for seven adults, along with a large boot, even with all seven seats in place - and it's much easier to get into the rear seats than in a high-riding SUV. Opt for a version with electric sliding doors and your children will love you forever. Well, until they turn 13 at least. And thanks to the sliding doors you won't have to worry about them denting the doors by opening them into other cars. 

SEAT ALHAMBRA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Vauxhall Cascada

Best cheap convertible

Used deals Limited stock

Its name might conjure up images of your formative years spent drinking WKD and dancing to Eurobeat in Ibiza, but rather than evacuating the dancefloor, the Vauxhall Cascada is your chance to get your top off for the price of a humble new city car. If the Vauxhall badge puts you off, remember this is badged as a ‘Buick’ in America, which somehow makes it sound much cooler.

With the roof down, its stylish good looks are a match for all but the priciest upmarket convertibles, and because it’s a Vauxhall, it’s much, much cheaper than an Audi A3 Cabriolet. There’s enough room for four adults (just), while a 380-litre boot means it’s surprisingly practical. Be warned: the roof robs the Cascada of 100 litres of space when it’s lowered.

It’s more exclusive than an Audi, too, since it sold in relatively low numbers and because it lost value rapidly when new, finding a cheap used example is simple.

*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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