People rarely buy anything and expect to pay a rounded-off price, but most of us have an in-built threshold that we want to get under. Although it would be nice to be able to buy a brand new car for under £5,000, it isn’t a very realistic target. That’s why the £10,000 threshold is very important threshold that manufacturers at the lower end of the market strike to get below.
Cheaper cars are easier to buy outright, rather than taking out finance, and they can also be perfect as second cars or as a first car for a younger buyer. Here we’ve listed the best cars you can currently get for under £10,000 and ordered them by wowscore. It’s not all city cars, either!
10. Nissan Note
The Nissan Note didn’t used to be able to be included on this list, but you can currently get into a 1.2-litre Visia model for as little as £9,995 so it just squeezes in. It does get a relatively mediocre wowscore of 6.8, but this is a Nissan and that means it’s likely to be as reliable as just about anything you can buy. It’s economical, smooth to drive, there’s plenty of room inside, and it’s not a bad-looking little thing when you get used to it.
9. Toyota Aygo
The Toyota Aygo is another car with a shared platform. This one shares with the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, but the Toyota offers a better standard specification and a cheaper price. The new Aygo gets a wowscore of 7.0, and is priced from as little as £7,995. The Toyota city car gets manga-inspired styling and a peppy petrol engine. It’s reasonably good to drive and relatively refined, though critics feel this is a car for a younger audience with its conspicuously youthful styling.
8. Dacia Logan MCV
Essentially an estate version of the Sandero, the Dacia Logan MCV offers the king of cabin space you really wouldn’t expect to get for this sort of money. Obviously it’s not going to ride and drive like an Audi or a Volvo, and some critics say it’s unrefined and bouncy. Others say though that it’s perfectly acceptable for a car at this sort of money. The Logan costs from just £6,995 and has a wowscore of 7.2.
7. Dacia Duster
It may well be the only SUV on our list, but before the Dacia Duster came onto the scene, who would have expected to be able to buy a new 4×4 for less-than ten grand? You’ll be amazed at just how capable it is off-road, and the upgraded suspension makes it more comfortable than the hatchback version. A 7.5 wowscore and £9,495 are two numbers that really should make you sit up and take notice of the Duster.
6. Vauxhall Corsa
The new Vauxhall Corsa has only been with us for a relatively short while, but the new model’s familiar styling isn’t going to frighten anyone away. The new version of this incredibly popular car offers a composed ride and practical interior, and the modestly updated styling is an improvement over the model it’s replaced. Good levels of standard equipment, prices from £9,175 and a 7.6 wowscore should be more than enough reason to check it out.
5. Fiat Panda
Fiat used to be the kings of the cheap, small car market – however, a slew of very talented rivals (many on this list) have since come and loosened the Italian marque’s grip on the sector. The Fiat Panda is the company’s answer. The quirky styling, peppy twin-air engines and the option of four-wheel drive have all won the Panda favours and contribute to its 8.1 wowscore. It’s priced from £9,375.
4. Kia Picanto
Critics of the more enthusiastic variety might not love the Kia Picanto, but most can see the value of a small, spacious, cheap, comfortable city car. Refinement is impressive on the move, even with the smaller engine – leading to its 8.2 wowscore. Priced from £8,095, the little Picanto gets a good standard equipment list and Kia’s excellent seven-year warranty for extra peace of mind.
3. Suzuki Swift
The Suzuki Swift may not be one of the first cars you’d think of looking at, but the Japanese brand has come a long way in recent years and the Swift is a good example of how far. It’s one of the only cars in its class that can come close to the Ford Fiesta as far as being fun to drive is concerned, although interior quality and boot space aren’t its strong points. A wowscore of 7.7 and a starting price of £8,999 make it well worth a closer look
2. Hyundai i10
Some cars make this list for being fun, or quirky, or spacious – the Hyundai i10 makes the cut because it has an uncannily comfortable and refined ride. City cars typically suffer on bad roads due to their light weight and short wheelbase, but the Hyundai simply refuses to be uncomfortable. Priced from £8,705, the i10 earns a wowscore of 8.5 and is easily the most convincing car so far from the South Korean brand.
1. Volkswagen Up – SEAT Mii – Skoda Citigo
Our best car for under £10,000 gets split three ways between the Volkswagen Up and its near-identical siblings the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo. Critics go weak at the knees for the trio as they’re among the most multi-talented cars in the world. Interiors are surprisingly spacious, the drive is both easy and engaging, the ride is measured and composed, and the quality is exceptional. An 8.7 wowscore speaks for itself.
And the worst…
We’re not in the habit of hating on cars at carwow – but if we were, the Mitsubishi Mirage would be public enemy number one. Critics unanimously complain about its sloppy handling, questionable build quality, lacklustre design and poor ride. In the face of these talented rivals, the Mitsubishi is nowhere near good enough to challenge them. Starting at £9,054, its 4.0 wowscore tells you all you need to know.
Class-leading supermini is great fun to drive and has a wowscore of 8.3. Unfortunately it can’t be included on our list as it now starts at more than our £10,000 price limit.