Best cars

Top 10 best cheap cars 2022

We look at the best cheap cars on the market that offer spectacular value for money, proving that you really can spend a little but get a lot

Dacia Duster SUV

Budgets are tightening across the country, but thanks to our list of the 10 best cheap cars you shouldn’t miss out on owning that new set of wheels you’ve promised yourself . Some of our selection earned their place on the list simply by offering a bargain list price, while others had amazing PCP finance deals that are too tempting to turn down. Some of these deals are good because the model is about to be replaced, but many of the cars have only just been released. Don’t forget that we also round up some of the best new car deals every friday.

Unfortunately for those of us looking for a bargain, many manufacturers have been removing entry level models from sale over the past few years. A microchip shortage and stresses on the supply chain have caused a rethink in the industry as it tries to maximise the profit from every car sold. We’ve navigated the price rises and picked manufacturers that give a little extra while keeping prices low.

New, used or nearly-new: which is best for you?

The cheapest cars on our list come from the brands that are famed for offering the lowest prices on the market. It shouldn’t surprise, therefore, to see that three of our top ten come from Dacia, a firm that has long been a champion of the cheapest cars. Competition is tough though, especially as lower trim models have been disappearing from the brochure over the last couple of years. You may expect the Skoda Fabia to feature on our list, but with the competitive financing deals on the Renault Clio it was pipped to the post.

You’re also buying a package that should be hassle-free for a long time. Every new car sold in the UK presently has at least a three-year warranty and many are more generous than that - several manufacturers now offer up to seven years of cover. This gives you peace of mind that any fault that should develop will be rectified by the manufacturer with a minimum of fuss.

Here's our rundown of the top 10 best cheap cars to buy in the UK. Once you're done, check out our guides to the best cars with cheap insurance, best cars for £200 a month and best used cars.

Dacia Duster SUV review

Dacia Duster SUV  front 3/4 tracking
Carbuyer rating

3.5 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

A decent SUV for the price of a supermini is what Dacia offered when it launched the Duster less than ten years ago, and impressive sales figures have been the predictable result. Now we’re into the second generation, and while prices have crept up, the latest Duster offers more of everything that made the original so popular.

Dacia has recently dropped its cheapest Duster Access model, which was so basic it came without a radio, partly because very few people opted for such a stark trim. Instead, the entry point is now the Essential, with DAB radio and air conditioning as standard to make it a much more comfortable place to be at just shy of £15,000.

Renault Clio hatchback review

Best small car: Renault Clio
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

While the news is filled with gloomy predictions about interest rate rises, Renault is still offering a 0% deal when using its PCP financing facility. Better still, the very capable Clio has also just received a refresh for 2022, so you won’t feel like you’re making a saving by having to put up with last season’s stock. The Clio is smartly styled and well-equipped, while the interior has a real premium feel.

We awarded the Renault Clio the Best Small Car of the Year at our 2022 Carbuyer Best Car Awards. This was the third time in a row the Clio has snapped up this award.

Dacia Sandero hatchback review

2021 Dacia Sandero hatchback - front 3/4
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

Read full review

We did say that Dacia had taken three spots on our list, so here it is for the second time. The Sandero has been in the UK for nearly a decade and in that time it has gained a loyal following of owners that want cheap transport without hassle. Dacia’s winning formula for value is to offer a big car for the price of a small one – the Sandero is a similar size to the Volkswagen Polo while costing less than a Volkswagen up!.

The Sandero belies its penny-pinching image by offering robust construction (Dacia’s owned by Renault and the Sandero uses many parts from the Renault Clio) and modern engines with decent fuel economy and fine reliability.

Volkswagen up! hatchback review

Orange Volkswagen up!
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

The up! is imbued with the sense of fun-loving sportiness that larger VWs aren't as known for and has easily the most personality of the three. You could argue, too, that its easy-going demeanour means you’re more likely to discover another facet of the up!'s nature – it’s a rather enjoyable car to drive. The up! also pulls off the trick of being a small car with a big interior. Passengers will find ample shoulder room, while even taller drivers won’t struggle to find a seating position that can get them comfortable.

The headline price of the base up! trim is very attractive, at just under £14,000, and it still offers DAB radio and air conditioning to increase your enjoyment of this cheeky city car further.

Citroën C3 hatchback review

Citroen C3 hatchback front 3/4 tracking
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

The Citroen C3 makes our list after a recent drop in price for its entry model. An online exclusive offer can nab a C3 You! model that has LED headlights, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and cruise control for just £12,995.

Its recent facelift was certainly timely, with refreshed styling, punchier engines and new tech making it a worthy contender against rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia. If you’re looking for a small hatchback that doesn’t prioritise a firm ride and sporty characteristics over comfort and practicality, the C3 is a car you should consider. Although it’s not the largest supermini, it does feel pretty roomy inside and boasts a 300-litre boot, which trumps a number of its rivals.

Kia Picanto hatchback review

kia picanto hatchback
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

One of the more spacious city cars available, the Kia Picanto is among our favourite models in the class and the entry-level model offers lots of car for the money. Sadly, you'll need to step up to the '2' trim if you want the more powerful engine or niceties such as air-con or Bluetooth which prevents it climbing higher in our list.

Nevertheless, the Picanto is cheap to run, whichever version you go for, and the seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty will provide real peace of mind for the cost-conscious car buyer. The five-door only Picanto has space for four adults - just - and a decent-sized boot, making it the ideal city car.

Hyundai i10 hatchback review

Hyundai i10 driving
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

Read full review

The Hyundai i10 is a seriously impressive machine. It’s handily sized for urban areas, but (unlike many other city cars) comes with five doors and five seats as standard and has plenty of interior space. While you can get versions with extremely generous standard equipment, prices do rise steadily as you creep up the range, so ask yourself whether you really need niceties like heated seats and privacy glass.

If you can manage without a touchscreen and rear speakers, you can buy an entry-level SE model for not much at all. You still get a very well built car, and one that comes with one of the best warranties in the business, running for five years with no mileage limit.

Toyota Aygo X hatchback review

Aygo 1
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

Read full review

Toyota recently stopped selling the Aygo, which was its smallest and cheapest car, replacing it with the new Aygo X. The small city car has grown up a bit both in size and personality, while its funky styling makes it look more mini SUV than slick city car. The additional height has benefitted ride quality, so if you live in a particularly bumpy area of town then the Aygo X is worth considering. It is also well equipped, with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and reversing camera.

This increase in size and specification does come at a cost, with the Aygo X weighing in at just shy of £15,000. Yet at the time of writing Toyota has helped offset this with a low APR on its PCP financing deals.

Dacia Jogger MPV review

2022 Dacia Jogger
Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

Read full review

Our third and final entry from Dacia is the brand’s newest addition. The Jogger is a versatile seven-seater MPV for budget conscious buyers who have been priced out of more luxuriously finished and premium-badged machines. 

Entry models start just over £15,000 and even with the highest trim you can expect change from £18,000. In a market where a Ford Fiesta starts at £17,905, that is truly incredible value. Dacia is currently running a  finance offer that includes your first two services for free. For family value the Jogger is a real winner.

MG ZS SUV

Carbuyer rating

3 out of 5

Read full reviewWatch video

MG has entered the crossover market for the first time, with a neatly designed model boasting a very low price, from just over £15,000. That’s an enviable position, undercutting direct rivals like the Renault Captur, SEAT Arona and Kia Arona by several thousand pounds. MG hasn’t done this by whittling down the equipment to 1990s levels either, including LED daytime running lights, cruise control and Bluetooth from the off.

There are two petrol engines, measuring 1.0 or 1.5 litres, and the smaller one is more sophisticated, with 108bhp thanks to a small turbocharger and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The ride is nice and smooth, too – a necessary trait for a small SUV to master – without compromising handling too badly. There’s also an electric MG ZS EV version, which isn’t too expensive for a battery-powered car and is better to drive than the petrols.

Check out our guides on cheap cars to insure and best cheap-to-run cars.

Recommended

Top 10 best tow cars 2022
Skoda Enyaq front corner
Best cars
20 May 2022

Top 10 best tow cars 2022

Toyota Aygo X hatchback review
Aygo 1
Toyota Aygo X
19 May 2022

Toyota Aygo X hatchback review

Top 10 best Motability cars 2022
Renault Clio hatchback
Car buying
18 May 2022

Top 10 best Motability cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

Most Popular

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
19 May 2022

Speed awareness course: how much does it cost, how long does it take and how do you do one online?

Tesla Supercharger network is now partially open to rival electric cars in the UK
Tesla Supercharger
Tesla
18 May 2022

Tesla Supercharger network is now partially open to rival electric cars in the UK

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
3 Feb 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022