In car buying terms, £20,000 isn’t a huge amount of money – but there are still plenty of great cars and great deals available. From high-end superminis to budget MPVs and SUVs, there are cars available in all shapes and sizes. Here are 10 of our favourites to suit different motoring needs.
Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTI Techline Stop-Start
The Astra is perhaps the best value compact hatchback of the moment, and the Techline model offers all of the key features that gadget fiends enjoy – its Intellilink infotainment system mirrors Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as being SIRI-enabled, while it also features class-leading safety tech.
MG GS 1.5 TGI Exclusive
It’s not the best SUV on the market, but the MG GS is more than passable, and is the biggest and most practical SUV that you can buy within this price bracket. The 1.5 Turbo engine is surprisingly eager in such a large vehicle, while it also comes with the benefit of a quibble-free five-year warranty package.
Volkswagen Polo GTI
If you can’t quite run to a Golf GTI, then its new baby brother is the next best thing. The 197bhp Polo GTI has a subtle appearance, but incredible handling balance and lively performance, plus a 0-60 time of a shade over six seconds and a 147mph top speed. It’s a great small hot hatch, which is bound to fly out of showrooms when it arrives in the spring.
Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech
The undeniably weird Cactus is so leftfield that it shouldn’t really work – but it does. From its urban-proof impact-absorbent plastic-clad bodywork to its wacky interior, semi-hydraulic suspension, ‘comfort seats’ and advanced technology, everything has been designed with a clear purpose in mind.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 TB
It’s getting on a bit now, but there’s still no comparable model in the compact hatchback sector that matches the simple beauty of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. And as for those tail lights? Wow… If you want a car that’s hugely stylish yet also practical, you won’t find anything else at this price.
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ-T
The Vitara is unusual in the SUV sector in that it has hugely entertaining, car-like handling yet also has a huge amount of competence when the going gets tough. Show it the sticky stuff, and the Vitara is as happy as the proverbial pig in muck, yet on the tarmac it’s as composed and comfortable as most road cars. Plus, it’s well equipped and great value.
MINI Paceman Cooper
Coupe, SUV or supermini? The MINI Paceman is a car with character and keen driving dynamics, along with more space than most of the small crossovers it competes against in the market. The Cooper model is a good sub-£20k option, with decent standard equipment and lively performance.
For sheer value, the Focus is unmatched for its offerings. We’d say it’s the best to drive, too. Pricing for the all-new Ford Focus begins at a reasonable £17,930. As for running costs, 46.3mpg makes the 1.5 EcoBoost an affordable prospect to use on a daily basis while emissions of 138g/km mean VED will be pretty low too.
Nissan Qashqai Visia 1.2 DIG-T
The Qashqai is one of the best-selling cars to British private customers, with class-leading safety technology thanks to its ‘Around View Monitor’, which uses a combination of camera and radar technology to help park, detect other traffic and avoid accidents. It’s also handsome, comfortable and British-built.
SEAT Arona FR 1.0 TSI
The Arona is seriously hot property right now, as the smallest model in SEAT’s new crossover line-up and also the first car in Europe to incorporate Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. Indeed, the Alexa set-up is just one of its tech features – in other respects the car is a technology leader, too, with advanced driving systems and infotainment that can’t be matched in its class.