Cheapest Cars on Sale in Europe in 2016 by Segment

Iveta Cherneva once said that many great opportunities aren’t cheap, but some cheap opportunities are great. Iveta was referring to the spheres of security, politics, human rights, and sustainability with that quote, but then again, it perfectly applies to cars as well.
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Photo: Edited by autoevolution
Dacia SanderoDacia SanderoDacia SanderoDacia SanderoDacia SanderoKia Cee'dKia Cee'dKia Cee'dKia Cee'dKia Cee'dSkoda OctaviaSkoda OctaviaSkoda OctaviaSkoda OctaviaSkoda OctaviaSkoda SuperbSkoda SuperbSkoda SuperbSkoda SuperbSkoda SuperbHyundai GenesisHyundai GenesisHyundai GenesisHyundai GenesisHyundai GenesisMazda MX-5 MiataMazda MX-5 MiataMazda MX-5 MiataMazda MX-5 MiataDacia DusterDacia DusterDacia DusterDacia DusterDacia DusterMitsubishi ASXMitsubishi ASXMitsubishi ASXMitsubishi ASXMitsubishi ASXMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi PajeroMitsubishi PajeroMitsubishi PajeroMitsubishi PajeroMitsubishi Pajero
The thing with affordable cars is that most of them are outright rubbish. Forgettable econoboxes with run-of-the-mill fuel efficiency with so-so styling, scarce standard equipment, and bottom-rung performance are the norm in Europe. And yes, I’m referring to that Europe spanning from Great Britain to the eastern part of Russia.

From my point of view, there’s a fine line between cheap cars and cheap cars that feel cheap. The first category consists of those simple, unpretentious means of transportation from point A to point B. You know, cars made at a well-defined cost that feels unabridged.

As for the cheap cars that feel cheap genre, the list is without end. These four-wheeled atrocities were omitted from the following ranking for a good reason - they’re not worth your money, nor your attention. They’re bad with a capital B. That’s why the Lada Kalina has been intentionally excluded from the list, despite the fact that it’s €60 more expensive than the cheapest supermini listed here.

On that account, the most affordable cars on sale in Europe in 2016 by segment list is brim with suggestions that are worth taking into consideration. Care to guess which is the cheapest of the lot?

Subcompact Car - Dacia Sandero (€6,890)

Dacia Sandero
Photo: Dacia
Good news! It’s the Dacia Sandero. According to James May, the Sandero is a supermini that’s simply honest. I’m down with that. The Romanian hatchback is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance B platform, which means that it has plenty in common with two of the most popular choices in this segment: the Clio and the Micra.

€6,890 will buy you the Essentiel trim level of the Sandero and a 75 horsepower 1.2-liter engine matched to a 5-speed stick. Due to its feathery curb weight (1,016 kilograms or 2,240 pounds), the little Dacia can return up to 4.9 liters per 100 km on the highway, which is 48 mpg in the United States or 57.6 miles per gallon in the UK.

There’s little in the way of standard equipment, mind you, but even the entry-level model comes with electronic stability program, daytime running lights, 60/40 split folding rear seats, tire pressure monitoring system, and a gear shift indicator. It’s spartan, I agree with that, but it’s better than walking and it’s cheap to run, cheap to insure, and it’s easy to drive. And yes, the radio is an optional extra.

Compact Car - Kia Cee’d (€14,990)

Kia Cee'd
Photo: Kia
€14,990 is enough to acquire one of four compact models in Germany. The Kia Cee’d is the best bet, though, because the SEAT Toledo is uninspiring, the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback is old, and the SEAT Leon 3-door comes with less standard equipment than the Kia. Oh, nearly forgot - the Cee’d comes with a 7-year warranty.

The C-apostrophe-d doesn’t need to prove anything, especially after it has shot to stardom as the Top Gear Reasonably Priced Car from 2010 to 2013. A-rated Hollywood actors such as Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise like the Cee’d, so that’s that from my point of view.

In Attract 1.4 guise, the Kia Cee’d makes do with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 100 horsepower, a manual, Bluetooth handsfree calling and audio streaming, a stereo with USB, AUX, and iPod connectivity, hill start assist, and air conditioning. In other words, the entry-level Kia Cee’d covers the most essential needs of European motorists.

Mid-Size Car - Skoda Octavia (€16,990)

Skoda Octavia
Photo: Skoda
When it started production in 1996, the Octavia didn’t have what it took to match established nameplates such as the Ford Mondeo. A couple of generations later, the Czech model leveled up to the cheap and cheerful 5-door sedan you can admire in the photograph above.

Under the skin you’ll find the Volkswagen Group MQB platform, an architecture acclaimed for its good balance between fair handling and comfort. Being underpinned by the MQB platform, this Czech can be equipped with AWD and a slick dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Unfortunately for those on a budget, the base trim level of the Skoda Octavia doesn’t come with such features as standard. What you get for €16,990 is a respectable family car with a fuel-efficient 1.2-liter TSI engine under the hood and a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Large Car - Skoda Superb (€24,890)

Skoda Superb
Photo: Skoda
If the Octavia isn’t the right size for your family, then the larger Superb should do just fine. As standard, the Superb comes with a cavernous trunk (625 liters or 22 cuFT), impressive legroom for the rear passengers, a 1.4 TSI with 125 horsepower, and a 6-speed manual.

Other no-cost highlights include a 5-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, manual climate control, halogen headlights and LED taillights. For what it’s worth, the entry-level Superb is fine by me.

No other model in this segment comes close to the Superb as far as value for money is concerned. Be warned, though - ticking one too many boxes from the options list will see the Superb soar past €40k.

Full-Size Car - Hyundai Genesis (€65,500)

Hyundai Genesis
Photo: Hyundai
Surprised? Don’t be. The purpose of the Genesis from the get-go was to offer full-size luxury and toys for a lot less money than what the German trio does. So what does Hyundai offer you for a mind-boggling €15,500 under the starting price of the highbrow Audi A8 3.0-liter TDI?

For starters, a naturally aspirated 315 horsepower 3.8-liter V6. Of course, the interior is beautified by genuine wood and metal trim. And yes, that’s Nappa leather. A 7-inch TFT display flanked by two dials, a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, ventilated and heated seats, sat nav, you name it, the Hyundai Genesis soothes your fevered brow.

Yes, the Genesis doesn’t have the opulence of a German full-size luxury sedan and yes, this model isn’t the recently launched G90 of the standalone Genesis brand. Then again, this is one cheap luxobarge.

Sports Car - Mazda MX-5 Miata (€22,990)

Mazda MX\-5 Miata
Photo: Mazda
Would you believe that the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is cheaper than the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet? Yes, that Golf convertible with the underpinnings of the Mk6 and the visual appeal of a birthmark.

The Japanese roadster in its most basic configuration weighs just 975 kilograms (2,149 pounds), which is essential to the eminence of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. In plain English, the insignificant mass makes it a hoot to drive. Better still, you don’t have to drive fast to have fun in an MX-5. The design isn’t bad either compared to the hideous Golf Cabrio.

Drawbacks? The small trunk is the biggest problem with living with an MX-5 Miata on a daily basis. The 1.5-liter SkyActiv-G engine of the base model, on the other hand, is widely considered to be the sweeter mill. Drive one and you’ll understand why the 1.5 actually makes sense.

Subcompact SUV - Dacia Duster (€10,690)

Dacia Duster
Photo: Dacia
Good news! Oh, wait, I said that a few paragraphs before, haven’t I? Well then, what makes the Duster such an attractive proposition in its segment? Let’s start by mentioning that the Dacia Duster subcompact crossover is better equipped than the snowy-haired Lada Niva (€9,900).

Another reason why the Duster earns its corns is the starting price. At €10,690, the Romanian-built model is cheaper than the ever-popular Renault Captur and newcomer SsangYong Tivoli (both €15,490). Don’t expect it to be as off-road capable as a Suzuki Jimny (€15,590), though.

Just like the smaller Sandero supermini, the Dacia Duster doesn’t come with bangs and whistles in entry-level configuration. It’s cheap & definitely cheerful. Despite the uninspiring cabin design and its utilitarian character, you should definitely check the Dacia Duster out.

Compact SUV - Mitsubishi ASX (€15,990)

Mitsubishi ASX
Photo: Mitsubishi
The third-generation Mitsubishi ASX (also known as the Outlander Sport in the United States) has been around since 2010. Six years have passed since then and boy this compact crossover SUV shows its age.

It didn’t age well, but that’s not a problem if design isn’t at the top of your priorities list. In entry-level form, the ASX trumps every other model in its segment as far as pricing is concerned. And boy do you get lots of goodies for as little as €15,990, including fuel-sipping automatic start & stop.

Other important features include 7 airbags, heated and electrically adjustable side mirrors, hill start assist, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ISOFIX attachment points for child seats, electric windows all around, a rudimental stereo, and central locking. Not bad, Mitsubishi, not bad at all.

Mid-Size SUV - Mitsubishi Outlander (€20,990)

Mitsubishi Outlander
Photo: Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Outlander mid-size crossover SUV holds a special place in my petrolhead heart because I did some stupid things with one off the beaten track once. I’ll try to be objective on this occasion and tell you that nothing is cheaper in this segment than this Japanese interloper.

Don’t expect exhilarating performance of off-road credibility from the base model, though. After all, it’s front-wheel-drive and it churns out only 150 horsepower from a naturally aspirated 2-liter engine. Compared to its smaller brother, the base Mitsubishi Outlander ups the ante with 2-zone climate control, USB slot, cruise control, and LED daytime running lights.

Paying a little extra over the starting price will get you two more seats. Be warned that the third-row seats are only suitable for small children or for those adults that have mastered the Lotus position.

Full-Size SUV - Mitsubishi Pajero 5-door (€32,990)

Mitsubishi Pajero
Photo: Mitsubishi
What, Mitsubishi again? Yes, that’s right. The Pajero 5-door is, in my opinion, the next best thing after a Toyota Land Cruiser. If ruggedness is what you’re after, look no further than this retro-tastic behemoth.

When I say retro, I mean it. The Pajero you’re looking at is the latest iteration of the fourth generation, which was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 2006. This makes the Pajero 10 years old, and boy does it show.

It’s not sophisticated to drive on the road, it’s full of head plastics, it produces excessive wind and tire noise, but you know what? The Pajero isn’t a full-size luxury SUV like the Audi Q7 or a full-size premium SUV like the Land Rover Discovery. Its go-anywhere dependability is all that counts. The 3.2-liter DI-D turbo diesel is quite a thirsty engine, though.

Editor’s note: These starting prices apply in Germany, the automotive melting pot of the Old Continent.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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