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Are Conventional City Cars a Dying Breed? Exploring Cheap Cars for Sale Today

Don't expect cheap petrol or diesel city cars to be around forever, as city planners and politicians slowly push the automakers into a corner. One day soon you may only be allowed to drive your all-electric vehicle in a purely urban environment, but until then, you can still find some relatively cheap cars for sale in the UK's new vehicle marketplace. What are some of the latest offerings from those leading car companies today?

Peugeot 108

Car manufacturers are very good at performing an automotive sleight of hand, and will often share the same basic equipment or platforms. They will then come up with various offerings to try and attract as many consumers as possible while keeping costs down back at base. The Peugeot 108 is an example of this, as it shares the same underpinnings as the Toyota Aygo and the Citroen C1, even though you'd be hard-pressed to see the similarity. 

While those other manufacturers may go their own separate way when it comes to dressing the basic equipment, Peugeot's offering is quite clear. You'll need to make do with the same powertrain (1 L petrol engine with five-speed manual gearbox), but you can choose a three-door, a five-door or an open-top variant.

You can tell that this vehicle is happiest in town with only average powertrain performance on the open road. However, handling is decent in general and quite satisfying on those twisty lanes.

Don't expect too much interior space in the back, while the decor and infotainment offerings improve as you move up through the different trim levels.

If you're looking to buy cheap cars in the UK today, Peugeot 108 sells from £12,785.

Dacia Sandero

With Dacia, the cost is always the headline. £7,995 should get you the base model from Sandero, but this is no bargain-basement vehicle either. In fact, motoring journalists over at WhatCar recently voted this subcompact the Car of the Year for 2021.

As mentioned, carmakers these days love to share and here, that can be a good thing. The new generation Sandero now sports a Renault floorpan, and designers have spruced up the appearance as part of the relaunch.

Dacia intends to impress with its engine range too. You can pick a 1 L petrol engine that's either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. You can also choose a more powerful "biofuel" version that they've designed to run on LPG. If you can get your hands on that fuel source in your area, then you can fill up at half the price and expect stellar mileage. However, this particular version is about £1,000 more expensive than the base car. 

On the road, Sandero handles and rides quite well, although it may be a little noisy inside. Onboard, don't expect too many bells and whistles if you buy the entry-level model, but offerings improve as you move up. However, this vehicle may be a class leader when it comes to front and rear space and boot capacity.

Hyundai i10

The designers at Hyundai love that slick, sporty look and the i10 is no exception. The latest version of this city car features several technological improvements, and there are now three different trim levels to tempt you.

If you choose entry-level, you'll get a basic 1 L engine, but as this a city car, of course, it'll perform best in short bursts. Nevertheless, you can choose a turbo engine that turns out about 100 hp for a couple of thousand pounds more than the £12,820 entry price.

If you love to personalise, you'll be happy here with a variety of different exterior paint colours and accent options. They've equipped the car well at all trim levels, but if you're looking for sporty, the N-Line will fit the bill nicely.

Expect plenty of interior room with realistic room for up to 5 adults and an acceptable boot.

MG 3

in days of yore, MG could hold its head up high in the British automotive market. If you are of that particular age, you may remember the iconic MGB GT as one example or the original Metro, the ultimate city car of its day. Fast forward, however, and MG is still around, albeit under Chinese ownership. It is still turning out cheap cars for sale, though, with the MG 3 for your consideration.

Don't expect an extensive range of options, with a single 1.5 L petrol engine and manual gearbox on sale. Performance is average compared to the rest of the class, but the 3 handles well enough all-round.

Inside, you'll get a touchscreen infotainment system on all but the entry-level variant and above-average room for your adults-only outing.

You can buy the MG 3 for £12,195 on the road.

Toyota Aygo

Down below, the Aygo is basically the same as the Peugeot 108 or Citroen C1, as previously mentioned. But Toyota certainly knows how to stand out, and you won't mistake this funky city car for any other competitor.

While you will have to make do with the three-cylinder 1 L petrol engine and a five-door body shell, you can go to town when it comes to colour combinations or trim levels.

Once again, you may not want to buy this town car if you intend to spend a lot of time on the open road. Still, it's perfectly happy in the city and handling is okay at low speeds.

Toyota does shine when it comes to onboard goodies, and each variant has touchscreen infotainment and four-speaker system, with several nice upgrades available.

You may not be so happy if you try to pack a group of adult friends into the Aygo, however, and there is not a lot of room in the boot either. It's one of the more expensive cars in its class as well, with an on the road price starting at £14,105.

In Closing

While you look for a cheap car to run around your town, remember that planners in some of the bigger cities now insist on a congestion toll. It's best if you look for something with low emissions going forward.