Cheap fast cars 2024

Want a cheap car but want it to be fast? Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, with one of these sporty but affordable cheap, fast cars

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

Nobody dreams of driving a slow car. Ever since we played with our toy cars on the living room floor, we’ve yearned for the lure of the open road and a sports car with the acceleration of a rocket. Other people may have dreamt of being whisked around quickly and comfortably in the back of a Rolls-Royce, but no one wants to be stuck dawdling around in something slow.

Unfortunately, life dictates that we need to consider the practicality of a car, too, taking into account everything from the size of the boot to its compatibility with a smartphone. But that doesn't mean you should have to do without the power you're after. There’s also the issue of price, which is where BuyaCar comes in. Keep reading for our roundup of the best affordable but potent machines.

We’ve created a list of eight fast cars that are available now for less than £20,000 or £350 per month on PCP finance. Whether you’re after a sports car for two or a rapid but practical, high-riding crossover with space for the kids, we’ve got you covered. Even if you need to add decent fuel economy to the wishlist, there are plenty of affordable options.

It couldn’t be simpler: browse our extensive range of cheap fast cars from the comfort of your home and compare the prices to find one that fits your budget. So which cheap, fast car will it be? Keep reading to decide which car is for you.

1. Skoda Octavia Estate vRS

Our pick Skoda Octavia Estate vRS 2.0 TDI
Used deals Limited stock

The Skoda Octavia vRS is arguably the best practical performance car you can buy. Available as a spacious hatchback or a cavernous estate car, the Octavia vRS is powered by a choice of petrol or diesel engines.

When powered by the 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine, the Octavia vRS will hit 62mph in just 6.7 seconds and is capable of hitting a top speed of 155mph - perfect if you enjoy occasionally head on a European road trip and enjoy making up time on derestricted German autobahns. Opt for the punchy 2.0-litre diesel and the pace is a little slower, but you could achieve up to 47.9mpg, so your fuel bills should be low.

All Octavia vRS models are well-equipped and have tonnes of space inside. Not convinced? Remember, this is essentially a more practical version of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, yet the prices are much lower. Practical performance doesn't come much cheaper than this.


2. Nissan Juke Nismo

Our pick Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Nismo RS
Used deals Limited stock

With more and more drivers choosing high-riding crossovers like the Juke over conventional hatchback or estates, why not go for the high-performance Juke - the Nismo RS. If you’re not familiar with the term, a crossover is essentially a car with the high driving position and practicality of an SUV, combined with the dimensions and running costs of a family hatchback.

Performance crossovers are becoming increasingly popular and the Nissan Juke Nismo RS was one of the first of the breed - meaning you can pick one up for much less than more recent models. If you want to stand out from the crowd, the Nissan Juke Nismo RS is, quite literally, hard to ignore.

Power is sourced from a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine which is packing enough punch to give the Ford Fiesta ST - one of the best modern hot hatchbacks - a runny nose in the traffic light grand prix. It’s not quite as good through the corners, but you’ll be having too much fun to notice, since no one expects a car that looks like this to be so rapid.


3. BMW 330d Touring

Our pick BMW 330d M Sport Touring
Used deals from £10,791

The BMW 3 Series Touring is arguably all the car you could ever need. It looks superb and offers fun-to-drive handling, all the while proving a perfectly practical estate car. All it needs is a punchy engine, which is where the 330d comes in.

It's a silky-smooth 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine. It develops 257hp and loads of low-engine-speed punch, which is enough for it to hit 62mph in just 5.6 seconds before reaching a top speed limited to 155mph. Think of it as a high-performance BMW M3 on a budget, with fuel economy of 58mpg. It’s also available as a good-looking saloon, but we’d recommend the practical Touring estate for ultimate practicality.

The BMW 330d is a performance bargain, and if you're worrying about emissions rules targeting diesels, fear not; because models built from January 2012 onwards should meet the Euro 6 standards needed to make diesels compliant with most clean air zones like the ULEZ.


4. Seat Leon Cupra

Our pick Seat Leon Cupra 2.0 TSI 300
Used deals Limited stock

The Seat Leon Cupra has developed a cult following within performance car circles, with the hot hatchback lauded for its delightful blend of smart styling and supreme pace. The Leon Cupra is essentially a Volkswagen Golf GTI, but it's dressed up in a Spanish suit and delivering more power.

In its current form, the Seat Leon was launched in 2013, with the Cupra gracing the top of the range as the performance flagship. Initially, its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine produced 280hp, but this was increased to 290hp in September 2015.

By March 2017, the power was upped to a nice round 300hp, which allowed the Leon Cupra to rub shoulders with the Volkswagen Golf R. In the same year, Seat launched an extremely hot Cupra R, complete with cosmetic upgrades and 310hp. Only 24 were produced for the UK, so you’ll need patience if you’re to get your hands on one of the two-dozen sold here.


5. Kia Proceed GT

Our pick Kia Proceed 1.6 T-GDI GT Shooting Brake
Used deals Limited stock

There are two flavours of Kia Proceed available – and it’s easy to spot which is which. The initial version was essentially a three-door hatchback version of the Kia Ceed. This second-generation model is now offered as a smart and practical five-door estate.

Either way, in flagship GT form, the Kia Proceed is a stylish, well-equipped and surprisingly quick family car. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is rapid and economical, with the added bonus of Kia’s seven-year warranty to fall back on - giving you plenty of warranty cover, even if you choose a five-year old model.


6. Peugeot 308 GTI

Our pick Peugeot 308 GTI 1.6 THP
Used deals Limited stock

Your parents have probably told you about the Peugeot 205 GTI if they are at all into cars. Middle-aged people go misty-eyed when it comes up in conversation and start muttering things about the good old days. In short, it was a great hot hatchback. Incredibly agile around corners and supremely exciting to drive.

But time moves on, and today’s breed of tearaways are a lot safer, more comfortable and are able to connect with your smartphone. Although the Peugeot 308 GTI is no longer the newest model, it’s brilliant to drive, looks great and comes with plenty of standard equipment.

In our review, we called it 'an absolute riot and one of the fastest family hatchbacks on the road right now'. The 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is also pretty potent, with far more muscle on tap than you'd expect considering its compact size. Buy one, then show your dad that there’s more to life than the 205 GTI.


7. Vauxhall Astra GTC

Our pick Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo
Used deals Limited stock

Forget the Vauxhall Astra you may have rented on holiday, because the Astra GTC is a different kettle of carp. GTC stands for ‘Gran Turismo Compact’, which essentially means that it’s far better looking than the five-door hatchback with a sleaker body shape.

The GTC is no longer for sale new, but it was available with a choice of different engines. We’ll gloss over the range-topping VXR, because it’s too much of a hooligan - and likely to be a pain to insure. Instead, there are a couple of fast and largely undiscovered gems available on the BuyaCar website.

If you’re after performance and efficiency, the 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel can sprint to 62mph in 7.8 seconds and deliver around 57.7mpg (although not at the same time). Alternatively, the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol is peppy and perfect for urban driving. Both offer more punch than you'd expect, giving you plenty of performance per pound.


8. Toyota GT86

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

We hate to break it to you, but one day life could be filled with nappies, pushchairs and baby wipes. It’s at this point that you’ll be forced to admit defeat by buying a sensible estate car or people carrier. Maybe an SUV if you fancy something a bit more high-rise.

Until then, you really ought to drive something rather impractical that’s great to drive, will look good parked outside the gym and will teach you the joys of rear-wheel drive sports car driving - think no wheelspin when you pull away quickly and the potential to slide the back of the car around if you're feeling like a hooligan.

The Toyota GT86 isn’t particularly fast, but it’s the way it handles the power from its 2.0-litre engine that really impresses. This sports car is fun at any speed, but it comes alive on roundabouts and country lanes. Furthermore, because it’s a Toyota, it should remain reliable until it’s time for some family planning.


*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.