Cheap automatic cars 2024

Take the hard work out of traffic jams with a cheap automatic car for under £10,000

By BuyaCar team

Driving an automatic car can be an extremely easy way to take some of that unnecessary stress out of driving. The first thing you'll notice is how little thought goes into actually driving the car. Your left foot gets a well-deserved rest, and all you have to do is turn the steering wheel (and pay attention to the road and your surroundings).

It's an incredibly freeing experience. Hill starts become a thing of the past - especially if you have a model with an electronic parking brake with the 'auto hold' feature, and driving in traffic becomes effortless and almost serene.

Automatic gearboxes were once reserved only for high-end cars, but the option has become far more accessible in recent years, even cheaper models and small city cars can be found in automatic form. The best automatics not only provide a smoother and more relaxing drive, but they can also be more economical than manual alternatives.

They tend to be more expensive than manuals, too, you can expect to pay a £500-£2,000 premium for automatic gearboxes on newer models. Fortunately, there are  5767 used cars with automatic gearboxes starting at £6,250 on BuyaCar. The cheapest automatic cars needn't be bad, with some offering an engaging drive.

So, if you like the idea of a car that lets you sit back and relax, let us take the stress out of finding an affordable automatic car. Click on the button below for all the used automatic cars currently available on BuyaCar or keep reading for our selection of some of the best value options below.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to purchase an automatic car, but it can be hard to separate the models that offer slick, smooth automatic gearboxes from those with dim-witted gearboxes that aren't well suited to the engine. Below we've rounded up cars that work well in automatic form and are available for less than you might think.

Click on the button below to start your finance quote and find out how much you can afford and read on for our favourite affordable automatic cars from the comfort of your sofa. All examples can be ordered online and delivered to your front door.

1. Volkswagen Golf

Best cheap automatic car for value

Our pick Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI Match DSG
Used deals Limited stock

It's only recently that automatic versions of the previous generation Volkswagen Golf have been available on BuyaCar for under £10,000. It's excellent value for an all-round family car with solid build quality and Volkswagen's smooth, fast-shifting dual-clutch automatic gearbox, badged DSG.

The gearbox suits the character of the comfortable and quiet Golf, which is often available in Match specification at this price. This includes parking sensors, alloy wheels and in later models, adaptive cruise control, which can accelerate and brake the car to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead.


2. Ford Fiesta

Best cheap automatic car for choice

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec Powershift
Used deals Limited stock

There's still a reasonable selection of automatic Ford Fiesta models to choose from . This is the previous generation model as the latest model has not quite dipped under the £10,000 threshold yet, but you will have a choice of petrol and diesel engines, as well as mid-range Zetec trim and the better-equipped Titanium version.

Ford's Powershit gearbox is a dual-clutch model, which isn't quite as slick as Volkswagen's DSG technology, but not far off, so you can expect smooth and fast changes.


3. Renault Zoe

Best cheap automatic car for electric motoring

Our pick Renault Zoe 22kWh
Used deals Limited stock

You might not have thought it, but an electric car is comfortably within reach even on a tight budget. Electric cars only have one forward gear, so you don’t even get the option of a manual gearbox, making life very easy for anyone searching for an automatic electric car. The Renault Zoe is a good choice for driving in town, where it’s extremely quiet and where the soft suspension can smooth out speed bumps and potholes.

It will drive along happily at 70mph too, but long journeys are not the speciality of older Zoes that are available in this price range. Unlike newer cars, they have a range of around 80 to 100 miles, which drops drastically at high speeds. It's the perfect choice for town drivers with short commutes. 

Be aware that the cheapest Zoe models may not come with batteries included, which will mean that they need to be rented for an additional cost; prices start at £50 per month, so it's vital to check whether or not batteries are included with any Zoes you're considering getting.


4. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Best cheap automatic car for efficient hybrid power

Our pick Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-h Icon Tech
Used deals Limited stock

The Yaris comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox, which suits this car perfectly. It boosts economy because it's designed to keep the engine at its most efficient speed for as long as possible. Combined with the hybrid system, which has a battery and motor to recover energy under braking and then use it to provide power, this results in excellent fuel economy figures at slower speeds.

When maximum power is demanded, at high acceleration, the combination is less successful and the gearbox sends the engine revs soaring, resulting in noisy progress until you've reached your desired speed.


5. Vauxhall Mokka

Best cheap automatic car for a high driving position

Our pick Vauxhall Mokka 1.7 CDTi SE automatic
Used deals Limited stock

Vauxhalls make for fantastic second-hand cars, thanks to extremely attractive prices and decent all-round performance. That's the case with a used Mokka, which can cost less than £10,000 even in top-of-the-range SE specification, which includes part-leather seats, heated seats in the front, a heated steering wheel, as well as sat-nav.

It's not a bad family car for the price, with rear seats that can accommodate growing teenagers and an average-sized boot that's similar in size to the Ford Focus. The ride is a little firm, though, so it does bob over speed bumps. An updated version of the car, renamed Vauxhall Mokka X, is just about within reach, too. Be sure to compare both models, as older (and cheaper) models might be available in higher specifications, and have more equipment.


6. Kia Soul

Best cheap automatic car for standing out

Our pick Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi '2' automatic
Used deals Limited stock

Not everyone will love the Kia Soul's gawky looks, but those that do are a captive audience because there's nothing quite like it on the roads. Underneath the distinctive design is a spacious car that cushions rough roads effectively.

This does mean that it leans a little in corners, so it's best driven smoothly, which makes an automatic gearbox the ideal choice.

If you can afford a little more, there is an electric version of the Soul . Its 132-mile range is slightly better than early versions of the Renault Zoe, but is no match for the latest round of electric cars which promise easily more than 200 miles.

7. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Best cheap automatic car for seven seats

Our pick Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.2 PureTech Feel EAT8
Used deals Limited stock

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is not on this list because it has a good automatic gearbox; in fact, it's pretty mediocre. That said, it's one of just a handful of seven-seat cars less than five years old that are available with an automatic gearbox for under £10,000.

As such, it could be a godsend if you're looking for a large vehicle on a limited budget. If you can spend a little more, then it's worth looking at other options, such as the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer  or the more expensive Kia Carens .


8. Hyundai i30

Best cheap automatic car for an unlimited mileage warranty

Our pick Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDi SE Nav DCT
Used deals Limited stock

Pay a little more for a newer model, and you'll still be covered thanks to the manufacturer’s five-year cover from new, which provides a bucket full of reassurance. Hyundai is one instance where you won't necessarily have to find a newer model, though, because its five-year warranty has no mileage limit, unlike Kia which has a longer seven-year warranty that's limited to 100,000 miles.

A budget of around £10,000 buys you a modern, comfortable family hatchback, with plenty of space and good fuel economy. The most commonly available engines are 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre turbocharged petrols, though there are some diesels if you're willing to look hard enough.


*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.


Types of automatic gearboxes

An automatic gearbox or transmission can come in a handful of different forms; a standard automatic, a dual-clutch automatic, a continuously variable automatic or an automated manual. You can read our in-depth guide to gearboxes here.

  • A standard auto gearbox, sometimes referred to as a torque converter, is a smooth alternative to a manual gearshift, but tends to be slightly delayed under sharp acceleration.
  • A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) features, as the name implies, two clutches that can pre-select your next gear to make shifting slick and smooth; these are well suited to acceleration.
  • A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt to achieve the best engine speed (rpm). It works by keeping the engine running at its most efficient speed according to your throttle inputs. Mostly seen on newer hybrid cars, CVT models will feel different to a normal car under acceleration, and are often noisier.
  • An automated manual gearbox (AMT) requires your manual inputs, but a computer changes the gears, so there is still no clutch pedal. Sometimes implemented as paddles behind the steering wheel, these tend to be jerkier than a standard automatic.