Car manufacturers are facing increasing costs to produce, develop and sell their models, and as a result, many new cars have jumped in price.
Those factors include meeting stricter safety protocols, as well as new emissions-based regulations to ensure compliance, all of which help to drive prices up. As a result, many manufacturers are pulling their cheapest models, with Volkswagen being the latest to follow by ending production of its long-running Up! city car. It’s now available on the used market, or ‘from stock only’, according to the VW website.
It begs the question of what are the cheapest new cars that each brand offers? We’ve rounded up Britain’s most popular car firms to detail its most affordable model.
Volkswagen – Polo
Volkswagen’s Up! was an icon of low-cost motoring, being cheap to tax, fuel and insure. Now it’s no more, the most affordable Volkswagen you can buy is the Polo. Priced from £20,730, that buys a 79bhp 1.0-litre petrol model in entry-level Life grade.
It does feature lots of equipment, though, including LED lights, a large touchscreen and digital dials. The Polo is also remarkably refined and comfortable for a small car, and roomier than you might expect.
Ford – Puma
You’ll likely have seen or read that Ford has stopped production of its once best-selling Fiesta, which is another small car to fall by the wayside. But while it might not be available to order any longer, Ford still lists it as a ‘new car’ on its website, priced from £19,350.
But once this stock runs out, the price of Ford’s cheapest new car will jump considerably to £25,640 for the Puma crossover, equipped with an efficient mild-hybrid petrol engine.
Audi – A1
While Audi is a premium car firm, it offers a range of models to suit a range of budgets. In fact, Audi’s cheapest car actually costs less than Ford’s, with the A1 starting from £22,710 for a 94bhp ‘25 TFSI’ 1.0-litre petrol in Sport trim.
But you still get an impressive level of equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting and a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Even in entry-level form, the A1 feels like an upmarket product.
BMW – 1 Series
BMW has never produced models as small as Audi, which is why its 1 Series seems quite a lot pricier. That’s right, if you want the cheapest new BMW, you’ll need £28,290 for a 118i SE, which comes with a 134bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine.
The 1 Series is a larger car, however, being a similar size to a Volkswagen Golf. It’s also great to drive while having a high-quality interior, albeit while lagging slightly behind newer BMWs in terms of technology.
Toyota – Aygo X
Toyota’s Aygo used to be built alongside the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, but both of these withdrew from the city car segment, leaving only Toyota to continue. Now called the Aygo X, this is a stylish and characterful small car that’s ideal for those looking for something more affordable to run and buy.
Priced from £15,995, it seems a bargain next to many others on this list. It also comes impressively well equipped considering, with standard features including 17-inch alloy wheels and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Kia – Picanto
Kia might have moved further upmarket in recent years, but it hasn’t forgotten about the need to make core, affordable cars. It’s why it’s so refreshing to see cars like the Kia Picanto still on sale. Starting from £13,665, it’s actually the cheapest new car available at the time of writing.
Despite the low price, the Picanto more than delivers for its price and size, with good road manners and a surprisingly spacious interior. Don’t forget about Kia’s fantastic seven-year warranty, either.
Vauxhall – Corsa
While Ford might have pulled out from the supermini segment, Vauxhall says it remains committed to it with its Corsa. Recently benefitting from a mid-life refresh, this model now looks better and gets a smarter interior too.
Corsa prices start from £19,275 for a 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol version in Design trim, though it will still feature things like LED headlights, a 10-inch touchscreen and air conditioning.
Mercedes – A-Class
The last thing you could say about the Mercedes A-Class is that it’s ‘cheap’, though it does hold the position as the German marque’s most affordable model. Starting from £31,905, this is far from budget, but buys an A180 Sport Executive model, boasting a 134bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine.
The A-Class feels like a truly junior Mercedes, with a premium design across both the interior and exterior of this hatchback. It’s also packed with all of the latest technology.
Hyundai – i10
Similar to Kia, Hyundai has ascended the ranks in recent years with more upmarket models, yet many still offer good value. That includes the i10 city car, the firm’s most affordable model.
Available from £15,420, it has benefitted from a small refresh recently and is a very compelling choice for those wanting a small car with minimal compromise. Even at this price, the i10 gets all the equipment you’d need, such as a reversing camera, alloy wheels and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring.
Nissan – Juke
Nissan’s Micra is another small car that’s fallen by the wayside in recent years, and the cheapest model this firm makes is now the popular Juke crossover. Priced from £20,895, it’s great value for money by small SUV standards. You’ll also get a well-rounded 112bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine for that price.
The Juke isn’t the roomiest or generally best car in this class, but offers plenty in the way of style and equipment for its price.