Automatic gearboxes make driving significantly easier – especially in stop-start traffic. Where old-fashioned autos sapped power and dented fuel economy, modern units are significantly more advanced and are very nearly as efficient as their manual counterparts. Many modern autos have now made it onto the used market so here are the 10 best on offer.
Check out the offers carwow could help you get using our car deals page. If you’re not bothered by how many pedals your car has, check out our list of the best used cars on sale or, if you’re also considering new cars, check out our list of the best new cheap automatic cars.
1. Skoda Superb
The Skoda Superb is exactly as brilliant as its name suggests. This versatile family car comes in both saloon and Estate version but, whichever you go for, there’s a nearly unparalleled amount of interior and boot space. Rear legroom is especially vast, nearly outstripping that found in Bentley and Rolls-Royce models.
The cabin is refined and comfortable while the ride is exceptionally well controlled. Automatic Superbs get the VW Group’s DSG dual-clutch automatic offering smooth gearshifts, great fuel economy and impressive acceleration.
2. Mercedes C-Class Coupe
The Mercedes C-Class Coupe is one of the most luxurious cars in its class, featuring a plush interior packed with technology and equipment. Its cabin is a comfortable place to sit and there’s enough room for a week’s luggage in the boot. Rear passenger space is a little cramped but works well enough for short journeys.
This sharp-looking coupe offers a blend of fun handling and a refined ride you’d expect from a Mercedes. Punchy engines offer strong performance, while the nine-speed automatic gearbox is impressively smooth and delivers strong acceleration. It can be a little indecisive between eighth and ninth gear at motorway speeds but, for the most part, doesn’t miss a beat.
3. Hyundai i10
The Hyundai i10 is one of the few city cars that still comes with a traditional automatic gearbox rather than the jerky automated manuals favoured by the VW Up and Citroen C1. It’s a simple four-speed unit on the i10, but it feels smooth and deals with driving around town with impressive ease. As a trade off, fuel economy takes a bit of a hit and it’s a little slower than the manual version.
The little Hyundai has impressive amounts of space for passengers and luggage inside its small body shape, with good equipment levels in all trims. As an added bonus, Hyundai’s impressive five-year warranty is transferrable to the next owner so used buyers can still benefit from the peace of mind it brings.
4. Audi TT
The Audi TT is one of the sharpest and most striking cars in its class with an interior that sets the standards of the class. Build quality is impeccable and materials are unsurprisingly high quality, while there’s all the standard and optional equipment you could want from a plush two-seat coupe including Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard.
The TT has bags of power and loads of grip – especially with quattro four-wheel drive. It feels light and agile, making for a fun driving experience through the corners. The sporty coupe comes with the VW Group’s clever DSG dual-clutch gearbox, which is smooth and swift at all speeds.
5. VW Polo
The VW Polo is a strong all rounder in the supermini sector, with sharp styling and a generous amount of space for a car its size. The Polo will seat four relatively comfortably and there’s a decent-sized boot too. Like other VW products, the cabin feels well built and there’s a good amount of equipment as standard across trim levels.
The Polo is an easy and comfortable supermini to drive with excellent refinement. Engines are economical and peppy, while the optional DSG automatic is smooth, swift and responsive. It’s a little more expensive than other superminis, but you get the desirable VW badge and superb build quality.
6. BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series is a great all-round executive saloon with plenty of driver appeal. The comfortable cabin benefits from high quality materials and strong equipment levels, although the dash design does feel a little dated. As a benefit, most recent 5 Series have been fitted with sat nav as standard.
While it’s a great all-rounder, it’s the engaging and sharp handling that stands out. The powerful engines feel suitably punchy, making the 5 Series comfortable on both motorways and back roads. The auto gearbox is both impressively smooth and responsive. A new model has recently been announced, so expect some good used car deals.
7. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport mixes a premium cabin with genuine off-road ability. It’s a practical family car, with a large boot and a third row of seats – although adults may find them a little cramped. Fold the rearmost seats and slide the second row as far back as possible, however, and you have a very spacious five seater.
The car handles well on the road, despite its size, and is a capable off-roader too, with a clever four-wheel-drive system and short overhangs. The powerful engines can be paired to a smooth automatic gearbox, which suits the car’s easy, relaxed driving experience.
8. Renault Kadjar
The Renault Kadjar shares many components with the highly-rated Nissan Qashqai but, while its rival comes with a noisy CVT automatic gearbox, the Kadjar uses a six-speed twin-clutch unit which is far superior thanks to its better responses and more natural gearchanges.
It’s a striking looking car, with bold looks and impressive passenger space. There’s also a generous boot and respectable equipment in all trim levels. For such a practical family car, the Kadjar is competitively priced and there are already some great deals on used and nearly-new examples.
9. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a sensible and spacious family SUV with plenty of passenger and boot space. It also features Honda’s Magic Seat system allowing the rear seat bases to flip upwards to fit tall items. The interior has a solid feel with all the standard equipment you could want from a mid-sized SUV.
The car isn’t the most exciting to drive but it feels controlled and stable through corners. There’s an efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine that’s well suited to the brilliant nine-speed automatic gearbox. Plus, it’s a Honda, so you can expect great reliability from the CR-V.
10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is a smart and sensible supermini, with a decent amount of space for both passengers and luggage. It’s not the most practical option, but the small car does offer incredibly cheap running costs – particularly the Hybrid model that’s ideally suited to stop-start traffic in city centres.
In fact, fitted with the CVT automatic gearbox and the smallest alloy wheels, the Yaris Hybrid is one of the few non-fully-electric cars that qualifies for exemption from London Congestion Charge. However, while the CVT gearbox makes for an easier driving experience, it can be noisy under hard acceleration.
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