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Top five automatics for under £200 a month

Image of Neil Thomason
Author: | Updated: 04 Mar 2020 15:52

We get it, not everyone is a gearhead who likes getting that rev count in the sweet spot before shifting gears. Truth be told, even gearheads probably don’t get much chance to do that on our increasingly congested roads.

Whereas traditionally automatic cars weren’t all that popular in the UK due to their poor efficiency, all that has changed over the past decade. Now they’re smoother, more economical and more relaxing.  They certainly make commutes a little more bearable.

But what are the best automatic cars currently available on a budget? Here’s our five favourite automatics for under £200 a month.

Volkswagen Polo

Polo_SE_10TSI_022

While a nimble and speedy supermini might sound like the ideal car for a manual gearbox, when you feel how smooth and responsive the six or seven-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox is in the VW Polo you might have second thoughts.

A superb supermini that's not so mini anymore, the new Polo is 4,053mm long, 1,751mm wide and 1,446mm high which makes it 81mm longer, 63mm wider and 7mm lower than the previous model. That extra size doesn’t come at the expense of performance with the transmission delivering crisp shifts up and down the gears.

Kia XCeed

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The newest model on this list, the Kia XCeed was a pleasant surprise when we tested it. So much more than just the regular hatchback jacked up a bit, the XCeed allows you to take 90% of what makes an SUV desirable, yet still have a normal car that is cheap to run, affordable to lease, and practical for a family.

On top of that it has one of the best automatic transmissions we’ve come across in a while. Out of all the options available on the XCeed, we highly recommend the seven-speed automatic as it’s smoother, nicely masks a dead spot of power at low revs, and slightly improves economy and emissions over the manual.

Ford Focus

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While the Volkswagen Golf might have always had the edge when it comes to quality in the hatchback segment, it’s the Ford Focus which has always made up for it behind the wheel.

The eight-speed Powershift automatic gearbox you can spec in the Ford Focus is perfect when matched with any of its engines too. With improved acceleration and super-smooth gear changes, it’s engineered from the ground up to enhance your driving experience and maximise performance.

Nissan Qashqai

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While the Nissan Qashqai has been consistently one of the most popular crossovers for over ten years, and may bring to mind images of the school run or trips to Tesco, the automatic transmission that keeps the family car of choice moving has a bit of a secret.

Are you ready? It previously only featured on Nissan’s supercar GT-R. Yep, the humble crossover has supercar credentials in there, with the seven-speed DCT delivering immediate power shift and efficiency for a subtly sporty feel behind the wheel.

Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

New Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid (5)

While its hybrid credentials might be the thing Hyundai want to shout about the most, and it is a great hybrid, it’s the dual-clutch transmission that we think is the icing on the cake.

Unlike some hybrids, the Ioniq makes use of a proper six-speed DCT gearbox which delivers smooth and responsive gear shifts. This combination of carefully chosen gear ratios really helps add to the efficiency of the hybrid and even makes the car just seem like, well, any old car. And if you want people to switch to low-emission vehicles then touches like this go a long way.

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