4 Budget cars that won't break the bank
Whether you're looking to combat rising fuel prices by downsizing or just want to upgrade to something a little more modern, value for money should be a priority when buying car.
Thankfully, not all models will cause irreparable damage to your bank account. In no particular order, here are a few of the best and most interesting options from the budget end of the market...
Hyundai is another brand making some real progress in the automotive industry. The South Korean maker's reputation for producing well-built, reasonably priced cars is growing with every release. The i10, however, is perhaps the company's biggest step forward yet. This popular supermini will appeal to anyone who is looking for great value without compromising on build quality or refinement.
Buyers have two petrol engines to choose from with the i10 - the 1.0L produces 65bhp while the four-cylinder 1.2L offering has a more motorway-friendly output of 86bhp. Fuel efficiency is a big selling point too, with the basic i10 capable of achieving 60.1 mpg.
With a rich and lengthy history, the Corsa is a hugely popular vehicle in the UK - for good reason, too. With a very reasonable price tag, you get an awful lot of car for your money. The highly refined cabin of even the most basic model is littered with handy gadgets, while 16-inch alloy wheels add to this already-attractive vehicle's aesthetic value.
While its fuel efficiency doesn't quite match up to some of the budget market's smallest offerings, balance is restored with the help of some extra space - you certainly won't struggle to fit four adults inside, for instance. The range's low-end models come with nippy 1.0L petrol engines, although 1.2i and 1.3 diesel engines are also available for extra power and efficiency respectively. The Corsa is a great hit and the facelift due before the end of the year should help keep secondhand prices very reasonable.
Skoda has enjoyed something of a resurgence over the last decade - the Czech Republic-based manufacturer has managed to enhance its reputation with the help of some fantastic releases. The latest in this long line of well-made, wallet-friendly models is the Citigo. Using many of the same parts as its slightly more upmarket cousin, Volkswagen's Up, this supermini offers plenty of quality for very little money. A slick gearbox and responsive handling make it great for the city too, where it's possible to achieve more than 68mpg.
For those who'll be making regular use of the back seats, there is a five-door version of the Citigo available, and although 1.0L engines are present across the range, you'll find a little extra power in the 74bhp version - perfect for motorways and hills.
Ford started making the Fiesta in the middle of the 1970s and it's been topping 'bestseller' lists ever since. It has consistently beaten its closest rivals - namely Vauxhall's Corsa and the Volkswagen Polo - in terms of value for money and the current versions are no exceptions. Even the most basic model of the range still offers plenty of quality, with a fantastically refined cabin and a nippy yet economical 1.0 engine.
For those who are looking to keep running costs down to a minimum, it may well be worth splashing out on the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, which is capable of achieving a staggering 86mpg. For power, though, the ST is the best option, although the privilege of having a 1.6 turbocharged engine does come at a price - almost double that of the standard model in fact.
Overall though, there are few vehicles out this year which offer the kind of quality and value that the Fiesta brings to the table. With such a rich history too, it really is difficult to go wrong.
Breaking the bank doesn't have to be part of buying a car - the budget end of the used car market has plenty to offer for frugal motorists. There are also numerous finance packages to consider, meaning those shiny new wheels of your dreams may not be out of reach after all.