New cars for less than the price of the train

Millions of UK workers commute by train, but could it be cheaper to buy a car instead?...

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What Car? team
17 July 2016

A personal contract purchase deal, more commonly referred to as PCP, is one of the most popular ways of buying a new car in the UK. It's similar to other finance deals in that there's a deposit to pay and a monthly rate thereafter, and the deals typically last three years.

Where a PCP differs, though, is that at the end of your contract you have three options. You can return the car to the dealer, or trade it in and use its remaining value towards a replacement car, or pay a final lump sum and own the car outright.

As with the leasing deals on the previous page, we're working to a budget of £359 per month here, and for that money you can take your pick of some of the best family cars, people carriers or SUVs around.

For these deals, we've used our Target Price research, which reveals the most you should pay for a new car. Each deal is based on 15% of the value of the car, combined with the manufacturer's finance discount allowance. All are for three years, with a total mileage limit of 30,000.

Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 95 SE

Target price cost per month: £160 Target Price (on the road): £12,106 The deal: 3 years on a PCP finance deal at 2.9% APR with a financial contribution of £2000

Skoda is well known for making practical family cars for an attractive price, and that's part of the reason why we love the Fabia so much. We named it as our overall Car of the Year in 2015, and two years later it's still our favourite small car. The 1.0-litre petrol engine you get here provides punchy performance but is also frugal, while SE trim gets you rear parking sensors, air conditioning and a 6.5in colour touchscreen.

Read our full Skoda Fabia review

Find a great Skoda Fabia deal

Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI SE Family

Target price cost per month: £317 Target Price (on the road): £22,506 The deal: 3 years on a PCP finance deal at 6.1% APR

The global market for MPVs and people carriers is declining, but for growing families who don't want an SUV they can still make a lot of sense – especially when they're as nice to drive as the Touran. This flexible family car offers class-leading space inside and the seating flexibiity to match, and there's a strong range of engines on offer. The 1.6-litre diesel is our favourite, though, because it offers high fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

Read our full Volkswagen Touran review

Find a great Volkswagen Touran deal

Skoda Kodiaq 1.4 SE [7 seat]

Target price cost per month: £321 Target Price (on the road): £24,490 The deal: 3 years on a PCP finance deal at 4.9% APR

The Kodiaq is Skoda's first ever large SUV, but just like its sister brand Seat's new Ateca, the Czech car maker has produced a class leader first time out – so much so that we named the Kodiaq as our Large SUV of the Year at the most recent What Car? Awards. It's incredibly practical, and the smooth 1.4-litre petrol engine you get here can even shut down two of its four cylinders when cruising to save fuel.

Read our full Skoda Kodiaq review

Find a great Skoda Kodiaq deal

So far, our finance deals have shown how you can run a new car for less than the cost of commuting on the train, but what if you want to buy your car outright? If that's the case, then the used car deals on the next page are just what you're looking for.