Best cheap hatchbacks

Looking for an affordable, reliable, jack-of-all-trades kind of car? The best hatchbacks offer space, value, plenty of equipment and more

James Wilson
Jan 29, 2020

Cheap hatchbacks are miracle workers. Not only are they affordable, comfortable, practical for their size and fun to drive in many cases, but they're typically easy to drive and park and cost very little to run. Better still, with hatchbacks varying from cheap city cars to supersized family cars with massive boots, there should be one to suit your needs and budget.

Talking of 'budget', don't think that all hatchbacks are practical but basic; if you want your hatchback to be luxurious there are numerous options from compact but posh-feeling Minis to large and upmarket Audis.

If you're unsure what 'hatchback' means, it refers to cars where the metal and the glass rise together when you open the boot, leaving a wider opening than with a saloon where just the metal rises and the glass remains in place. The main benefit with a hatchback is that you can load larger items into the boot and you have an increased amount of load space for the length of car if you lower the rear seats.

All the hatchbacks featured below can be scooped up for less than £10,000, including a selection of hybrid, petrol and diesel models and those with manual and automatic gearboxes. Pick certain models and you can benefit from long warranties - meaning that you're covered even if you choose a three-year old car - or potent engines that provide strong acceleration. Read on to find the best hatchback for your needs.

Best cheap hatchbacks

1. Dacia Sandero

Best cheap hatchback for price and size

Our pick Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Essential
Used deals from £8,015
Monthly finance from £141

The Dacia Sandero is incredibly affordable new and even cheaper used, making second-hand Sanderos a steal. The Sandero’s key selling point is that despite having prices that undercut most city cars - the smallest vehicles on the road - it's a similar size to most superminis, giving you far more car for your money.

To get the best Sandero deal, you'll want to pick the right model, though, as entry-level Sandero Access models are very, very basic - so basic they don't include a radio, any electric windows or air-conditioning. All of the other trims thankfully come with far more kit for a relatively small premium, so all other 2020-on models include a digital radio, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, electric front windows and remote central locking, so you don't have to lock and unlock the car with the key.

With petrol and diesel engines on offer, you get a choice between a super-cheap and basic 1.2-litre petrol, a more responsive 0.9-litre engine, which thanks to a turbocharger offers greater power, plus a diesel option for increased fuel economy. The 0.9-litre 'TCe' petrol should suit most drivers well. You'll have to stick with a manual gearbox, though, as an automatic is not available.

Dacia Sandero buyers' guide

2. Skoda Fabia

Best cheap hatchback for great equipment and technology

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 95 SE L
Used deals from £7,897
Monthly finance from £130

The Skoda Fabia is a great all-round hatchback – it comes in at the right price, with the right engines - provided you avoid the least powerful 60hp option - and the right equipment, with only entry-level S trim proving a little basic. Go for an SE L model, on the other hand, and you get loads of standard kit for your money.

As standard SE L models come with alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors, LED running lights and a 6.5-inch media system which includes sat-nav as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

A wide range of Skoda Fabias are available, so whether you are hunting for a petrol, diesel, manual or automatic you should be able to find the right car. There is even an estate version (which is still technically a hatchback) should you need a larger boot.

Skoda Fabia buyers' guide

3. Kia Rio

Best cheap hatchback for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDI 99bhp '3'
Used deals from £9,950
Monthly finance from £166

Kia launched this version of the Rio hatchback in 2017, so depending on your budget you could be looking at either a current-generation Rio or the previous-generation version. This means that you can choose from higher-specification old models or mid-specification new-shape models for less than £10,000.

Even if you go for the old version, in most cases you should have plenty of years of warranty left, since Kia covers its vehicles for seven years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). This means that you can be confident that if anything out-of-the-ordinary goes wrong with the car, the warranty should protect you if the car is defective. Consider that a three-year old Ford Fiesta would be out of warranty while a three-year old Rio would still have four years' cover left and this is a big selling point.

Don’t think that is all the Rio has to offer. Opt for one of the diesel models and you get a vehicle with frankly ridiculous official economy figures – some sitting close to the 80mpg mark. While it may be hard to achieve those figures on real roads, you can be sure that this is one of the most economical small cars and could dramatically cut your fuel bills if you cover high mileages.

Kia Rio buyers' guide

4. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Best cheap hatchback for eco-credentials

Our pick Toyota Yaris Hybrid Icon 5dr
Used deals from £7,999
Monthly finance from £141

Toyota has a long history of producing petrol-electric hybrids and the Yaris is one of the smallest hybrids you can buy so far. As the Yaris Hybrid has been on sale for a number of years, it is the car to go for if you want a small, affordable used hybrid hatchback, with plenty of choice available.

The Yaris is ideally suited to those who regularly drive in built-up areas as the assistance from the electronics helps you save fuel and when you brake it helps to recharge the battery pack. Be aware, though, that while Yaris Hybrids have been on sale for many years, most Yaris models are conventional petrol and diesel models, so if you want a hybrid double check whether the ones you're considering are hybrids.

The Yaris's hybrid system is classed as 'self-charging', meaning that the car cannot be plugged in to the mains to charge and due to the small size of the battery pack it offers a boost around town, contributing to reduced fuel consumption rather than being able to power the car for any great distance using battery charge alone. Due to the hybrid technology all Yaris Hybrid models have an automatic gearbox, so if you want a manual car you'll need to look elsewhere.

Toyota Yaris buyers' guide

5. Skoda Octavia

Best cheap hatchback for space

Our pick Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI 115hp SE L
Used deals from £9,599
Monthly finance from £161

The Skoda Octavia may not look exciting, but it's one of the best cars money can buy, as it covers so many bases. The Octavia is spacious, comes with plenty of standard equipment and a range of fuel-efficient engines. With so much on offer, however, Skoda has increased prices compared with previous versions, so it isn’t as keenly priced as it once was. Pick a used model, though, and you can get far more for your money.

The Octavia is built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf - meaning it benefits from a wide range of petrol and diesel engines and manual and automatic gearboxes - but offers a huge boot and enough space for five. As for the best model to buy, like the Fabia above SE L specification offers a great balance between equipment and price – SE L replaced Elegance, with the latter being a great option if you find a slightly older car that fits the bill.

Skoda Octavia buyers' guide

6. Renault Captur

Best cheap hatchback for those after a crossover

Our pick Renault Captur 0.9 TCe 90 Iconic
Used deals from £9,691
Monthly finance from £157

High-riding crossovers and SUVs can normally be considered as inflated hatchbacks, which is why the Captur makes it on to this list. While those seeking driving thrills will want to look elsewhere (few high-rise crossovers can beat a regular hatchback for agility, as their height makes them roll more in corners) the Captur looks good, has a smart interior and thanks to fuel-sipping engines should be cheap to run.

For £10,000 you have a wide range of models to choose from, including updated 2017-on models, so restrict your searches to post-2017 models if you want the freshest looking models, while Renault simplified the range in 2018. Since a new Captur arrives shortly, prices on used models should drop, so it could be a great time to get a strong value second-hand Captur.

Iconic models are the best spec-wise but the best engine for you will depend on how and where you drive. The TCe 90 petrol is great for those who drive mostly around town while the TCe 130 petrol is a better option for those who often find themselves on faster roads, as it has more power. Diesel versions are available too, as is the choice between manual and automatic gearboxes – although not every engine has an automatic option.

Renault Captur buyers' guide

7. Peugeot 208

Best cheap hatchback for those after some fun

Our pick Peugeot 208 GTi Prestige
Used deals from £9,990
Monthly finance from £164

Proof that fun doesn’t always have to be expensive is the Peugeot 208 GTi - now available for well under £10,000 for a relatively recent model. The hot 208 features a powerful 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing around 200hp - tonnes of power for a car of this size and weight.

These figures translate to a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds and a top speed of more than 140mph. That said, the official fuel economy figure sits at more than 45mpg - so if you drive in a relaxed manner your fuel bills should be reasonable. Consider that the 208 GTi is such a fun car to drive, however, and you're likely to be having too much fun zooming around to worry about the economy you're getting.

There have been three main trims offered – the standard GTi, GTi Prestige and GTi by Peugeot Sport. The latter will be harder to find for less than £10,000 but there should be a good helping of the lower two trims on offer. GTi Prestige models come better equipped (with niceties such as sat-nav and panoramic glass roofs for a more airy feel, but the Peugeot Sport models came with extra performance parts.

Peugeot 208 buyers' guide

8. Ford B-Max

Best cheap hatchback for those after a people carrier

Our pick Ford B-Max 1.0T EcoBoost 125hp Zetec
Used deals from £6,699
Monthly finance from £131

As relatively compact people carriers go, the B-Max is mighty good. Not only does it fill the brief of being practical, easy to use and cheap to run, it is also great to drive, largely down to the fact it is closely related to the agile and fun-to-drive Ford Fiesta underneath the skin.

Ford also threw in some rather snazzy doors, with the rear doors sliding open – great for avoiding car park door dents while letting impatient children, or indeed adults, in and out of the car – while the front doors open normally, with no pillar separating the front and rear rows of seats. This makes it supremely easy to get in and out - wherever you're sitting.

On the second-hand car market, there is a good choice between petrol and diesel models, plus those with automatic and manual gearboxes. As for trims, Zetec, Zetec Navigator, Titanium and Titanium X are the most common, with Zetec being the model to pick. Zetec includes a digital radio, electric windows, air-conditioning, heated windscreen and powered mirrors.

Ford B-Max buyers' guide

9. Seat Mii

Best cheap hatchback for those after a tiny vehicle

Our pick Seat Mii 1.0 60hp SE 5dr
Used deals from £4,769
Monthly finance from £92

Simple, fun and cheap to run sums the Seat Mii up. While city cars which drive well around town are common, the Mii stands up well to being driven on the motorway as well.

Petrol engines are the only option, but buyers can choose between manual and automatic gearboxes. If price is your biggest concern, then SE models are the ones to go for. As standard SE includes alloy wheels, air-conditioning and electric front windows. Should you want sportier styling, though, FR Line models are the ones to hunt down.

Back in 2011, the Seat Mii scored a full five stars out of five in official crash testing, however, it was retested in 2019 and scored just three stars, as the tests have become harder. While the Mii is still a safe small car, if you want the absolute safest option you're better off going for a bigger model or a hatchback launched more recently and benefitting from the latest safety kit.

Seat Mii buyers' guide

 

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