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What are the UK's cheapest cars? Top 10 sub-£18k superminis

Cheapest cars
Cheapest cars

The cheapest new cars even just a couple of decades ago would have been sub-par, uneconomical and unreliable.

In 2024, however, even the cheapest come from manufacturers with a proven track record, dealerships up and down the country and a decent warranty, while the best cheap cars themselves are genuinely brilliant.

The values of cars both new and used have been newsworthy in recent times because of their episodic increases and decreases.

Used electric car prices are rock-bottom, while the RRP of new cars skyrockets. The now off-sale Ford Fiesta increased in list price by £10,000 from 2013 to 2023, for instance.

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If you haven't looked at new car prices for more than a decade, you may be surprised. Nevertheless, these are the very cheapest new cars on sale, ordered by their list prices.

Cheapest new cars

1. Kia Picanto - £13,695

The cheapest new car on sale is the Kia Picanto and not, in fact, the Dacia Sandero. The Picanto is Kia’s smallest car and competes with other city cars, such as the Toyota Aygo X and Hyundai i10 (found further down this list).

There’s only one choice of engine - a 1.0-litre non-turbocharged unit - meaning it’s among the cheapest cars to insure as well as to buy. A sub one-tonne kerb weight makes it a featherweight compared with other new cars, but with a mere 66bhp on tap it is still pretty slow. The 0-60mph run takes around 15sec with the manual or more than 16sec with the automated manual frustratingly stirring away for you.

Your £13,695 will buy you a model in 1 spec, which means four seats and no niceties such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But the Picanto does at least come with Kia’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Read our Kia Picanto review

2. Dacia Sandero - £13,795

There’s only £100 in it, but Dacia’s big-seller (the second best-selling car in Europe for 2023) is no longer the cheapest car in the UK.

It's still cracking value, though, because it’s a fully fledged supermini, complete with seating for five and a 328-litre boot, offering the same kind of space as a Skoda Fabia.

It’s surprisingly fun, too. There’s comparatively little body roll and it really flows across a road. It’s not quite class-leading in terms of fun, but for the price, little can beat it.

Base-spec cars come with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine or LPG for eco warriors on a shoestring. The gearbox may be a tad clunky, but the brakes bite well, even in the wet.

Read our Dacia Sandero review

3. Citroën C3 - £13,995

This end of the market is typically not where flair tends to live. But the C3 drops a dollop of verve on to this list with its recognisably Citroën nose, Airbumps dashed across the side and a 'floating' roof design – a touch borrowed from much larger and more expensive SUVs.

There are two engines to choose from. Top choice is the 108bhp 1.2-litre petrol. A sub-10sec 0-62mph time means it's one of the faster cars on this list, ultimately making it a bit more suited to motorway schleps.

The cheapest C3 is an online-only model called the You, which comes only with the slower 83bhp 1.2-litre engine.

The ultra-soft, ultra-long suspension is really well suited to low speeds, hopping over sleeping policemen with ease, and the deep, soft seats make it one of the most comfortable cars at this price range.

Read our Citroen C3 review

4. MG 3 - £14,320

Before you go running off to your local MG dealership, we should warn you that a new MG 3 is en route. This means you can either wait until the new version comes out or use that as a bit of a bargaining chip.

This MG 3 is cheap for a reason. There’s only one engine choice: a 105bhp 1.5-litre four. It doesn't look too bad on paper, but it feels slow on the road, because you need to rev it past 4500rpm to get the best out of it – and that doesn't bring with it the aural rush of a B18 VTEC.

The interior looks dated compared with rivals', but there are at least physical dials to adjust the heating with. Practicality is on par with the Ford Fiesta, too.

MG's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty is among the best in class.

Read out MG 3 review

5. Fiat Panda - £14,740

The Panda is pure utilitarian chic. From its simplistic interior to its blocky design, it screams practicality and usefulness. It's especially popular in Italy, because of its value for money and robustness.

In the UK, you will do well to find one on a 23 plate, as we Brits tend to prefer more upmarket cars and tend to think more short-term about them than the Italians.

Which is where the Panda falls down. On finance deals, there are larger, more grown-up cars out there for the price. The fact that it scored a zero for safety from Euro NCAP makes it hard to recommend, too.

Read our Fiat Panda review

6. Dacia Sandero Stepway - £15,295

The Sandero Stepway is an easy thing to grasp conceptually when you see the best-selling cars lists. Europeans love an SUV and the Stepway adds raised suspension, bigger bumpers and roof rails to the regular Sandero in order to make it more rugged-looking – a bit like when a Londoner straps on a set of walking boots for a meander around Hyde Park.

Like the regular Sandero, the Stepway is an ergonomic joy. Dead ahead from the driving seat are a set of clear dials, while a simple touchscreen flanks it to the left. Heating controls are physical dials - huzzah.

The Essential trim level lacks phone mirroring but does at least get you a phone holder. As with the regular Sandero, you can choose LPG compatibility for no extra cost.

Read our Dacia Sandero Stepway review

7. Hyundai i10 - £15,420

The i10 is a good old-fashioned city car -  a class that many manufacturers are deserting. The good news is that the i10 is wonderful should you want something that is cheap to run and easy to park.

Better yet, the interior is as well-made as cars from the class above. Other, larger cars on this list feel a bit tinny inside, but the little Hyundai borrows bits from posher models in the range. Even bottom spec Advance trim level comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s mechanically identical to the Kia Picanto at the top of this list, right down to the duff automated manual transmission.

Read our Hyundai i10 review

8. Toyota Aygo X - £16,130

The city car formerly known as the Aygo has grown up: the suffix X has theoretically turned the city car into a baby SUV.

In reality, it’s a larger car than the old Aygo but still a tiddler, despite sharing its platform with the Toyota Yaris. This means there’s enough room in the back for adults and the boot, at 231 litres, is a decent enough in size.

The ride, comfort and isolation are on par with those of a supermini – as is motorway stability. And the interior is light and airy.

Acceleration, however, is not a strong point. Against our stopwatch, it clocked a 0-62mph time of 16.7sec. The 1.0-litre 71bhp three pot is severely lacking in torque and feels treacle-like up until 6500rpm.

Read our Toyota Aygo X review

9. Fiat 500 - £16,790

A car so popular it spawned its own subgenre of Twitter. The Fiat 500, like the Panda with which it shares mechanicals, is utilitarian in that it's small and simple. But unlike the Panda, the 500 is also chic, charming and customisable. It's shamelessly aimed at and advertised to young people - and if you’re sold on the looks, it’s a sensible buy, because parts are cheap and it’s elegantly easy to drive.

From new, there’s only one engine on offer: a 1.0-litre mild hybrid. If we can compare the different types of hybrids to curry, where the PHEV Mercedes-AMG SL 63 is a jalfrezi, the 500 is a korma, as its 69bhp offers very little in the way of pace, pizzazz or speed.

10. Suzuki Swift - £17,199

Suzuki is famed for longevity, real-world MPG and finance offers. If you don’t particularly care for German badges or the last word in refinement, the Swift is an undercover gem.

It may be the most expensive car on this list, but its standard equipment levels make it good value for money. The cheapest model gets alloy wheels, air-con, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ergonomically it’s spot on too, with easy to use heating controls and a manual gearbox that works with a reassuringly firm feedback. Steering wheel reach adjustment doesn’t feature in bottom-wrung cars, however.

There’s only one engine option: a 1.2-litre atmo. You need to rev it to get the most out of it, and the five-speed gearbox means it’s not all that well suited to motorway cruises. Top trim levels can be optioned with a CVT.

Beat in mind that, as with the MG 3, an all-new model will be here soon.

Read our Suzuki Swift review

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