Automatic gearboxes offer a more relaxed driving experience. Thankfully, they’re no longer exclusive to higher-end, expensive cars and some can even be purchased from less than £10,000. Here are the 10 best cheap auto cars with descriptions below.
- Hyundai i10
- Renault Twingo
- Skoda Citigo
- Peugeot 108
- Volkswagen Up
- Suzuki Celerio
- Citroen C1
- Toyota Aygo
- Fiat 500
- Vauxhall Viva
1. Hyundai i10 1.2 – £11,225
The Hyundai i10 is arguably the best, cheap automatic car on sale. The conventional torque converter gearbox makes for smooth uninterrupted shifts. Despite having just four speeds, its gearbox is smoother than many rivals’ automated-manuals.
The 1.2-litre engine is just about powerful enough for motorway use where the i10 feels stable and comfortable. Its soft ride combined with clever packaging means four adults can sit comfortably with enough room for luggage. A five-year/100,000-mile warranty can allay any reliability worries, too.
2. Renault Twingo – £12,595
The Renault Twingo can be fitted with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This modern unit is at home navigating tight city streets, with life made even easier by the exceptionally tight turning circle. Average fuel economy of 58.9mpg is reasonable but lags behind some rivals.
Don’t be fooled by the small capacity of the 0.9-litre engine – it’s currently the most powerful engine in the range, boasting 90hp. Boot space is decent but not plentiful thanks to the rear-mounted engine. The quirky design and personalisation make the Twingo a fun alternative proposition.
3. Skoda Citigo 1.0 – £9,850
The Skoda Citigo is mechanically identical to the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii. Also, the cheapest of three, it can be purchased with an automatic transmission. The five-speed gearbox is an automated-manual which can be jerky and dimwitted. The 1.0-litre is far from swift although it returns a combined fuel cycle of 64.2 mpg.
Refinement is top notch on the whole although engine noise creeps in at higher speeds. Driving is straightforward with good 360 degree visibility; control weights are light too hence the Citigo is easygoing in traffic. The utilitarian interior may lack the personality of the more expensive Up, but it all feels well screwed together.
4. Peugeot 108 – £10,625
The 108 shares its platform with the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1 demonstrating a clear improvement over the previous generation. The minimalist interior has a youthful feel to it, although material quality is lacking in comparison to the Hyundai i10. With the exception of the base trim an 7-inch screen makes up the infotainment system.
Available with Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel Scheme, cheap finance deals are offered so the 108 can represent an easier ownership experience. The loud engine doesn’t lend itself to refinement, nor does the jarring automated-manual gearbox. Running cost will be low courtesy of no road tax thanks to to the sub-100 g/km C02 emissions.
5. Volkswagen Up 1.0 – £10,625
The Volkswagen Up is a premium city car with a grown up feel and quality to it. The sluggish automatic also found in the Citigo isn’t the best. The only other caveat is the base model’s lack of standard kit. The price hike over the Mii and Citigo is justified by the interior feel which keeps with VW’s renowned quality.
Avoiding the larger wheels and sportier suspension yields a smooth ride well settled at cruising speeds. The 59hp motor can feel at out its depth on the motorway or when carrying too many passengers so it’s worth considering the more powerful 74hp version.
6. Suzuki Celerio 1.0 – £9,799
The Suzuki Celerio is the cheapest way into an automatic. The automated-manual is no different to others, jolting on changes and taking time to switch gears. Slow to respond to larger throttle inputs, forcing a down change can make any quick manoeuvres difficult.
Healthy helpings of standard kit – in the mid-range SZ3 – include tech such as:DAB radio, air-conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The interior is definitely function over form with many hard-touch surfaces but they feel sturdy enough. The Suzuki boasts a large boot at 254-litres, eclipsing the Hyundai i10’s and Volkswagen Up’s capacity.
7. Citroen C1 1.0 – £11,845
This Citroen isn’t one of the cheaper ways into an automatic within this list. Again the transmission format is an automated-manual so changing gears isn’t a seamless action. Otherwise, the C1 is easy to drive with light, accurate steering which can make the C1 decent fun.
Refinement is where the C1 fails to match rivals so it can be a fatiguing car to drive at times. The Citroen is tax exempt and it’s 1.0-litre engine is a frugal unit so running costs should be small. There’s plenty of safety equipment too: ABS, stability control and six airbags are standard.
8. Toyota Aygo 1.0 – £11,445
The automated-manual in the Aygo does little to make the most of the already power-deficient 1.0-litre engine. Going through the gears is a slow process but you do get paddles behind the steering wheel if you want to take control. The ride is pleasantly configured so the Aygo won’t be unsettled by bumps and potholes.
The X-Play trim is the best value for money in the range adding electronically adjustable door mirrors. The rear of the cabin isn’t cavernous compared to better designed rivals, restricted space extends to the boot which carries a significant 83-litre deficit over the Volkswagen Up.
9. Fiat 500 1.2 – £11,925
The cheeky, retro Fiat 500’s 5-speed automatic is hesitant like many of its rivals when shifting gears. The bubble shaped roofline means rear headroom is at a premium and there’s not exactly an airy feel to the cabin. The funky interior design continues to the outside making the Fiat an appealing car to look at.
The 500 is the second most expensive of the list but offers numerous derivatives to personalise it to your tastes. High residuals can offset the larger retail price of the 500. When pushed, roll occurs but this soft-setup returns a bump-absorbing ride.
10. Vauxhall Viva 1.0 – £10,145
The Vauxhall Viva features an automated-manual and again it’s not the smoothest operator. Overtakes or inclines will require you to drop down gear which means you’ll have to regain lost momentum from the tardy change. Once up to speed though the Viva doesn’t have a problem maintaining pace.
The well laid out interior proviudes a user-friendly experience. It can be optioned with Vauxhall’s Intellilink touch screen infotainment, compatible with Apple and Android smartphones. The Viva represents good value; all models include cruise control and a trip computer.
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