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Top 10 best cheap cars 2024

Everyone likes a bargain – here are the best cheap cars on sale in 2024

The best cheap cars

It’s true that new cars are getting more expensive, but there are still some excellent cheap cars on sale today. Whether you’re shopping on a tight budget, or if you just want to maximise the bang for your buck, there’ll be a set of wheels on this list for you.

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Traditionally, small city cars have been the cheapest models on the market, and that largely holds true today. However, spend a bit more and you can find some affordable family hatchbacks and electric cars that are more spacious, packed with kit, and still relatively cheap.

Carbuyer best new car deals heroBest new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

This list isn’t a rundown of the very cheapest cars on sale; instead, we’ve rounded up our favourites that are affordable, good to drive and, importantly, offer stand-out value for money. If that sounds like a combination that appeals to you, look no further than the cars below.

The best cheap cars on sale today

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, the best cheap-to-run cars, and the cheapest electric cars on sale. You can also read our deals page, where our experts gather the hottest car finance deals currently available.

BYD Dolphin review - our favourite new car

carbuyer car of the year 2024
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,140
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An electric car topping the list of ‘best cheap cars’ would have been unthinkable a few years ago, but the BYD Dolphin delivers such outstanding value for money that it’s our number one pick, beating its petrol-powered rivals. We even went as far as to crown it the Carbuyer Car of the Year 2024, proving that impressive EV tech doesn’t have to cost the earth. 

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BYD sells the Dolphin in several trim levels, with different electric motor and battery configurations, but it’s the Active model that offers the best value at just £26,140. You get a 94bhp electric motor and a 44.9kWh battery, delivering a range of up to 211 miles – not groundbreaking, but plenty for those who mainly stick to around-town driving. Interior kit is impressive for the price, with the rotating 12.8-inch infotainment touchscreen stealing the show.

BYD offers some attractive finance deals with 0% APR for the Dolphin, too, so you could be driving away in one of our favourite cars for just £189 per month – value that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.

Renault Clio review - E-Tech hybrid takes on EV rivals

Renault Clio UK
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £17,995

There’s a reason why the Renault Clio has long been one of Europe’s favourite cars. It’s always been cheap, but the latest model is far more talented than any of its predecessors. The cabin feels upmarket and packs plenty of kit, while safety, visibility and handling are all up there with the best in class. Combine that with a low starting price, and you have a well-rounded hatchback that any budget-conscious buyer should consider.

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The 90bhp petrol model starts from around £18,000 and will satisfy the majority of supermini buyers, but the self-charging hybrid model arguably offers even better value for money. It’s more expensive – starting at over £21,000 – but you get F1-derived tech that enables pure-electric driving around town, as well as a diesel-rivalling fuel efficiency figure of 67.3mpg – hard to beat at this price point.

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To further boost the Clio’s budget-friendly credentials, Renault is still offering a 0% APR deal when using its PCP financing facility, meaning you can drive away in a previous Carbuyer Small Car of the Year award-winner from just £156 per month.

Vauxhall Corsa review – the best Corsa yet

Vauxhall Corsa facelift
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • Priced from £18,505

We’d bet that everyone reading this has at least heard of the Vauxhall Corsa, and that’s no surprise. The plucky supermini is a favourite among UK buyers, thanks to its low running costs, well-equipped interior and low starting price. The latest model is perhaps the sharpest looking, too, thanks to a smart facelift in 2023. 

The petrol-powered Corsa in ‘Yes Edition’ trim will set you back less than £19,000, or just over £200 per month through a PCP finance deal with Vauxhall. We think that’s great value, especially when you consider that the Corsa is one of the best driving cars in its class. You get a 10-inch infotainment screen and a digital gauge cluster as standard in the entry-level car, along with a peppy 1.2-litre 99bhp petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox.

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If that sounds a bit old fashioned to you, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric could be the affordable EV supermini you’re looking for. Priced from just £26,895, the Corsa Electric Yes Edition uses a 134bhp electric motor in place of the petrol engine, delivering smooth and silent EV performance and a range of 222 miles. For under £27,000, that’s hard to beat.

Dacia Sandero hatchback review

Dacia Sandero review
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £13,795
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Dacia is a brand synonymous with value, and the Sandero is the model that delivers this to the fullest. It’s been on sale in the UK for over a decade and in that time it’s 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 the old 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. Sure, the entry-level model feels pretty spartan inside, but if you’re after a practical supermini to get you around town, why spend more?

MG4 hatchback review

Best Family Electric Car: MG4
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,995
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The MG4 is a game changer, given it’s one of the very cheapest EVs on sale in the UK, and yet it’s still a well-equipped family hatchback, with a competitive range figure and decent charging speeds. MG has had a bumpy start since its reboot in the UK, following its acquisition by a Chinese car giant, but the MG4 is its first clean-sheet EV, and it’s clear the brand has pulled out all the stops to make it a success. We love great value cars, and there’s no doubt the MG4 offers it in spades.

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It’s available in SE and Trophy trim levels. SE starts from just £27,000 and is surprisingly well-appointed – with a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, rear parking sensors and plenty of safety equipment, we reckon this is enough for most buyers and is our pick. The entry-level’s 51kWh battery offers up to 218 miles of range on a charge, too, so should be enough for most drivers. Should you need to go further on a charge, you can step up to the Long Range variant with a 64kWh battery which does 281 miles on a charge and yet it’s still cheaper than entry-level versions of the Volkswagen ID.3.

Kia Picanto hatchback review

kia picanto hatchback
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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  • Priced from £15,030
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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 at just above £15,000. 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 from 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.

Dacia Jogger review - the best-value seven-seater

Best Family Car: Dacia Jogger
Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

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  • Priced from £18,295
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Our second entry from Dacia is the brand’s biggest and most family-focused offering yet, but you’ll find the same commitment to affordability that’s present across the range. The Dacia Jogger is a versatile seven-seater MPV for budget-conscious buyers who aren’t bothered about luxuriously finished interiors or premium badges on the bonnet. It offers everything a family could need, from its massive boot to its choice of frugal engines. There’s even a self-charging hybrid that will happily top 50mpg in everyday driving.

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Entry models start just over £18,000 and even with the highest trim, you can expect change from £21,000. In a market where a basic specification Volkswagen Polo starts at £21,000, that is truly incredible value. For families on a budget, the Jogger is a real winner.

Hyundai i10 review - tech-filled and practical small car

hyundai i10 facelift
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £16,030

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 versions are available with extremely generous equipment lists, prices do rise steadily as you creep up the range, so ask yourself whether you really need niceties like heated seats and privacy glass.

The range kicks off with the i10 Advance, which comes with an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, air conditioning, a rear view camera and more – all for around £16,000. Whichever model you pick, 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

Toyota Aygo X Undercover
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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  • Priced from £16,140
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The smallest Toyota on sale is also the firm’s cheapest, but it won us over us with a smooth ride and impressive technology that belie its price tag. The small city car has grown up in both size and personality in its latest iteration, while its funky styling makes it look more mini SUV than slick city car. The height benefits 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 a reversing camera included with every trim level.

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This increase in size and specification has marginally bumped up the cost compared to the old Aygo, but at just over £16,000, the Aygo X is still a cheap city car that punches above its price.

Skoda Fabia review - a great-value, practical supermini

Carbuyer best small car Skoda Fabia
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £19,730

Rounding off our list of the best cheapest cars is the Skoda Fabia: the Volkswagen Polo’s more affordable Czech twin. With a starting price over £1,000 less than its German counterpart, you’d think that the Fabia would feel like a cut-price knock-off, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the Fabia’s cabin is more spacious and comes with just as much standard equipment. Its other sibling, the SEAT Ibiza is similar on price and insurance costs, but the Fabia’s large boot is on par with that of the Volkswagen Golf from the class above.

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That sub-£20k starting price gets you the ultra-frugal 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine which, while cheap to insure, is pretty sluggish and best avoided. It only costs a few hundred pounds extra to upgrade to the 1.0-litre TSI engine, which is far more usable thanks to its turbocharger. Either way, the Fabia is one of the most refined superminis on the market, with a soft ride and precise handling. We think it should be on any budget-focused buyer’s shortlist.

Cheap car buying advice

Finding a cheap new car might seem impossible these days, but you can still secure a great set of wheels at a low price if you know where to look. Of course, any of the 10 cars on this list will be an excellent starting point, but before taking your pick, it’s worth considering your priorities. 

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You’re unlikely to find a new car with a powerful engine, lots of equipment and masses of space at a low price, but it may be possible to find one or two of these things within your budget. Our in-depth reviews go into detail about the strengths and weaknesses of each car and will help you determine whether a particular car ticks the boxes you need.

That being said, nearly all modern cars – even the cheap ones – come with far more safety kit and interior equipment than an equivalent car from a decade ago. For example, the most affordable model on this list – the Dacia Sandero – still comes with lane-keeping assistance, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors and air conditioning, so consider whether you really need more than this if you’re on a tight budget.

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While cheap electric cars have historically not been a reality for buyers, the tide appears to slowly be changing, and our list includes a few such affordable EVs, some of which are better to drive than their petrol counterparts. Otherwise, there are plenty of cheap conventional petrol cars you can still buy, and improvements in technology mean many of these are also cheap to run as well as insure. Another way to get a good deal is to buy a car that is about to be replaced by a new model.

Car finance can allow you to get behind the wheel of a new car if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the cash upfront to buy a car outright. There are different types of finance available, including PCP, PCH (leasing) and HP – all of which are covered in our in-depth guide to car finance. Our experts trawl the web every week looking for the best leasing deals on the market, which you can check on our Car deals page. Of course, it’s worth remembering that finance isn’t reducing the purchase price of the car, it just allows you to spread multiple payments over a period of time.
 

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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