Follow the crowd? Pah. Not for you. You’re no sheep. You’re out there, doing your own thing. And that individual streak continues when you get behind the wheel.
With around £15,000 in your budget – whether as cash, finance or part-exchange – you’ve got a lot to choose from on cinch. So, you want something a little bit out of the norm, with a little extra dash of style. cinch has you covered - as demonstrated by the selection of cars we've plucked out of our digital showroom below.
The Audi A3 has come a long way from its origins as a slightly posher take on the Golf platform (both Audi and Volkswagen have the same parent company), because it’s now a genuinely luxurious family hatch in its own right. The styling has that traditional Audi chicness, and makes the car look a cut above.
Inside, Audi’s traditional talent for interiors has been put to good use, with an increasingly (over time) angular but highly classy design and materials that feel truly sumptuous. There are various diesels and petrol to choose from. In reality, the mid-range 1.4-litre TFSI petrol and 1.6-litre turbodiesel are all that you’ll need. The petrol suits best if you tend to do shorter journeys, and the diesel is great on longer trips.
All models come with cruise control, alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers and rear parking sensors as standard, as well as air-con, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
If you go for a BMW 3 Series, you aren’t simply treating yourself to that iconic blue-and-white badge, you’re also getting what is one of the best cars it is possible to own. The 3 Series simply does everything well, because it looks great, it feels great to climb aboard, it drives wonderfully well no matter what engine is under the bonnet, and it won’t cost a fortune to run.
The 2.0-litre diesel is the most popular with good reason, because it’s strong and smooth and has the manners to sip diesel, not gulp it. All models are well equipped, with cruise control and DAB radio, but it’s worthy step up to SE trim, where you’ll get rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and automatic lights and wipers.
The DS 3 will definitely bring a certain je ne sais quoi to your motoring life, because it has more than a little Gallic chic. It’s a fashionista on wheels.
There isn’t a bad engine among them, with the mid-power 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine a particular sweet spot.
If speed is your game, the Performance model with its 208hp will certainly light up any journey. The DS 3 handles enjoyably with nippy, entertaining handling, and a decent ride quality in less sporting models. The Performance’s ride is more tensed to enable sharper handling.
The interior looks great and has plenty of equipment, including DAB radio and air-conditioning, with space for two adults in the back.
The Fiat 500 is undoubtedly a tough act to follow, with its cute looks and nippy demeanour. The 500X does a great job of providing the style of the city car, with the space for those who’ve outgrown it and need the room for a young one.
In 2018, Fiat ditched diesels from the 500X range, so they’re getting rarer and rarer on the used market. Still, the good news is that the 1.4-litre turbo petrol is a strong and sweet-revving machine, and gives the car a decent turn of pace.
The interior feels a real cut above that in the 500, with loads of neat touches and classy, soft-touch materials all around. There’s also plenty of space up front, and decent space for two child seats in the rear, or two kids once they’ve outgrown the seats. Daily life is eased by the presence of air-conditioning, cruise control, lane-keep assist and a seven-inch touchscreen in all models.
It’s fair to say the Mini is mini in name only these days, so it can hold rank against more obviously family-focused models these days. Mini ditched diesel power a few years ago, so numbers are reducing on the used market. But the petrol motor is great; the Cooper model features a thrummy three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine, while Cooper S models have a punchy 2.0-litre turbo engine that can get your pulse racing.
All Minis have the sort of super-quick steering and zippy handling that the brand is renowned for, although it’s fair to say this sporting focus gives the cars a slightly firmer ride. Still, you don’t buy a Mini for limo comfort, do you. They’re brilliant fun.
There are three trim levels, all of which bring their own slant on the Mini theme. It’s safe to say all Minis are well kitted with air-con, automatic lights and wipers and DAB radio. With BMW as the company’s parent, quality is high.
Peugeot has really upped its styling game in the past few years, with stunners including the 508, 2008 and this, the funky 208, adding some real aggression to UK roads.
The good news is that the 208’s talents are far more than just skin-deep, because it is genuinely good to drive, with a range of enjoyable and frugal petrol and diesel engines. The pick of the range is the mid-power 1.2-litre Puretech petrol, which gives the 208 all the performance you’ll need, with decent fuel economy, too.
Even entry-level cars have rear parking sensors, a central touchscreen and alloy wheels, while moving up the trims adds niceties such as a larger screen, front sensors and a rear-view camera. Make sure you drive a 208 before buying, because it has an unusual driving position that doesn’t suit all – although those that fit tend to love it.
While not first entrant in the world of electric cars, the Renault Zoe has established itself as a car to really bring battery power to the masses. Offering rapid charging and a much longer range than its dinky size would suggest (now well over 200 miles), it’s also reasonably priced.
For your cash, you’ll get a Zoe that’s pretty brisk to motorway speeds, and the 41kWh battery will offer an official range of up to 250 miles. Entry-level cars get cruise control and climate control, while mid-spec cars add keyless entry and go, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and a DAB radio. Top-spec cars add Bose audio and a rear-view camera.
Space is perfectly reasonable up front, and there’s fair space for two people in the rear, and the boot will take a pair of small suitcases, although the optional Bose subwoofer does impinge on space. That’s the price of bass!
The Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is a popular option for long-distance drivers for good reason. It’s big on the outside, which translates into large interior dimensions, so the Insignia can carry five adult passengers with no problem.
The big Vauxhall might not get your adrenaline flowing on a twisty road like, say, a 3 Series, but its size and suppleness make it relaxing and effortless. On a long motorway trip, it’s a brilliant companion. And with the 1.5-litre diesel engine up front, it has decent pace while being impressively light on fuel usage.
All versions are well kitted out, with electric windows all round, DAB, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and keyless entry and start. It also feels really nicely screwed together, and will get on with taking you from here to there in a wonderfully unassuming manner.
This generation of Volkswagen Golf is so good that the company has used its underpinnings as the basis for the current car. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Etc.
The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine punches far above its weight in both power and efficiency, while giving the Golf character and enthusiasm. If you need to do longer trips, the 1.6-litre diesel makes a fine alternative option. No matter your engine choice, you can rest assured that all Golfs feel remarkably well-made, thanks to an interior that features high-end materials and switchgear that has been engineered to feel classy.
It’s spacious too, with room for five adults and a decent-sized boot capable of swallowing three medium-sized suitcases plus more. Go for a Match model and it’ll have alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors, radar cruise control and automatic lights and wipers. It’s always been the smart thinking hatchback offering, and arguably, never more so than it is nowadays.