What is it that makes a car affordable? If you pay very little up-front for a runabout motor, but constantly have to fork out for repairs and fuel, are you really getting a bargain? Ultimately, a car’s affordability comes down to a mixture of reliability, fuel economy and purchase price. When it comes to the latter, you want to try and get the best value for money – what’s the newest car you can get with the least mileage?

    Thankfully, Trade Centre Wales, specialists in used car finance deals, have provided a handy guide to eight of the most affordable cars you can pick up on the used market.

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    Hyundai i20

    The Hyundai i20 is a great hatchback that can be had at great prices compared to rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. Models all come with a five year manufacturer’s warranty, so if you were to buy a model from 2013 onwards you’d have peace of mind for a few years.

    The 1.4 CRDi model is the pick for affordability, offering an official economy figure of 69 mpg, a 5-star NCAP safety rating and insanely cheap entry prices, with many 2009-2011 models selling used for around £3,000-£4,000. Not only that, but depending on the engine, you’ll pay between £0 and £20 for road tax.

    Honda Jazz

    Not only is the Honda Jazz one of the UK’s safest cars, it’s also fantastic for family driving thanks to its reliability, space and running costs. It’s got the same precision engineering you’d expect from the Japanese brand, without the price tag of the sportier models.

    The IMA Hybrid version of the Jazz packs the most fuel economy amongst the older models, but it has automatic transmission. At prices of around £5,000-£6,000, you’ll get a 2011 or 2012 model which nets 60+ mpg and costs just £10 to tax. However, all models – even cheap old petrol engines –reportedly achieve 45-55mpg.

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    Suzuki Celerio

    A small, affordable car that’s great for city drivers, the Celerio is a car that you can buy almost brand new for as little as £5,000. Its small petrol engine makes it ideal for nipping around the doors and all models get upwards of 50mpg with free road tax.

    However, you can pay a little more and get the Dualjet variant, which nets the highest fuel economy of all the models. Resale values won’t be good, but if you’re after a city car to live with for years, you won’t find a cheaper city car.

    Ford Fiesta

    Despite an increase in price as the brand’s reputation has rocketed into stardom, Ford is still a relatively affordable option. On the used market, if you’re not too picky about the engine, you can find fantastic examples at good prices. The newer style of Ford Fiesta, produced since 2008, can be had at good prices – but the more economic diesel engines will hold value for longer and are more expensive as a result.

    The cheaper 1.25 engines will get you around 50 mpg. You can buy one of the 2010 – 2011 models in the flashier Zetec trim with around 40,000 miles for around £5,000. However, you’ll have to fork out £110 in annual car tax. Diesel models are far more frugal and net around 60mpg. They’re either £20 or free if they’re ECOnetic – but you’ll pay in excess of £6,500 for something produced around 2011 with 50,000+ miles.

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    Vauxhall Corsa

    If you’re looking for a cheap, reliable hatchback, you’ll be delighted to find out that the Vauxhall Corsa is an excellent used buys. Models produced between 2006 and 2014 are available at prices as low as £3,000 upwards.

    Post 2011 models had a facelift – and the engines vary from a 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex that gets over 80 mpg and is free to tax, to a standard 1.2 which gets 45mpg+ and costs £130 a year to tax. You’ll find the diesel ecoFlex models are well priced – with 2011 and 2012 models available for under £5,000.

    Toyota Yaris

    Want reliability in your used car buy? The Yaris has a terrific reputation when it comes to dependability. Even in standard trims, the car comes packed with kit. Insurance groups in the 1.0 and 1.3 litre engines are low. Both the 1.0 and 1.3 litre engines are economical, with those engines returning 52mpg and 47mpg respectively.

    Petrol models will pay £100+ tax per year, while diesels will be £20. You can buy a 2009-era diesel for around £4,500. If you’re not fussy on engines and want something affordable, you can buy models after 2011 with around 50,000 miles on the clock for just over £5,000.

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    Mazda 2

    If you’ve not got much to spend but want something affordable, the Mazda 2 is a smart choice. You can buy an economical petrol model for under £3,000, boasting high reliability. You’ll find a 2009 or 2010 models with around 50,000 miles at that price bracket. The 1.3 litre engine will be the main offering, which offers around 50 mpg and a road tax premium between £30 and £110 in certain models.

    Honda CR-V

    No SUV is really ‘affordable’ thanks to a larger size which mandates a bigger engine and therefore generally poorer fuel economy. However, if you need a large vehicle that doesn’t break the bank, this is the one to go for.

    The CR-V is a reliable machine and in its 2.2 i-CTDi engine is available for around £5,000 if you go for a 2008/2009 model, but they’ll have around 100,000 miles on the clock. That engine costs £210 to tax but gets 45+ mpg – a rarity for a vehicle that big.