Best cars below £400pm
You know you want a new car, but you can’t make up your mind, or you just don’t know what you can afford that fits into your monthly payment requirements. We’re here to help you decide with a curated selection of cars, all of which will fall under the £400 a month mark with an annual mileage of 10,000 miles.
All of the finance examples in this article are for illustrative purposes only and quotes are accurate as of 25/10/22 – interest rates and residual values can and do change with each lender regularly so if you want accurate figures for the car you’re looking to buy, try our calculator. For each of the cars featured here, we have provided a representative example for you, your own figures may differ dependent on the mileage, price, deposit and future value of the car you run figures on.
10% Deposit options
The first few options here are all calculated with an average/recommended deposit of 10%. You can of course choose to put in whatever deposit you like up to a point, this is just to keep the numbers more rounded for illustration.
We’ve picked some of the more sporty options available, ensuring that if you bought a similar car you’re guaranteed a great deal along with a fun drive. There will be many more cars you can get a great deal on in this bracket, so it’s best to try running the numbers through our calculator to see the best cars below £400pm.
Cupra Leon 1.4 e-Hybrid
Cupra is the more exclusive and sporty side of Seat, previously they were just model designations like the Golf R, but now Cupra is its own thing like Lexus from Toyota. The split means they have been given a little more freedom in making these cars a touch more special than their Seat counterparts, and even have models exclusive to the Cupra brand like the Formentor and the Born.
The Cupra Leon is the staple piece in the lineup, with ample space for passengers and luggage whilst still sporting a very generous 242BHP – we’d say this is probably the right amount of power for those looking for a car with a bit of everything. Oh and the model we ran figures on here is the hybrid, so it’s pretty green too!
The BMW M140i is a unique option in the hot hatch market, with rear-wheel-drive and a 3.0L straight-six under the bonnet, something that no one has replicated. With 335BHP the M140i guarantees fun, any RWD car that has that much power is bound to be right? Just because it’s all sporty and powerful doesn’t mean it skimps on practicality though. This is still a 1 Series so there is of course room for passengers in the back, (unnecessary extra weight if you ask us) along with a good-sized boot, so if you’re brave enough, and ignore the MPG, you can daily this with a huge smile on your face.
With a 0-60 of 4.6 seconds and that 335BHP just ready to be unleashed, the M140i might just be the best power-per-pound car you can buy in this bracket. With prices sitting between £20,000 and £28,000 for a well-priced, low-mileage example that hasn’t been modified at the time of writing, we can’t really think of a reason not to get one. The newer M135i just doesn’t have the same personality as the 140 – it’s also a whole lot uglier and expensive – so win-win for the M140i here.
A relative newcomer to the hot hatch genre, Hyundai knocked it out of the park with both the i30N and the i20N. The i30 offers more power and space for the money though for us. A family-sized hatch that sports 271BHP, along with electronically controlled suspension, launch control, automatic rev-matching, an over-boost function and a lap timer. Hyundai went all out to make sure you get everything you could want from a hot hatch for a better price.
This isn’t a car everyone will have we know that – a bonus for those looking for something different than the run-of-the-mill GTIs and STs of the world – but Hyundai has been pitching great cars for a long time now, and the i30N is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Remember, the more successful a car is, the more likely a manufacturer is to make improved and newer versions.
The i20N is also a notable mention here as it packs the same sporty spirit of the i30N at a lower power and price bracket – available new for around the same price as the BMW above.
Skoda Octavia vRS
Not everyone’s pick, but the Skoda Octavia VRS offers the fast estate and saloon genres a lower price bracket option. If you want something with similar space and power credentials you will struggle to find anything close price-wise. A big bonus here too, it will run through the miles like a hot knife through butter, Skoda is notorious for making cars that just keep going – one of the reasons the regular Octavia and the Superb are taxi drivers’ favourites!
As a daily driver, the VRS estate packs the full package for someone wanting to get the most out of the space their car can give. All the tech including the engine is VW-derived so will be familiar to a large number of people, so it’s easy to use and the cost of running and upkeep are relatively low. The engine specifically is routed from the GTI performance engine so you know it will be good.
Higher Deposit Options
Now, these are some of our more ‘wildcard’ options, commonly 20% deposit or more can be seen as a bit of a stretch for some, but it does change what is affordable in the monthly budget. If you’re trading in a part exchange, or even downsizing your current car, 20%+ might be more achievable than you think. Offering you the chance to get into something a little more exclusive and a lower monthly payment.
Porsche Macan 2.0L
Yep, a Porsche for under £400 a month! The Macan offers the SUV experience in a compact form factor, with multiple models available from the 2.0L like we have here, to the GTS that offers 440BHP! Obviously the higher spec the model, the pricier it gets, but as a standard model, the Macan still gets all of the usual Porsche refinements and looks the part. Plenty of space, refined interior and seating, and fantastic build quality, there’s not a lot to dislike here.
The 2.0L variant produces 249BHP, not a number to be sniffed at, speeding to 62mph in 6.4 seconds, a small number for a larger car. With a wealth of options available from new, there are bound to be plenty of choices available on the market with a spec for you. Of course, if you’re a petrolhead like us, the looming fact that there’s a bigger and faster version available will bug you, but it definitely makes a great first step into the Porsche world.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class – E400 V6
The E-Class is possibly the most luxurious option available in this price bracket. Standard equipment from Mercedes is always of top quality, the build quality is excellent and the refined ride is exquisite. As a daily driver, this makes a great option for long commutes in comfort, along with a spirited drive in the countryside with 328BHP at your disposal with this model specifically.
Whether you go for the coupe or the saloon the E-Class packs class and pedigree into a beautifully made package.
Audi A5 + BMW 5 Series
Rivals to the E-Class above, but all similarly priced with a multitude of options and specs available. The luxury saloon market has tough competition which is only a good thing for anyone looking for a great deal!
Mini John Cooper Works (Hatch and Clubman)
One of the most fun cars to drive on the market, without question. You can find plenty of examples with great specs at a reasonable price in both the Hatch and Clubman variants dependent on your requirements.
A great option for those looking for their first step into the EV market, great prices are now coming around on used models, with brand new base models not being that far off the £400 mark as is!
Honda Civic Type-R GT
The newest shape Type-R is a bit of an acquired taste in the looks department, but for sporting credentials and history, it’s one of the most renowned names in the business. With a 20% deposit, a low mileage example is very possible.
Yes, it won’t be a V8 unless you’re very lucky, but a thoroughbred sports car, from an iconic British brand, for under £400 a month is possible. The F-Type has long been one of the best sports cars on the market, and buying one used is absolutely the best way to get a great deal.
Obviously, there are many more options available at this price bracket for you to choose from, but with interest rates changing constantly at the moment, and waiting lists for new cars still being at a high, the cars that are available for this price will change. The best way to check figures for a vehicle is to use our finance calculator and run them when it’s comfortable for you. The figures on our calculator are accurate and precise, and what you see is what you get, we don’t reel you in with a headline rate and change it behind your back. You can change your mileage/deposit and term to get the figures that suit you, then apply online!
Our expert team are on hand if you have any queries, just call on 01943 660703.