We analyzed the UK car market to find starting on-the-road (OTR) prices for the UK's most popular small cars, medium cars and smaller SUVs. These OTR prices reflect a delivery charge, number plates, road tax (which depends on the car’s emissions) and the first government registration fee.
Table of Contents
- How much is a New Car?
- How much do Used Cars usually cost?
How Much is a New Car?
The amount you'll spend on a new car depends on a lot of factors including the size of the car, spec and the brand, make and model. We looked at on-the-road prices for some of popular UK cars to see how prices vary by size.
A new car costs in the range of £12,000 to £17,000 if you're going for a small car such as a VW Polo or Ford Fiesta, while a medium-sized car such as a Ford Focus or VW Golf will be priced in the region of £22,000 to £36,000. Popular SUVs in the UK such as the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai cost around £23,000 to £28,000.
|How Much is a New Car?|
|Small||£12,000 - £17,000|
|Medium||£22,000 - £36,000|
|SUV||£23,000 - £28,000|
Cost of the Average Small Car
In 2020, the OTR cost of the most popular small car models ranged from £13,550 to £16,415. We calculated this based on current prices for some of the UK's top-selling small cars. As of October 2020, the Ford Fiesta Trend sold for a starting OTR price of £16,385, a Vauxhall Corsa started from £16,415 and a VW Polo Match for £13,550. The average OTR price of the top three best-selling UK small car models as of November 2020 was £15,450.
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular Small Car Models|
|VW Polo Match||£13,550|
|Ford Fiesta Trend||£16,385|
|Vauxhall Corsa SE||£16,415|
Looking more closely at pricing for the UK's most popular car, the Ford Fiesta, we see that starting OTR prices of the most basic, entry-level model have risen a whopping 60% over the past 7 years. As you can see below, the cheapest Ford Fiesta price jumped from £9,995 in 2013 to £16,385 in 2020. This increase is largely due to Ford phasing out models with fewer features (first the Style, then the Zetec) in favour of pricier models with more features.
|Ford Fiesta Starting OTR Price|
Cost of the Average Medium Car
A medium, C-segment car will cost you in the range of £21,295 to £24,260 in 2020. This estimate is based on current OTR prices for some of the UK's top selling medium car models over the past years: the Ford Focus ST-Line, the Volkswagen Golf GT TSI EVO and the Vauxhall Astra SRI.
Currently, the Vauxhall Astra is the cheapest and least popular of the three—the popular SRI starts from £21,295. The VW Golf starts from £21,145 for a 1.0L S model, although the popular R TSI 4Motion model starts from £37,120. The ever-popular Ford Focus costs about £22,210 for an entry level Zetec Edition model but the popular ST-Line starts from £24,260. The average price of these three popular models is £23,185.
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular Medium-Sized Car Models|
|Vauxhall Astra SRI||£21,295|
|Volkswagen Golf GT TSI EVO||£24,000|
|Ford Focus ST-Line||£24,260|
Prices for arguably the most popular medium-sized car, the Ford Focus, have risen 47% since 2013. The entry-level Style model was priced from £16,495 in 2013, with their current cheapest ST-Line edition setting car owners back an extra £7,750 (the price increase from 2019 to 2020 represents a 21% increase by itself!)
|Ford Focus Starting OTR Price|
Cost of the Average SUV
While a smaller SUV starts from £20,000 OTR, the most popular makes and models will set you back in the range of £23,445 to £29,965. This was based on our comparison of the Nissan Qashqai, the Kia Sportage and the Ford Kuga.
The Nissan Qashqai, which has been a best-selling SUV in the UK for years, is the most affordable with a starting cost around £20,565 in 2020, however the popular Acenta model starts from £23,470. The entry-level Ford Kuga is currently priced around £23,995, but the popular ST-Line model will set you back £29.965. Finally, Kia's Sportage starts from £21,560 this year, but the popular 2 ISG model starts from £23,445.
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular SUVs|
|Kia Sportage 2||£23,445|
|Nissan Qashqai Acenta||£23,470|
|Ford Kuga ST-Line||£29,965|
The most popular SUV, the Nissan Qashqai, has steadily risen in price nearly each year since 2013. Car owners should expect to pay from £20,565 for an entry-level Qashaq in 2020, which is £3,100 more than they did six years ago—a rise of nearly 22%, but less of an increase than many other popular cars.
|Nissan Qashqai Starting OTR Price|
Once you've bought a car, you will need to insure it. For information on finding the best insurance company for your needs, see our article on top car insurance companies.
How much does a Used Car usually cost?
According to data we gathered from AutoTrader, the median price of a used car is £12,000, which means that half of used cars cost less than £12,000 and half cost more. We calculated this figure by analysing the distribution of pre-owned cars on Autotrader across different price bands, as you can see below.
|Vehicle Cost Range||Number of Vehicles Available|
|£0 - £2,500||25,052|
|£2,500 - £5,000||43,746|
|£5,000 - £10,000||114,329|
|£10,000 - £20,000||163,216|
|£20,000 - £30,000||59,982|
|£30,000 - £40,000||23,478|
|£40,000 - £50,000||9,917|
|£50,000 - £100,000||13,400|
The most popular used vehicle price range on AutoTrader as of October 2020 was between £9,000-£10,000—unsurprising, as car sellers try to tempt potential buyers in by offering prices at a shade below £10,000 (roughly 9,000 of the vehicles in this range sit between £9,000-£9,500, with over 15,000 vehicles coming in the £9,501-£10,000 set). Given the prices discussed above in this article, even for smaller brand new vehicles, it's clear why buying a used car can be such an attractive proposition for the more cost-conscious consumer.
Which vehicles most commonly come onto the Used Car market?
The reasons a vehicle make or model can make it onto the Used Car market regularly aren't always as simple as there being a lot of them on the road. For example, car manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz often release "life-cycle updates" throughout the duration of a core model's life that make minor changes/quality of life improvement to the vehicle without changing the fundamentals of the cars—but if you wanted to have the most up-to-date model, as those fortunate enough to afford a luxury vehicle often do, then you'll want to trade in your old model, pay the extra and enjoy the new upgrades.
Also, many vehicles come onto the used car market after being used in company car fleets or by rent-a-car businesses. Again, higher-end brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz often prove popular for these schemes, as an enticing benefit for current and potential future employees. Once the vehicles go over a certain age or mileage, they often find their way into dealerships or websites like AutoTrader as used.
|Car Manufacturer||Number of Vehicles Available|
The NimbleFins team updated this article with current pricing data from auto retailers' websites in October 2020. Historical data was gathered using previously-gathered data from prior updates to this article, the Wayback Machine to view snapshots of relevant auto retailers' websites from previous years and searches for older price lists. Prices reflect the most basic, or "standard," versions of the models offered, except where we mention prices for popular models (which are not entry level and therefore cost more).
Used vehicle information was gathered from AutoTrader.