Lifestyle Guides

10 cheapest new automatic cars on the market

It’s estimated that around a quarter of cars on UK roads are now fitted with automatic gearboxes and that number is rising fast. 

Nissan Micra Xtronic

There’s a good reason why – vehicles with automatic transmission are easier and more relaxing to drive, especially in our congested cities

Back in the day, automatic cars tended to be slower and less fuel efficient, but there’s now little difference, and some auto boxes shift faster through the gears than their manual stablemates. 

Sadly, automatics tend to cost more to buy (as you’ll see from our top 10 below), but there are still plenty of affordable two-pedal cars.

It's also worth noting that all electric and most hybrid vehicles are only fitted with auto gearboxes, so there will come a day when we are all driving automatics – like it or not.

1) Toyota Aygo - from £12,420 (manual range starts at £9,495)

Toyota Aygo

The distinctive Aygo is fun to drive, cheap to run, well-built and powered by an eager 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine (72bhp) capable of up to 54.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are a low 118g/km. Maximum speed is 99mph and it can complete the 0-62mph dash in 15.2 seconds. 

The x-shift "automated manual transmission" can be used in fully automatic mode, or with manual gear selection using paddle shifts or the shift lever itself. 

The Aygo comes with Toyota's five-year/100,000 mile warranty.

2) Mitsubishi Mirage - from £13,340 (manual range starts at £10,575)

Mitsubishi Mirage

Extensively updated for 2020, the surprisingly spacious Mirage features a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine (79bhp) which can return up to 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 127g/km. 

It’s fitted with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which is a type of auto box (usually without shifts) that tends to rev high if you accelerate hard, then settles down again, so it’s definitely worth a test drive. 

The Mirage comes with Mitsubishi's five year/62,500-mile warranty.

3) Fiat 500 - from £13,400 (manual range starts at £12,770)

Fiat 500

Fiat's popular retro-styled supermini is fun to drive, still oozes character and has more room inside than you might think. Choose between the basic hatchback or the more expensive 500C convertible (£16,050) for a funky car perfect for the city. 

The 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine (68bhp) is good for 46.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are 138g/km. The five-speed semi-automatic gearbox is as good as they get.

4) Hyundai i10 - from £14,320 (manual range starts at £12,820)

Hyundai i10

The third generation of the award-winning Hyundai i10 has just gone on sale. It's bigger, better-looking and boasts the latest infotainment and safety tech. 

Promising to be just as cheap to run, easy to drive and dependable as the outgoing car, it's backed by Hyundai's generous five-year/unlimited mileage warranty. 

The five-gear automatic version is available with both 1.0 and 1.2-litre engine options. The smaller of the two engines (65bhp) is capable of 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 126g/km. Top speed is 97mph and its 0-62mph time is 17.3 seconds.

5) MG ZS - from £16,495 (manual range starts at £12,995)

MG ZS

The MG represents big bang for your buck. A family-sized SUV for the price of a supermini, it also comes with a generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty. 

The refined 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine (108bhp) is paired with a tidy six-speed automatic gearbox which can power the ZS to a top speed of 112mph and a 0-62mph time of 12.4 seconds. Fuel economy is 38.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are 166g/km.

6) Suzuki Ignis - from £16,499 (manual range starts at £12,249)

Suzuki Ignis 2

Suzuki’s quirky and very capable mini urban crossover is easy to drive, spacious and cheap to run. 

The lightweight Ignis's efficient 1.2-litre petrol engine (89bhp) is a mild hybrid returning up to 58mpg with CO2 emissions of just 97g/km. It has a top speed of 96mph and can sprint from 0-62mph in 12.4 seconds. 

Like the Mitsubishi Mirage, it is fitted with a CVT automatic gearbox.

7) Nissan Micra - from £16,625 (manual range starts at £14,215)

Nissan Micra Xtronic

Something of a revelation compared to previous generations, the latest Micra is sharply styled and there are stacks of personalisation options available. Packed with the latest tech and safety systems, there's decent space inside, it offers a good driving experience, and comes with Nissan's reputation for reliability. 

The recently launched Xtronic automatic pairs up a CVT transmission with a 1.0-litre 99bhp three-cylinder engine, delivering a 0-62mph time of 13 seconds and 110mph top speed. Fuel economy is 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions are from 140g/km.

8) Renault Clio - from £17,095 (manual range starts at £14,895)

Renault Clio

The latest generation of Renault's popular supermini was recently launched and it's better than ever. 

Safe, sleek, comfortable and packed with tech, the automatic version has a CVT transmission (similar to the Nissan Micra's) with stepped changes, for those who prefer the feel of accelerating through gears, and it’s matched with a 98bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine. 

CO2 emissions are as low as 113g/km and it's capable of 48.7mpg. Top speed is 113mph and its 0-62mph time is 11.5 seconds. 

Renault's warranty is five years/100,000 miles.

9) MINI - from £17,640 (manual range starts at £16,200)

MINI

Retro cool, funky, great value and engaging to drive, the MINI Hatch is made in Britain and has a real premium feel. 

Available with a slick new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, its three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo engine (101bhp) propels it to a maximum speed of 120mph and a 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds. 

Fuel economy is 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions are from 134g/km.

10) Kia Rio - from £17,985 (manual range starts at £13,000)

Kia Rio

Launched in 2017, the fourth generation Rio has the unenviable task of doing battle in a sector dominated by Britain’s best-selling car – the Ford Fiesta. The good news is that it can hold its own as a budget alternative, and it comes with Kia's generous seven-year/100,000 warranty. 

Its 118bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is matched with a sporty seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, allowing it to reach a top speed of 118mph with a 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions are 146g/km.

I'm an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter, now specialising in motoring. I’m editor of Automotive Blog and have worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online for household names including the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I’ve produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I'm married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

5 Star Defaqto rated comprehensive cover from Admiral