Best cars for less than a gym membership

Feeling flabby after Christmas and thinking of joining a gym? For the same monthly cost, you could drive away in a new car for the New Year

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Feb 25, 2020

So you've got through January, you've rested up after a tough Christmas break, and now it's time to get yourself moving again. You might be considering a gym membership to start the new decade the way you mean to carry on, but these can easily cost as much as £80 or even £120 per month. How about spending that money on a new car instead? You could dig out those trainers from the back of your wardrobe and head out for a run, and then come home for a drive on some shiny new wheels.

For less than a £80-£120 per month gym membership, you'd have more than enough to secure a wide range of cars on a PCP finance deal. That's the case even if you don't have the cash to put down a deposit with a number of the models below. Put down a deposit, meanwhile, and monthly payments tumble further.

There are various lifestyle changes you could make at zero cost (walking the dog, going jogging or taking up cycling are just a few) that could open the door to a new car, but you'll still be feeling good and fighting the flab. If this is the kind of life balance that you're looking for, you've come to the right place.

We’ve rounded up eight small cars that are cheap to insure, cost very little to run and could be yours for less than the cost of a gym membership. So if you're about to pull the trigger on a pricey monthly gym plan, but aren't sure you'll actually go, think again. You could ditch the gym and drive one of these cars and get fit without spending a penny more.

Best cheap cars on finance

1. Fiat 500

Used deals from £4,490
Monthly finance from £78

While your mates will be getting hot and sweaty at the gym - or more likely, lazing on the sofa and coming up with reasons not to go to the gym - you could be keeping cool in style in a Fiat 500, many of which come with air-conditioning. No small car is as fashionable as the 500, but looking good needn’t break the bank.

Monthly deals start from around £80 per month if you can find £500 for the deposit. Alternatively, if you’re feeling strapped for cash, you can choose to pay no deposit and have monthly payments from around £95 per month.

We’d recommend upgrading from the Pop to the Lounge trim, as this adds some must-have features, such as air-conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen media system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 15-inch alloy wheels.

FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen C1

Used deals from £4,199
Monthly finance from £84

The Citroen C1 might not be as fashionable as the Fiat 500, but because there are more for sale, there’s a greater selection of cars to choose from. You might also find that you get more for your money, with the option of five door models making this a better car for carrying several passengers.

In fact, you could get your top off for the cost of the cheapest gym membership. The Citroen C1 Airscape features a convertible fabric roof, so you’ll be ready for that fine spring weather that’s (hopefully) just around the corner.

Around £90 per month is enough for a five-door mid-specification Feel model with a deposit of £500. Even if you can't stretch to a deposit, you can get a C1 from around £100 per month, making it seriously affordable.

Citroen C1 buyers' guide

3. Peugeot 108

Used deals from £4,000
Monthly finance from £78

The Peugeot 108 is typically the cheapest car on the BuyaCar website, with monthly deals starting at less than £80 per month with a £500 deposit. More than this, there's plenty of choice, but be quick if you find one you like, as such affordable cars often get snapped up quickly.

The 108 shares a great deal in common with the Citroen C1 above, including a pair of efficient and frugal petrol engines. The 1.0-litre is fine around town, but soon runs out of puff on the motorway. For longer work outs on the motorway, we’d suggest the more muscular 1.2-litre version.

Even the basic Active trim boasts a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and air-conditioning, but the Allure adds image-friendly 15-inch alloy wheels and a host of tasty options to the mix. Be aware, though, that entry-level Access models don't come with much equipment, so you may want to spend a few pounds more every month on an Active model.

Peugeot 108 buyers' guide

4. Seat Mii

Used deals from £4,133
Monthly finance from £84

The Seat Mii is closely related to the Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo, but as it's less popular than these, used prices are often lower, making it super value. There are still plenty to choose from on the BuyaCar website and those low prices mean you could get a better specification Mii for your money.

Subjectively, it’s the best looking of the three, especially if you opt for the sporty FR Line or fashionable Mango trim levels, both of which are available for less than £120 per month. This monthly budget could also secure a Mii that’s still covered by Seat’s three-year new car warranty.

There’s a three-door version available, but your friends will thank you for buying a five-door Mii, as it’s much easier to get into the back. Once there, there's enough space for two adults. Prices start from less than £85 per month with a& £500 deposit for a Mii in the desirable Design trim.

Seat Mii buyers' guide

5. Dacia Sandero

Used deals from £4,398
Monthly finance from £75

It’s Britain’s cheapest car to buy new, which means the Dacia Sandero is also an inexpensive used car. Because it’s bigger than the average small car, there’s a sense that you’re getting more for your money – more space for passengers plus a larger boot for greater space for those January sales bargains.

Unless you enjoy the sound of your own voice or the feeling of sweaty armpits, you should avoid the Access trim, as this lacks a radio and air-conditioning. The petrol engines are best around town, while the efficient 1.5-litre diesel engine is the best choice if you have to travel long distances for work.

Low-mileage cars cost around £90 per month after a £500 deposit or nearer £100 per month with no deposit. The sensible Sandero might not make you a social media star, but the five seats and large boot might enhance your social life with plenty of space to invite friends along on your travels.

Dacia Sandero buyers' guide

6. Suzuki Celerio

Used deals from £4,499
Monthly finance from £88

When it was new, the Suzuki Celerio was one of the few cars that could rival the Dacia Sandero for its low price. Although it’s smaller than the Sandero, the Celerio could boast a more impressive list of equipment, with even the basic SZ2 trim featuring six airbags, electric front windows, a DAB digital radio and central locking.

The more lavish SZ3 and SZ4 add alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and a USB port to make them a more realistic ownership proposition. The Celerio is also more practical than many other city cars, with five-doors as standard and a large boot for your shopping.

Staying within the city limits is recommended, however, as the 1.0-litre petrol engine is a little lethargic out of town, but it’s nippy enough and should be economical. Prices start from around £90 per month with a deposit of £500. Ditch the deposit and you can get a Celerio for around £100 per month.

Suzuki Celerio buyers' guide

7. Vauxhall Corsa

Used deals from £4,480
Monthly finance from £84

There are thousands of Vauxhall Corsas for sale on the BuyaCar website, so grabbing a New Year bargain should be a piece of cake. At the time of writing, there are around 750 available for less than £150 per month.

Not that you need to spend that much to secure a decent used Corsa. Four-year-old cars start around £95 per month with a £500 deposit, some with less than 30,000 miles on the clock. All versions are well-equipped, while the 1.4-litre petrol engine is flexible enough to be as at home on the motorway as it is in the city.

Better still, opt for the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which offers the double-whammy of punchy performance and excellent fuel economy. With a relatively small premium to go for the 1.0-litre you may want to spend just a little more to get one of these models if you regularly drive on the motorway or want a car that feels a little faster from behind the wheel.

Vauxhall Corsa buyers' guide

8. Toyota Aygo

Used deals from £4,498
Monthly finance from £91

It’s not immediately obvious from the looks, but the Toyota Aygo is closely related to the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1. The daring styling divides opinion, but you’re guaranteed to stand out in Toyota’s smallest car.

For the Aygo, ‘X’ marks the spot, as not only does a large ‘X‘ grace the front end, it’s also used to prefix the wide choice of trim levels. The X-Play is the second trim in the range and it offers the best balance of price and equipment.

Prices start from around £90 per month after a £500 deposit. Alternatively, you could increase the monthly payments to around £100 per month and pay no deposit.

Toyota Aygo buyers' guide

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best three-year old cars

  2. Best petrol vans

  3. Cheap fast cars

What our customers say