When you’re looking for a new car, safety and affordability are top considerations. The best value cars might not always be the cheapest to buy, but they’ll save you money in the long run. That’s because there’s more to affordability than the initial purchase price.
A Porsche Macan might be the cheapest model Porsche you can buy in 2022, but it’s unlikely to be the best value for an everyday commuting or school-run car.
When you’re looking for the best value cars, it helps to make a list of your must-haves. Chances are, safety, fuel economy, reliability, and suitability for your needs are going to be high on the list. Low emissions should also be a consideration, because it will reduce your road tax.
While starting with one of the best value cars you could get is great, you can improve the affordability of nearly any car. Regularly servicing your wheels, staying on top of tyre care and smoother driving will cut fuel and repair costs.
Combine one of the best value cars for 2022 with the car economy tips above, and you’re onto a winner. We’ve selected eight of the most affordable wheels for 2022 to get you rolling.
Great value family cars
Family cars need to suit so many different needs. Safety is definitely a high priority and fuel economy is a must when there’s so much running around to do. These two small family cars offer some of the best value around.
One of the most eye-catching hatches on UK roads today, the Peugeot 308 is affordable but also one of the best value cars of the year. The interior feels classy and well put together and you can expect a quiet and comfortable ride.
The plug-in hybrid option reduces your emissions and therefore road tax. The petrol and diesel engines are also economical if you don’t have a heavy foot. These cars have a reasonable reliability rating. As for safety, Euro NCAP gave the last 2013 iteration 5 stars and the latest 2022 model got 4.
The Ford Puma is one small SUV that keeps popping up in ‘best of’ lists. It’s made it to our best value cars compilation thanks to the great fuel economy across the range and the mild-hybrid technology that improves its affordability even more.
As for safety, Euro NCAP ratings are a top 5-stars. It’s got plenty of safety kit, looks great and has an impressive boot space for the small SUV category. If you are looking for a small family SUV, the Ford Puma is one of the best value cars you can choose. A used model will set you back somewhere in the region of £18,000.
Best value cars with electric motors
There is no doubt about it, electric cars are cheaper to run, even when you calculate the real cost of home charging. Because road tax for cars is worked out on emissions, an all-electric car won’t cost a thing! These three motors are some of the best value cars in the EV arena.
Skoda Enyaq iV
Larger family cars tend to be thirsty beasts and pull on your pocket every time you stop at the petrol pumps. The Skoda Enyaq iV lets you avoid all of that thanks to the electric motor. She has great styling, a large boot and a rear seat that can take three kids’ car seats.
Euro NCAP awarded her a full 5-stars for safety. The electric engine needs less maintenance than a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) and charging her up will cost at least half of what a full tank of petrol will. The Enyaq iV has been on our other top car lists for good reason!
This small family car has lots of room inside, a worthy infotainment system, fast charging rates, and a great battery range. Being electric, you get all of the efficiency perks such as lower running costs, £0 road tax and cheaper maintenance.
She’s a safe car too, Euro NCAP gave her the full 5 stars as well, most of which are down to the high child safety rates and the all-embracing safety tech. The ID.3 is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a new ride.
Cute, capable and great value too, there’s not much to dislike about the Fiat 500e. If you need something that’s cheap to run and reliable for getting around town, this little number is a good pick.
The 500e is fun to drive, stylish inside and out and imminently affordable thanks to the electric credentials. Euro NCAP gave the 500e 4-stars for safety. You can expect to pay around £20,000 for a used model.
Best value small cars
Small cars tend to be more affordable simply because their engines don’t consume quite so much fuel to get from A to B. That said, in the reliability stakes, some small cars are definitely better than others.
Great value, as we’ve already mentioned, is more than just the initial purchase price. Safety, comfort and running costs are also a factor. The Fiat Panda is one of the cheapest cars you can get your hands on, but we’ll not include it in our best value cars list because it has the lowest safety ratings ever awarded a car. These cars, on the other hand, are a good bet for affordability.
The smaller and lighter sister of the VW Golf is a nimble, capable and, yes, affordable choice. For a small car, you’ll find the VW Polo is pretty roomy. Think practical more than attention-getting. New, you’re looking at upwards of £22,000 for a Polo. Used, you could pick one up for around £12,000.
The Polo got a full 5-stars from Euro NCAP for safety. As for fuel efficiency and reliability, these are pretty commendable too. The 1-litre petrol engines get around 50 miles to the gallon and the model is known to be pretty reliable. If things do go wrong, she won’t be a pain to repair as she shares many parts with other VW models.
If you’d like a little luxury with your affordability, the Mercedes A-Class is a good choice. The interior is lovely, the technology fabulous and the engines remarkably efficient. Of course, they’re safe models too with the full 5-stars from Euro NCAP recommending them.
New, an A-Class will cost you anywhere from £32,250 to over £60,000 for the top-of-the-range, 4Matic Plus model. Used, you could pick one up for as little as £15,000, depending on mileage and trim levels.
The leader of our ‘best low maintenance cars’ list earlier this year, the Vauxhall Corsa is a great choice if you’re looking for a good value set of wheels. You won’t be forking out loads for repairs and the fuel economy is pretty agreeable too. You can expect up to 52 miles per gallon in this little hatch.
She’s not the flashest car you could buy, but the Corsa is comfortable, refined and safe. Euro NCAP gave her 4 stars. Safety tech let her down, but child and adult safety rates were healthy at 86% and 84% scores respectively.