If you would rather buy a new car but have a limited budget, you'll want to look at the city car offerings from each manufacturer. While some companies are shifting to all-electric as governments try to push old-school engines out of your town centre, there is still quite a choice in this category. So what are some of the cheap cars available in 2021?
Most cars in this class are in their element around town and not so happy on the motorway. The Citroen will give you only 70 hp from its 1 L petrol engine, and you'll need to work it very hard if you head off on a long trip. It's nimble enough downtown, however, and relatively easy to park, but you'll need to deal with a stiff set up, vibration and quite a lot of on-board noise.
Don't expect too much interior technology, and you'll need to choose an upgraded version to get the digital radio and touchscreen. There is a reasonable amount of room inside for the average family, but a small boot.
Still, you will smile at the petrol pump and can expect around 50 mpg, while insurers place it in group 6. Look for an "on the road" starting price of £10,315.
Mazda offers you a little more for their entry-level product. You can choose between two naturally aspirated 1.5 L petrol engines with mild-hybrid technology. You can also choose an automatic gearbox in the more powerful of the two, although the manual 'box performs well.
The Mazda 2 is quite appealing from the outside, and you can choose between four different trims. You'll find that it drives nicely in both urban and rural environs.
The interior design features are spacious and comfortable with some leather accoutrements and expect more goodies as you trade up your trim level. As with others in the class, it's not really meant to seat four adults comfortably, and it's quite claustrophobic in the rear.
Fuel economy-wise, expect about 53 mpg, but you will need to pay more for insurance, with the entry-level model in group 13. The estimated "on the road" retail price, according to the manufacturer, is £16,240.
Some may say that the Fiat Panda is a miniature SUV masquerading as a city car and if you do need to spend some time off-road, you can even get a 4x4 version now. The floor pan comes from the iconic 500, and you can choose between two power units, with auto or manual 'box.
The Panda is not exactly aerodynamic, though, and this translates into wind noise and vibration. It's not as sprightly as some others in the class around town either.
On-board technology is relatively sparse by modern standards. While the Panda may look quite roomy from the outside in relation to others in the category, it doesn't translate too well in practical terms.
Nevertheless, you may get up to 50 mpg on average according to official stats, and this Fiat falls into insurance category six. The 1 L City Life version has a recommended price of £14,078.
The Volkswagen city car comes with electric motor or petrol engine and no less than seven different trims. It's available in three or five-door configuration, and there's even a turbocharged GTI for those who like some added performance.
At the bottom end, you'll find that this city car is, like most others in its class, happier around town than it is on the motorway. Nevertheless, the ride quality is good in most environments and if you want something more responsive, choose the sports suspension on higher-end models.
Prepare to be impressed on-board with good quality interior trim although the infotainment system may be a bit disappointing. Four adults will sit in comfort, and there is a height-adjustable floor in the boot to give you more storage options.
Take your pick when it comes to insurance. You'll be in group one at the entry-level, but with a GTI you'll be in group 10. Expect up to 55 mpg combined and a starting price of £12,705.
The Picanto proves that small city cars don't have to be ugly or boxy. It's quite sporty all-round as well and features a new chassis configuration as part of its third-generation.
Look for five different trim levels, all the way up to a very nicely equipped GT Line S. As you might expect, however, this starts to push that particular model outside the average definition of "cheap."
You'll get a 1 L engine at the entry-level, which is fine for shopping trips, but when you do get out onto those winding lanes, you'll find that Picanto is quite agile. It's also far quieter than many of the other cars in this category.
Infotainment options get better as you dial up the trim level and the interior is pleasant if not inspiring. You will have plenty of room and storage space upfront and more than average behind, with a sizeable boot.
Kia claims 59 mpg, and you'll find the entry-level model in your showroom for £10,995, with insurance group 5.
Cheap Car Leasing
Personal contract hire may be your gateway to ownership if you don't have the immediate funds to buy one of these cheap cars outright. You may need to place an initial deposit but can then choose your annual mileage goal and pay, per month, while you use the vehicle. Pricing does vary widely, of course, but you may be able to find one of these cheap cars for as low as £120 per month.
Cheap Car Insurance
If you are relatively young, insurance costs can be prohibitive. Ensure that you discuss your needs carefully with the dealer and remember that the lowest cost car in a model range is not necessarily the cheapest to insure. For example, the Grade "1" Kia Picanto is the most affordable buy in the range at £10,995, but it is in insurance group 5, while the Grade "2" model starts at £13,165, but is in insurance group one.