The Best 10 Cheapest New Cars to Lease

9 minutes Published: 06/06/2020
Alasdair Cherry

Are you sick and tired of being late to work because of an unreliable bus or train? Have you had enough of not being able to feel your toes on those cold winter mornings?

For first time buyers, ‘budgeteers’, or people on the hunt for a reliable runner, there’s nothing more satisfying than bragging about your ‘cheap and cheerful’ car that gets you from ‘A to B’ hassle-free.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s an almighty difference between a cheap, run-down banger and a dependable bargain.

There’s no point in getting a car for a cut-throat price that inevitably sees you becoming a season-ticket holder at the garage or has you praying every time you turn on the ignition.

So, that’s why we’re here to guide you through an honest overview of the best cheap cars around, so you can tailor-make your decision for a reliable car at a price that’s easy on the pocket!

1. Dacia Sandero

RRP: £5,780 - £11,390
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: 90 - 135g/km

Pros

  • Most affordable car on the market.

  • Pleasantly spacious.

Cons

  • Entry-level model is very bare.

  • 3* Euro NCAP safety rating.

This quirky hatchback might be the cheapest new car out there.

Available at an unbeatable entry-level price, the robust Sandero provides a pleasant amount of head, leg and shoulder space that many of its competitors can’t match. Boot space is also surprisingly impressive.

The Sandero is also available in a range of five different trims. The cheapest ‘Access’ model isn’t blessed with many features (not even a stereo), but one jump up to the ‘Ambiance’ model offers you both air conditioning and a digital radio for a very marginal price increase.

The Dacia Sandero might get a bit of stick for being the cheapest car on the market, but it really is good value for money, spacious and inexpensive to run. A real modest car with bags of practicality.

2. Dacia Logan MCV

RRP: £6,940 - £12,890
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: 90 - 135g/km

Pros

  • Great price.

  • Big, clear windows.

Cons

  • Dull interior might make you fall asleep at the wheel.

  • Entry model is extremely basic.

Dacia strikes again with their massively affordable prices. This time with their impressively roomy five-door Logan MCV (maximum capacity vehicle) estate car.

Arguably better value for money than the Sandero, the tidy Logan MCV has a humongous boot - the largest you’ll find on your budget. With a huge amount of boot space with the rear seats up there’s more than enough room for multiple golf clubs or plenty of baggage. It’s a very reasonable, low price family car!

Dacia’s renowned large windows make it a pleasure rather than a chore to park and drive through the city streets. The dark, plasticky interior might feel like you’ve been teleported back to the 80s, but I’m sure that’s not at the top of your priority list.

3. Hyundai I10

RRP: £9,195 - £16,965
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 141g/km

Pros

  • Spacious interior.

  • Minimal road and wind noise.

Cons

  • Slow engines.

  • Lacks character.

The impressively adept and spacious Hyundai i10 is an ideal candidate if you’re looking for a versatile small city car.

The i10 is short in length for those tight city spaces and tall in height ensuring a comfortable journey for a maximum of five people.

Hyundai i10 punches above its as well as being the cheapest option in the city car class. Small on the outside and roomy on the inside makes the Hyundai i10 a breath of fresh air to nip around town in. Built to last and compete with more expensive small cars, the i10 is great value for money and undeniably practical.

4. Toyota Aygo Hatchback

RRP: £9,515 - £14,930
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 109g/km

Pros

  • Easy to drive.

  • Extremely reliable.

Cons

  • Basic model very budget.

  • Small boot space.

The Toyota Aygo is a quirky little hatchback with five different trims and a flamboyant range of colours to choose from. Toyota is one of the biggest and most reliable names in the game, so you’d expect nothing more than their Aygo model to live up to the high standards set.

Engine wise, the Aygo is pretty much like-for-like with the Citroen C1 and the Peugeot 108. The biggest difference being that the Aygo is evidently cheaper and comes with a five-year warranty compared to the other cars’ 3 year warranties.

The Aygo has exceptionally light steering and surprisingly comfortable seats (including lower back support) for a car at this price. If you’re opting for a unique and funky style, but also want a budget-friendly, reliable trooper, the Toyota Aygo is well worth a test drive.

5. Citroen C1 Hatchback

RRP: £8,190 - £14,495
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 85 - 109g/km

Pros

  • Cheap to buy and run.

  • Solid personalisation options.

Cons

  • Bumpy ride.

  • Similarly priced cars are better to drive.

The Citroen C1 has bucket-loads of character inside and out. With a quirky exterior and flamboyant interior, the Citroen C1 adds a lot more panache than many other small city cars in this price range.

As we already mentioned, the C1 shares the same engine with both the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. This makes the different styling, pricing and specifications all the more important for the C1.

You have the option of a basic three-door, the more convenient five-door and the luxurious open-top Airspace mode. Performance-wise, the Citroen could have a little more oomph. Around town, it's a great runner, but when it comes to motorway driving, the Citroen starts to struggle.

6. MG Motor UK MG3

RRP: £8,214 - £12,900
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.5
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M
  • CO2: 124 - 140g/km

Pros

  • Sleek handling and steering.

  • Sporty-style.

Cons

  • Noisy to drive.

  • Sluggish engine.

MG are renowned for churning out high quality and attractive looking sporty-style cars for drivers on a budget. Both nippy and elegant, the MG3 flies the flag as the British manufacturer’s only hatchback model.

At low speeds the MG3 feels fairly sluggish, and once you do pick up the pace an unavoidable engine noise can become tedious very quickly. The handling on the MG3 is exactly what you want for a car that has some degree of ‘va va voom’ behind it. The steering is nicely weighted and the grip gives you the luxury to stretch the MG3’s legs.

The interior cabin is pleasingly spacious and the boot offers a great deal of practicality. There’s more space in the MG3 than competitors, so you don’t have to worry about any backseat drivers complaining.

7. Peugeot 108 Hatchback

RRP: £8,190 - £14,560
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 85 - 99g/km

Pros

  • Cheap running costs.

  • Great size for city driving.

Cons

  • Lack of space in the rear.

  • Very noisy.

We wouldn’t advise you pick the 108 if you’re constantly trekking up and down the motorway, but the 108 feels right at home cruising the city streets.

The well supported seats provide a combined level of comfort and alertness for both driver and passengers.

The 108 offers a sharp 7.0 inch touchscreen system on all models apart from the entry-level. It connects to Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, however the latest iPhone is too futuristic for this tech-hipster car. The Peugeot 108 is a respected car for a great price. The 108 is also cheap as chips to run and darts around town like a dream. A great option if you’re on a budget, although it does lack a bit of character.

8. Fiat Panda

RRP: £8,845 - £18,205
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 155g/km

Pros

  • Bags of character.

  • Economical choice of engines.

Cons

  • Tight rear leg room.

  • Terrible safety rating.

Fiat has always had the reputation of building stylish, reliable and affordable city cars - one of the reasons you see so many roaming the roads. With its unique square rear, the Fiat Panda is a good alternative to more traditional city cars.

The towering body of the Panda allows for plenty of head and leg room in the front, however it’s the same old story in the back as leg room is rather tight. The boot is shaped well to pile things up, but the depth lets the Panda down a little bit.

The infotainment is modest and simple to get your head around. The entry-level ‘Pop’ model comes kitted out with pretty standard equipment like a CD player and electric front windows, but if you dig a little deeper the ‘Easy’ trim level has the luxury of air-con, an upgraded stereo and a remote controlled locking system.

9. Kia Picanto

RRP: £9,255 - £15,150
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 95 - 143g/km

Pros

  • Tremendous value for money.

  • Great in tight spaces.

Cons

  • Could be faster.

  • Standard models lack a decent infotainment system.

Kia take a bow. This stand-out, five-door city car offers the whole sha-bang for a seriously affordable price. The Picanto looks classy, runs well and really is the definition of ‘cheap and cheerful’.

Space is aplenty in the front seats so you won’t be rubbing shoulders with your front seat passenger. Five-doors make piling into the back a whole lot easier than some of its similarly priced rivals. Three adults may be a tight squeeze however, and leg room could be better, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons in terms of space.

We’re not lying when we say the Kia Picanto is one of the very best performing city cars. One of the best value for money cars around, the Picanto handles gracefully, looks smart and is extremely practical and reliable. An absolute winner in our books.

10. Volkswagen UP

RRP: £8,940 - £16,310
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 95 - 110g/km

Pros

  • Fun to drive.

  • Cracking build quality.

Cons

  • Kia Picanto is better value for money.

  • Non-turbo engines are sluggish.

You always know what you’re going to get with a Volkswagen car. Precision, innovation and quality. The Up is no different. Arguably, the most desireable and highest performer on our list, the Up is well worth the money. The Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo were engineered alongside the Up so add them to your best cars on a budget list too.

Across the board, the Up excels. Suspension is controlled and you won’t feel inferior at high speeds or motorway driving, unlike many of its peers. Handling is extremely sharp and precise, steering is light, and tyre grip is solid.

The interior provides a welcome breath of fresh air in terms of quality. Even the entry-level trims feel posh and sophisticated inside. Enjoyable to drive and surprisingly chic inside, the Up really does set the benchmark for a high-quality city car.

11. Mitsubishi Mirage

RRP: £10,345 - £14,120
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 95 - 114g/km

Pros

  • Entry-level kit impressive.

  • Good fuel economy.

Cons

  • Cheap and outdated interior.

  • Lacks quality.

The Mitsubishi Mirage has a pleasant ring to it doesn’t it? The Mirage is small, but boastingly roomy and has low enough running costs to make it a genuine option.

It’s very much a hassle-free “does what it says on the tin” type of car, but potentially a wee bit too expensive in comparison to more accomplished competitors.

The Mirage comes fitted with a relatively powerful petrol engine that is more than capable of darting around town. Helped by light steering, the Mirage has an exceptional turning circle, but unfortunately that’s about it. There are far more comfortable driving vehicles out there at a cheaper cost.

12. Dacia Duster

RRP: £9,235 - £19,690
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 1.6
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 185g/km

Pros

  • Off-road capability.

  • Family-friendly.

Cons

  • Entry-level model is bare.

  • Poor safety score.

The Dacia Duster instantly stands out from the crowd with its four-wheel drive off-roading capabilities. The most affordable SUV on the market, the Duster is the perfect option if you’re looking for an extremely affordable and attractive family-friendly car.

Space is a huge selling point for the Duster. It’s noticeably roomier than any car in the same price range and the tall doors make getting in and out simple and, boot space is terrific.

The Duster is by far the cheapest SUV out there, but as you may have guessed this comes at a price. The entry-level ‘Access trim’ is scarcely bare. You’ve got space to fit a radio, but you are left to your own devices to buy and fit one.

If you’ve got a growing family or just looking for a more spacious car you can’t go wrong with this truly reliable and exceptionally budget-friendly SUV.

Summary

Well there we are folks, hopefully that didn’t feel too much like a good haul at the clearance section of the supermarket!

Looking back, it’s safe to say that the increasing level of competition between manufacturers can only be a good thing for price savvy buyers. The standard has been set and there are an impressive range of cheap cars to feast your eyes upon these days.

Need a new car but don’t know where to start? Check out our Best New Cars, or have a look at some of the Best Selling Cars in the UK! If you're looking for something affordable and easy to drive, check out our Best First Cars! You can also browse our lease deals under £100 and lease deals between £100 and £200 for more inspiration.