Fast cheap cars to insure 2023
Have a need for speed but also want affordability and cheap insurance? One of these eight cars could be just the answer
If you think that fast, cheap-to-insure cars are nothing but a fantasy, think again. Not all speedy machines are costly to insure and many of these could cost less to buy or on PCP finance than you might expect, too.
This is great news for those of us who cannot afford the hefty insurance premiums of high-performance cars such as the Porsche 911, never mind the high prices. What’s more, there are a wide range of fast cars that promise insurance premiums that are barely any more than much slower alternatives. These include two-seater sports cars, hot hatchbacks and even upmarket high-performance SUVs.
There is no getting away from the fact that understanding car insurance often feels like trying to solve a Rubix cube with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back. Happily, there is no need to go through such an ordeal as we have found eight fantastic options that should whet your appetite and be relatively affordable to insure.
You should be able to find examples of all of these for less than £30,000 with insurance coming in somewhere between £300 and £800 - using our example driver, whose details are at the bottom of this article. Should you find yourself wanting to explore fast cars which aren’t in our top eight, we have some tips and tricks worth sticking to when looking for a fast cheap car to insure.
Range-topping models often bring range-topping premiums. As such, models that are one or two rungs down from the top model can be nearly as fast but come with significantly cheaper premiums. Take the 190hp Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI included below - its premium is £598 and it has plenty of power. Sat above the T-Roc in Volkswagen's range is the 300hp T-Roc R which would cost £735 to insure. While it may have lots more power, the 2.0 TSI version is more than fast enough for most drivers.
It is also worth looking at more niche models. While the Mazda MX-5 is very common, the RF version which comes with a metal folding roof is much rarer. When comparing insurance premiums, the RF model comes in at nearly £75 less for the year. A small difference, perhaps, but a saving nonetheless. Keep reading below for fast cars that won’t break the bank to insure.
Cheap sports cars to insure
1. Volkswagen Up GTI
Our pick Volkswagen Up GTI
Used deals Limited stock Example insurance premium £366 (£450 excess)
Few fast cars are as compact as the Volkswagen Up GTI. Although compared to the other models on this list the Up might seem slow - it takes 8.8 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, which is more than two seconds slower than the Ford Fiesta ST, for example - but it is lightning fast compared to other city cars. Such rivals include the Kia Picanto, Peugeot 108 and Skoda Citigo.
What’s more, thanks to being so small and light, the Up is relatively cheap to purchase and in terms of fuel bills. Its 1.0-litre petrol engine - the only one available - is claimed to be able to achieve more than 50mpg in official tests, which shouldn’t be too far off what you can achieve in the real world when driving sensibly. The final icing on the Volkswagen Up cake is that it is very cheap to insure - so you get lots of thrills with very small bills.
Mazda makes the most popular affordable two-seater sports car on the market, in its MX-5. Credit where credit is due, this popularity isn’t a fluke; the MX-5 is great fun to drive, easy to live with and in its latest form (which was launched in 2015) sharply styled, too. For the last word in MX-5 style, you might want to look at the RF model, which adds an electronically folding metal roof, instead of the manually opening/closing fabric roof used in standard MX-5s.
Surprisingly, our research shows that it can be cheaper to insure a more powerful and better specified 2.0-litre MX-5 RF GT Sport Nav+ than a slower, less well equipped 1.5-litre MX-5 Sport Nav. This means that by going for the MX-5 RF you can get extra performance thanks to the 2.0-litre engine, greater refinement thanks to the metal roof and lower insurance bills, making it a great fast, cheap car to insure.
It goes to show that when it comes to car insurance it is not necessarily the most affordable and slowest car that will be the least expensive to insure, so it's worth looking at a number of options that appeal to you and checking the insurance premiums before writing any of your options off.
The Mini Clubman Cooper S is the entry-point to the fast estate car club, with greater practicality than the standard Mini models, thanks to its larger boot. Despite the extra performance that comes with the punchy Cooper S engine, this version is a refined and relatively comfortable small estate. Driving the Clubman is a particular highlight as Mini’s engineers have done a great job in making sure it remains planted on the road when cornering on faster 60mph roads.
All Cooper S models come with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and there are manual and automatic gearboxes to choose from. Sprinting from 0 to 62mph takes just over seven seconds, which is plenty quick for a car practical enough to be your main family vehicle.
If you are after something faster still, there is the Mini Clubman JCW - although for the greatest performance you will want to aim for post-2019 models that come with lots of power with 306hp and can sprint from 0 to 62mph in a rapid 4.9 seconds. These are significantly more expensive than Cooper S models, so you're likely to need to spend more than £25,000 for one.
Our pick Ford Fiesta ST-3
Used deals Limited stock Example insurance premium £540 (£400 excess)
There aren’t many cars that are widely regarded as the best car of their type, like the Ford Fiesta ST. Quite simply, it is the hot hatchback that all other small hot hatches are measured against. The reason is simple; it is great fun to drive. There is a peppy 1.5-litre petrol engine under the bonnet which offers surprisingly strong power and makes a pleasing warble when you work it hard and the Fiesta ST is incredibly agile around corners, making it extremely good at putting a grin on keen drivers' faces.
Ford hasn’t solely focused on performance, though. There is some clever cylinder deactivation technology that shuts down part of the engine when cruising along - such as on the motorway - to help reduce fuel consumption. What’s more, when Ford launched the new Fiesta ST in 2018, it significantly improved the interior compared with the previous version - most notably adding a touchscreen media system in the middle of the dashboard. For those on a tighter budget, the old model is still an absolute blast to drive, though its interior is less modern.
Our pick Peugeot 308 GTI
Used deals Limited stock Example insurance premium £546 (£400 excess)
Perhaps one of the most under-the-radar fast cars available, the Peugeot 308 GTI is something of a hidden gem. It uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine which produces 270hp - a huge amount for an engine of this size and enough to make it very quick. It should be relatively frugal on fuel, too. Plus, it shouldn’t cost too much to insure.
As the 308 is similar in size to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, it is big enough to function as a family hatchback. One thing that is a bit more controversial is the interior format, which uses Peugeot’s 'i-Cockpit' design. In short, this translates to a tiny steering wheel and dials that you look at over the wheel, along with a central touchscreen media system which is used to control things such as the air-conditioning as well as music and phone connectivity. Some love it, some hate it, so it's worth deciding if it's right for you.
Yes, the Volkswagen T-Roc is primarily aimed at those who want the benefits of a compact SUV - such as raised ride height giving a better view of the road ahead - wrapped up in the upmarket image of a Volkswagen, but this is not the end of the story. You see there is a 2.0-litre petrol version of the T-Roc that produces 190hp, which, considering the entry-level 1.0-litre model comes with 115hp, is a significant step up in power and performance.
All of the 190hp T-Rocs come with four-wheel drive, which means they will have plenty of grip when accelerating, even when it is wet. They also all come with an automatic gearbox, which makes driving nice and simple, both in and out of town. Compared to the VW Golf, which the T-Roc is based on, there is more cabin space thanks to the increased roof height.
In addition to this, there is plenty of onboard technology, such as Volkswagen's impressive digital dials, which replace traditional dials with a screen that shows information such as speed and fuel level with the ability to show sat-nav directions right in front of you.
If you are after an affordable, fun, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports car with a low driving position that won’t cost the earth to run, then you really only have two choices - the Toyota GT86 or the Subaru BRZ. They are actually the same car just with different badges, so really you only have one choice. The good news is both are brilliant cars and fantastic fun to drive.
Thanks to having an engine that lays flat rather than vertically like most other cars, the GT86 keeps its centre of gravity nice and low, which helps make it corner very flat with little body roll. The Toyota can’t compete with the likes of the Audi TT when it comes to slick media systems and plush interiors, but the TT isn’t as much fun to drive.
Toyota's industry-leading 10-year warranty is there for you to fall back on should anything go wrong, however this only applies to cars that are services at an authorised Toyota garage. Fail to do so and you're limited to a basic three-year warranty (though older cars had a five-year warranty). Bit confusing, but get your head around it and the GT86 can be a clever second-hand choice.
Our pick Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 Turbo 280
Used deals Limited stock Example insurance premium £708 (£500 excess)
You might have to be a bit patient but finding an Alfa Romeo Stelvio 280 for less than £25,000 is just about possible. We think this is something of a fast car bargain given that the Stelvio 280 (so called as it has 280hp) will out-accelerate most cars on the road, as it is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds.
Another one of the Stelvio’s biggest selling points is its styling. Granted, looks are subjective but it is safe to say that this Alfa Romeo can turn heads given the large triangular front grille and sporty alloy wheels. The interior is just as easy on the eye although the build quality isn't quite as slick as that of a BMW X3. Underneath the glamorous styling, there is some advanced weight-saving engineering, which helps make the Stelvio enjoyable to drive as it doesn’t wallow from side to side when cornering.
In each of the example insurance premiums quoted above the following driver information was used. The main driver is a 27-year-old male administrator living in Marlow, Buckinghamshire in his parents’ house. He has held a full UK driving licence for seven years and has five years’ no claims bonus. During the day his car is parked in a work car park and at night on the driveway at his parents’ home. He has no motoring convictions, no children under 16 and no medical conditions. His father, who had held his licence for over 25 years, is a named driver on the policy. His policy is comprehensive and is set to start three weeks after the date of the quote. He pays annually and is expecting to travel 7,000 miles per annum for commuting and social purposes.
*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.