Best Cheap Automatic Cars

20th Dec 2022

By Kenny Longdon

Affordable Cars

Cars are usually the second most expensive thing many of us buy, after our homes. And that's before you add in the costs to insure, tax and run them.

But in a world where everything seems to be getting more expensive, there are cars out there that are still affordable, both new and used.

Although many automatic or semi-automatic transmission cars tend to fetch a premium, there's still many cars that fall under the cheap and affordable tags - and by cheap we mean in terms of affordability.

So, our criteria whilst compiling this list looks at new cars costing under £20,000, or which are less than £300 a month on a PCP agreement. For used cars we'll use the same £20,000 limit.

Below we take a look at some of our favourites.

Cheap New Automatic Cars

Cheap Used Automatic Cars

Cheap New Automatic Cars

Here we list our favourite new cars available for under £20,000. Here you'll find a pair of stylish city cars that feature generous standard equipment, along with a well-known supermini which is also loaded with standard kit. We finish off the new automatic car list with a excellent value SUV. And best of all, all these new cars come with at least a 3-year warranty and the legendary new car smell.

Kia Picanto


One of the most affordable automatic new cars you can buy, the Kia Picanto represents excellent value in a neat little package.

You'll be able to find the '2' trim, which is one up from the entry-level '1' spec (the '1' isn't available with an auto). Even plusher 'GT-Line' and 'X-line' specs can be had for under well under £20,000.

Coming with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the Picanto '2' features enhanced safety features along with some neat 14-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning. 'GT-Line' adds more sports-focused styling, 16-inch alloy wheels, an 8" Touchscreen Display with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto along with Black and Red Faux Leather upholstery.

The Picanto is doddle to drive, and with decent standard kit, the fact you can pick one up brand-new for well under £20,000, and used ones even cheaper, shows just how good Kia are in offering a neat and stylish little car, for such an attractive price. There's also a 7-year manufacturer warranty from new, too.

View New Kia Picanto Offers View Used Kia Picanto Offers

Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10

Perhaps the Kia's main rival, the Hyundai i10 offers a similar neat and compact package, offering a good-looking city car with plenty of style and standard kit.

'SE Connect' kicks off the range and is available with an automatic, and also comes with 15-inch alloy wheels and an 8-inch infotainment display as standard. Spend a little more and you can opt for the 'Premium' spec which adds in things such as heated front seats, bigger alloys and sharper and more enhanced styling.

Once again, these specs are available for well under £20,000 whilst used examples are more affordable still. Hyundai, like Kia have really gone to town on upping the quality of their entry-level cars in recent times and the i10 is another high-quality entry-level car that punches well above its weight.

It's also easy to drive, offers decent economy and comes with Hyundai's excellent 5-year manufacturer warranty from new.

View New Kia Picanto Offers View Used Kia Picanto Offers

Vauxhall Corsa


The Vauxhall Corsa is pretty much a household name in the UK, so it's nice to know you can get a brand-new automatic version for under £20,000 at the time of writing.

It seems many manufacturers lack generosity with their entry-level trims, but the 'Design' specification is decked out with quality kit that will make day-to-day life much easier when behind the wheel of a Corsa.

Therefore, you get a 7-inch multimedia infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with 16-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Being a Corsa means it's also easy to drive, great on fuel and is decent in town or out on the motorway. Being a Vauxhall also means maintenance is straight forward and with Evans Halshaw's comprehensive dealer network, you're never far from help if needed. We also stock plenty of used examples too.

View New Vauxhall Corsa Offers View Used Vauxhall Corsa Offers

Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster

Okay, so the Duster comes in at just over £20,000. But, as the most affordable SUV on sale, it would be rude not to include this automatic SUV, and with PCP deals for under £300, with under £300 deposit too, it fits the new car criteria we set at the start on the PCP front.

And with the popularity the SUV has seen over the last decade, Dacia is doing itself no harm in offering the most affordable new SUV on the market.

The 'Expression' trim is one above the entry-level 'Essential' spec and it's where you'll find the automatic transmission. You'll also get cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, an 8-inch Media display, DAB, 16-inch alloy wheels and the smarter Dacia styling, incorporating the new grille and logo.

If you're after a brand-new, affordable and attractive SUV that does the basics well, and includes an automatic gearbox, then a Dacia Duster may well be ideal for you. We also have plenty of used alternatives too.

View New Dacia Duster Offers View Used Dacia Duster Offers

Cheap Used Automatic Cars

Here we take a look at some of the best used automatic cars. You'll find a much more broad range of cars in this section, with multiple bodystyles available from the same specific car. As is the case with a used vehicle, warranties tend to be shorter, but the cars have had time to depreciate so you can actually find a more premium car, for a more affordable price.

Volkswagen Golf

Golf GTI

There's some cars that have textbook traits, and the Volkswagen Golf is one of them. Known for their build quality, economy and their all-round ability, they're a popular choice when looking for a quality used car.

For under the sub £20,000 target, there's a wide selection of Golf models available used, and many with an automatic gearbox.

Best of all, they're of the semi-automatic nature, meaning they only have two pedals, but if the mood takes you, changing gear can be done by paddles on the steering wheel.

The DSG is an automatic dual clutch and featured on the iconic R32 Golf in 2003. Since then DSG gearboxes can be found in many practical and desirable Golfs.

You can find Volkswagen Golf GTD, GTI and even R models with all-wheel drive with auto transmissions for our set budget, each offering excellent economy, performance and ability.

View Used Volkswagen Golf Offers

BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

Another car with a stereotype for quality, the BMW 3 Series is another car that ticks so many boxes.

And with our list, this is the first saloon car fitting the budget, although you can also find coupé, estates and even convertibles with the automatic too.

Like the Golf mentioned previous, the BMW 3 Series is a great all-rounder, especially if you opt for an xDrive all-wheel drive model, which will happily contend with the UK's weather without breaking sweat.

You can find petrol, diesel and even PHEV versions for the budget set meaning finding your ideal 3 Series is pretty easy.

Famed for their driver-focused feel, the 3 Series is excellent around town as it is on a motorway, and offers specifications that tailor comfort along with M Sport models which offer that more dynamic look and feel.

View Used BMW 3 Series Offers

Renault Zoe


Electric cars have become more and more popular in recent times, and with that, they have also become more affordable.

With no engine, all electric cars are automatic so it's only logical we included at least one in our list, and it's a little gem.

The Renault Zoe is ideal for the city, thanks to its compact dimensions, chic style and circa 200-mile range. With 0 to 62mph achievable in as low at 8 seconds too, it's not exactly slow, either. It's also pretty good when out of the city too.

And with plenty of examples now under £20,000, the Renault Zoe is an attractive way to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, without having to spend big. But if you happen to want a brand-new Zoe, we can also help you with that too.

View Used Renault Zoe Offers View New Renault Zoe Offers


Cooper S Works

Another textbook car in our list, the MINI is just one of those cars you can't help but admire, thanks to its retro looks, go-kart like handling, and its ability to put a smile on your face whatever the spec.

And the automatic MINI models available for our price point is properly appealing. There's everything MINI one Convertibles, all the way up to the high performance John Cooper Works models.

There's even PHEV Countryman models available too, if you require that bit more practicality and serenity, as in fully-electric mode, the Countryman PHEV offers a supremely quiet and refined driving experience.

With MINIs being rather unique, it's a great car for those who like their car as individual as they are, and the automatic transmission allows for manual shifts via paddles if you feel like getting a little more involved in the drive.

View Used MINI Offers

Skoda Yeti


Coming along in 2009, the Skoda Yeti is a crossover SUV. Today, it's no longer made after being discontinued in 2017 to make way for more conventional SUVs, but this shouldn't put you off a used one.

Jeremy Clarkson famously tested the Yeti on an episode of Top Gear highlighting just how good the Yeti was thanks to its smooth ride off-road - when compared to a Range Rover. It also offers decent practicality, great robustness and the if you where wondering, you can also land a helicopter on one (see the Top Gear episode and it will all make sense).

Therefore, the Yeti has earned itself quite the reputation. Team this with the fact you can find them for well within budget, and with an semi-automatic DSG gearbox - the same style as found in the VW Golf mentioned previously, and it equates to quite the package.

View Used Skoda Yeti Offers


Find your perfect automatic car at Evans Halshaw

We hope to have given you some idea of the number of tempting new and used automatic cars out there.

To find your perfect automatic car, why not browse our brand-new vehicle offers, or take a look at our vast selection of used cars too.

And if you require any help with your search, contact your preferred Evans Halshaw retailer.