Sub £5k - Fiat Panda

Maximise your budget with Hyundai or Fiat – two of the cheapest cars on sale in the UK

A former Auto Express Car of the Year, the Panda is one of the biggest new car bargains – even though it’s six years old.

Use the Scrappage Scheme discount, and an entry-level 1.1-litre Active Eco can be yours for £4,995. It doesn’t come as generously equipped as the i10 – there’s no remote central locking, air-con, split-folding rear seats or aux-in socket, for example – but it still has plenty of charm. The Active Eco features colour-coded bumpers, and the boxy but well proportioned shape still has a classless style.

Inside, the cabin hasn’t changed over the past six years, but the high-mounted audio controls and chunky buttons ensure it’s easy to live with. The lofty roof and large doors make access to the interior a breeze, too, and given its size there’s an adequate amount of space. The boot is small, though, and the one-piece rear bench limits flexibility. It’s on the road where you see why the Panda won so much acclaim at launch. Put simply, it’s brilliant fun to drive – the light controls and great all-round visibility make it perfect for city streets.

The supple ride irons out bumps, and on faster roads the handling raises a smile. Only artificial steering lets it down. There’s a reasonable amount of roll in bends, but the Panda turns in with confidence, and delivers impressive grip despite its skinny tyres. Adding to the fun is the gearlever, which is mounted high, in a perfect position, and has a light action.

The tiny 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine produces only 54bhp, so acceleration is leisurely, but a low kerbweight ensures the Fiat feels nippy. More importantly, it emits only 119g/km of CO2 – meaning cheap road tax – and returns a superb 56mpg. Plus, it sits in the lowest insurance group, so in terms of costs, it’s a tempting Scrappage choice.


Price: £7,095/£4,995WHY: Former car of the year for less than £5k




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