Best new cars under £20,000
We list the best new cars under 20k
Whatever you want from a car, if you have £20,000 to spend, you can find a highly competent, high quality vehicle that will satisfy your needs. Whether you want something that will do the day-to-day while putting a huge smile on your face or something that has tons of practicality to make the day-to-day a whole lot easier to deal with, there’s a car for you.
We’ve made our selection reflect these varying needs of the car-buying public, choosing cars that cover various different motoring requirements. While each one is very different from the other, they all do their jobs equally well, making them some of the best cars around for the money. That the majority of them cost comfortably under £20k means you even have scope to delve into the options a bit, which should mean a car that’s even better suited to your unique requirements.
Skoda Octavia – From £16,660
If you wanted the definition of the phrase ‘A lot of car for the money’, then most of Skoda’s range could be used as the example, but probably none would be as appropriate to use as the Octavia. It offers a huge amount of interior space and has a vast boot. To drive, it is capable, comfortable and relaxed. The quality of the materials used and its construction is excellent both inside and out. And it is based on the latest VW technology and components.
Yet it is available for substantially less than £20,000, £16,660 in fact. This means you can spoil yourself with the 1.4 TSI engine, which boasts 150ps, but is still able to achieve up to 53.4mpg combined, and the SE trim level, which brings climate control, DAB, rear parking sensors and a host of passive and active safety features. That comes to £19,040, leaving you another thousand to spend on options.
There might be more exciting cars to drive for the money, but if you want a practical, reliable, well-built car that is nice to drive and won’t cost the earth to run, there’s very little to rival it.
Mini Cooper Convertible – From £18,615
It’s hardly a surprise to see a Mini in this list, when you consider the number of awards it has won and the success in sales it has achieved throughout its life under BMW ownership. There are still very few cars on the market that count as true rivals when you consider exactly what it is the Mini offers, particularly when you take the Convertible as an example.
There isn’t another open-top car on the market that offers all that the Mini does for the price. Distinctive, eye-catching styling inside and out and a huge number of customisation options, excellent build quality, fun yet relatively sophisticated driving manners and a very enviable image, all add up to a car that is almost in a class of one.
For your £20,000, you’ll get the Cooper with a Pepper pack, which adds 16” alloy wheels, sports steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, rain and light sensors, ambient interior lighting and on-board computer amongst other things. Of course, it’s tempting to dip into the options, but resist that pull and the Cooper Convertible is a sub-£20k, small but premium, convertible bargain.
Still don't believe us? Read the MINI Convertible reviews.
Peugeot 208 GTI – From £19,815
The Fiesta ST undoubtedly has the 208 GTI licked when it comes to ultimate driving thrills. But, well, the Ford is a very common sight on our roads, and some people like to be different. So for them, the 208 GTI makes a very strong case for itself, particularly as it’s still a great all-rounder that really doesn’t have any glaring faults or weaknesses.
Despite not having the extra bit of sparkle that the Fiesta possesses, the Peugeot is still a very capable hot hatch that provides more than enough excitement for most people. And it’s fast, thanks to a 208ps 1.6 turbo engine that provides ample low-rev shove. It also rides well for a performance hatchback, making it a comfortable car for the everyday.
At £19,815, it’s pushing the £20k budget, but then it comes with most things you’ll want or need anyway. Styling additions and 17” wheels set it apart satisfactorily from the standard model, while half-leather seats, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and DAB are all standard. As is, of course, all the mechanical upgrades that make this an excellent hot hatch buy.
Citroen C4 Picasso – From £19,635
The C4 Picasso only just squeezes under our £20,000 budget, so we’re talking about the base model with the least powerful engine here. However, we’re only just in budget because the Picasso is so much car even in that specification. For your £19,635, you get a car with a huge and hugely practical interior. The spacious cabin is also full of excellent practical touches like big, lidded stowage, highly adjustable seating and a low and wide boot opening.
Then you get kit like the 7” Touch Drive Interface, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and cruise control with speed limiter. And the interior is a pleasant place to spend time, the bright and airy feel of the cabin being due, in part, to the expansive panoramic windscreen.
As stated, you’ll only get the 1.2 three-cylinder engine with 110ps, so performance will be adequate at best, but the C4 is all about the laid-back, relaxing kind of drive, as it’s not a great handler, so this shouldn’t matter. And it looks cool too, relative to most boxy MPVs out there.
Mazda CX-3 – From £17,595
Certainly one of the best looking small SUV crossovers on the market, the CX-3 has a lot more going for it besides those distinctive good looks. It is also great to drive: the 2.0 petrol, even in 118ps form, is punchy from low revs, smooth and quiet; it corners flatly and with plenty of grip, whilst the steering is nicely weighted and consistent. The ride is a bit hard for some, but its sporty nature makes up for this.
The interior is clearly of a higher quality than cheaper small SUV rivals and is nicely designed. Equipment levels are also good with the base SE getting 16” alloy wheels, air con, electric windows and mirrors, cruise control, Bluetooth, two USB ports and DAB radio. It’s not the most spacious inside compared to some competitors, but that’s the trade-off you get for those athletic looks.
So long as you keep to the lower trim versions, the CX-3 seems decent value for money, too. The SE model with 118ps petrol engine comes in at £18,145, so you can add metallic paint for £550 and still find yourself well under our £20k budget.
What do the reviews say about the Mazda CX-3? Read the reviews...