Best used automatic small cars for less than £10,000

Are you a fan of affordable small cars, but not manual gearboxes? Well, featuring a budget of £10,000, here are the best automatic small cars from the used market...

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by
Mark Pearson
Published05 November 2023

Used small automatics

Traditionally, if you wanted an automatic gearbox in your car, you had to go large and expensive. This is because smaller models were usually equipped with a manual. That trend has changed over the last few years and more people are now buying automatic small cars – people are buying more automatic cars in general, actually. 

Increased demand results in increased supply and there are many good options to choose from, even used. Here, we've listed 10 of our favourite small cars for a budget of £10,000 or less. Spoiler alert, the best small used automatic small car for less than £10,000 is the 2015-2021 Skoda Fabia.  

Our pick: 1.0 TSI SE Comfort 5dr

0-62mph: 10.7 sec
MPG/range: 55.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 115g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 380 litres
Insurance group: 11E

Strengths

  • Spacious interior
  • Good to drive
  • Standard infotainment system

Weaknesses

  • Hard interior plastics
  • Low speed ride could be better
  • Shortage of advanced safety kit

It may have been replaced by the newer 2021-onwards Skoda Fabia, but don't let that put you off: this previous-gen model is fantastic. It's mechanically based on the VW Polo and we don't believe it's just as good, we think higher of it – the Fabia being cheaper to buy is but one reason. It was our Car of the Year in 2015 and Used Small Car of the Year in our 2020 and 2021 awards. It's well equipped, has lots of interior space and a comfortable ride. The automatic gearbox completes what is already a very cool, calm and collected machine.

We found: 2018 Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI DSG SE, 28,655 miles, £9960

Read our full used Skoda Fabia review

Find a used Skoda Fabia for sale

Strengths

  • Great fun to drive
  • Composed and stable ride
  • Loads to choose from

Weaknesses

  • Rear seats lack leg room
  • Boot could be bigger
  • Plasticky interior

The Fiesta was a bestseller for good reason, with this previous-gen model arguably marking the height of its career. It's excellent to drive – the best in its class – with an expert ride and handling balance, even if it isn't quite as cushy as the Fabia. Examples featuring the Powershift automatic gearbox aren't as common as manual models, but there's still plenty to choose from. 

We found: 2017 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium Powershift 5dr, 45,558 miles, £9200

Read our full used Ford Fiesta review

Find a used Ford Fiesta for sale

Strengths

  • Useful boot
  • Good fun to drive
  • Long warranty

Weaknesses

  • Slightly firm ride
  • Noisy engines
  • Dated infotainment on cheaper versions

You might be surprised you can even get the Picanto with an automatic gearbox, because it's an inexpensive city car and one typically seen sporting a gear lever and clutch pedal.

That isn't the only pleasant surprise the Picanto has to offer, mind you. Despite its compactness and urban focus, it offers lots of big car features and some sprightly engines. In other words, it's versatile and well rounded.

We found 2019 Kia Picanto 1.25 2 auto, 70,499 miles, £8695

Read our full used Kia Picanto review

Find a used Kia Picanto for sale

Our pick: 1.2 Premium 5dr

0-62mph: 12.6 sec
MPG/range: 51.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 252 litres
Insurance group: 6E

Strengths

  • Strong 1.2 engine
  • Quieter than its rivals
  • Class-leading infotainment system
  • Terrific reliability

Weaknesses

  • Not as fun to drive as a VW Up
  • Safety and security not as good as some
  • A little pricey

This i10 shares much of its parts (and greatness) with the Kia Picanto, although it's a slightly older model. The 2020-present Hyundai i10 has since taken its place and, if you happen to have a little more than £10,000 to spend, we'd suggest taking a good look at that car. However, if you'd prefer to stay firmly within our budget, there's no harm in going for the spacious, reliable, good-to-drive runaround pictured above. 

We found 2018 Hyundai i10 1.2 SE Auto, 41,277 miles, £9400

Read our full used Hyundai i10 review

Find a used Hyundai i10 for sale

Our pick: 30 TFSI 110 Sport 5dr

0-62mph: 10.5 sec
MPG/range: 52.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 123g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 335 litres
Insurance group: 18E

Strengths

  • Refined petrol engines
  • Agile handling
  • Superb interior quality

Weaknesses

  • Diesel is noisy
  • S line suspension hurts ride comfort
  • A little pricey for the age of car
  • Question mark around reliability

You'll have to go a little older (than most cars on this list) if you want an Audi A1 within budget, but that's the price you pay for luxury. Both in regards to interior quality and driving refinement, the A1 is, well, A1. It's about as plush as small cars get and that's a key reason why it was our overall What Car? Car of the Year in 2011. 

We found: 2015 Audi A1 1.0 TFSI Sport S tronic, 47,741 miles, £9999

Read our full used Audi A1 review

Find a used Audi A1 for sale

Strengths

  • Fun to drive
  • Low running costs

Weaknesses

  • Not as practical as some rivals
  • Some cheap materials inside

The original Mini is an icon and its charm lives on in this, the Mini Hatch. Its style doesn't rule over substance, though, because the Hatch has all the amenities and features you'd want from a modern small car. It's also rather posh, with a high level of interior quality. The only thing it isn't rolling in is space and practicality. 

We found: 2016 Mini Hatch 1.2 One auto, 60,000 miles, £9990

Read our full used Mini Hatch review

Find a used Mini Hatch for sale

Our pick: 1.0 TSI Life 5dr

0-62mph: 10.8 sec
MPG/range: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 118g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 351 litres
Insurance group: 9E

Strengths

  • Classy image
  • Comfortable ride
  • Economical engines

Weaknesses

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Not as fun to drive as rivals
  • Underpowered entry-level engine

The Volkswagen Polo costs more to buy than many of its direct rivals, hence it doesn't finish higher – you'll just about get a 2016 version of the older 2008-2017 Polo for our money. It has a supple ride and a well-finished interior that mimics the larger Volkswagen Golf. The small, turbocharged petrol engines are the best picks as they tend to be smoother and quieter than the diesels.

We found: 2016 Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI BlueMotion Tech Match DSG, 59,259 miles, £9995

Read our full used Volkswagen Polo review

Find a used Volkswagen Polo for sale

Strengths

  • Very spacious
  • Well equipped
  • Sturdy cabin quality

Weaknesses

  • Harsh ride
  • Unrefined engine
  • Not much fun to drive

Interior space and practicality are two Honda Jazz fortes, because it feels MPV-like inside and has rear seats that can fold completely flat, plus the base of its rear bench can also fold up against the seatback to allow tall or wide items to be loaded widthways. The model is also towards of the tree when it comes to reliability. The Jazz would have finished higher in this list if it hadn't been for its CVT gearbox sometimes being a little unrefined under acceleration. Being able to buy newer models within our budget would help, too.  

We found: 2017 Honda Jazz 1.3 S CVT, 56,132 miles, £9800

Read our full used Honda Jazz review

Find a used Honda Jazz for sale

Our pick: 1.0 TCe 90 Techno 5dr

0-62mph: 12.2 sec
MPG/range: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 284 litres
Insurance group: 11E

Strengths

  • Flexible engines
  • Proving reliable
  • Low CO2 emissions

Weaknesses

  • Cheapest cars are poorly equipped
  • Notchy gearchange
  • Tight rear head room

The previous-generation Renault Clio has always been a popular choice for those seeking a stylish small car. It's well equipped, too, especially in Dynamique Nav trim. The 1.5 dCi 90 offers great fuel economy, even with the EDC automatic gearbox, but, unless you’re planning to do lots of motorway miles, you’ll be better off with the lively 0.9 TCE petrol.

We found: 2017 Renault Clio 1.5 dCi Dynamique S Nav EDC, 57,000 miles, £9895

Read our full used Renault Clio review

Find a used Renault Clio for sale

Our pick: 1.0 TSI 95 FR 5dr

0-62mph: 11 sec
MPG/range: 52.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 123g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 355 litres
Insurance group: 12E

Strengths

  • Keenly priced
  • Low running costs
  • Lots to choose from

Weaknesses

  • Cramped rear seats
  • DSG gearbox reliability
  • Rivals are better to drive

The latest version of the popular Seat Ibiza is just outside our price budget (if you're after an automatic version), but the previous generation car still has plenty to offer and for not too much money. The driving experience isn't quite Fiesta good, but it gets closer to that level than a lot of small cars do. It's more practical than a Fiesta, mind you. Our favourite 1.2-litre automatic version in well-equipped SE trim is a good bet, but so is the 1.0-litre unit in FR guise. 

We found: 2017 Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI FR DSG, 47,340 miles, £8430

Read our full used Seat Ibiza review

Find a used Seat Ibiza for sale


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