13 Best used automatic cars

Roman Danaev

Best cars27 December 2023

Traditionally, larger cars flaunted automatic versions, while smaller ones stuck to manuals. Now, the trend has shifted, and drivers of all kinds are opting for the simplicity of an automatic car. The rise of electric cars, all featuring automatic transmissions, has played a role in reshaping the driving landscape, too.

If you’re considering this type of motoring, our list features the best used automatic cars across various classes. What adds to the appeal is that all these are great as used cars.

At Carplus, we’re here to help you with car finance terms and ensure you have a smooth and satisfying buying experience. Say goodbye to manual cars and hello to the simplicity of only two pedals!

1. Ford Fiesta

Price for a used carFrom £4,990
Body typeHatchback
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors3, 5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency40.4-65.7 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Ford Fiesta is a favourite in the small automatic car category, and it continues to dominate the car market, especially among city cars with compact dimensions. Ford’s commitment to quality shines in the latest Fiesta models, which are available in a variety of specifications.

The 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine is offered with different power outputs. But there is a satisfying range of petrol and diesel options for versatility and diverse preferences. In urban settings, the Fiesta excels with its lighter steering, which makes it manoeuvrable and user-friendly.

The used car market offers a wealth of high-spec Fiestas. This only proves that Ford’s formula that combines quality, performance, and popularity is a winning one.

2. BMW 3 Series

Price for a used carFrom £4,500
Body typeHatchback, saloon, convertible
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors2, 4, 5
Seats4, 5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency34-62.8 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The BMW 3 Series is arguably the best automatic saloon, which has dominated the compact executive car market for six generations. Whether you’re opting for older models or newer ones, the 3 Series promises satisfaction.

There is a diverse engine lineup, predominantly featuring diesel options. While all engines perform well, the 316d and 316i petrol variants may feel slightly underpowered. And if you choose the seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch gearbox, you’re guaranteed a nice driving experience.

The inside is characterized by a plush interior — expect high-quality materials and ergonomic efficiency in major and minor controls.

3. Audi Q7

Price for a used carFrom £5,000
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats7
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFour-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency19.8-156.9 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Audi Q7 is another standout that offers a comfortable ride and impressive features. As a spacious seven-seater, the Q7 prioritizes passenger space and becomes an ideal family vehicle.

There are several engines, but if you want ultimate performance, choose petrol or hybrid — 335bhp 55 TFSI or 376bhp 55 TFSIe, respectively. The SQ7, in particular, has excessive power and is perfect for high-speed driving enthusiasts. The standard four-wheel-drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox continue the themes of capable performance.

There’s decent practicality, too — a spacious and airy interior, as well as improved leg and headroom in all seven seats.

4. Ford Focus

Price for a used carFrom £3,400
Body typeHatchback, saloon, coupe
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors3, 4, 5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid, electric
Drive typeFront-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive
Fuel efficiency39.2-282.5 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Ford Focus, as a used automatic car, delivers a reliable and practical driving experience. It’s renowned for its value for money and overall reliability, and that’s why the Focus is a popular choice among UK best-sellers.

The standard petrol or diesel Focus offers an engaging drive with a well-balanced chassis, responsive steering, and lively agility. The fully electric version, Focus Electric, provides decent acceleration, but it may not match the sheer fun of the regular models. If you do mostly urban driving, opt for the 1.0-litre turbo petrol variants, available with 99bhp or 123bhp in Ecoboost.

The model is also noteworthy for its build quality, spacious interior, and sporty design elements.

5. Škoda Kodiaq

Price for a used carFrom £11,000
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats7
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive
Fuel efficiency30.1-52.6 mpg
SegmentPremium and luxury

The Škoda Kodiaq is a compact SUV with a modern design and enhanced fuel efficiency, sitting on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. It won’t come as a massive surprise to discover that this model is super reliable. In fact, it’s one of the most reliable automatic cars.

Driving the Kodiaq is a breeze with excellent visibility, light steering for easy town manoeuvring, and a manageable size. For those seeking a speedy drive, the vRS version with 245hp provides a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds. Also, the SE L puts the Kodiaq into a luxury SUV category.

Thoughtful design and low running costs are complemented by Škoda’s signature Simply Clever features.

6. Volkswagen Golf

Price for a used carFrom £3,900
Body typeHatchback
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors3, 5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency38.2-246 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Volkswagen Golf is a superb all-around choice among used automatic cars, renowned for its smooth and sophisticated ride.

The Golf is held in high regard in the used car market, so you’ll choose between numerous options with a wide array of engine choices and trims. Speed enthusiasts can indulge in the dynamic hot hatch GTI or the impressively swift Golf R. For environmentally conscious drivers, the GTE, a plug-in hybrid vehicle, or fully electric e-Golf offers ultra-low-emissions driving.

Those looking for small cars with family-friendly features will be overjoyed — the Golf is just perfect for family trips. Also, it offers a smoother ride compared to most of its close counterparts.

7. Hyundai Tucson

Price for a used carFrom £8,500
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel drive, four-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency26-201.8 mpg
SegmentMid-range value

The Hyundai Tucson does remarkably well in many aspects and excels in its category of automatic SUVs. You probably won’t get exceptional driver excitement, but that’s a characteristic of minor significance in this class.

There are petrol and diesel engines that deliver enough power for everyday needs. Noteworthy is the introduction of a new 48-volt mild hybrid diesel powertrain. It’s exclusively available with the most potent 183bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and the eight-speed automatic gearbox. For those leaning towards petrol, Hyundai offers both normally aspirated and turbocharged 1.6-litre units.

The Tucson’s ability to provide a quiet and smooth cruise is coupled with minimal engine noise during acceleration.

8. Mazda CX-5

Price for a used carFrom £5,250
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel
Drive typeFront-wheel drive, four-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency22-50.4 mpg
SegmentMid-range value

The Mazda CX-5 is a compelling example. It has a robust reputation, which is evident from the nearly 70,000 units sold in the UK, and this means there are plenty of second-hand automatic cars here.

The CX-5 has a well-rounded but short engine lineup — one petrol and two diesel engine options. The top-performing engine, a 148bhp 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D diesel, is notably green. Thanks to its smart design with low friction and a low-compression ratio, it achieves impressive fuel efficiency.

The CX-5 offers satisfaction rarely matched by contemporary rivals. The standard six-speed automatic gearbox will deliver an on-road experience that is reminiscent of the sporty Mazda MX-5. Another great feature is that the CX-5’s family-friendly design prioritizes safety.

9. Škoda Octavia

Price for a used carFrom £2,500
Body typeHatchback, estate
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors4, 5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel drive, four-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency42.2-256.8 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Škoda Octavia can be viewed as a solid all-rounder, providing ample space at a competitive price since its debut in 1998.

The lineup ranges from the 1.2-litre petrol in S trim to the 2.0-litre diesels equipped with DSG semi-automatic gearboxes. The 1.0-litre petrol engine proves surprisingly lively in urban settings, and it manages to keep pace with traffic effortlessly. All variants offer sufficient performance, but the larger engines shine with motorway miles.

Despite not being a sports car, the Octavia has tidy handling, responsive steering, and well-tuned suspension. All of that combined brings in quick directional changes and a consistently composed feel.

10. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Price for a used carFrom £3,400
Body typeSaloon, estate, coupe
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors2, 4, 5
Seats4, 5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFour-wheel drive
Fuel efficiency40.4-62.8 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a common sight on UK roads and a frequent entrant on the best-seller list. With all its benefits, it remains popular among new and used car buyers.

Despite its presence for several years, the C-Class used automatic car will have cutting-edge engines. For instance, you can get mild-hybrid technology in the C 200 or a refined 2.0-litre diesel.

The C-Class provides a clear ownership experience and optional extras reminiscent of the larger S-Class. Although its interior design reflects the appealing aesthetics of the S-Class, you’ll see cost-cutting in material choices if you look closer. On the plus side, the model is noteworthy for its extensive safety features.

11. Nissan Qashqai

Price for a used carFrom £3,200
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive
Fuel efficiency40.1-74.3 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Nissan Qashqai appeals to those seeking a blend of low costs, comfort, refinement, space, and safety. Opting for a Qashqai may not win points for originality. But its popularity among tens of thousands speaks volumes about its reliability and suitability.

The 1.5 dCi diesel engine puts out a balance of performance and fuel economy, while the 1.3 TCe petrol engine is ideal for city driving. There are choices in transmissions (but the automatic transmission is what makes it stand out in the used market) and the option of four-wheel drive. Altogether, whether in the city or on the motorway, the driving experience is tailored for simplicity.

Driver assistance features are a highlight — rear parking sensors, anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist, and more.

12. Kia Sportage

Price for a used carFrom £3,950
Body typeSUV, convertible
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors3, 5
Seats5
FuelPetrol, diesel, hybrid
Drive typeFront-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive
Fuel efficiency29.6-252 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Kia Sportage was so popular at times that it represented a quarter of Kia’s new car sales. That’s great news for those buying second-hand.

Finding the right Sportage to suit your needs shouldn’t be hard. You can go either way — opt for the fuel-efficient diesel variants or the performance-driven base 128bhp 1.6 petrol engine. Notably, its conventional automatic gearboxes ensure smooth and efficient shifts. You also get the added convenience of a straightforward steering wheel.

The Sportage excels in controlling body lean during corners and provides a secure grip. As expected, the model prioritizes practicality over thrilling driving dynamics, but these are typical characteristics.

13. Honda CR-V

Price for a used carFrom £2,900
Body typeSUV
Gearbox typeAutomatic
Doors5
Seats5
FuelPetrol
Drive typeFront-engine, four-wheel-drive
Fuel efficiency34.5-42.8 mpg
SegmentBudget-conscious

The Honda CR-V, a reliable and family-friendly SUV, is the final contender. The model is known for its solid build, spacious interior, and family-friendly features. All in all, the CR-V offers a comfortable and well-equipped motoring experience.

The best CR-Vs come with a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine. Those are available in power options of 171bhp or 190bhp when paired with a CVT gearbox or a hybrid system (i.e., only as an automatic version).

There is a clear focus on practicality. Mainly, it’s evident from the generous interior space that meets the needs of an average family. It’s easy to drive, too.

Final words

Automatic cars are a game-changer, especially in the city. You don’t have to change gears or deal with a clutch pedal — automatics make driving stress-free. No more worries about leg pain from constant clutch use. Automatics shine in slow-speed situations and eliminate stalls and the risk of rolling back on hills without hitting the brake.

If you’re convinced to let go of the manual gearbox, the best used automatic cars in this list should help you narrow down the search.

Final tip: discover thousands of automatic cars from trusted dealers at Carplus. Our car finance tool makes sealing the deal a breeze!

Your monthly payment
£327.74
Total charge of credit£3,731.35
Total amount payable£15,731.35
Apply now for your personalised, no-obligation quote