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The top 20 cheapest cars - part one

  • Part one of our top 20 cheapest cars in the UK
  • The cheapest car starts from just £7,000
  • The cars you can buy when shopping on a budget

If you're looking to buy a new car and need to do it on the budget, we've picked out the 20 cheapest new cars currently on sale.

1. Chevrolet Spark (10 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Spark is Chevrolet's replacement for the Matiz. 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 even feels happy on the motorway.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £6,945

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 costs are very low. Tax is £30 a year.

Verdict - A smart, sensible, buy that won't drive you up the wall a month down the line - although base models don't have much equipment.

2. Volkswagen Fox (06 on)

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

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £6,945

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.

Verdict - With Volkswagen quality and support it's not a bad choice but it's not as enjoyable, or as well equipped, as others.

3. Citroen C1 (05 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The C1's Citroen's version of the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, with all three being basically the same. It's a small car with a roomy interior, that drives suprisingly well although it can be noisy on the motorway.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £6,995

Model - 1.0i VT 3d

Can I get a discount? - There's usually some good offers on the C1 and if you get it on finance it comes with three years' free servicing. It's worth going round the dealers to find which one will offer the best discount though.

Rating - Four stars

Equipment - ABS, CD player, front airbags, PAS, full-size spare wheel

Performance - Top speed of 98mph, 0-60mph in 12.9s, 62mpg

Running costs - They don't come much cheaper than the C1. It's in the lowest insurance group, benefits from excellent economy and is designed to be easily repaired. A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard. Tax is a mere £20 a year.

Verdict - It's fun to drive and small making it idea for
around-town driving. Great if you fancy a bit of French flair.

4. Kia Picanto (04 on)

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

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £6,995

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, 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. They also depreciate well, with it being one of the best small cars for keeping its value. Tax is £30 a year.

Verdict - The Picanto is cracking value for money and well worth considering, although it does have a below-average safety rating.

5. Nissan Pixo (09 on)

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

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £7,150

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.

Verdict - It's affordable and inexpensive to run but it feels cheap and isn't as comfortable on the motorway as others, with a noisy engine and cabin.

6. Hyundai i10 Hatchback (08 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's Hyundai's small five-door 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) - £7,725

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, cheap to tax and insure. Tax is £30 a year.

Verdict - It's a good car to drive and good fun. The i10 commands a premium but comes with more kit than the competitors - for example air-con is a £1,000 option on the VW Fox.

7. Fiat Panda (04 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Panda is Fiat's low-cost 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) - £7,795

Model - 1.1 Active Eco (Euro 4)

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.

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.

Verdict - Ideal if you need something larger that can carry adults, kids and luggage in comfort on the motorway.

8. Perodua Myvi (06 on)

WHAT IS IT?
A suprisingly 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) - £7,799

Model - 1.3 SXI 5d manual

Can I get a discount? - Yes, most dealers should offer a discount if you show some interest in the car. There's also a trade-in scheme that offers £1,000 off 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, with lots of equipment and cheap costs - but the warranty only covers three years/36,000 miles unlike others. Tax is costly too, at £110.

Verdict - If you're looking for a car that's relatively cheap to buy and run, without compromising on equipment, this is well worth considering.

9. 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, reasonable interior room and it drives well.

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 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 £110 a year.

Verdict - It's a cheap car and it feels it, although an acceptable drive and peppy engine compensate for these failings to some degree. Competitors offer a better overall package but the Savvy does come with lots of kit.

10. 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, cheap road tax and good fuel economy. It's robustly built with a good level of equipment but it lacks that fun factor that the C1 provides. It also feels like it's built to a budget.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Price (new) - £8,170

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.

Verdict - It's cheaply built and cheap to own but well put together. It lacks the charm of the competition though and isn't crash tested.

For part two, cars 11-20, click here.