The Best Used Automatic Cars [2021 Update]

15 Jul 2021 by Lisa Simm

If you’re looking to get the most for your money, buying a used car can be a great option. The good news is that buying a used car doesn’t mean having to compromise on the features you want as there are plenty of used cars on the market. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the best used automatic cars on the market and why an automatic might be the best option for you.

What are the pros/cons of an automatic?

Firstly it is important you know the legality of driving an automatic. If you pass your driving test in a manual, you are legally able to drive both automatic and manual transmission cars. Whereas if you complete your driving test in a car with an automatic gearbox, you can only drive automatics in the future.

So why should you buy an automatic?

Automatic clutches are simpler than manual transmission gearboxes. There is no need to worry about working the clutch or about when to change gear. The car takes care of it for you, so you have one less thing to think about on your drive.

Many people find driving automatics more comfortable as you only have to worry about two pedals. Plus you can keep two hands on the wheel at all times, making your drive safer.

When automatic transmissions were first introduced, they were more expensive than the manual equivalent, so only tended to be available on more premium marques. However, nowadays, automatic transmissions are much cheaper, and many manufacturers offer automatic transmissions as an affordable option across their range.

Plus with so many used automatic car for sale it is easy to find the right model for you at the right price.

So what’s not great about automatic transmissions?

Automatic gearboxes are more mechanically complex than manual gearboxes and as a result, had a reputation for unreliability. In recent years, improvements to automatic transmission technology have helped to change this reputation. However, despite this, they are still likely to cost slightly more to maintain and repair.

Automatic cars have also been associated with reduced fuel economy in the past. But again there have been improvements in this area thanks to the development of automated clutches.

Best Medium Automatic Car: SEAT Leon

A compact family car, the SEAT Leon makes perfect sense as an automatic for anyone wanting a hassle-free journey. Slick-shifting the twin-clutch DSG gearbox makes seamless switches allowing you to concentrate on the road ahead. It also helps improve fuel economy, so is ideal if you are looking to save at the pumps.

A true all-rounder, the Leon comes with room for everyone as well as a good-sized boot. Plus with a ski hatch and 60/40 split seats, it’s easy to adapt it to your requirements.

Best Medium Automatic Car: SEAT Leon

Best Small Automatic Car UK: Volkswagen Polo

If it is small automatic used cars for sale that you are interested in, there’s no better option than the refined Volkswagen Polo. The automatic transmission adds further appeal to this already stylish car, ensuring you get big car features in its compact package.

With crisp responsive shifts ensure the Volkswagen Polo will never leave you wanting and has all the pep you need to cruise away from standstill with ease.

Best Small Automatic Car UK: Volkswagen Polo

SUV: Used Automatic Ford Kuga

If you’re looking for a smart family-friendly SUV, the used Ford Kuga is a fantastic choice. As well as a spacious cabin, you get a generous boot capacity, so days out with the whole family are a breeze. As to be expected from Ford, the handling and comfort of the Kuga are first-class, while a range of advanced technology helps make journeys more enjoyable.

The automatic transmission is only available with certain engine options but delivers seamless changes for complete ease on the go.

SUV: Used Automatic Ford Kuga

Crossover: Used Automatic Nissan Qashqai

If a more compact crossover is a better option for you, a used Nissan Qashqai won’t disappoint. One of Britain’s best-selling models it delivers in all areas. As well as being comfortable and practical, it has a host of on-board safety kit to help keep everyone protected. The used automatic Nissan Qashqai is great to drive with smooth changes up and down the gears. Automatic transmissions are available on all the diesel engines as well as the more powerful engine units.

Front view of used Nissan Qashqai

Best Automatic Hatchback: Used Automatic Fiat 500

Since its revival, the Fiat 500 has enjoyed incredible popularity, largely due to its quirky retro style. Choosing a used automatic Fiat 500 ensures it is as easy to drive as it is stylish. What’s more, thanks to a seemingly unending list of personalisation options there are a host of unique used Fiat 500 models available on the market.

The compact dimensions and light steering make an automatic Fiat 500 a good option for new drivers, especially in urban environments. However, it’s still capable on the motorway for those who like to get out and about.

Used Fiat 500

Saloon: Used Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo is famed for producing stylish and sporty models, and the Giulia certainly doesn’t disappoint in this area with its sleek yet muscular design. The eight-speed automatic provides good mpg capabilities and a smooth drive-quality with sleek and seamless changes.

The interior is just as aesthetically pleasing as the exterior and features premium materials and stylish finishing touches. It’s practical too, with enough room to comfortably seat five.

Used automatic car - side view of Alfa Romeo Giulia

Used automatic cars with low road tax

The good news is that if you are looking to buy a used automatic car with low road tax, there are plenty to choose from.  Plus for those hoping to make the greatest savings, some models registered before April 2017 are available with zero road tax.

Here, we explore some of the features of the most popular used automatic cars with low road tax available across the Stoneacre network.

Renault Zoe

The used Renault Zoe is an incredibly affordable automatic to run with no road tax meaning there is one less thing to budget. Add to that the savings made from switching to fully-electric power and the used Zoe starts to make sense as a practical and affordable to run used model.

Used automatic cars with low road tax - Renault Zoe

Toyota Prius

The Prius may be most well-known for being one of the first mass-produced petrol-electric hybrids, but it is also incredibly refined thanks to its seamless automatic gearbox. Plus with its unique looks, it draws attention for all the right reasons. 

Used automatic cars with low road tax -  Toyota Prius

Volkswagen UP!

Don’t be put off by the dinky dimensions of the Volkswagen UP! as the inside is surprisingly spacious and it drives much like a larger model. Post-2012 Volkswagen introduced a five-speed automatic gearbox to the line-up bringing further refinement to this smart city car, making journeys a complete breeze this car has a lot to offer.

Used automatic cars with low road tax - Volkswagen UP!

Hyundai Ioniq

Another good buy if you are looking to reduce your running costs the Ioniq not only meets our low road tax criteria but is also frugal to run. The standard six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is available with a manual override via paddle controls, giving you the best of both worlds.

Used automatic cars with low road tax - Hyundai Ioniq

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK

If you are looking to buy a used automatic car, you want to be confident that it won’t let you down. You might also be wondering if automatic cars are more expensive but with so many high-quality used models available you needn’t worry.

Below we take a look at some of the most reliable used automatic cars in the UK, so you can buy with greater confidence.

Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta Powershift brings the convenience of an automatic transmission to one of Britain’s best-selling model. Mated to Ford’s popular one-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, you benefit from the fun drive characteristics the Fiesta is known for as well as the ease of the automatic transmission. You can take back control at any time to thanks to a button.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Ford Fiesta

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa is another popular hatchback that is a sensible option to buy used. So the automatic transmission adds to its appeal. The conventional six-speed automatic is teamed to a 1.4-litre petrol engine for 89bhp. It’s frugal and smooth whether nipping around the city or heading further afield.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Vauxhall Corsa

Volvo XC90

For those needing a bigger car capable of transporting the entire family, the XC90 won’t let you down. Stylish to look at with a practical and comfortable interior, the XC90 is also easy to drive with the optional automatic transmission. Plus the XC90 comes with a fantastic reputation for safety and reliability for more driving confidence.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Volvo XC90

Citroen C3 Aircross

The quirky styling of the used Citroen C3 Aircross is sure to get you noticed. Plus thanks to the availability of a six-speed automatic gearbox you can relax while cruising around in style. So whether you are running errands in town or planning longer trips, the C3 Aircross ensures you arrive in style and comfort.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Citroen C3 Aircross

Renault Zoe

If you are looking for electric power, the Renault Zoe is a fantastic choice. On the market for numerous years now, not only it is an affordable electric option, but there’s a great choice. Since electrification, the Zoe has been an automatic which offers seamless one-pedal driving for greater driving ease.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Renault Zoe

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Those not quite ready to switch to fully electric motoring may consider the Toyota Yaris. On sale since 2012, there are plenty of examples on the used market. Toyota pairs its 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a CVT-gearbox for seamless motoring. Real-world efficiency of 65mpg makes it the top choice if you are looking to reduce your fuel bills without the hassle of having to plug in and charge up.

Most reliable used automatic cars in the UK - Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Finding the right used automatic car

To help make finding a used automatic car easier, you can use the filters in our used cars for sale section, so you only see automatic transmission models. There’s a vast array of models available so no matter what your requirements, we’re confident you’ll find something to suit.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think about automatic transmissions in the comments below!

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