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More car, less cash: ditch entry-level models for the best value finance

  • Trade up to a better spec, pay less each month
  • Entry-level models can be extortionate on finance
  • Compare prices before choosing a specific version
  • Trade up to a better spec, pay less each month
  • Entry-level models can be extortionate on finance
  • Compare prices before choosing a specific version

You’ve set a monthly budget, you’ve got a PCP finance quote on the car you want and you’re about to pull the trigger? But wait. Have you got quotes on other models in the range to make sure that you’re not being ripped off by a devious manufacturer?

If not, you could be paying through the nose for a basic entry-level model. Get a dud deal and you could be stuck paying more each month than you would for a better specification model, potentially with a more powerful engine too.

We’ve fished out some entry-level flops you’ll want to avoid and rounded up the best-value mid-spec models that get you more car for less each month on PCP finance.

Tune into BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme – broadcast on Saturday December 9 at 12:00-12:30pm – to hear Parkers explain how to make PCP finance work for you.

Ford Fiesta PCP finance

Choose wisely and you could trade up to a much better-equipped, faster and more desirable model while leaving more change in your pocket each month.

In the meantime, check out the best deals currently available below, whether you’re shopping on a shoestring or have more cash to splash and you can visit our car finance calculator to see how much you can afford to borrow:

Volkswagen Golf finance: 110hp SE model for less than 85hp S - £241/month

Best for: upmarket interior

Volkswagen Golf PCP finance

Not only does the cheapest Golf in cash terms – the S 1.0 TSI 85hp – come with a weedy engine but it’ll set you back £7 per month more than the far more appealing 110hp SE version.

How can this be? The much more desirable SE version is worth far more at the end of the contract, meaning the amount you finance – the difference between the list price and the expected value when you hand the car back – is lower, reducing your monthly payments.

While the base Golf weighs in at £248 per month, the much better equipped 110hp SE version is just £241 per month (on a four-year, 10,000-mile-per-year contract with a £2,000 deposit).*

As well as offering a stronger petrol engine that should be much more capable of dealing with the extra weight of passengers and luggage, the SE is also stuffed with tonnes of desirable extra equipment.

This includes automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. More than this, you also get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, 16-inch alloy wheels, an alarm and electrically folding wing mirrors. Not bad for a £7 saving per month.

Volkswagen Golf S 1.0 TSI 85hp 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £248 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £2,000 (£1,000 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,670
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £18,671
  • Cash price: £17,765
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

Volkswagen Golf SE 1.0 TSI 110hp 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £241 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £2,000 (£1,000 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,343
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £20,021
  • Cash price: £18,855
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

Ford Fiesta finance: more kit, more power for £3 less per month - £239/month

Best for: small car desirability

Ford Fiesta PCP finance

The new Fiesta – the UK’s bestselling car – is far more modern and desirable than its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean that all versions are worth getting.

Go for the entry level Style 1.1 70hp 3dr and you’ll have to pay a whopping £242 per month (on a three-year, 9,000-mile-per-year contract with a £1,000 deposit), despite this version offering little power and not much standard equipment.*

The Zetec 1.1 85hp 5dr, meanwhile, offers more power, doors and equipment, yet will save you £3 a month. That’s because Ford has ratcheted up APR charges on its entry-level model from a low 1.2% to a steep 5.9%. This means that £1,147-worth of interest is slapped onto payments for the lesser car.*

Choose the Zetec version and – apart from gaining greater acceleration with no economy penalty – you also get 15-inch alloy wheels over the base car’s hubcaps, a heated windscreen, front fog lights, steering wheel controls and a far more modern touchscreen media system with a digital radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus an alarm.

Ford Fiesta Style 1.1 70hp 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £242 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £1,000 (no manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £9,729
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £14,685
  • Cash price: £13,165
  • Mileage allowance: 9,000 miles per year
  • APR: 5.9%

Ford Fiesta Style 1.1 85hp 5dr

  • Monthly cost: £239 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £1,000 (no manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £9,614
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £15,688
  • Cash price: £15,315
  • Mileage allowance: 9,000 miles per year
  • APR: 1.2%

MINI Clubman finance: get a Cooper S for less than a One - £238/month

Best for: fun handling

MINI Clubman PCP finance

You can jump up not one but two rungs on the MINI Clubman ladder by dodging the spectacularly bad value entry-level model. While the underpowered and overpriced Clubman One would cost you £241 per month, £2 less per month gets you the far more appealing Clubman Cooper S (on a four-year contract with a £2,000 deposit and 10,000-mile-per-year allowance).*

You can thank a larger £3,600 deposit contribution discount on the Cooper S compared with £1,500 on the entry-level model, plus higher residual values.

Apart from looking far sharper with large 17-inch alloy wheels and body-hugging front sports seats, the Cooper S packs a substantially more potent 2.0-litre engine which punches out 192hp.That’s enough to fire the Clubman to 62mph in a rapid 7.2 seconds.

MINI Clubman One

  • Monthly cost: £241 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £2,000 (£1,500 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,337
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £20,818
  • Cash price: £19,595
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 5.9%

MINI Clubman Cooper S

  • Monthly cost: £238 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £2,000 (£3,600 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,205
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £23,057
  • Cash price: £23,465
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 5.9%

Jaguar XE finance: get £3,500 pricier XE for £24 less per month - £407/month

Best for: comfort

Jaguar XE PCP finance

You’d imagine a £28,295 Jaguar XE SE would cost less to finance than a £31,795 Prestige, but that’s not the case. Choosing the car with the higher list price could save you £24 every month on a like-for-like contract (37-month term, £3,000 deposit, 10,000-mile-per-year allowance).*

That’s courtesy of a £3,350 deposit contribution discount for the £31,795 model and nothing for the base model. As with the MINI above, you don’t just get extra standard kit – heated leather seats and brushed aluminium trim here – but you also get a far more powerful engine for that lower monthly payment.

In this case it’s the Prestige 25t 250hp petrol that undercuts the SE 20t entry-level equivalent. This stronger engine helps this XE to sprint to 62mph in just 6.3 seconds compared with 7.1 seconds for the less powerful model. Like the Fiesta there’s no fuel economy penalty with the faster version, either.

Jaguar XE SE 20t 200hp

  • Monthly cost: £432 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £3,000 (no manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £18,542
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £31,111
  • Cash price: £28,295
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

Jaguar XE Prestige 25t 250hp

  • Monthly cost: £407 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £3,000 (£3,350 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £17,661
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £31,353
  • Cash price: £31,795
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

 

Looking to learn more about car finance? Take a look at the links below:

 

BMW 1 Series finance: more economy, more acceleration and more doors for less - £231/month

Best for: fuel economy

BMW 1 Series PCP finance

Go for the entry-level three-door BMW 118i SE and you’ll need to put down £245 per month (on a four-year, 10,000-mile-per-year contract with a £3,000 deposit). That’s £14 per month more than the faster, more economical and better equipped 118d Sport diesel. More than this, that’s for the five-door model, which you’d expect to cost more.*

Helping to make the £25,470 118d Sport cheaper per month than the £21,840 118i SE is a hefty £5,205 deposit contribution discount compared with a meagre £1,963 contribution for the petrol car.

Sweetening the deal, the diesel is capable of 68.9mpg claimed fuel economy, compared with 56.5mpg for the 118i, while it’s the diesel that’s also quicker, taking 8.3 seconds to accelerate to 62mph compared with 8.5 seconds for the petrol.

The diesel also comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats and selectable drive modes – all of which are absent on the 118i.

BMW 118i SE 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £245 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £3,000 (£1,963 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £14,526
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £22,258
  • Cash price: £21,840
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

BMW 118d Sport 5dr

  • Monthly cost: £231 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £3,000 (£5,205 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,841
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £22,797
  • Cash price: £25,470
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

Citroen C1 finance: £1,735 pricier city car costs £21 less per month - £193/month

Best for: town driving

Citroen C1 PCP finance

Want the cheapest city car to finance? Steer well clear of the rip-off ‘entry-level’ Citroen C1. Despite having a low list price of £8,695, sneaky Citroen will sting you with extortionate APR charges of 9.9% for this model on its PCP finance scheme – this means that you could pay thousands in interest.

This massively inflates your monthly payments to £214 (on a three-year, 10,000-mile-per-year contract with no deposit). Step up to the £1,735 pricier Feel version and you’ll save yourself £21 per month – that’s because much lower interest is charged at 2.9% APR – as well as getting a load of extra equipment thrown in.*

Invaluable useful kit comes in the form of air-conditioning, a height adjustable driver’s seat, split-folding rear seats, a touchscreen media system with digital radio and Bluetooth, a space-saver spare wheel and 15-inch alloy wheels rather than smaller hubcaps.

Better value still is the Hyundai i10. While the entry-level i10 1.0 66hp S will cost £184 per month – with identical contract terms to the Citroen – the better equipped 1.0 66hp SE version is just £182 per month. Not only is the SE the smart i10 choice, it’s also a more sensible purchase than the C1 with five doors standard and a low monthly cost.*

Citroen C1 1.0 VTI 68 Touch 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £214 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £0 (£425 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £7,712
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £10,555
  • Cash price: £8,695
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 9.9%

Citroen C1 1.0 VTI 68 Feel 3dr

  • Monthly cost: £193 (36 payments)
  • Deposit: £0 (£1,150 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £6,961
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £10,414
  • Cash price: £10,430
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 2.9%

Toyota Auris finance: save £14 per month with £4,960 better spec model - £280/month

Best for: reliability

Toyota Auris PCP finance

You’d have to be mad to willingly choose an entry-level 1.3-litre petrol Toyota Auris Active over the turbocharged 1.2-litre Auris Business Edition, which packs more equipment, better fuel economy and greater performance.

That’s because the base car – which is nearly £5,000 cheaper for cash buyers – could cost you an extra £14 per month at £294 per month compared with £280 (on a 42-month, 8,000-mile-per-year contract with a £1,600 deposit).*

Sneaky Toyota uses underhand techniques to penalise those going for what appears to be the cheapest Auris – the entry-level Active. Not only does the company charge 4.9% APR on the basic car – compared with 0% APR on the Business Edition – but this model also misses out on the £1,500 deposit contribution discount offered on the latter.

As a result, anyone considering an Auris must do their homework to make sure they’re not being charged way over the odds on the base model. Go for Business Edition and you gain tonnes of desirable kit including touchscreen sat-nav, cruise control, heated seats, a reversing camera, digital radio with Bluetooth plus additional safety gear.

Toyota Auris Active 1.3

  • Monthly cost: £294 (41 payments)
  • Deposit: £1,600 (no manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,638
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £17,553
  • Cash price: £15,995
  • Mileage allowance: 8,000 miles per year
  • APR: 4.9%

Toyota Auris Business Edition 1.2 Turbo

  • Monthly cost: £280 (41 payments)
  • Deposit: £1,600 (£1,500 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £13,088
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £19,455
  • Cash price: £20,955
  • Mileage allowance: 8,000 miles per year
  • APR: 0%

BMW M4 finance: choose desirable Competition Package, save £35 per month - £576/month

Best for: exciting drive

BMW M4 PCP finance

No one chooses a BMW M4 to save money, but go for the more desirable Competition Package version and you’ll actually be better off every month – to the tune of £35, paying £576 compared with £611. That’s despite its £5,645 higher list price.*

More than this, the Competition Package model comes with an additional 19hp – making it even faster than the standard car – plus 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension and uprated differential with unique settings, a sports exhaust with black chrome tailpipes and upgraded speakers.

The reason for this difference? BMW is offering a far larger £7,267 deposit contribution on the Competition Package version compared with just £2,855 on the standard car.

Furthermore, the former is worth substantially more at the end of the contract. That means that the amount you’re financing – the difference between the list price and the predicted value at the end of the contract – is smaller with the Competition Package version.

BMW M4 Coupe

  • Monthly cost: £611 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £10,000 (£2,855 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £38,736
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £61,543
  • Cash price: £59,080
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 3.9%

BMW M4 Coupe Competition Package

  • Monthly cost: £576 (47 payments)
  • Deposit: £10,000 (£7,267 manufacturer deposit contribution)
  • Total amount payable by customer if returning car: £37,057
  • Total amount payable by customer to buy car: £63,114
  • Cash price: £64,725
  • Mileage allowance: 10,000 miles per year
  • APR: 3.9%

Take a look at the links below for more information about car finance:

*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.

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