Best new cars under £15,000

Some of the best new cars under 15K, as chosen by us.

From the fantastically fun and fancy little Fiat 500 to the practical, economical and oh-so-sensible Skoda Fabia Estate, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety and quality of top cars under £15,000.

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo – From £11,525

You really can’t go wrong with any Volkswagen. Sure, a bit of your budget pays for the privilege of having a VW emblem on the grille and, more tangibly, a finely put together interior with plenty of soft-touch plastics. But a VW also gives you a cleanly and tastefully styled car that is a dream to drive, feels like it will last a lifetime and will fit into your life as seamlessly as you could hope.

The Polo is a case in point. Reviews all rate it very favourably, regarding it as the most refined and comfortable supermini there is, thanks to a great ride and smooth and quiet engines. As indicated above, interior quality is also class leading and it is respectably spacious and practical inside too.

With £15,000, you can pick from the higher end of the model range. We’d go for a 5-door model in Match trim, with the 1.2 TSI 90ps engine. You get punchy performance, 5-door practicality, air conditioning, multimedia system with Bluetooth and DAB, and an array of safety and driver-assist features. At £14,735, you even have budget to spare for a rear-parking camera. You might get more car for your money elsewhere, but you won’t get as much quality.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 – From £11,050

If you want something with a bit of style and panache for your £15,000, then there’s very little to touch the Fiat 500. Sure, it’s far less practical than a lot of cars for similar money and it’s not the most sophisticated supermini. But for those who don’t need lots of space or who value refinement highly, the Fiat 500 offers so much elsewhere that it’s easy to recommend as a best new car for £15k.

It’s fun, for a start. From the way it drives, its tiny dimensions and low weight, making it agile and responsive, to the way it looks, its cheeky styling inside and out, putting a smile on your face before you even get going, the 500 is a feel-good car designed to brighten up your day. It’s highly customisable too, which makes the ownership experience fun right from the off.

With a budget of £15,000, you can customise to your heart’s content too. Start with a 500 equipped with the characterful 85hp 0.9 TwinAir two-cylinder engine in mid-spec Pop Star trim and you have £1,775 to splash on whatever pretty graphics and fancy wheels you like.

SKODA Fabia

Skoda Fabia Estate – From £12,630

Need the most practical and spacious car for your money, but don’t want to compromise on quality, comfort or equipment? Look no further than the Fabia Estate. With the 1.2 TSI 90 SE, you’ll be just within budget at £14,765, but you’ll get VW’s excellent three-cylinder turbo engine and equipment that includes 6.5” colour touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning, parking sensors, DAB, electric windows and mirrors, and a leather multifunction steering wheel.

You’ll also get a very competent car indeed that gives away little in terms of quality compared to the Polo on which it’s based (and that we recommended earlier), yet provides a huge amount more space and boasts a vast boot that’s some 60% bigger than the Fabia Hatch’s.

It’s also good to drive. The ride is good on models with smaller wheels and noise levels are well suppressed, so it’s a relaxing car to drive. But it is also capable when driven with enthusiasm, feeling composed and peppy. In other words, it’s a great all-rounder that performs well in all areas and, without doubt, it’s one of the best new cars under £15,000.

Renault Captur

Renault Captur – From £14,575

If you want a car with chunky, modern SUV styling and an elevated driving position, but that also has supermini dimensions, running costs and price tag, your options are limited. Yet there are cars out there that satisfy these quite specific criteria, and one of the best of the lot is the Renault Captur.

It’s basically a Clio with chunkier styling and a raised ride height, but it also comes with a huge variety of customisation options in the form of styling packs and varied colour combinations, as well as a few neat, practical touches like a sliding rear bench. Plus, being based on the Clio means that there are plenty of engine choices and lots of optional equipment to choose from.

Being of Clio origin also means it’s small and easy to drive, fuel efficient and quite cheap – particularly considering the level of kit you get. You’ll only manage to get the most basic trim level and lowest power engine for your £15,000, but Captur still adds up to a lot of car for the money.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki Swift Sport – From £14,195

If you want the most thrills for your £15,000, then you won’t find better than the Suzuki Swift Sport. Despite a relatively modest 134bhp from its 1.6 normally aspirated engine, the Swift is huge fun. The engine is raw and revvy and the chassis is grippy and playful, resulting in a car that feels more full of energy and enthusiasm than sports cars costing multiple times the price.

Besides which, 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds is hardly slow. OK, so it might not be the most refined or roomy supermini around, but this is a hot hatch after all, so these things matter less than they would in a normal car. Reviewers all agree, scoring the Swift Sport higher than the standard model on which it’s based.

Perhaps the most important thing is that the Swift lets you have fun without fearing for your bank balance (or your life and your driving licence), thanks to reasonably cheap insurance, decent fuel economy and low monthly finance payments. And with a list price of just £14,195, you have enough money left over for track days and tyres…

Looking for something for less?

Best new cars under £10,000

Disclaimer: This page is intended to provide information only, it is not, and should not be taken to be advice or an offer of credit. The information is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page and manufacturers or dealerships may vary the products or specifications of the products they offer. For full terms and conditions contact the relevant manufacturer or your local dealer. Imagery is a visual representation and may not represent the exact products. Please ensure you can afford the monthly payments before signing any contractual agreement. You will not own the vehicle until all payments have been made. Any finance or offers mentioned are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn by the manufacturer or dealer at any time.

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