Whether you're looking for a more fuel-efficient motor or just want to upgrade to something a little more modern, value for money should be a priority when buying a 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.
A comfortable, performance-driven drive that doesn't cost the earth, the Renault Clio is renowned for offering exceptional comfort, incredible efficiency, state-of-the-art technology and high-quality interiors.
One of the best in its class, this budget vehicle offers great value, from its excellent safety and low running costs, right through its spacious cabin and outstanding efficiency, this fuel-efficient car is an excellent choice for those looking for optimum road handling on a budget.
Equipped with everything you need to get from A to B in optimum comfort and style, this impressive vehicle certainly stands out from the pack when it comes to embracing the latest technology. Depending on the car's spec, some Clio's will boast a 9.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a digital instrument panel fitted in some trim levels.
The Polo has long been regarded as a shining example of a well-rounded supermini, and its latest iterations continue to strike the perfect balance between sophistication and practicality. With its sleek and sophisticated design, the Polo has an air of elegance that you wouldn't expect given its budget-friendly status. Whether you're navigating city streets or cruising on the highway, the Polo delivers a refined driving experience with responsive handling and a smooth ride.
Under the hood, a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines ensures that the Polo not only saves you money at the pump but also offers plenty of power for a variety of driving needs. With its blend of style, practicality, and driving enjoyment, the Volkswagen Polo remains a compelling choice for budget-conscious buyers who refuse to compromise on quality.
You can't get much better than the Peugeot 208 when it comes to fuel economy, performance and exceptional road handling. This impressive vehicle also proves that budget cars are a force to be reckoned with, offering spacious design, outstanding technology, and incredible efficiency.
With electric, petrol, or diesel engine choices, this attractive, budget-friendly vehicle offers motorists an incredible amount of flexibility, allowing them to choose a car that complements their lifestyle.
Bringing together bold design and technology, the Peugeot 208 is also a great option for those new to the roads.
With a rich and lengthy history, the Vauxhall 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 Fiat 500 is the ultimate budget-friendly vehicle, perfectly equipped to take on any urban landscape so you can travel from A to B in style and comfort!
Compact, without compromising on comfort, this fashion-forward vehicle boasts a retro design that has become iconic on the road. With its distinguishable colourful trims and bold seat fabrics, with the option to personalise your car, the Fiat 500 never goes unnoticed.
And this car won't let you down when it comes to technology. Inside, you'll find some Fiat 500's touchscreen infotainment system for entertainment on every journey.
The Aygo is a lively and affordable urban cruiser, a compact car that adds a dash of fun to your daily drives without draining your bank account. This charismatic city car boasts a distinctive and quirky design that sets it apart from the crowd. Its compact size and agile handling make it a breeze to drive through congested city streets and park in tight spots.
The Aygo's fuel-efficient 1.0L petrol engine ensures that you'll spend less time at the fuel pump and more time enjoying the ride. Inside, the Aygo surprises with a surprisingly spacious and well-designed interior, offering modern features like a touchscreen infotainment system and smartphone connectivity. With its friendly price point, impressive fuel efficiency, and playful personality, the Toyota Aygo is a fantastic option for urban dwellers seeking a budget-friendly and enjoyable driving experience.
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 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 1.0L engine. There are few vehicles out that offer the kind of quality and value that the Fiesta brings to the table.
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.
The South Korean maker's reputation for producing well-built, reasonably priced cars is growing with every release and the Hyundai 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.
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 theCitigo. 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.
Buying your next car at Carbase
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.
FAQs on choosing a budget car
What to consider when choosing a budget car?
When it comes to choosing a budget-friendly car, you should take into consideration the following factors:
- Income - as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn't spend more than 10% of your salary on your car
- Fuel efficiency
- Taxes and fees
- Car insurance premiums
- Maintenance fees.
What makes a car cheap to run?
Fuel economy has a huge impact on how cheap a car is to run. A car's fuel economy comes down to the type of fuel required and the vehicle's MPG, or miles per gallon. It's important that you choose a car that suits your needs.
How much should you budget for a car?
You should aim to spend no more than 10% of your annual salary when buying a car. This rule applies to both cash and finance purchases.
What makes a good first car?
When looking for a good first car, you should always keep your eyes peeled for a model that is cost-effective and cheap to run.
Look for cars with good fuel mileage, as well as those that are easy to service and cost-effective to insure.