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10 of the best cars for under £250 per month | April 2024

A £250 per month budget gets you a lot of fantastic used cars on PCP finance. Which will you pick?

This feels like a real sweet spot for used cars. Spending £250 per month (or less!) on a car usually gets you into a current-shape model that might only be a couple of years old, but for considerably less than the same car if it’d just rolled out of the factory.

So you get the latest tech, a plate that’s not very old and, often, the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty. And a wide choice – our list includes class-leading hatchbacks, small and midsize SUVs, and even posh picks and hot hatches.

For even more choice, browse our range of used cars under £250 per month here.

Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia driving

The Skoda Octavia is a rational, measured car – what it lacks in white-knuckle excitement, it makes up for with reassuring competence. It’s comfortable, quiet, economical and sort of fun to drive, while its smart interior manages to blend hardwearing materials with premium touches to good effect.

The Octavia is based on the Volkswagen Golf and shares a lot of its qualities, but the Skoda has a much bigger boot – over 50% bigger, in fact – and costs less to buy. How can your sensible head resist?

Shop used Skoda Octavia cars for sale or read our Skoda Octavia review

Ford Fiesta ST

Red Ford Fiesta ST

Meanwhile, the Ford Fiesta ST appeals to the less sensible parts of your brain. Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ anthem could’ve been written about driving a Fiesta ST. It might be a smallish hatchback with a not-earth-shattering 200hp, but the Fiesta ST is one of the most fun cars you can buy at any price.

And the plus points of the standard Fiesta remain – it’ll seat four adults in reasonable comfort, there’s space for a weekly shop and it’ll even do 40mpg if you resist the urge to use everything the 1.5-litre engine’s got. Buy one now before it becomes a classic.

Shop used Ford Fiesta ST cars for sale or read our Ford Fiesta review

Audi A3

Red Audi A3

Sure, you can get a Volkswagen Golf for under £250 per month, but why not treat yourself to the posher version? The Audi A3 has plusher materials and tech that both looks more impressive and is more usable than the Golf, while practicality and the engine choices are largely the same.

A £250 maximum spend buys you an A3 that’s only a couple of years old and in the popular S Line trim, or the plug-in hybrid A3 with its 40-mile electric range if you’re happy with the Sport trim. Sport doesn’t have the glitz of S Line, but it has all the tech of the higher-spec car.

Shop used Audi A3 cars for sale or read our Audi A3 review

Peugeot 2008

White Peugeot 2008 driving

One of the best all-round small SUVs is also arguably one of the best looking. The Peugeot 2008 has a list of talents as long as your arm – it has economical yet punchy engines, nimble handling, high-end interior materials, spacious rear seats and a big boot. Not to mention eye-catching looks.

Your budget lets you pick the trim level, engine and perhaps even the colour you want – a low-mileage two-year-old 2008 in GT trim with the 130hp petrol engine, or you could pick a diesel engine if you’re a high-mileage driver. The electric e-2008 also comes in under budget, and is an ideal way to dip your toe into fully electric motoring.

Shop used Peugeot 2008 cars for sale or read our Peugeot 2008 review

Kia Sportage

It might have been replaced by a brand-new model now, but the last-shape Kia Sportage is still an excellent buy if you’re looking for a family-size SUV under £250 a month. With the balance of a seven-year warranty, a three-year-old Sportage still has more coverage than a brand-new Mercedes – although Kia’s reliability means you might never need it. The Sportage gets heated seats and smartphone connectivity as standard, as well as acres of passenger space and a big boot.

Shop used Kia Sportage cars for sale

Ford Puma

Grey Ford Puma

Ford has hit a home run with the Puma, its Fiesta-based small SUV. One of the UK’s best-selling new cars, the Puma offers more practicality than the Fiesta – including a waterproof MegaBox storage zone in the boot – but still the same sharp driving experience we’ve come to expect

Every Puma comes with a 1.0-litre petrol engine that’s good for over 50mpg, yet is pretty sprightly off the line too. You’ve got the pick of the trim levels for your budget – most come in sporty ST-Line flavour but there are several different options, like the ST-Line X with its extra kit or ST-Line Vignale with its chrome detailing.

Shop used Ford Puma cars for sale or read our Ford Puma review

Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 driving

Just like the Volkswagen T-Roc, the Mazda CX-30 straddles the line between small and midsize SUVs, and both are similarly good value on the second-hand market. So your choice might depend on which car’s styling you prefer, or which you find easiest to use. The Mazda is more curvaceous where the T-Roc is chiselled and square.

The Mazda has the slight edge when it comes to material quality, but you might find its infotainment screen – controlled by a rotary dial – a little unusual to use, compared to the more conventional touchscreen fitted in the T-Roc. Fuel economy and performance are largely the same, even if the two cars go about it in very different ways.

Shop used Mazda CX-30 cars and used Volkswagen T-Roc cars for sale, or read our T-Roc review

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai driving

As one of the larger cars on this list, the Nissan Qashqai shows you can have family-friendly practicality without spending a fortune. At this budget you can choose from last-shape and current-shape Qashqais, and we’d definitely recommend going for the newer one if you can. It’s bigger and more practical than before, it boasts sharper styling and the interior is noticeably more modern.

Fuel economy is also a little better in the new-shape car, thanks to its standard-fit mild-hybrid assistance. Acenta Premium trim offers an enticing blend of value and equipment, with alloy wheels, lane-departure warning assist, a reversing camera and bright LED headlights.

Shop used Nissan Qashqai cars for sale or read our Nissan Qashqai review

Toyota C-HR

Toyota C-HR driving

Familiarity might’ve softened the boldness of the C-HR’s styling a little, but if you buy one you’ll notice new styling flicks every time you go up to it.

Come for the alien spaceship styling, stay for the frugal hybrid engines. The C-HR shares its 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre engines with the Corolla, and the smaller of the two lumps can return almost 60mpg when driven gently. Keep at a restrained pace and it’s impressively quiet, too.

Shop used Toyota C-HR cars for sale or read our Toyota C-HR review

Mini Countryman

As the biggest car the brand makes, the Mini Countryman offers all the charm and poshness of a Mini Hatchback but with family-friendly practicality and a more confident driving position. And, it packs a lot of room into its footprint, which isn’t huge by SUV standards. At this budget you’ll mostly find 1.5-litre Cooper models, but that’s no bad thing as this engine is more than quick enough to power the Countryman, and it’ll crack 40mpg or more, too. You might be surprised to notice that the Countryman still offers most of the ‘go-kart feel’ that’s a key selling point of the standard Mini hatch.

Shop used Mini Countryman cars for sale or read our Mini Countryman review

Read our top picks for other monthly budgets

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