Cheapest small cars 2023
Find yourself the ultimate cheap small car with some excellent used car deals and monthly finance from under £100
So you're after a cheap car? In fact, you're looking for the cheapest car you can possibly buy? Well there's nothing cheaper than a small hatchback, and we've put together a list of 10 of the cheapest small cars that do more than just save you money, they're actually great cars as well.
We’ll get to some more serious suggestions in a minute but, for a truly cheap small car, how about the new Citroen Ami? While it’s not really suitable for anyone who lives outside the city, with a 28mph top speed and a 46-mile range, it will bring smiles from everyone you pass. Prices are set to start from only £6,000, though; in France, a €1,000 initial payment results in a monthly payment of less €70.
Okay, back to proper cars and sensible advice now. If you're trying to get hold of some new wheels and the budget is somewhat tight, there are ways you can go about car ownership nowadays that make it a much more affordable process. By far and away the best way to get a car on the cheap is to get yourself a PCP finance deal.
With PCP finance, it’s worthwhile to remember that 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 taken away and instead you're only required to part with much smaller amounts of money at a time - an initial deposit followed by a series of monthly payments. A PCP contract can typically last from 24-48 months, although the longer-term deals will see those payments stretched out and reduced substantially. The monthly payment is tied to the amount of deposit you pay upfront, so a higher deposit (if you can stretch to one) will lower your monthly costs.
If owning the car is not really a concern for you though, and you feel like you'll probably fancy a change once your contract is up anyway, PCP finance can be the perfect way to reduce your outlay while still driving the car of your choice. You can choose to pay a final lump sum in order to own the car outright at the end of the deal, but you don't have to with PCP, which is what can make it such a great deal. Instead, you can choose to hand the car back or start a new agreement on a different car.
If it's a cheap small car you're after, you’ve come to the right place, and better yet BuyaCar can take control of all of the time-consuming stuff that comes with sorting out a finance deal and all you have to do is wait for the car to be delivered straight to your door.
Cheapest small cars
As familiar as your favourite armchair and just as comfortable: you'll find a Vauxhall Corsa on virtually every street because its combination of space, value and dependability is virtually unbeatable. The cheapest models are from the previous generation (pictured), and some come with a lengthy list of equipment. SE versions are available from £6,849 on BuyaCar and include heated seats and a heated steering wheel, air-conditioning and 16-inch alloy wheels.
This version of the car (produced from 2014 to 2019) is an improvement over the model it replaced. It's quieter, smoother over bumps and more economical.
If you want a tanned face, the 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 Citroen tried to make its small car stand out in a crowded market. It doesn't look quite as distinctive as the next-generation C3, though.
Another way was to give it very efficient engines, as well as a very 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 cars
This version of the Nissan Micra, replaced in 2017 by the current model, has a great reputation for reliability. It’s easy to drive, too. As you’d expect from the high roof, it has plenty of headroom. Unfortunately, elbow and shoulder room are in much shorter supply.
There’s no arguing with its value for money, though. Skip the entry-level Visia cars in favour of a barely more expensive Acenta version, which includes climate control, alloy wheels, automatic wipers and automatic headlights.
The Peugeot 208 may not be the most accomplished supermini you can buy but it's more stylish than most in this price bracket. It's decidedly more modern, too, if you put it up against the Micra or C3 above.
Unfortunately, the model is let down by a cramped interior and a disappointing driving experience. So console yourself by glimpsing your reflection in shop windows as you drive by, no doubt smiling due to the diminutive size of the 208's price tag.
The Renault Clio is another French supermini whose stylish looks are a welcome distraction from shortcomings elsewhere. It’s quite cramped and the ride comfort lacks the polish of newer rivals such as the Ford Fiesta.
On the other hand, there are some economical engines - not least the punchy 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol, a tablet-style touchscreen on the dashboard, and some zingy colours.
It has recently been updated with modern and more efficient engines, but the Dacia Sandero remains Britain's cheapest new car despite prices gradually rising.
Admittedly, few buyers actually pay for the cheapest possible Sandero, given that the headline price is for the (now discontinued) entry-level Access car, which has manual wind-up windows, lacks a radio and comes with a 75hp engine. For no-frills motoring in town, it's a reasonable option, but the Laureate trim level and more powerful TCe 90hp engine makes the Sandero a much better car, and it's still hugely affordable.
The Fabia proves Skoda’s reputation for value is alive and well. Thanks to the influence from its parent company, Volkswagen, it feels like a quality car but its price seriously undercuts rivals.
It’s roomy, enjoyable to drive, boasts some strong engines and once you get above mid-level spec, is well equipped. It has a good level of safety kit, too, plus an impressive dashboard screen.
Hyundai has become a much more respected brand in recent years. Its entire range has received a dramatic overhaul throughout the decade and now sits a direct competitor to the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Skoda.
The Hyundai i20 itself is a sensible, yet enjoyable car that, despite its spacious and high-quality interior that includes a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, is still very affordable - especially as a used car on BuyaCar.
The Suzuki Swift has always been a nimble car and the version launched in 2017 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 others in the class but at least it’s genuinely fun to drive. Its engines are eager, too, and economical.
The interior is reasonably roomy, although the rear is no place to be if you’re over six-foot tall. The fixtures and fittings are well anchored, too, although some plastics do feel a little cheap. All in all, it’s an appealing alternative to most of the cars here apart from the more rounded Skoda Fabia.
The Rio can't quite match those standards, but it's at least average in most areas: reasonable to drive, reasonably roomy and reasonably good looking. It also has a good equipment level as standard (air-conditioning, heated door mirrors and Bluetooth).
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
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
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.