Cheapest cars on sale 2021
Not looking to splash the cash and in need of a new car bargain? Then look no further as we list the cheapest cars on sale in the UK right now
The phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is normally used to imply that apparent bargains aren’t necessarily all they’re cracked up to be. Most of us have been stung by something that looked like a great deal, but turned out to be nothing of the sort. So are there any new cars that fall under into the category of being brand new, cheap and also good value?
The cheapest brand new cars are a far cry from the rusty part-exchange wheels gathering dust at the far end of your local dealership’s forecourt. Budget vehicles straight from the factory should afford you showroom-fresh metal from respectable brands, with the added bonus of a proper warranty.
With the cheapest new cars beginning at around the £7,000 mark (before you start haggling for a discount), they still come with a different set of expectations. They’ll get you from A to B for sure, but will they be as economical, or as practical, or as well-built as something that costs a few grand more? There’s no guarantee.
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. Punters budgeting for a cheap car can then be expertly edged up the model hierarchy to something with more equipment but a higher price.
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 underpowered 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?
Cheapest cars on sale in the UK
- Dacia Sandero - £7,995
- Citroen C1 - £10,315
- Kia Picanto - £10,995
- Renault Twizy - £11,685
- Dacia Duster - £11,745
- MG MG3 - £12,195
Dacia Sandero - £7,995
Proudly advertising its Sandero hatchback as the cheapest car on sale for a number of years, Dacia has become one of the car market's major success stories of recent times. Renault's budget brand has made a name for itself by offering simple, no-frills motoring at rock-bottom prices and buyers have been lapping it up.
The Sandero is currently the UK's cheapest car by a long way but it’s a full sized supermini where most of the other models challenging for the title are smaller city cars. The Sandero's simplicity, comfort and surprising practicality win favour with those who are after basic transport with no gimmicks. Top models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, touchscreen navigation system and a trip computer. It’s the entry-level Access version that dips under the £8,000 barrier and steals the headlines - even if most buyers go for a slightly higher spec model.
The interior is even more spacious than many of the Sandero's supermini rivals, running costs are usefully low and the mechanicals have proven their worth in the past, so the Sandero should be reliable. Thanks to its Renault heritage, the Sandero uses the French marque’s CMF-B platform.
This means the car’s chassis is more modern than before and it feels more sophisticated to drive. The build quality is questionable in places, but some of the engine line-up uses Renault’s latest fuel-saving technology, meaning the Sandero is surprisingly efficient and perky on the road.
Check out the latest prices for used Dacia Sanderos on our sister site BuyaCar...
Citroen C1 - £10,315
The Citroen C1 is the most affordable city car on sale in the UK currently. It’s small proportions make it easy to drive on tight city streets, although this also means it’s not the most spacious city car available, either in terms of rear legroom or boot space, offering just 196 litres with the seats up.
Power comes from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 71bhp, with a five-speed manual gearbox also standard across the line-up. Weighing only 840kg, the C1 still takes 14 seconds to reach 62mph, although the leisurely acceleration is less noticeable on town and city roads where the sweetly-revving engine performs well. Citroen claims that the C1 can do up to 58mpg, although you’ll need to be gentle on the throttle in order to hit this figure.
A cheap-and-cheerful runabout it may be, but Citroen has at least made the effort to style the C1 in a way that makes it look appealing. The split-level headlights are a quirky touch, and there are a range of contrasting-colour trim options that let you personalise the car to your tastes. The same goes for the inside too, with a splash of colour making the interior feel positive and upbeat.
Check out the latest prices for used Citroen C1s on our sister site BuyaCar...
Kia Picanto - £10,995
With a third-placed finish in the 2019 Driver Power survey followed by confirmation as the best-ranked city car of 2020, it’s clear owners love their Kia Picantos. It’s easy to see why too as the small city car offers tremendous ride quality and a large kit list which belies its small proportions and cheap purchase price.
Top-spec GT-Line and GT-Line S versions of the Kia Picanto use a 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol engine with 99bhp, although everything below that is limited to a 1.0-litre engine that produces just 66bhp. Entry-level ‘1’ cars come with a manual gearbox only, although ‘2’ trim vehicles - the next model up - get the option of an automatic as well. The rest of the line-up consists of the ‘3’, ‘X-Line’, ‘X-Line S’, ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’, with the latter costing almost £16,000; far in excess of the sub £11,000 asking price of the standard car.
As is the case with most hatchbacks, the Picanto’s three-door option has been dropped so the more practical five-door bodystyle is all that’s available. With insurance groups starting from four for the base-model ‘1’ and cheap running costs, the Picanto should appeal to young drivers especially.
Check out the latest prices for used Kia Picantos on our sister site BuyaCar...
Renault Twizy - £11,685
Is the Renault Twizy a car? The tiny two-seater electric four-wheeler looks like a futuristic motor show design concept and officially it's classed as a heavy quadricycle, but you need a full driving licence to drive one. The entry-level Expression version is one of the cheapest cars on sale today with a price tag of £11,685.
The Renault Twizy is just 2.32 metres long, 1.19 metres wide and 1.46 metres high. Its quadricycle classification means it’s part-car, part-motorcycle, and it seats its passenger directly behind the driver. Although the sides are open to the elements, optional scissor doors and zip-on windows provide some protection. A 31-litre, lockable cubbyhole is designed to take a briefcase and serves as the ‘boot’. Despite all this, a Twizy is going to be completely impractical for most car buyers.
The Twizy is powered by a 17bhp electric motor that produces 57Nm of torque, ensuring silent but nippy performance around town and a modest top speed of 50mph. It can be fully charged in three and a half hours from a domestic power socket and provides up to 56 miles of emission-free driving.
Check out the latest prices for used Renault Twizys on our sister site BuyaCar...
Dacia Duster - £11,745
The off-road capabilities of the Dacia Duster are unrivalled at this price point, and you’d have to fork out thousands more to get the same go-anywhere ability from another new car. On the road, the Duster is easy to drive but not particularly engaging or refined due to its Mk1 Nissan Juke underpinnings - something that is forgivable given the car’s bias towards off-roading. The commanding driving position and light steering mean the Duster is simple to manoeuvre around town, too.
The cheapest ‘Access’ and mid-range ‘Essential’ models are only offered with two-wheel drive, although they’ll be significantly better than most hatchbacks when the going gets tough thanks to a high level of ground clearance and protective bumpers. The mid-spec ‘Comfort’ model can be had with two- or four-wheel drive, as can the ‘SE Twenty’ and ‘Prestige’ models.
With space for five adults and a large, 455-litre boot, the Duster rivals cars like the Nissan Qashqai for space. While the entry-level Access model doesn’t get much equipment, the Comfort model has a rear parking camera, cruise control, auto lights and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Despite being an SUV, the Duster is surprisingly efficient. The Access and Essential only come with a 1.0-litre petrol but it has a WLTP rating of 52.3mpg. The diesel found in the Comfort model is even more efficient, with a combined 64.0mpg in the two-wheel drive model and 62.5mpg in the 4x4 version.
Check out the latest prices for used Dacia Dusters on our sister site BuyaCar...
MG MG3 - £12,195
MG’s entry into the hatchback market is a decent offering, especially considering its size and generous equipment levels. The MG3 was first introduced in 2013 and it was refreshed in 2018 with exterior styling tweaks, an improved interior and updated infotainment system.
Underneath the facelift, the MG3 retained its 105bhp, 1.5-litre engine (the only engine available across the range) and five-speed manual. While this powertrain feels outdated and underpowered compared to more expensive rivals which utilise turbocharging, the agile chassis and lack of body roll mean the MG3 is good fun on a twisty road.
The MG3 offers more space than many more expensive city cars. There are clever storage areas such as a cubbyhole on the dashboard and large door bins, while rear legroom is decent and is helped by the MG3’s five-door only bodystyle.
Basic MG3 ‘Explore’ models come with Bluetooth, USB and aux inputs, all-round electric windows and LED daytime running lights. Go for a mid-range ‘Excite’ and you get an eight-inch colour touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, rear parking sensors and air conditioning. The most expensive ‘Exclusive’ versions get cruise control, sport front seats and a rear camera.