What Are the Best Small Automatic Cars?

Sat in a cafe researching the best small automatic cars

From excellent fuel efficiency to breezy parking and low maintenance costs, there’s plenty to love about small automatic cars. They’re the vehicles of choice for millions of Brits, with most manufacturers offering their own versions of this popular vehicle class.

Thinking of getting behind the wheel of a small automatic car? This article is for you. Read on as we investigate what are the best small automatic cars in the UK, focusing on factors like fuel economy, family-friendly features, eco credentials and more.

Vauxhall Corsa – Best for 2021

When it comes to sales, the Vauxhall Corsa has made quite the impression in 2021. The new look supermini was relaunched by the British-owned brand in 2020 and captivated motorists with its stylish aesthetic, up-to-the-minute tech, and zippy engine. Sales have skyrocketed in 2021, with the Corsa stepping up as a serious contender to the Ford Fiesta, which has been consistently crowned the best-selling car in the UK for the past few years. Want to go electric? Vauxhall has also launched a pure-electric version of the Corsa with an impressive range of 208 miles.

Nissan Leaf – Best electric small automatic car

A sporty profile, impressive driving range and affordable price tag make the Nissan Leaf our top pick in the best electric small automatic car category. The latest models are equipped with advanced Intelligent Driving technologies developed by Nissan, including the highly anticipated ProPILOT² semi-automated driving system and smart e-Pedal mode.

With EV charging infrastructure continually expanding across the UK, driving a Nissan Leaf is more practical than ever. The only downside is you’ll need a garage or secure parking spot to own a Nissan Leaf or similar, as EVs can be difficult to charge when you rely on street parking.

Toyota Yaris – Best hybrid

If you want to dip your toes into the EV scene but aren’t ready to make a full commitment, the Toyota Yaris is a great compromise. Fast and compact, this model is one of the smallest hybrids on the market and offers an impressive 68mpg running on battery alone. This makes it great for zipping around the city and keeping your eco footprint to an absolute minimum. When you need the reliability of fuel, simply fill up the tank and switch to petrol mode. A CVT gearbox ensures smooth gear transitions around town, though things can get a little noisy at higher speeds. This makes the Yaris a great option for urban driving as opposed to longer road trips.  

Audi A1 Sportback – Best for luxury

Sleek and stylish, the Audi A1 Sportback is one of the most luxurious superminis on the market. It promises all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the high-end manufacturer, including luxe interiors and lots of upgrades to choose from. It may be small, but the Audi A1 Sportback doesn’t compromise on space or comfort, making it ideal for both urban runs and long road trips.

Peugeot 208 – Best for fuel-efficiency

If saving money at the forecourt is your top priority, you’ll love the Peugeot 208. Marketed as a “city car with a sporty design” this model offers impressive fuel economy of around 44.3 – 56.7 mpg for the auto petrol version. With the RAC warning that British petrol prices are creeping towards all time highs, there’s no better time to upgrade to a fuel-efficient vehicle. When researching what are the best small automatic cars in the UK for fuel economy, the Peugeot 208 will definitely win a place at the top of your list.

Volkswagen Golf – Best family-friendly small automatic car

It’s difficult to outperform the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to family-friendly features. Brits have loved this model for around 50 years and for good reason. The hatchback is practical, spacious, and comfortable, meaning it can transition from school runs to weekend camping trips with ease.

The 380-litre boot offers lots of space for all your luggage, with the option of folding the rear seats down to create a huge 1270-litre boot. Great if you’re taking the dog to the vet or purchasing a new bike. As well as being packed with family-friendly features, the Volkswagen Golf offers great value for money. Once again, this wins it big points with budget-conscious families in search of a small automatic car.

Ford Fiesta – Best all-rounder

What are the best small automatic cars? The universally loved Ford Fiesta has been winning over Brits for decades. It’s reigned as one of the best-selling cars in the country for years, with motorists falling hard for the fun design, smooth handling, and plucky engine.

While we love Ford Fiestas from the 2010s, the latest models will blow you away with high-tech features and systems. Slide into small spaces with Active Park Assist, sit back and relax with Adaptive Cruise Control and enjoy a smoother and safer ride with Lane Keeping Aid. Once you experience these clever new features, you’ll never want to go back.  

Buy the best small automatic cars with ease

Thinking about purchasing a new car but not sure how your credit rating looks? We have you covered. Our car finance checker is built to help you check your suitability as a loan applicant, without leaving a permanent mark on your credit score. Known as a “soft search”, it gives us an overview of your financial history without exposing this information to lenders. This allows us to tailor your car finance options and connect you with the best lenders for your unique circumstances.

With rates starting from 6.9% APR, we make owning your dream small automatic car faster and more affordable than ever.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

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X monthly repayments of
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Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

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Should I Buy an Automatic Car?

Automatic car interior

Manual cars have been the preferred choice in Britain since the very first motor vehicles appeared on our roads at the end of the 19th century. Although automatic gearboxes weren’t too far behind – with the first automatic transmission arriving in 1921 – they have never enjoyed the same popularity that they do in countries like the USA.

For those who haven’t tried an automatic car before, there may be some confusion over what the difference between the two is and how this manifests itself in the driving experience. While there is no definitive answer to the question: “Should I buy an automatic car?”, there are certainly pros and cons to doing so.

Pros and cons of an automatic car

Whether or not you choose an automatic car for your next purchase will depend upon your own personal preferences. However, understanding the advantages and drawbacks of an automatic gearbox can help you to make an informed decision. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Ease and convenience – With an automatic gearbox, it’s not necessary to concentrate on which gear you need to be in. Simply select “D” to drive, then use the accelerator or brake to adjust your speed. You’ll only need to use the gearbox again when parking or reversing.
  • Smoother drive – Since the gearbox automatically knows when to change gears, you’ll never have to suffer jerky transitions again. Stalling also becomes a thing of the past as long as the automatic gearbox is in a good condition.
  • Good for traffic jams – If you live in a busy town or city, you might find yourself contending with rush-hour traffic on a regular basis. Constantly having to use the clutch pedal can become tiring on your leg with a manual car – but in an automatic, you’re free to devote your energy and attention to navigating your route safely.

Cons

  • Less control – Having a manual car allows you to drop gears when you need to accelerate sharply, such as when you need to overtake another vehicle, for example. With an automatic car, that kind of freedom is not available.
  • More boring – For some drivers, switching gears is actually the most entertaining and interesting part of the experience. Removing that can make driving a more tedious task.
  • More expensive – Because they are generally less popular in the UK, automatic cars are often more expensive than their manual counterparts. That applies to both new and second-hand vehicles.

Should I buy an automatic car?

Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend upon your individual preferences when it comes to getting behind the wheel. If you prioritise comfort and convenience, an automatic may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer to retain maximum control, or if you’re on a budget, you might prefer a manual car.

Whichever type of vehicle you settle on, My Car Credit has an extensive array of options online for you to browse, including both manual and automatic models. We can even help you to find the appropriate car finance to fund your purchase! If you’d like to learn more, feel free to drop us an email at enquiries@mycarcredit.co.uk and we can take things from there.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
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  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
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  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

8 Used Automatic Cars for Under £3,000

Shifter in a used automatic car for sale under 3000

Many buyers crave the ease of an automatic car – which is why they’re often in demand on the used market. After all, the automatic gearbox makes driving a lot easier, whether you’re looking for a nifty run-around car as a homemaker, a reliable vehicle for commuting, or a smaller option for elderly drivers.

However, because fewer new cars are sold as automatics compared to manuals, the used car demand can often outweigh the supply. Fear not, these hot vehicles don’t have to break the bank and a bargain can still be had. If you’re looking for the top automatic vehicles for sale under £3,000, read on.

Affordable Automatic Cars

1. Toyota Yaris

Despite its age (2007), the Toyota Yaris still looks relatively sleek and fresh. Inside, there’s a decent dashboard with a central display and all the features you need for comfortable driving – stereo, air-con and heating. The smaller vehicle is a fun drive with sharp handling and responsive touch. A 1.3-litre version often enough ‘go’ for most people. The automatic gearbox in these models offers a smoother ride than the jerky 1.0-litre manual version.

If you don’t opt for the Sport models, you can find a 2007, 1.3-litre, second-hand Toyota Yaris with an automatic gearbox for under £2,000.

2. Skoda Superb

For a high-quality family car, the Skoda Superb is, well, a superb choice. It features comfortable interiors, a quiet engine and the model is ideal for hauling children to school or going on long road trips. There’s plenty of room to make family life easier and work commutes extra snug.

Although you won’t be able to enjoy the new models within the £3,000 budget, you will be able to find a 2002 model with a sizeable engine for under £2,000.

3. Hyundai i10

When you want to list vehicles that suit every journey, you have to include the classic small city car, the Hyundai i10. The interior is boxy but comfortable and limited in extras but it is incredibly affordable.

Its size makes it perfect for cutting through the hustle and bustle of the city, so it makes sense to get it with an automatic gearbox to give your clutch foot a rest in stop-start traffic. The automatic gearbox reduces fuel economy by 10mpg compared with the manual car, but the vehicle performs extremely well in other aspects. It has nippy acceleration and surprisingly smooth handling for such an affordable vehicle.

There are plenty of 2008 models – and possibly 2010s – that fall within the £3,000 budget.

4. Mazda 3

Sleek and stunning by design, this all-angles Mazda 3 is another top choice for a second-hand automatic car. Although the automatic gearbox uses a traditional design, the advanced technology allows the driver to enjoy smooth gear changes, and with only a small dip in fuel economy.

The Japanese company has a great track history of producing reliable cars, which is a huge priority for commuters and busy families. If you choose an older Mazda 3 as your next car, you’ll be investing in peace of mind as well as clever design.

We’ve spotted 2005 and 2008 1.6-litre engines going for under £3,000.

5. Volkswagen Polo

You don’t have to know a lot about cars to know that the VW Polo is an excellent vehicle, not to mention well-loved across the nation. Drivers over the years have valued the Polo’s reasonable running costs, excellent handling and that solid German build quality. If you’re looking for a mid-priced automatic vehicle, then you can’t go wrong with the Polo. You get to enjoy smooth driving, reliability and a spacious interior.

Look for 2005 and 2006 models that you can score for under £3,000.

6. Ford Focus

For an automatic car for under £3,000, an older Ford Focus is going to be one of your top choices. They are popular for a reason – the model is economical, fuss-free and ideal for those who want a car they can depend on without breaking the bank. The ride can be a bit firm and the interior can feel cheap in places, but the Focus doesn’t tend to be expensive to run, insure, tax or maintain. Older models still hold up well, too.

For an older 2006 model, you can expect to pay under £3,000, possibly under £2,000, depending on the mileage and condition.

7. Ford Fiesta

Logic dictates that if you’re going to list the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Focus, then it must also have the Fiesta – also known as Britain’s best-selling vehicle. For good reason, too. It’s economical (even with an automatic transmission), has affordable running costs and is a comfortable interior for long journeys.

While you won’t get behind the wheel of a sixth-generation Fiesta ST for £3,000, if you don’t mind a slightly higher-mileage car, then you can get yourself a 2006 1.6-litre Fiesta for that budget.

8. Renault Clio

As one of the best-selling French cars of all time, the Clio is a stylish and affordable supermini for first-time and established drivers. It’s small enough for city driving but picks up speed quickly when you put your foot down on the motorway. With more powerful engine sizes to choose from in the Clio, you can make more of your journeys.

Keep an eye out for models from 2005 to 2012 with 1.6 or 2.0-litre engines that typically range from £1,500 to just over £3,000. If you have a tight £3,000 budget, consider your car finance eligibility to ensure you secure the right set of wheels.

Drive away with one of the top used automatic cars

With plenty of affordable and reliable options, it’s never been easier to find automatic cars for sale under £3,000. At My Car Credit, we make things even more cost-effective with accessible car finance for a range of budgets and credit ratings.

Our team can draw upon a vast network of lenders to find the right deal for you, helping you get your perfect automatic vehicle without any hassle or delays. Give us a call on 01246 458 810 or email enquiries@mycarcredit.co.uk to find out more.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!