Best and worst cheap small new cars

  •  Our picks of new cars for less than £10,000
  •  Cars from Ford, VW, Skoda, Hyundai and Dacia
  •  We name the best in class, and the ones to avoid
  • Hyundai i10

    Hyundai i10

  • Dacia Sandero

    Dacia Sandero

  • Ford Fiesta

    Ford Fiesta

  • Skoda Citigo

    Skoda Citigo

  • Volkswagen Up

    Volkswagen Up

  • Chevrolet Spark

    Chevrolet Spark

  • Mitsubishi Mirage

    Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Ford Ka

    Ford Ka

/

Buying a cheap car these days doesn't mean you have to buy used. There are plenty of brand new cars available for much less than £10,000.

There are some fantastic models to choose from. However, if you go cheap you won't necessarily end up feeling cheerful, so we have also highlighted the models that you should steer clear of.

Remember to use What Car?'s Target Price to haggle down the bill as much as possible; even a few hundred pounds off will make a big difference in percentage terms when you're talking about cars at this price.

Here's our pick of the new cars on sale today if you're on a budget, including our current favourite.

The best

Hyundai i10


The 2014 version of the Hyundai i10 is our reigning City Car of the Year, and it justifies its win in many ways.

It is the quietest and most practical car of its rivals, and it is cheap and easy to park. It's not necessarily the most entertaining to drive in this class, nor does it have the classiest cabin, but at this price it is fantastic value.

The pick of the range in terms of value for money and equipment is the 1.2-litre petrol engine, in Premium trim. This spec brings air-conditioning, four electric windows, heated mirrors, Bluetooth and remote central locking as standard.

However, to get under the £10,000 mark you need to look at the 1.0-litre engine. The list price is £10,195, but our Target Price brings it down to just umder, saving almost £500.

Budget pick of the Hyundai i10 range: 1.0 Premium

The best of the rest

Skoda Citigo


The Skoda Citigo is part of a three-strong line-up of vehicles that share lots of components, including chassis, gearboxes and engines. However, Skoda's offering tends to be a little cheaper than the sister cars from Volkswagen and Seat – and that makes it a terrific cheap buy.

We'd recommend SE spec, which brings air-conditioning, electric front windows, stability control, front and side airbags and a CD player, all for slightly more than £9500 (if you go for the three-door version then you save another couple of hundred quid).

Pick of the Skoda Citigo range: 1.0 60 Greentech SE

Dacia Sandero


The Dacia Sandero made headlines as Britain's cheapest new car when it was launched, with an entry-level price of just £5995. That figure alone is impressive enough, but even more surprising is that such a sum buys you a five-door, Ford Fiesta-rivalling supermini that can cope with four adults and plenty of luggage.

The £5995 Access version isn't the model that we'd pick, though. It's cheap, true, but it comes with so little equipment (you don't even get a light bulb in the boot) that we'd opt for the mid-spec Ambiance. We'd stick with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, though. It's not particularly refined or exciting to drive, but at well under seven grand, it offers phenomenal space and practicality for the money.

Pick of the Dacia Sandero range: 1.2 Ambiance


Volkswagen Up


The VW Up uses many of the same parts that you'll find in the Skoda Citigo, but it costs a bit more. Still, its combination of a slightly classier interior and nice touches such as the all-glass rear hatch did enough to earn it our overall Car of the Year title as recently as 2012.

Our favourite Ups tend to be more expensive versions such as the High Up, but you can still get a Move Up, which brings air-con, central locking and a split rear seat, for a whisker more than £9000 – or just under it if you haggle hard. It's perhaps not a great all-rounder, because the lower-powered engine in this version will struggle on motorways, but if the bulk of your miles are in town this is still a very tempting proposition for the money.

Budget pick of the VW Up range: 1.0 Move Up 3dr


Ford Fiesta


Our 2013 Supermini of the Year generally costs more than £10,000, but a couple of three-door models sneak under that figure if you're prepared to haggle hard (use our Target Prices on our full reviews to get an idea of what's currently available).

You won't be able to expect much standard equipment from the basic Studio spec, but if you can work the salesman down to less than £10k for the 1.25 60 Style then you'll get air-con, a radio/CD with AUX and USB connectivity, remote central locking and a slightly plusher cabin. The 1.25-litre petrol motor won't tear up asphalt, but the rest of the Fiesta package will compensate through sweet steering and one of the best-judged suspension set-ups that you'll find on any car.

Budget pick of the Ford Fiesta range: 1.25 Style 3dr


Ones to avoid

Chevrolet Spark


The Chevrolet Spark came rock bottom in the 2014 JD Power survey, and doesn't look like improving on that any time soon. New prices start at £8695, which makes it look tempting, but there are many better cars on sale at this price.

Chevrolet has also announced it is no longer offering several of its models, including the Spark, in the UK. This means your choice will be limited to cars Chevrolet has in stock, so we'd steer clear.

Ford Ka


The Ford Ka is based on the same underpinnings as the charming Fiat 500, but its biggest problem is its pricing. It might start from £9000, but it has so little in the way of equipment that it makes no economic sense. You might be able to haggle a decent discount, but the Ka loses a fair amount of its value over the first few years of its life as well.

Mitsubishi Mirage


To get a Mitsubishi Mirage for less than £10,000 you have to go for the entry-level trim, but we wouldn't recommend buying one at any level.

It's noisy, feels cheap inside, is hard to get comfortable because of a lack of adjustment and is poor to drive compared with its rivals. It is relatively economical, with all models emitting less than 100g/km, but you can get much better models that do the same.

advertisement

Free car valuations

advertisement