Cheapest used cars to finance and run

Want a car that's cheap to finance and cheap to run, too? These used cars should cost peanuts to purchase, fuel, tax and insure

James Mills
May 11, 2022

Getting a car that's cheap to run is a great idea if you're short of income, but finding the money to pay for it in the first place can still be a problem. Thankfully, you don't have to invest your life savings into your next set of wheels. Forget about paying £30,000 for a brand new electric car or a £500 banger that would cost that much every month in repair bills. We've rounded up the best cars available for under £10,000 with rock-bottom running costs.

The criteria is simple: the cars should be available for less than £200 a month on a four-year PCP finance deal, they must be capable of more than 60mpg and they should meet the latest, and toughest, Euro 6 emission standard - meaning they're exempt from London's ULEZ emissions charge (a type of charge that's likely to become more common in cities across the country).

To make the grade, these cars must also be rated in insurance group 15 or below to ensure they won't break the bank when it comes to paying for cover and there must be low-mileage models available with less than 30,000 miles on the clock within budget, to ensure they should last for decades to come.

So not only are you getting a car with low finance costs, it should also prove cheap to run with low insurance, affordable tax premiums, and great fuel economy.

The good news is there is plenty of choice, with most cars on this list still being relatively new. Most are petrol models but some, including the Ford EcoSport and Kia ProCeed, offer diesel alternatives for high-mileage drivers who will benefit from these models' superior fuel economy.

The cheapest used cars to finance and run

1. Citroen C4 Cactus

Our pick Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech 75 Touch
Fuel economy 61.4mpg Insurance group 9E
Used deals from £6,991

Like to stand out from the crowd? You might like the Citroen C4 Cactus. This small SUV-style hatchback is set apart from practically everything else in the market, with its distinct 'Airbumps' protecting the doors from dings and prangs and those quirky eyebrow headlights.

Another quirk - aside from the Airbumps - is the deliberately minimalistic interior and low dashboard. There are precious few buttons, because a touchscreen takes care of most functions. The touchscreen can be a little distracting when driving, but it does create a very open and airy feel inside.

In terms of driving, the C4 Cactus offers a comfortable ride and reasonably sprightly performance from the 1.2-litre petrol engine. If you cover lots of miles and are happy to buy an older model, there are diesel versions that will fall within this price range, too, and should shrink your fuel bills.

CITROEN C4 CACTUS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Fiesta

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 100 Zetec
Fuel economy 60.1mpg Insurance group 10E
Used deals from £8,931

We rate the Ford Fiesta very highly - it's been one of the UK's best-selling cars for years and that's a well-deserved validation of just how good it is. It offers the best overall balance of practicality, enjoyment, and value for money within the supermini sector by some margin.

Because the Fiesta has been such a big seller for so long, there are thousands of them available on the used car market. So if you're looking for a used Fiesta, you should be able to find plenty in the colour and specification you're after - all for a competitive price.

It's available in three- and five-door formats, and has enough cabin space for four adults - or five if they’re prepared to get cosy - and the driving position is comfortable. The layout of the dashboard takes a little getting used to, as there are a lot of buttons, but the touchscreen media system is easy to use.

However, it's the Fiesta's responsive feel on the road that will really impress you. Pick one of the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines and you’ll enjoy every mile - it's satisfying to drive whether you love driving or simply want the most stress-free trip possible.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Ford EcoSport

Our pick Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi 100 Zetec
Fuel economy 67.3mpg Insurance group 9E
Used deals from £8,890

The Ford EcoSport is a small and affordable SUV, which means that it’s one of the few used SUVs to fall within this £200 per month budget. However, you could also consider the slightly pricier Citroen C3 Aircross, Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke if you have a little more cash to splash.

The plus points are that you get the raised driving position that makes SUVs so popular with drivers, the diesel engine is capable of returning more than 60mpg and there’s enough space for four adults to sit comfortably.

On the other hand, that diesel engine isn’t terribly powerful, with only 95hp, so the EcoSport feels more eco than sport on the road. Still, if you want a frugal and affordable runaround with that high driving position and 4x4-style looks, it’s worth considering.

FORD ECOSPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai i20

Our pick Hyundai i20 1.0 100 SE
Fuel economy 61.4mpg Insurance group 10E
Used deals from £6,695

A great car at a great price, with a great five-year warranty to boot; what’s not to like about the Hyundai i20? The Korean carmaker has come on in leaps and bounds over the past decade, creating cars that comfortably stand in comparison with the brands you’ll be familiar with – Ford, Peugeot and Toyota - even beating several of them.

It’s a worthy alternative to a Fiesta; comfy, pleasant to drive, well-equipped and strong value. It's the quality and equipment that may well see you lean towards the Hyundai. The smooth seven-inch touchscreen media system is easy to use, while top-end Premium SE models come fitted with the likes of a heated steering wheel and front and rear parking sensors.

A good engine at this price point is the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit, which offers just the right blend of fuel economy and get-up-and-go for drivers on a budget. It's not fun to drive in the way the Fiesta is, but it still offers a perfectly pleasant drive.

HYUNDAI I20 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia ProCeed

Our pick Kia Proceed 1.6 CRDi 136 '2'
Fuel economy 72.4mpg Insurance group 13
Used deals from £8,000

The Kia Ceed range has built itself a reputation as a reasonably priced alternative to such best-sellers as the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. Despite being a sensible option, low prices mean you can get this slightly sportier-looking three-door ProCeed model with a diesel engine, within the budget of £200 per month.

This Kia looks stylish, drives competently and the fuel economy of the diesel offers the potential for more than 70mpg with relaxed driving. There’s also a surprising amount of cabin space given the sleek proportions of the ProCeed's three-door body.

This model isn't to be confused with the 2018 Kia ProCeed, which resembles a sporty, coupe-like estate.

2012-2018 KIA C'EED BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Fiat 500

Our pick Fiat 500 0.9i TwinAir Pop Star
Fuel economy 74.3mpg Insurance group 11U
Used deals from £4,390

It is remarkable how well the Fiat 500 is ageing. This model is well over a decade old - yes it has received some updates along the way - but it still looks as cute as a button. The original city car, it manages the tightest of city streets with ease and looks the part while doing so - especially if you choose a used model with one of the many striking colour schemes or even a special-edition version.

Amazingly, it still provides enough space for four people, although it’s decidedly cosy in the back, and the dashboard has a retro look that adds a splash of colour, thanks to parts being painted the same colour as the bodywork. Just don’t expect much boot space; it’s tiddly.

One of the Fiat 500's weak points is the driving position, which isn’t to everyone’s liking. Secondly, there's the TwinAir petrol engine. This only has two cylinders - unlike the more normal four - and makes a characterful thrum. In reality, it's not the most economical, though, so you may find your economy falls short of what you hoped for, but if you don't cover many miles, it could be the perfect cheap-to-finance, cheap-to-run small car.

FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Skoda Citigo

Our pick Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI 75 SE L
Fuel economy 64.2mpg Insurance group 3E
Used deals from £5,245

The Citigo, as its name suggests, makes an ideal car for knocking about town. It feels small and nimble in traffic and easy to park, yet there’s enough space in the cabin and boot for a shopping trip with family or friends.

It’s essentially the same car as the VW Up and Seat Mii, but one key difference is that Skoda dealers are widely praised by customers and prices for the Citigo are slightly lower than for the Up.

The pair of three-cylinder petrol engines aren’t exactly powerful, but they have a characterful sound and the fuel economy is respectable. Our pick would have to be the higher-powered of the two, as it makes the most of the Citigo's good refinement levels on faster main roads.

SKODA CITIGO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo front three quarters view

Our pick 1.0 MPI 60 Match
Fuel economy 60.1mpg Insurance group 5E
Used deals from £10,500

If you like to make sensible choices in life then a used Volkswagen Polo is the sensible option on this list. For less than £200 per month, the latest-generation model is within reach, and it is one of the best cars in its class.

It feels robust as soon as you open the door, seems well made once you settle inside and there is a pleasing clarity to the way all the controls are placed. Even the touchscreen media system is one of the most intuitive to use.

With a spacious interior, reasonably sized boot and impressive levels of refinement, it is one of the more practical superminis. Just as impressive, is its ability to soak up miles over a longer journey. Pick one of the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines and you’ll have more than enough oomph to tackle every type of journey.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

Read more about:

Latest advice

  1. Free electric car charging and where to find it

  2. Car leasing with maintenance

  3. What is E10 fuel and can my car use it?