Automatic gearboxes are becoming more and more popular. By eliminating the need for manual gear changes, they promise to give you one less thing to think about when you’re driving.
Here’s carwow’s list of the ten best used automatic cars. From SUVs to sports cars, from Skodas to Porsches, here are the ones you should definitely shortlist:
BMW X3 (2014-2017)
The Germans are the undisputed masters of the automatic gearbox, with BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi all having a strong footing on this list. The X3 – BMW’s family SUV – complements its butter-smooth transmission with supreme practicality, quietness and comfort. It ticks all the boxes and is way, way more than just a snazzy gearbox.
The Audi Q7 is a seven-seater SUV that is sturdy and comfortable; of course, it has a standard automatic gearbox that changes gear with the delicacy of an angel’s kiss. It’s also armed with all the tech you’d expect from a posh, massive SUV like this.
Porsche 718 Cayman
If the thought of quick and precise gear changes is enough to keep you awake at night with excitement, then look no further than the Porsche 718 Cayman, which gets Porsche’s brilliant PDK dual-clutch gearbox. It’s a barrel o’ laffs to drive and capable of going from 0-60mph in as little as 4.4 seconds. The only thing more impressive than its straight-line performance is the way it sticks to the tarmac like a Dyson turned up to 11.
Audi A6 Avant (2012-2018)
Audi makes its second appearance in carwow’s ranking of the best used automatic cars with the A6 Avant. As a large, premium estate, it has the class and equipment that you would expect from an Audi and alternatives like the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class. To drive, it is incredibly relaxing. Factor in the A6’s massive boot, and used automatics don’t come a lot better.
Speaking of high-quality German cars, they don’t come much classier than the Mercedes S-Class. This high-end saloon has such a plush interior that it makes a pub with an open fire and free booze seem uninviting. Plus, you get loads of space for four people and their luggage. Its nine-speed automatic gearbox feels syrupy smooth and even basic models have plenty of power for effortless progress.
Up to this point, everything has been very premium and very German. As a cheap, small car from a South Korean manufacturer, the Hyundai i10 changes that. Its size makes it a perfect car for cutting through the hustle and bustle of the city, so it makes sense to get it with an automatic gearbox that gives your left foot a rest in stop-start traffic. The i10’s four-speed auto-transmission wipes the floor with the clunky gearboxes you get in alternatives such as the Volkswagen Up and Citroen C1.
BMW 1 Series
Sure, the eight-speed automatic gearbox in the BMW 1 Series can be a little pricey, but it pays dividends in how easy it makes the car to drive. It’s a brilliant gearbox with smooth shifts when you’re cruising and quick changes when you’re pressing on down your favourite country road. And you’ll end up doing the latter more often than you might expect in the 1 Series because, for a humble small car, it’s a load of fun to drive.
Oddly, the Mini Countryman has the cutesy looks of Mini’s smaller offerings while standing as a relatively large SUV. As a result, it’s much more practical than you might expect with room for four and boot that’ll swallow a couple of large suitcases. Just like every other Mini, though, the Countryman is fun to drive and its six-speed automatic gearbox is great for stop-start urban driving.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Sport car style and family car practicality collide head-on in the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is one of the best-looking four-doors currently on the market – and the spacious interior is just as aesthetically pleasing. It’s also one of the best cars of its type to drive; its quick steering makes it change direction quicker than a wasp riding a sugar hit. Finally, its automatic gearbox is fantastically smooth.
The Skoda Fabia isn’t as exciting on the road as some of its small car alternatives, but there’s no faulting its easy driving style and smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The Fabia guarantees a stress-free commute from A to B, while a roomy boot and decent passenger space mean this is a small car that’s practical enough to carry four people.