Best cars on sale

Whether it's city driving, load lugging or eco-motoring, these are the cars that excel in their roles: the best cars on sale

BuyaCar team
Apr 5, 2022

What’s the best car? It’s a question that fills motoring journalists with dread, because there is no definitive answer. It really depends on the situation.

If seats are important to you, then the Ford Galaxy, which has seven of them and the load space to match, is hard to beat.

If you need a nippy city car, the Volkswagen Up is hard to beat, while if you’re after a load-lugging estate, the Skoda Superb is aptly named.

Whatever your priorities, in today’s car market, there’s sure to be a model to suit you. Below, we guide you to the best cars based on their ability to do the job they were designed for.

Best cars for sale

1. Ford Fiesta

Best car on sale for most situations

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium
Used deals from £10,239

Ford’s small hatchback was once the most popular small hatchback in Britain, selling two for each one Volkswagen Golf. Times have changed, and competition from the latest version of the Vauxhall Corsa has become more fierce, however the Fiesta remains one of our all-time favourites.

It's no accident either. The Fiesta is all the car most people could want, and it provides comfort, frugality, and value-for-money. It’s also hugely adaptable and comes in a variety of different specifications and engines, in three and five-door forms, and now it even comes in Active specification, which has higher suspension for off-roading looks.

Buyers wanting a sporty little hot hatch can opt for the ST version, while ST-Line trims provide the sporty looks with more reasonable fuel economy. As part of the latest refresh, most engines are now paired with mild hybrid tech.


2. Volkswagen Golf

Best car on sale for all-round appeal

Our pick Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Match
Used deals from £15,575

New or used, a Golf makes total sense. It’s quicker for us to list its shortcomings (that it can be expensive comapred to rivals) than its virtues (it is classy, well built, comfortable, well equipped, economical, good to drive, easy to sell on, and has a strong image). It’s a car for all reasons.

The latest Mk8 version brings plenty of new equipment and a fresh new look, but the previous Mk7 version is very easy to recommend. It received an update in 2017 (these are known as Mk7.5 models), and this is the version to go for.

There are plenty of engine choices, from economical 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels to punchy 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrols. Drivers spending most of their time around town will want a 1.5-litre petrol engine, which can shut down part of the engine to reduce fuel consumption under light loads.


3. Ford Galaxy

Best car on sale for lots of people – and their luggage

Our pick Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Titanium X
Used deals from £18,400

The big Galaxy is the best people carrier you can buy. It has seven seats everyone can get comfortable in rather than, like many so-called people carriers, five normal ones plus a couple of smaller seats for children at the back. All this and there’s a decent boot with all the seats in use.

It's easy to find high-spec Titanium and Titanium X versions which come with luxuries like a heated windscreen, keyless entry and traffic sign recognition. There's a handful of petrols available, though these aren't particularly efficient due to the size of this MPV. We think the 2.0-litre diesels are much better suited to the Galaxy.

Towards the end of its lifecycle, Ford added a 2.5-litre self-charging hybrid engine to the Galaxy. Despite its 190hp, it's not particularly quick, neither is it impressively efficient. Unless you find yourself entering clean air zones like the ULEZ frequently, it's best to stick with diesel power.


4. Volvo XC40

Best car on sale for active families

Our pick Volvo XC40 T4/B4(P) Inscription
Used deals from £28,944

It’s not the cheapest SUV but it’s worth the premium because of its sumptuously simple interiors. It also happens to be seriously good to drive, and incredibly practical.

Every version is well-equipped, though Inscription models will provide the best balance of comfort and value. There are plenty of petrol and diesel versions (badged 'T' and 'D'), which later became mild hybrids (badged 'B'), as well as front- and four-wheel drive.

Buyers looking to cut the costs of motoring should consider the T4 and T5 plug-in hybrid models which promise around 30 miles of zero-emission driving, while a pair of electric models top the tree with ranges of around 250 miles.


5. Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Best car on sale for fuel economy

Our pick Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi PHEV Premium SE
Used deals from £16,699

The Ioniq is the thinking person’s Toyota Prius. In short, it looks better, has a less-annoying gearbox (Hyundai uses a smooth-shifting dual-clutch gearbox instead of Toyota's noisy CVT), plus it’s usually more economical in the real world. The latest official figures point to 247.8mpg too. Note that it won’t achieve this unless you do most of your motoring in electric-only mode.

An update in 2019 brought a fresh new look and improved technology, so it's worth finding one of these if your budget allows. All versions are very well equipped, with the top spec (yet affordable) Premium SE coming with cooled seats and a heated steering wheel, among other things.

It's hard to recommend the electric version among its competition because it struggles to reach a 200-mile range, though the self-charging hybrid Ioniq is worth considering if you don't have access to a charging point.


6. Kia e-Niro

Best car on sale for saving the planet

Our pick Kia Niro 64kWh '4'
Used deals from £31,160

It might not look particularly special, but that's one reason why the Kia e-Niro has found itself at the forefront of the electric revolution: it's an electric car that you could buy to replace a petrol or diesel model while barely changing your lifestyle.

It’s not cheap, costing well over £30,000 even after the government's plug-in car grant has been factored in, but it's no more expensive than a well-specified Peugeot 3008 and comes complete with heated leather seats and a modern dashboard touchscreen. It also has a 451-litre boot, plus crucially, an official range of 282 miles.

There's a new version of the Niro arriving in 2022, so depending which way you look at it, you may want to wait for the new one to arrive for the most up-to-date car, or you will be pleased with that used prices are beginning to drop as a result.


7. Volkswagen Up

Best car on sale for new drivers

Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 90 High Up
Used deals from £5,300

The Volkswagen Up looks, and drives like a conventional hatchback, but is much much smaller. This means it slinks through urban landscapes like a rat up a sewer pipe, plus it’s easy to park.

There’s space in the back for two adults, for short journeys at least, and the boot is amongst the largest of all city cars too.

Power comes from a few 1.0-litre petrol engines, both turbocharged and non-turbocharged. The best performance comes from the 115hp Up GTI, but while Volkswagen thinks of it as a hot hatchback, it's no quicker than a standard hatchback with a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds.


8. Toyota GT86

Best car on sale for fun

Our pick Toyota GT86 2.0 D-4S
Used deals Limited stock

There are cars which, for not a great deal of money, bring joy to every journey. One such is the Toyota GT86, which thanks to its naturally aspirated engine and conventional interior, is a good choice for petrolheads.

To some it may look like a mean supercar, but it's much tamer than that. It has a smooth engine that rewards the driver for really revving it, it's rear-wheel-drive, plus, you sit low down which makes everything feel fun and fast. But not so fast that you can't enjoy it while not breaking the speed limit.

It's soon to be replaced by the GR86, with prices starting at around £30,000. Despite the change in name, the GR86 will provide a very similar offering to the older GT86.


9. Skoda Superb Estate

Best car on sale for carrying lots of stuff

Our pick Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI SE Technology
Used deals from £15,500

The Superb is one of the best big-booted estates you can buy. With the rear seats up, there's 660-litres of space, which compares well with rivals. But fold them down, and you'll have an enormous 1,760 litre capacity. It's almost enough to move house.

It shares many of its mechanical parts with the rest of the Skoda range, as well as other cars in the Volkswagen Group. That means a reliable bunch of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines and a handful of petrols.


10. Range Rover

Best car on sale for luxury

Our pick Range Rover 3.0 SDV6 Autobiography
Used deals from £28,990

The Range Rover offers an unbeatable combination of luxury and off-road prowess - a car that really can be used as a limousine one day and for exploration the next. For ultimate opulence, make sure to find a version with the rear seat entertainment package and the enhanced massage seats.

The petrol engines are incredibly thirsty, though 0-62mph can take less than six seconds. The diesels make the most sense, with 3.0-litre V6 and 4.4-litre V8 options proving to be almost as quick, and capable of around 30mpg which is reasonable for such a heavy car.

The best economy will come from the plug-in hybrid 'P400e'. It uses a small 2.0-litre petrol engine, however charge it regularly and you can expect fuel economy to be double that of the diesels in real-life driving.


*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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