Many of us have learned the hard way that you get what you pay for, especially with secondhand cars. Something that may look good on paper may turn out to be a nightmare when you look a bit harder. So is a cheap new car a better bet?
That elderly £500 part-exchange slowly disintegrating at the back of your local dealer’s forecourt is a million miles away from the cheap new cars we’re looking at here. These are modern, factory fresh machines sold by main franchised dealerships with long manufacturer warranties so the eye-opening price tags don’t have to be treated with the same high levels of caution.
Of course, the cheapest new cars are also in a completely different financial ballpark to the cheapest used cars. Rather than a few hundred quid, you’re going to need a good £6,000 to buy the cheapest new cars in the UK and as a result, these models come burdened by a completely different set of expectations.
Manufacturers will often position an entry-level new car as a lure to tempt customers through the showroom doors and into the clutches of the sales team. Once they’ve been treated to a complimentary coffee and an armful of glossy brochures, punters aiming to buy cheap can then be expertly edged up the model heirachy to something far more salubrious, and expensive.
To achieve those low sticker prices, cheap new cars are often stripped of everything bar the basics and they’ll sometimes feel a little low-rent next to more expensive versions of the same car just a few steps up the trim ladder. Many buyers will happily put-up with some blanked-out buttons, downmarket trim finishes or even an asthmatic engine but others will see the extra outlay needed to secure a few more creature comforts as money well spent. Either way, the cheap car’s head-turning sticker price has done its job.
In many instances, the biggest challenge facing cars at the cheap end of the market is the existence of used alternatives offering more kit, a better engine and, often, a more desirable badge for the same money. Again, many people will rather sink their cash into an apparently better car with a few thousand miles on the clock but the appeal of a brand new model with a full warranty and finance facilities not always open to used car buyers is still strong.
So, we’ve gauged the enduring appeal of the cheap car, now let’s get down to business. What are the cheapest new cars currently on sale in the UK?
Click the links below or at the top left of this page to discover more about our top 5 cheap cars…
When you venture outside the top 5 cheapest cars on sale, you start to encounter more mainstream brands and a higher caliber of small car generally. The models below all come in under the £8,500 barrier in their cheapest entry-level form. Click the links to read our full in-depth review on each model...
Have you ever owned one of the cheap cars in our list? Let us know what you thought of it in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey...