End of the road for bargains as new cars cost record high

·3-min read
Kia Picanto
Kia Picanto

The cheapest new car in the UK now costs more than £10,000 - making it more expensive than ever to buy a brand-new vehicle.

The Kia Picanto has been revealed as the most affordable car for 2022 - with a starting price of £11,810, according to motoring magazine Auto Express.

But as the cost of living rises, even the basic model of the third-generation city car - which has a 1.0-litre engine and manual gearbox - is £4,000 more expensive than last year’s cheapest motor.

In 2021, motorists could pick up the Dacia Sandero fresh from the production line for just £8,995, but the updated version of the Renault offshoot starts at £12,225 - an increase of more than £3,000.

Other models under £15,000 include the 1.2 litre Citroen C3, the Dacia Sandero Stepway SUV, and the five-speed manual MG MG3, which all stand at £12,995. Meanwhile, the Hyundai i10 costs £13,430, and the Fiat Panda is £13,655.

While last year’s cheapest cars included many of the same models, this year’s prices are significantly higher.

The Kia Picanto came in as the second cheapest last year at £11,200 - more than £600 less than its current price.

Likewise, the price of the Dacia Sandero Stepway has risen by nearly £1,000 from 2021, when the basic model sold for £11,895.

The MG3 cost £500 less last year at £12,495, while the Suzuki Ignis has risen over £2,250 from £12,499 to £14,749.

The cheapest models also come at another cost: they have less power in the engine and a more "down-market" trim than other models.

A spokesman for Auto Express said: "Sadly, as with many things, the cost of buying a new car has increased over time.

"Once, not too long ago, if you were looking to buy one of the cheapest cars in the UK, there was an underlying sense of 'you get what you pay for'.

"These cars may have looked like a great deal but the cost-cutting was obvious, to say the least. However, times have changed, and you can now look at these motoring bargains using both your head and heart.

"But cars in this price bracket should come with a different set of expectations.

"They’ll get you from A to B for sure, but will they be as economical, practical, or well-built as something that costs a few grand more? There’s no guarantee."

Auto Express has advised motorists to consider whether they would rather prioritise a used model, which would come at a similar price to a new car and have added extras, despite some miles on the clock, or go for a brand-new car with a full warranty and better loan deals.

The spokesman added: "The cheapest new cars today begin at around the £11,500 mark, so if you’ve got a tighter budget than this, you may be better off looking for a used car.

"Many people will rather sink their cash into an apparently better car with a few thousand miles on the clock, but the appeal of a brand-new model with a full warranty and finance facilities not always open to used car buyers is still strong."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting