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?||Starting Prices for Popular Cars|
|Small||£19,000 - £25,000|
|Medium||£26,000 - £28,000|
|SUV||£26,000 - £32,000|
Cost of the Average Small Car
In 2023, the OTR cost of the most popular small car models ranged from £19,235 to £24,940. We calculated this based on current prices for some of the UK's top-selling small cars. As of September 2023, the Ford Puma sold for a starting OTR price of £24,940, a Vauxhall Corsa started from £19,235 and a VW Polo Life for £20,070. The average starting OTR price of the top three best-selling UK small car models as of September 2023 was £21,415. This is around £6,000 more expensive than three years prior—by our calculations, prices have risen around 42% since 2020!
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular Small Car Models|
|Vauxhall Corsa Design||£19,235|
|VW Polo Life||£20,070|
We know that the Ford Fiesta has recently been resigned to history (replaced by the Ford Puma), but as it was the UK's most popular car for years and years, we have a lot of price history through 2023, and it's really interesting to see how prices have changed over 10 years. Starting OTR prices of the most basic, entry-level model rose a whopping 94% over the past 10 years, essentially doubling the cost from £9,995 in 2013 to £19,350 in 2023. This increase was 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 £26,585 to £28,490 in 2023, as a starting price for a low-end model. This estimate is based on current OTR prices for some of the UK's top selling medium car models over the past years: we looked at prices for the Ford Focus Titanium, the Volkswagen Golf 8 and the Vauxhall Astra Design.
Currently, the Volkswagen Golf 8 is the cheapest of the three, starting from £26,585. The Vauxhall Astra Design is a close second, starting from £26,610. The ever-popular Ford Focus costs about £28,490 for an entry level Titanium model but the popular ST-Line starts from £29,320. The average price of these three popular models is £27,228, up around £4k from 2020.
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular Medium-Sized Car Models|
|Volkswagen Golf 8||£26,585|
|Vauxhall Astra Design||£26,610|
|Ford Focus Titanium||£28,490|
Prices for arguably the most popular medium-sized car, the Ford Focus, have risen 64% since 2013. The entry-level Style model was priced from £16,495 in 2013, with their current cheapest trim (Titanium) setting car owners back an extra £10,585 (the price increase from 2022 to 2023 represents a 15% increase by itself!)
|Ford Focus Starting OTR Price|
Cost of the Average SUV
While a smaller SUV starts from the mid-£20,000s OTR, the most popular makes and models will set you back in the range of £26,405 to £32,680. 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 £26,405 in 2023, however the popular N-Connecta model starts from £31,890. The entry-level Kia Sportage starts from £28,360, but the popular T-GDI starts from £32,560. Finally, the cheapest Ford Kuga is currently priced around £32,680, but the popular ST-Line model will set you back £34,480.
|Starting OTR Prices of Popular SUVs|
|Nissan Qashqai Visia||£26,405|
|Kia Sportage 2 ISG||£28,360|
|Ford Kuga Titanium Edition||£32,680|
The most popular SUV, the Nissan Qashqai, has steadily risen in price nearly each year since 2013. Car owners should expect to pay from £27,120 for an entry-level Qashaq in 2023, which is more than £10,000 more expensive than it was 10 years ago—a rise of over 60%, but less of an increase than some 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 just over £16,000, which means that half of used cars cost less than £16,000 and half cost more than £16,000. We calculated this figure by analysing the distribution of pre-owned cars on Autotrader across different price bands, as you can see below. (We found 435,000 used cars for sale, and when the cars were ranked from most to least expensive, the cars in the middle cost around £16,000.)
We also include stats from back in 2020. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, we found there are fewer of the "cheap" cars and more "expensive" cars now compared to three years ago. This is consistent with the rise in used car prices.
|Vehicle Cost Range||Number of Vehicles Available (2020)||Number of Vehicles Available (2023)|
|£0 - £2,500||25,052||16,746|
|£2,500 - £5,000||43,746||34,638|
|£5,000 - £10,000||114,329||78,227|
|£10,000 - £20,000||163,216||152,332|
|£20,000 - £30,000||59,982||79,933|
|£30,000 - £40,000||23,478||32,573|
|£40,000 - £50,000||9,917||16,364|
|£50,000 - £100,000||13,400||18,702|
You can see this in the chart below. Notice how the chart has shifted from 2020 to 2023. Now, there are fewer cars in the "cheaper" price ranges, and more cars in the "expensive" price ranges.
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 (2023)|
The NimbleFins team updated this article with current pricing data from auto retailers' websites in September 2023. 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, so they are accurate to the best of our knowledge. 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.