20 May 2011 by Parkers Team

  • Looking to downsize and cut the cost of motoring?
  • We show you the ten cheapest new cars on sale
  • Save money on fuel, servicing, tax and insurance

This article is for 2011. For the up-to-date 2014 version, click here.

As fuel and insurance costs continue to rise, you might be considering selling your car and buying something that's frugal and cheap to own.

Alternatively, you might just be looking for a small economical car that's ideal for around town trips and won't break the bank.  

To make things a little easier we've rounded up the top 10 cheapest cars for sale in the UK, based on their recommended retail price.

1. Nissan Pixo (09 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Pixo was co-developed by Nissan with Suzuki. It's practically identical to the Suzuki Alto. It has an economical engine and low running costs but it can be tiring and noisy on the motorway. A tiny boot, low-rent interior and lack of refinement only serve to make it less appealing than alternatives. It is, however, very cheap.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £6,995

Model - 1.0 Visia 5d.

Can I get a discount? - A low list price and strong demand means it can be hard to get a worthwhile discount but there are usually good finance offers available.

Rating - Three stars.

Equipment - ABS, CD player, front airbags, PAS, folding rear seats, Isofix child seat anchors.

Performance - Top speed of 96mph, 0-60mph in 13.6s, 64mpg.

Running costs - It costs peanuts to run. It's in the lowest insurance group and Nissan parts and servicing costs are usually pretty low. Depreciation's not bad either while road tax is just £20 a year.


2.
Kia Picanto (04 on)

WHAT IS IT? 
Kia's Picanto is a little car that's extremely good value with decent build quality and lots of kit. It's got five doors, ideal if you've got kids, and it comes with a seven-year warranty. It drives well too, although the engines have to be worked hard, while an automatic gearbox is optional.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,165

Model - 1.0 Spice 5d.

Can I get a discount? - Kia usually has some kind of deal running, so you should be able to get around £500 off the price.

Rating - Three and a half stars.

Equipment - ABS, air-con, CD player, front airbags, front electric windows, folding rear seats, body coloured bumpers, PAS, Isofix child seat anchors.

Performance - Top speed of 93mph, 0-60mph in 15.9s, 57mpg.

Running costs - A seven-year warranty, economical fuel consumption and low insurance means the Picanto is very cheap to run. It's also one of the best small cars for keeping its value. Tax is £30 a year.


3.
Chevrolet Spark (10 on)

WHAT IS IT?
Chevrolet replaced the ageing Matiz with the little Spark. It has five doors and is designed to carry four adults in comfort. It's not especially sophisticated but it's relatively comfortable, refined and, more importantly, it's fairly happy sitting at motorway speeds.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,215

Model - 1.0i 5d.

Can I get a discount? - A few hundred off the base models if you're lucky, although there are good discounts on the higher specification ones.  

Rating - Three and a half stars.

Equipment - ABS, power steering, six airbags, tinted windows, immobiliser.

Performance - Top speed of 96mph, 0-60mph in 15.0s, 55mpg.

Running costs - Comes with five years' free servicing, warranty and roadside assistance, so running costs are very low. Road tax is £30 a year.


4.
Volkswagen Fox (06 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Fox is Volkswagen's cheapest model that's designed to attract younger buyers or those who simply want a well-built town car. It's easy to drive and more refined and spacious than the Lupo it replaced. It is, however, not very well equipped and isn't as fun to drive as the competition.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,295

Model - 1.2 3d.

Can I get a discount? - VW are currently offering a £500 discount on the Fox, which you'd hope for given the low levels of standard equipment.

Rating - Three stars.

Equipment - ABS, CD player, front airbags, PAS.

Performance - Top speed of 92mph, 0-60mph in 16.9s, 47mpg.

Running costs - Relatively low due to the basic nature of the car. The Fox has a three year/60,000 mile, warranty. Tax is expensive, at £110 a year.


5.
Suzuki Alto (09 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's a small car that's designed to be as cheap as possible with low insurance costs, inexpensive road tax and good fuel economy. It's robustly built with a good level of equipment. The only downside is that it feels like it's built to a budget.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,820

Model - 1.0 SZ2 5d

Can I get a discount? - Suzuki are usually running a deal on the Alto, along with several finance offers.

Rating - Three stars.

Equipment - ABS, body coloured bumpers, CD player, front and side airbags, front electric windows, Isofix child seat anchor points, PAS, folding rear seats, remote central locking.

Performance - Top speed of 96mph, 0-60mph in 13.6s, 64mpg.

Running costs - List prices compare pretty well with cars of an equivalent size and there's equipment available on the Alto that others don't offer - so with demand for small cars being strong it shouldn't depreciate too badly. Servicing is every 9,000 miles and reasonably priced. Tax is £20 a year and a three year/60,000 mile warranty is standard.

 

6. Hyundai i10 Hatchback (08 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's Hyundai's small five-door city car. It's compact, with light steering and nippy engines, but there's enough legroom in the back for two adults and it's modern and easy to live with. There's a decent level of equipment and the interior, for an inexpensive car, is of a good standard.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,890

Model - 1.2 Classic 5d.

Can I get a discount? - Hyundai dealers are usually offering decent finance or trade-in deals but because of the strong warranty and equipment levels it's tricky to get any meaningful discount.

Rating - Four stars.

Equipment - ABS, air-con, body coloured bumpers, CD player, central locking, front and side airbags, folding rear seats, front electric windows, Isofix child seat anchors, PAS.

Performance - Top speed of 103mph, 0-60mph in 12.4s, 57mpg.

Running costs - Low. A five-year warranty and long servicing intervals of 12,500 miles keep costs well down. It's also efficient and cheap to insure. Tax is £30 a year.


7. Fiat Panda (04 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Panda is Fiat's low-cost city car that's well built, comfortable and durable. There's plenty of space and it's easy to drive with light, precise steering. It's equally capable on the motorway where it can cruise without fuss. It also benefits from a comfortable, well laid-out, interior.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,960

Model - 1.1 Active ECO 5d.

Can I get a discount? - List prices are cheap for the Panda and with lots of standard kit it can be hard to wrangle a deal. Finance is, however, usually available.

Rating - Four stars

Equipment - ABS, body coloured bumpers, CD player, front airbags, Isofix child seat anchor points, front electric windows, folding rear seats, PAS.

Performance - Top speed of 93mph, 0-60mph in 14.5s, 56mpg.

Running costs - A standard three year/60,000 mile warranty and. economical engines help keep prices down - but servicing is expensive and Fiat dealers don't have a great reputation. Tax is £30 a year.


8.
Proton Savvy (05 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's a small hatchback from Proton that was designed to take on cars like the old Ford Ka. It's cheap but it feels it - with a poor quality interior and low budget feel. On the plus side, however, it comes with lots of kit and reasonable interior room.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,995

Model - 1.2 Style 5d

Can I get a discount? - Prices are relatively low for a car with so much equipment but demand isn't high for Protons, meaning you should be able to swing a decent discount.

Rating - Two and a half stars.

Equipment - ABS, alarm,  body coloured bumpers, CD player, front airbags, air-con, alloy wheels, front electric windows, front fog lights, parking sensors, folding rear seats, PAS, remote central locking.

Performance - Top speed of 99mph, 0-60mph in 13.5s, 49mpg.

Running costs - The Savvy falls into insurance group three, meaning it costs more than some of the others. Servicing intervals are wide, at 12,000 miles, and a three-year/60,000 mile warranty for the car comes as standard - while the engine and gearbox are covered for six years/100,000 miles. Tax is pricey at £115 a year.


9.
Perodua Myvi (06 on)

WHAT IS IT?
A surprisingly good small car - that's almost completely unheard of. Perodua have been in the UK since 1998 and co-developed the model with Toyota and Daihatsu, resulting in a car that's cheap to buy and very well built. It's a lively car to drive with a flexible engine and good steering. Also, rare for a small car, an automatic version is available.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,999

Model - 1.3 SXI 5d manual.

Can I get a discount? - Perodua tend to offer cash reductions on most models and dealers will usually cut some money off if you show interest in the car.

Rating - Three and a half stars.

Equipment - ABS, air-con, alarm, body coloured bumpers, CD player, front airbags, electric mirrors, electric windows, folding rear seats, PAS, remote central locking.

Performance - Top speed of 106mph, 0-60 in 10.9s, 48mpg.

Running costs - Service intervals are well spaced and labour and parts aren't expensive either, so the Myvi won't break the bank. Depreciation isn't too bad, thanks to decent levels of equipment and cheap costs, but the warranty only covers three years/36,000 miles unlike others. Tax is costly too, at £115.


10. Toyota Aygo (05 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Aygo is a city car that's aimed primarily at younger people. It has a frugal three-cylinder engine, low running costs and excellent build quality. It comes in both three and five-door forms and will just about carry four adults in comfort - although the boot is tiny and the cabin is fairly basic.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £8,485

Model - 1.0 VVT-I (09) 3d.

Can I get a discount? - Toyota usually offer some low-rate finance deals but getting money off can be difficult. Discounts upwards of £500 can usually be negotiated on higher-spec models though.

Rating - Four stars.

Equipment - ABS, body coloured bumpers, CD player, front airbags, PAS, full size spare wheel.

Performance - Top speed of 98mph, 0-60mph in 13.7s, 61mpg.

Running costs - Great fuel economy, the lowest insurance group and a resistance to low-speed damage means the Aygo should be easy on the wallet. Servicing is every 10,000 miles and tax costs £20. A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard.

Note: prices and specifications are correct as of May 2011.

Parker's Top Tip

You can compare both new and used car running costs by using our Cost of Motoring tool. Don't forget to check our New Car Deals section, to see what the best price is on a car you're interested in.