Best new cars for under £400 per month

Got some cash to splash on a new set of wheels? These are the best new cars for under £400 per month

Best new cars for under £400 per month - header

The vast majority of new cars these days are bought on finance, with buyers entering into Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreements to spread the cost over several years. This means people have many more options in terms of cars that they can afford.

If you’ve got a decent amount of money available to put towards a deposit and £400 a month to chip in thereafter, the possibilities are almost endless. Depending on your needs, you could end up with a plush yet practical SUV or one of the best hot hatches on the market right now.

The seven-seat Kia Sorento, the BMW 3 Series Touring, the Toyota RAV4; these are all cars that can be acquired in this price bracket. Even the superbly comfortable Mercedes E-Class is available here.

And if you’re in need of more b-road thrills, then the Ford Focus ST - easily in the top ten hot hatches on sale right now - is within reach too. Your options really are that varied.

To help you on your way, we’ve compiled the following list of the best cars available for under £400 per month. As always, the devil is in the detail…

Best new cars for under £400 per month

Ford Focus ST - £375 per month

  • Model: Ford Focus ST 2.3L EcoBoost
  • List price: £33,260
  • Deposit: £6,000 (£0 contribution)
  • Monthly payments: £375.49
  • Number of payments: 36
  • APR: 2.9 per cent
  • Optional final payment: £15,601
  • Total to pay by customer if returning: £19,527.59
  • Total to pay by customer if buying: £35,138.59

For our money, the Ford Focus ST is second only to the Honda Civic Type R in the best hot hatch charts right now, earning a commendation at the Auto Express New Car Awards 2020. Alongside the diesel engine option is the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol unit found in the Ford Mustang: it produces 276bhp and 420Nm of torque, propelling the Focus ST from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds.

But it’s in corners where the ST really shines, using its excellent chassis to navigate quick turns at a blistering pace, aided by the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and the aggressively-set dampers available on the £250 Performance Pack.

It’s genuinely usable every day too, with plenty of space inside and a decent-sized boot for all your bits and bobs. Just watch out for the firm ride, which might not suit you on long-distance drives.

Check the latest prices for used Ford Focus models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Kia Sorento - £387 per month

  • Model: Kia Sorento 2.2 Diesel Automatic
  • List price: £41,245
  • Deposit: £10,000 (£1,500 contribution)
  • Monthly payments: £387.55
  • Number of payments: 37
  • APR: 4.9 per cent
  • Optional final payment: £19,440
  • Total to pay by customer if returning: £25,451.80
  • Total to pay by customer if buying: £44,891.80

Let’s get one thing out of the way: if you want to get the latest Kia Sorento for less than £400 per month, you have to come up with a whacking great deposit of £10,000. That’s a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but once you’ve overcome that hurdle you’re left with a car that only narrowly missed out on our Large SUV of the Year prize for 2020.

Don’t be fooled though, just because the Sorento finished second best doesn’t mean it isn’t exceptionally capable: it’s a seven-seater that will accommodate adults (just) in the third row, while boot space measures over 800 litres with those rearmost seats folded down. The ride is comfortable, body roll is well controlled and it’s packed with tech, such as self-parking, adaptive cruise control, speed-limit recognition and more.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine produces 199bhp and 440Nm of torque, and it’s impressively hushed on the move. Fuel economy above 40mpg is commendable for a car this size, too.

Check the latest prices for used Kia Sorento models on our sister site BuyaCar...

BMW 3 Series Touring - £393 per month

  • Model: BMW 320i M Sport Touring
  • List price: £38,610
  • Deposit: £6,000 (£2,195.18 contribution)
  • Monthly payments: £393.10
  • Number of payments: 47
  • APR: 2.9 per cent
  • Optional final payment: £14,526.20
  • Total to pay by customer if returning: £26,670.88
  • Total to pay by customer if buying: £41,197.08

The BMW 3 Series has always been a strong car, so it should come as no surprise that the estate, ‘Touring’ version is just as good. Although no longer than the saloon, the Touring’s taller roofline boosts boot space enormously, with 1,510 litres available with the rear seats folded down. Buyers can even choose tailgate glass that opens independently; a handy feature in tight car parks.

There are various diesels and petrols to choose from, with the 320i selected here hitting 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds thanks to its output of 182bhp. It’ll do 44.8mpg on paper too, with CO2 emissions rated at 147g/km.

With fuel efficiency in mind it should be fairly cheap to run, and on the road the 3 Series Touring is refined and comfortable. 60 per cent of buyers choose M Sport trim, as it adds a larger, 10.25-inch touchscreen and digital dials to the standard reversing camera and three-zone climate control.

Check the latest prices for used BMW 3 Series models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Toyota RAV4 - £397 per month

  • Model: Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid Design
  • List price: £32,645
  • Deposit: £3,265 (£0 contribution)
  • Monthly payments: £397.82
  • Number of payments: 35
  • APR: 1.9 per cent
  • Optional final payment: £16,762.50
  • Total to pay by customer if returning: £17,188.70
  • Total to pay by customer if buying: £33,951.20

Toyota makes some of the most efficient cars in the world, and the RAV4 is another that uses hybrid technology to maximum effect. According to the official figures it’s sole petrol-electric, 2.5-litre engine should register between 48.7-50.4mpg in front-wheel drive form, although we’ve seen it exceed this estimate in real-world driving.

As well as keeping fuel bills to a minimum, the RAV4 is built to a high-standard and very practical as mid-size SUVs go, making it suitable for small families. Go for the Design trim and you’ll get the option of four-wheel drive as well as an integrated sat-nav, keyless entry, an electric tailgate and front parking sensors on top of the standard rear parking sensors and camera and automatic headlights.

There are flaws of course: the CVT gearbox won’t suit everyone and the infotainment system is far from class leading. But on the whole the RAV impresses.

Check the latest prices for used Toyota RAV4 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Mercedes E-Class - £399 per month

  • Model: Mercedes E-Class 220 d AMG Line
  • List price: £32,065.62
  • Deposit: £2,802.82 (£0 contribution)
  • Monthly payments: £399
  • Number of payments: 48
  • APR: 3.9 per cent
  • Optional final payment: £13,400
  • Total to pay by customer if returning: £21,954.82
  • Total to pay by customer if buying: £35,364.82

The Mercedes E-Class is our Executive Car of the Year 2020 for good reason: it majors in interior space, passenger comfort and performance, blending all of those traits together with the sense of luxury that you’d associate with the Mercedes badge.

The German manufacturer’s MBUX infotainment system uses a pair of 12.3-inch screens as part of its infotainment set-up, with sharp graphics and augmented reality tech giving the car a cutting-edge feel. There are semi-autonomous driver aids too which enhance safety, especially on long trips.

The E 220d diesel is the way to go with the E-Class, as it offers the best combination of performance (0-62mph takes 7.3 seconds owing to 191bhp and 400Nm of torque) and efficiency (53.3mpg). As you’d expect it’s refined too, so engine noise doesn’t intrude into the cabin too much.

Check the latest prices for used Mercedes E-Class models on our sister site BuyaCar...

More of the best new car deals

On the hunt for more car deals? Check out our full round-up of the best car deals on offer right now!

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