Find top used car details in the Pistonheads classified
This being Autocar, the models we recommend throughout this guide are not simply the most affordable cars in their class or the cheapest to run. In their own ways, they are desirable, fun to drive or a pleasure to own. Don’t believe us? Consider this: £50 per week, or around £200 per month, could be enough to put a Jaguar F-Type with a supercharged V6 engine on your driveway (although we’d suggest you consider the size ofthe deposit you’ll have to pay upfront before you commit).
PCP agreements, which account for around 80% of new cars sales today, tend to work well for people who want to change their car every few years. On a monthly basis, they’re more affordable than hire-purchase arrangements too. At the end of the deal, your options include handing the car back and walking away with nothing, paying off a final ‘balloon’ payment so that you own the car outright, or signing up to a new PCP.
It’s worth remembering, finally, that the deals we’ve highlighted here, while all genuine PCPs, are only offered as examples. These deals work on sliding scales and, by tweaking the duration of the agreement or the size of the deposit, you’ll be able to set the monthly payments to a level that suits your budget.
The hatchback sector is so well served by PCP deals that, whatever your needs and budget, you’re likely to find an agreement to suit. The new fifth-generation Micra might not be the very best supermini out there, but it is a huge step forward compared with its predecessor thanks to improved dynamics and modern styling. This PCP offer includes a £1400 dealer deposit contribution, which means you’ll only put down £189 up front and then pay the same again each month for four years. Just be mindful of the mileage allowance: 8000 per year is too few for frequent motorway drivers.
For great car offers, check our What Car?'s new car deals
The BMW 118d is a much more suitable long-distance car, although you’ll quickly hit the 10,000-mile annual limit if you spend your working life on the M4. The £4312 deposit is sensible, meanwhile, thanks to a dealer contribution of £5205. The torquey four-cylinder diesel engine offers a good combination of performance and economy but, despite its unique rear-wheel-drive layout, the 118d sadly isn’t anything other than an average steer.
The Ford Focus RS, however, is a blinding car to drive. You’ll need to put down a lumpy £10,000 deposit to secure one for £50 a week, but this PCP agreement shows it can be done. At 24 months, this is as short as PCP arrangements get, which makes that £10,000 deposit seem heftier still, but at least you’ll have the option to upgrade after just two years. Interestingly, we found a number of 24-month PCP deals on the lesser Focus ST for similar monthly outlay, just with a slightly smaller deposit.