Top 10 best Motability cars 2021
We pick out 10 cars that are great options for Motability users in the UK
Motability is a clever leasing scheme that helps those with reduced mobility in the UK, letting them use their higher rate mobility allowance to get into a car that’s right for them. There are plenty of cars available, so we’ve picked out 10 of the best options.
If you are eligible for the ‘Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment’ or the ‘Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance’ (HRMC DLA) then you will be able to claim for a Motability car. The payments go directly from the Department of Work and Pensions to Motability and you get the car for three years.
The scheme was introduced over 40 years ago and around three million cars have been supplied since then. The range of models is more diverse than ever, as you can now get into everything from electric cars to SUVs, hatchbacks and estate cars. Roughly 10% of all new cars in the UK are bought using the Motability scheme.
There are lots of cars available but there are some rules to consider. The cars need to have a pre-VAT value of less than £25,000, though it’s possible to make an ‘Advance Payment’ to make up the difference. Not all cars are available, to help prevent fraud on really expensive cars.
If you need a specific type of car, there’s a range of wheelchair-accessible-vehicles (WAVs) available too. This includes cars where there’s space for a wheelchair user as a passenger but also ones that are converted to allow you to drive as well.
Those are more specialist vehicles so we’ve not focused on them here. We’ve concentrated on value for money, picking out great cars that are also great value and available on Motability.
Here are our picks of the best Motability cars you can get right now.
The Renault Clio has never enjoyed quite the same success in the UK as the Ford Fiesta, but the latest generation is certainly good enough to change that. While the stylish looks are evolutionary, there’s a much bigger change inside; Renault has given its smallest model an array of premium-feeling soft-touch plastics, and the technology count has significantly increased.
High-spec models get a huge 9.3-inch touchscreen, while every model of the Clio gets LED headlights, cruise control and auto emergency braking. The popular 99bhp petrol engine is available in the three main trim levels with no advance payment, while high-mileage drivers might be drawn to the 1.5-litre diesel.
The VW T-Cross is a small SUV closely related to the Polo and it shares many traits with the popular supermini. It’s easy to drive, comfortable, has plenty of tech in the cabin and looks smart too. The light steering and availability of an automatic gearbox are useful too.
The 1.0-litre TSI engine is a punchy performer but is still economical and quiet, so it’s the best option. Choose it in SE trim and there’s no extra to pay each month, though you’ll have to put down some extra cash for the automatic gearbox if you need that version.
The Ford Puma is a small SUV that’s related to the hugely popular Fiesta supermini. The Fiesta isn’t offered on Motability at the moment but the Puma is very similar, and since it offers a higher driving position, some will find it even more appealing. The big boot and useful storage space will be useful too.
The best option is the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol model in Titanium trim, which is available with a very small advance payment and gets all the equipment you need including smartphone connectivity for the excellent infotainment system. The Puma is great to drive and comfortable too, so it’s an excellent choice.
The Volkswagen Polo is synonymous with upmarket design and great build quality. The sixth generation of the car has now arrived and it’s bigger inside than ever, with a much larger boot as a result. The level of technology has jumped up compared to the previous car, so features such as a digital Active Info Display instrument cluster and adaptive cruise control are included, when once they would have only been found in the most expensive executive saloons.
As ever with a VW Group car, there are plenty of engines on offer, but the 1.0-litre petrols are both peppy and frugal. The 79bhp version is adequate if you only plan to use the car around town, but the 94bhp and 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI engines are also available - and these engines make the Polo feel much nippier generally and better suited for motorway trips. You might also want to check out the mechanically identical SEAT Ibiza, which has a wider choice of trim levels and engines available on the Motability scheme.
The Skoda Fabia Estate is a great choice if you need a small car that has a lot of storage space inside. It’s comfy, good to drive, economical and crucially has a really big boot considering that it’s a supermini.
The best option is the 1.0-litre TSI model in SE trim with the DSG automatic gearbox. It’s easy to drive and the small petrol engine is both economical and punchy from low in the rev range. It’s not as well equipped as the SE L model but you won’t have to top up the allowance to get it.
Kia’s latest Ceed range is handsome, well-equipped and comes with the company’s excellent warranty. The hatchback, XCeed crossover and Ceed Sportswagon estate models are all available on Motability without paying anything in advance.
We’ve chosen the estate for this list because of its huge boot, which is nearly class-leading at 600 litres, while the ‘2’ and ‘3’ trims are available without advance payment. Despite this, the ‘2’ gets cruise, air conditioning, smartphone mirroring and heated wipers, and ‘3’ adds even more equipment. You’re limited to the 118bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, but it’s a good option that is capable of around 50mpg and reasonable acceleration.
You might not realise that the VW up! is now the least expensive out of the almost identical VW Group city cars, as the SEAT Mii is now electric-only. The petrol up! is the only one that can be had with no advance payment but nearly the full range is available - with none costing the total weekly allowance.
The car’s square, slightly utilitarian form results in more interior space and flexibility than you might expect, so when you get seated, you may be surprised at how much room you have. It’s also well built, which translates into a relatively refined driving experience on motorways.
You’re not just limited to petrol and diesel cars on the Motability scheme. There are a handful of electric models like the Renault ZOE to pick from, too. The ZOE offers a decent amount of space for four adults, and is capable of up to 245 miles of range. Topping up the battery is an easy task as well, with a 50kW rapid changer taking an hour to replenish the battery from zero to 80%, compared to nine hours using a home wallbox charger.
The only model available without an advance payment is the mid-range Iconic trim, which gets you a slick 9.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, climate control, alloy wheels and wireless phone charging. It’s practical, too, with a 338 litre boot - large enough to cover the majority of regular trips and longer journeys.
Eco-friendly hybrids and electric cars can be ordered on Motability but the choice is a little limited if you’re not wanting to pay an advance payment. Luckily, the Kia Niro is practical, spacious and comes with a fairly generous kit list.
The styling is quite SUV-like, and there’s more room for passengers than in the similarly sized Toyota Prius. Fuel economy is good at nearly 60mpg, and even the ‘2’ trim (the only one available for nothing upfront) has desirable features like a reversing camera, Apple/Android connectivity and dual-zone climate control. It also offers a fuss-free driving experience and a 427-litre boot.
The Dacia Duster might look unassuming but it’s actually an incredibly practical SUV that’s very good value, especially given it uses a lot of Renault parts. On the outside it has a toughened look thanks to a raised ride height and a mix of black and silver bodywork cladding. Inside, there’s room for five adults and a large 445 litre boot space.
The base-spec Essential model is the only version available with an advance payment, getting you the frugal 89bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s well equipped, too, with Bluetooth connectivity, electric front windows, air conditioning, DAB Radio and remote central locking.