A budget of £10,000 is not going to secure you an Aston Martin or Ferrari, but it can buy you a glorious new family car that’s reliable, practical and fun. Thankfully, there are plenty of cheap new cars that fit this bill. We’ve scoured our immense database, pored over the specs, analysed our reviews and can bring you our definitive guide to the best new cars that cost less than £10,000.
1. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta first rolled off the production line in 1976 and has been the UK’s best-selling car on many occasions since. The Fiesta looks great in its latest guise and comes equipped with a number of mod cons as standard including a USB-equipped radio/CD player, heated door mirrors and hill start assist to stop you rolling backwards into people due to dodgy clutch control.
A budget of £10,000 only gives you the option of the three-door 1.25 60PS Studio version and not the impressively frugal EcoBoost engines. However a bit of haggling should get you a couple of useful extras thrown in like reverse parking sensors (£400) or the impressive Ford SYNC infotainment system (£300).
Our full Ford Fiesta 2014 review
2. VW Polo
If the VW Up is just a bit too small for you, the Polo is a viable alternative provided you can bribe your local dealer to knock off £500 (hike your skirt up and give him a wink). The insanely frugal Bluemotion version is off the cards (£15,000 an up gets you that privilege) but the 60PS 1.2-litre petrol is adequate on a daily basis for all but lengthy motorway journeys
The VW Polo is one of the few cars here that offers a DAB digital radio as standard. It also has a six-speaker sound system and radio/CD player, isofix preparation for baby seats and head restraints that should reduce the chances of whiplash.
The VW Polo is pricey compared with its competitors but you do get a lot of car for the money and it should retain its value reasonably well.
Read our VW Polo review
3. VW Up / Skoda Citigo / Seat Mii
The VW Up, Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii all share the same underlying platform and mechanics but there are a few key differences between them. At the entry level, each car comes with a 60PS 1.0-litre petrol engine and a number of standard features including a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, daytime running lights and heat-insulating tinted glass. If you’re willing to pay a small amount above the£10,000 budget cap, you can jump up a trim level or two to get extras like a slightly more powerful engine. Our pick of the highly capable bunch would be the Citigo. We can’t think of any real reason to buy the VW Up or Seat Mii over the Skoda, but whichever you choose you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
VW Up from £8,095; Skoda Citigo from ￡7,720; Seat Mii from ￡7,925
Read our Up vs Citigo vs Mii triple test
4. Seat Ibiza Sport Coupe
Seat’s Ibiza Sport Coupe, or SC for short, is another stylish option worthy of consideration. In its Toca trim level the options are pretty generous and it comes with a 1.4-litre 85PS engine capable of 60.1mpg. The CD player is compatible with MP3 CDs, you get six speakers instead of the usual two, air conditioning, lots of airbags and a trip computer. There’s even speed-sensitive power steering to make parking less of a chore. Rear visibility is far from great and the Fiesta is a superior choice but the Ibiza SC is a good alternative if you are sold on its looks.
5. Hyundai i10 / Kia Rio
The Kia Rio and the Hyundai i10 offer cheap and cheerful motoring. Both cars are almost identical but for minor styling tweaks, badges and pricing, which means they share a reasonably large boot, an efficient petrol engine and sizable warranties for peace of mind.
At this price point you’ll only have the choice of the bottom of the range Rio ‘1’ 84bhp 5-speed manual model in either a three of five-door flavour, whereas all the Hyundai’s trim levels – Classic, Blue, Active and Style – all sneak in under our budget, giving you slightly more choice as to what extras you want to include or omit.
Kia Rio from ￡9,245; Hyundai i10 from ￡8,345
6. Dacia Sandero
Dacia (pronounced -Dah-chee-ah) is on a quest to win over British hearts with cheap cars, the latest of which is the Sandero. When we say ‘cheap’, we mean it — at the time of writing, the Sandero is the UK’s most affordable new car, costing £5,995.
In its most basic form, the Sandero’s interior is a barren place and the standard features list consists mainly of tumbleweed, daytime running lights, four airbags and tinted windows. However, with all the extra money you have spare, you can choose to spec the very frugal 74.3mpg dCi diesel engine, a protection Pack that includes rear parking sensors and the 7-inch MediaNav touchscreen infotainment system (£250).
It’s by no means the most exciting car but that incredibly low price tag and standard three year warranty make the Sandero a worthy contender. Just make sure you opt for the mid-level Ambiance model for the best value for money.
7. Skoda Fabia
Forget the stereotypes, the Fabia is a brilliant little car. It looks a little bland next to some of the cars in this list but it is easy to drive and the spacious interior makes it a compelling option. Fold the rear seats down and the Fabia boasts a whopping 1,180-litres of shopping space.
At the time of writing the Fabia SE 1.2 69PS model can be yours for £8,995, a saving of 25 per cent off the usual price. It’s packing 15-inch alloys, air conditioning, remote central locking, metallic paint, extra speakers and a tilt-sensitive alarm. Sure, the interior is a bit dull but this is a sensible car at a very sensible price so it’s well worth considering.
Usually from ￡9,835
Read our Skoda Fabia review
8. Renault Twingo
Renault’s Twingo is a cutesy French car that’s fun to drive, although the smallest engine option could do with a bit more oomph for when you leave town and head out onto faster roads. Okay, so this particular car is slightly over the £10,000 budget, but for your money you get the benefit of Renault’s 4 Plus service, which includes four years of warranty, roadside cover and servicing so you may claw back that money in the long run. You also get Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, 15-inch alloys and air conditioning as standard. Not too shabby.
Read our Renault Twingo review
9. Fiat Panda
It looks like a box on wheels but there’s a strange appeal to the Fiat Panda that can’t be rationally explained. Aesthetics aside, the shape of the car and clever use of space allows a maximum boot space of 870 litres with the rear seats folded down, which is plentiful. There’s also lots of head room for all but the tallest of passengers.
Inside, expect a funky interior design and plenty of storage space. It’s fun to drive, too, whether you go for the 1.3-litre diesel or the 1.2-litre petrol or the star of the show, which is a slightly thirsty but perky 0.9-litre TwinAir two-cylinder. The latter unfortunately tips you over the £10,000 budget, and that’s beforeyou add any extras.
Read our Fiat Panda review
10. Vauxhall Corsa
The three-door Vauxhall Corsa is another veteran of the hatchback market that comes in under the budget if you go for the Expression trim level. Your hard-earned cash gets you a number of features such as daytime running lights, speed-sensitive power-steering, an MP3-equipped CD player and a 6-speaker sound system. Power comes from the slovenly 1.0i 12v Twinport ecoFlex engine, pushed to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. It’s cheap to run and pretty good on fuel economy. It looks good, too.
Read our Vauxhall Corsa review
11. Chevrolet Aveo
The Chevrolet Aveo normally costs slightly more than £10,000, but Chevy isn’t averse to offering discounts, the latest being £500 off if you take the plunge before the end of March 2013. If you’re reading this after that deal has expired, kick your local Chevy dealer’s door down and demand to be given a discount – they’ll may surprise you. If not, the car still proves good value anyway. It’s unexpectedly macho-looking (for a supermini), is fun to drive and has a generous 5 year warranty. In its no-thrills LS trim level, you get 15-inch alloys, hill start assist, air-conditioning and cruise control with a speed-limiter as standard, making it one of the better equipped cars in our list. Sadly, the pick-of-the-bunch Eco diesel engine is out of budget but the entry-level 1.2 petrol still manages a reasonable 47.9mpg and emissions of 138g/km.
Read our Chevrolet Aveo review
12. Peugeot 208
Peugeot’s 208 picks up where the 207 left off. It’s a stylish hatchback with decent handling and somehow it has a larger boot and more legroom than its predecessor, making it more practical. It also weighs less than the outgoing model (unusual in a modern car) making it more efficient.
Only the option of the Access trim level is available to you within a budget of £10,000. For this you get the thrifty 1.0-litre VTi engine, capable of 65.6mpg, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and a basic but stylish interior. The £380 level 2 radio option and its Bluetooth connectivity would make for a great freebie if you can negotiate a little with your local dealer.
Read our Peugeot 208 review
13. Renault Twizy
Renault’s two-seater Twizy is one of the cheapest cars to buy and, potentially, to keep on the road. Therefore it’s no surprise that city-dwellers are tempted by this low-cost, zero-emissions electric motor, despite its limited driving range.
Prices start at £6,795 and for that you get a heated windscreen and a lockable glove box. Optional extras worth having include windows to keep the rain at bay, automatic headlights (£75) and a Parrot Bluetooth hands-free kit (£270).
When you buy a Twizy it doesn’t come with batteries as part of the purchase price – you’ll have to lease them for £45 per month. This might seem a little odd, but by renting the battery you do guarantee a bit of peace of mind. Renault will maintain the unit and even replace it if its performance drops below 75 per cent.
Read our Renault Twizy review