Best cheap small cars 2024

Small cars appeal thanks to their low insurance and running costs, with great finance deals for less than £100 a month. Here are 10 of the best cheap small cars.

By Craig Cheetham February 12, 2024

If you’re looking for the cheapest small car you can possibly buy, then there is plenty of choice. For less than £100 a month on finance, you can get behind the wheel of a late-model example of any of the cars on this list, as long as you come up with a small deposit.

They all have low running costs and sensible insurance premiums, too, making them ideal for younger drivers as well as those on a limited budget.

Bear in mind that there are multiple ways you can purchase a car nowadays that make it a more affordable process. For most people, the best way to get a car on cheap monthly payments is via a PCP finance deal, but there are some things you need to be aware of.


With PCP finance, you won’t own the car yourself until you make the optional final payment at the end of the contract. But the appeal of a PCP deal is clear: the need for large amounts of cash is removed, and instead you only have to part with smaller amounts of money at a time – an initial deposit followed by a series of monthly payments. Contracts typically last from 24-48 months.

If owning the car is not a concern, PCP finance can be the perfect way to reduce your outlay while still driving the model of your choice. At the end of the deal, you can simply choose to hand the car back or start a new agreement on a different car.

Other options to consider are hire purchase, which is a loan based on the value of (and secured against) the car, or a bank loan, which will give you outright ownership of the car itself, but will most likely require a higher monthly repayment. Whatever route you choose, here are the best cheap small cars you should be considering.



Best cheap small car for value for money
Our pick: MG3 Excite
Read our full MG3 review

The MG3 has been around for a while now which means there’s a wide choice of models available, each offering exceptional value for money if you’re buying used. You’ll easily find a fairly recent example on a PCP for under £100 a month and if you want a new model, you’ll get one for a monthly payment of under £150. 

For that, you get a spacious and comfortable five-door small car with the reassurance of a transferable manufacturer’s seven-year warranty. That’s hard to ignore. 

Admittedly, the cabin and tech are a bit dated compared with newer rivals, but the MG3 is still well-equipped and the 1.5-litre petrol engines are lively, if a little coarse. You’ll not be disappointed by the handling or by the performance, though, as the little MG is quite fun to drive.


Toyota Aygo X

Best cheap small car for urban cool
Our pick: Toyota Aygo X Edge
Read our Toyota reviews

When it came to replacing the Toyota Aygo in 2023, Toyota decided to introduce a mini-SUV instead. The jacked-up Toyota Aygo X is one of the coolest small cars around, as a result. However, while it offers five-door practicality, it is a bit cramped, especially for rear-seat passengers.  

All Toyota Aygo X variants come with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility as standard, along with the firm’s advanced Safety Sense package, but the mid-spec Edge model is our favourite – it offers the best mix of specification and value for money. 

Power comes from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which is frugal yet still a lot of fun, revving happily and surprisingly refined at the legal speed limit. It also has the back-up of a 100,000-mile, five-year manufacturer warranty. 


SEAT Ibiza

Best cheap small car for styling flair
Our pick: SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI Comfort
Read our full SEAT Ibiza review

If you want a cheap small car with flair and driver appeal, then the SEAT Ibiza is well worth a look. It’s attractive, spacious and boasts a sizeable boot, while it has a well-equipped cabin with decent infotainment and impressive practicality for its size. 

The SEAT Ibiza also benefits from an excellent safety rating and all post-2021 versions have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. What’s more, the SEAT Ibiza is fun to drive, with a nippy engine and nimble handling, as well as steering that feels direct. 

The 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine with 96PS is the best choice, with eager performance and strong fuel economy. And the good news is that on the used market, there are loads of examples available that are cheap.


Fiat 500

Best cheap small car for fashionable chic
Our pick: Fiat 500 1.0 MHEV
Read our full Fiat 500 review

The irresistibly cute Fiat 500 has been on sale for a while, but its popularity has shown no signs of waning. Whether you are keen to buy outright on a moderate budget, or want a newer example on finance or PCP, there will be a model out there for you. 

You can also choose between a three-door hatchback or the Fiat 500C convertible, making it one of the only cheap small cars with a roofless option. 

Among older models, there are two engines, a 1.2 and a turbo 0.9, with the latter available in two power outputs. The 1.2 is cheaper, while the 0.9 TwinPower offers more punch. More recent models come with a 1.0-litre mild hybrid option, which strikes a balance between fuel economy and performance. If you can stretch to one of these, it’s worth doing so.


Citroen C3

Best cheap small car for individual character
Our pick: Citroen C3 Sense
Read our full Citroen C3 review

If you want to enjoy good weather, the Citroen C3 is the car for you. Its unique windscreen design extends further back than the norm, bathing you in sunlight and making everything feel very open inside. It’s one way the French firm has tried to make its small car stand out in a crowded market. 

Another way was to give it very efficient engines, as well as a supremely comfortable ride and plenty of interior space. Today, its most notable feature is its price, which earns it a place on this list of the cheapest small cars.

It's not been as big a seller as some cars on this list, so you may not find as much choice on the used market, but the good news is that there are lots of low mileage, well-cared for examples out there.


Renault Clio

Best cheap small car for good looks
Our pick: Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 90 Esprit
Read our full Renault Clio review

The Renault Clio is one of the best-looking small cars for sale under £20,000 right now and a particularly desirable option.

It’s well equipped and even in the entry-level ‘Play’ trim, you get a touchscreen, DAB and all of the essential safety kit.

Further up the range, the Renault Clio is extremely generously kitted out, while the Renault Clio e-Tech hybrid models add even greater appeal and low running costs. If you want a cheap small car with a big car feel, it’s difficult to ignore, not least because it’s a lot of fun to drive as well.


Dacia Sandero

Best cheap small car for those who want to buy new
Our pick: Dacia Sandero 1.2 TCe 90
Read our full Dacia Sandero review

Simplicity is key with the Dacia Sandero, which has a straightforward petrol-only model range and three trim levels.

Roughly the same size as a Ford Fiesta, the no-nonsense Dacia Sandero is incredible value for money across the range. It’s ideal for buyers on a limited budget who want a new or nearly new car with some warranty left. There’s a lot of choice out there for £100 a month, even for very recent examples. 

Most Dacia Sanderos have air-conditioning and central locking, while all but the most basic have Bluetooth, but specification is fairly spartan overall – although in some ways, that’s part of the car’s appeal. On the plus side, it’s spacious, practical and comfortable to drive, while insurance groups are reassuringly low.


Skoda Fabia

Best cheap small car for smart design
Our pick: Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 95
Read our full Skoda Fabia review

While Skoda may no longer be the budget manufacturer it once was, the brand still puts value for money at the very heart of what it does. As a result, the sturdy and reliable Skoda Fabia is a very well-thought-out car, with clever design and impressive specification.

Even in base SE trim, there are rear parking sensors, a surround sound stereo and air-conditioning, while higher-spec models add smartphone compatibility and advanced safety and tech. 

It’s pleasant to drive, both round town and on the open road, while it’s bigger inside than the average small car, with plenty of room for four adults. There are plenty of neat touches, including an ice scraper inside the fuel-filler cap and a wastebasket that slots into the driver’s door. Add in strong engines and it’s a compelling choice.


Hyundai i20

Best cheap small car for dependability
Our pick: Hyundai i20 SE Connect
Read our full Hyundai i20 review

The Hyundai i20 is a hugely affordable, eminently sensible car that offers a spacious, high-quality interior and tech that includes a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

It’s well-packaged, smartly trimmed and comes new with a no-quibble five-year warranty, meaning that you can buy a used example on a PCP costing under £100 a month, yet still enjoy the peace of mind that comes from manufacturer back-up. 

On top of that, there’s decent legroom in the rear and a sensible-sized boot. Admittedly, it’s not a car that will set pulses racing and there are others in this list that are more engaging to drive. But if you’re in the market for a hassle-free cheap small car that will do everything you ask of it, the Hyundai i20 has all bases covered.


Suzuki Swift

Best cheap small car for driver appeal
Our pick: Suzuki Swift SZ-T
Read our full Suzuki Swift review

The Suzuki Swift has always been a nimble car and the current version is no exception. Part of its secret is its light weight, which helps it feel tremendously agile on winding roads.

As a consequence, it’s not quite as comfortable as some of the other best cheap small cars, but at least it’s genuinely fun to drive. Its engines are eager and economical.

While the interior is reasonably roomy, six-footers will find the rear cramped. The fixtures and fittings are quite smart even if some plastics do feel a little cheap compared with more premium rivals. Overall, though, the Suzuki Swift has a huge amount going for it.