We all know that if we want something stylish, we normally have to pay over the odds for it, right? Big, luxurious cars like the Peugeot 508 and the Audi A5 are great to look at, but they require quite a few quid to get into them.
However, setting ourselves a top budget of just £300 per month, we’ve rustled up a list of ten of the best-looking cars to lease in the affordable sphere. We’ve picked a spread of city cars, superminis, family hatchbacks and even SUV crossovers for you to choose from, as well – so there should be a vehicle here that suits your particular aesthetic preference.
Toyota Aygo X
1. Peugeot 208
Body type: Supermini hatchback Three key rivals: Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Yaris.
Peugeot has really got its styling mojo back in recent years and one of the best examples of that is this gorgeous second-generation Peugeot 208 – in our opinion, the best-looking affordable car you can lease right now. Even base models of the 208 look superb, but once you get to the higher specifications, with their ‘triple-claw’ light signatures and those huge ‘fang’ daytime running lights, you’re looking at something that’s more supermodel than supermini. The rear styling is just as good, and contrast roof options bring even more visual pizzazz. Even the all-electric e-208 keeps the handsome factor high, so this is one cracking little aesthete for those looking to lease on a budget.
2. Fiat 500
Body type: City car hatchback Three key rivals: Volkswagen Up!, Smart Fortwo, MINI Hatch.
It’s fair to say few cars are more visually appealing than the Fiat 500. Its cutesy little shape is a 21st-century reimagining of the 1957 ‘Nuova 500’ which mobilised the masses in Italy back in the day. So good is the latest Fiat 500’s body, by the way, that it has managed to remain fresh and eye-catching, despite the fact it has been on sale since way back in 2007. Indeed, so inherently ‘correct’ is the 500’s form that the new 500 Electric looks almost identical – despite the fact it hardly shares any body panels with what is now known as the ‘500 Classic’.
Read our Fiat 500 review here, or you can see our thoughts when the Fiat 500 Classic took on the Vauxhall Corsa in our head-to-head review. Alternatively check out the 500 Classic compared to its more advanced 500 Electric relation.
3. Nissan Qashqai
Body type: Family crossover-SUV Three key rivals: Hyundai Tucson, Vauxhall Grandland, SEAT Ateca.
The previous two generations of the Nissan Qashqai could be argued to be game-changing, certainly in the case of the Mk1 original, and they both certainly sold in vast, vast numbers, but neither of them overtly stylish. The current Mk3, though, has much sharper bodywork and a hugely improved cabin, which makes it feel far more prestigious through and through. It might seem incredible that such a big, practical car is actually available for less than £250-per-month, never mind £300, but a 1.3-litre DIG-T Acenta Premium is well within reach for this money – thus proving that there is simply no more affordable way to get into a new car other than leasing it.
For more Qashqai content, check out our Qashqai review, or its two crucial head-to-head battles with a pair of key, Korean competitors – we’ve already benchmarked the Qashqai against the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson.
4. Vauxhall Corsa
Body type: Supermini hatchback Three key rivals: Renault Clio, Honda Jazz, Skoda Fabia.
Britain’s best-selling car holds that desirable mantle for a reason: it’s a great-looking machine. Vauxhall really has a great family styling thing going on right now, as both the Mokka crossover and the latest Astra family hatch are both smashing vehicles to behold. The Corsa is more affordable than those two, but it’s no less easy on the eye. Sharp, chiselled features, tidy proportions and even the option of contrast roof colours make sure that the Corsa is easily one of the best-looking affordable cars you can lease.
We’ve pitted the regular Corsa up against its all-electric spin-off, the Corsa-e, and you can read more about that right here. We’ve also got a Corsa review, and a list of great alternatives to the Vauxhall Corsa, if you’re looking for a car of this size and you’d like to know what your options are, besides this big-selling supermini.
5. SEAT Ibiza
Body type: Supermini hatchback Three key rivals: Citroen C3, MG 3, Nissan Micra.
SEAT has long been the company with the most handsome products in the wider Volkswagen Group and that continues to be the case with this fifth-generation Ibiza supermini. While its Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia cousins are perfectly pleasant bits of automotive styling, the SEAT is just that touch more visually arresting, with its triangular daytime running lamps, defined bonnet strakes and sporty stance. Racy-looking FR models are the real deal when it comes to traffic-stopping lines, and not only that, the Ibiza is brilliant to drive – especially with the turbocharged TSI petrol engines.
6. Toyota Aygo X
Body type: City car crossover-hatchback Three key rivals: Dacia Sandero Stepway, Hyundai i10, Suzuki Ignis.
Toyota’s genius with the Aygo X – that letter is pronounced ‘Cross’, incidentally – is that it took the previous body shape of the city car, jacked it up a bit, gave it some crossover and off-roader vibes, and then allowed buyers the option of making the entire body two-tone if they so wish; as a result, this Aygo X looks like a concept car that’s just rolled off a motor show press stand. Even better than that, there’s the option to have a full-length folding roof on the tiny Toyota, making for something that’s as cool to travel in as it is to look at.
7. Hyundai i10
Body type: City car hatchback Three key rivals: Fiat 500 Electric, Kia Picanto, Toyota Aygo X.
Simple, compact city cars don’t need to have a gimmick to look good, as the latest Hyundai i10 emphatically proves. It’s just a great thing to look at, with its teardrop-shaped glasshouse effect, those curvaceous front lamp clusters, sharp creases on the bonnet and then particularly neat rear-end styling. Sporty N Line models only up the desirability quotient of the Hyundai i10 even further.
8. Suzuki Ignis
Body type: City car/micro-crossover-SUV Three key rivals: Toyota Aygo X, Dacia Sandero Stepway, Volkswagen Up!.
If you want a 4x4 for next to nothing, your best option is the world’s only ‘micro-SUV’ (Suzuki’s words, not ours). The tiny Ignis is available with AllGrip four-wheel drive, meaning it’s not all looks and no ability in the rough stuff, but whichever model you choose, you end up with a vehicle which has distinctive front-end styling, retro design nods to classic Suzuki models and an overall diminutive shape. It’s a brilliant little thing.
9. Mazda2 Hybrid
Body type: Supermini hatchback Three key rivals: Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Renault Zoe.
Bit of a cheat, this one, as the Mazda2 is an unusual range right now – there’s the older-shape car, which has been on sale for quite a few years, and then this Hybrid… which is actually a rebadged Toyota Yaris. But that’s which this part-electric Mazda makes our list: the Yaris is a great-looking car, and so is Mazda’s take on the subject. Highlights are the blistered wheel arches front and rear, as well as that swoopy radiator grille framed by mean-looking headlights. Yep, the Mazda2 Hybrid is a great, affordable way into a truly stylish – and economical – set of wheels.
10. Kia XCeed
Body type: Family crossover-hatchback Three key rivals: Ford Focus Active, Citroen C4, Fiat Tipo Cross.
Crossovers succeeded because they were hatchbacks underneath, that visually imitated SUVs and 4x4s. But what if you want a more car-like driving position and body shell, making it easier to park? Luckily, there’s a breed of ruggedly styled hatchbacks which can cater for your desires, one of the best of which being this Kia XCeed. It was refreshed in 2022, bringing more emphasis to its ‘tiger nose’ radiator grille and off-road-themed touches, such as that silvery skid plate in the bottom of the front bumper. Kia also took the time to introduce some really gorgeous new colours as well, like the Spirit Green you can see right here.
__For more articles, you can check out our car features and guides section Or if you're looking for a brand new vehicle, we've got a huge range of cars to lease at unbeatable prices – there’s just no more affordable way to get yourself into a brand-new motor than leasing it.
Best Looking Affordable FAQs
What are the best affordable luxury cars?
The Mercedes A-Class, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series all represent great value ways to get into prestige cars for low monthly leasing prices, while you can also check out the swish Volvo XC40 compact crossover for great deals too.
What are the nicest looking cars?
Some of the best-looking modern cars, money no object, are the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Alpine A110, the Porsche 911 and the Lexus LC.
What is the most affordable luxury car brand?
Due to the fact it makes a smaller car than most of its prestige rivals, in the form of the A1 supermini, Audi represents the least expensive way into premium-car leasing, as prices start from around £315 per month (correct at the time of writing).
What is the budget alternative to a Peugeot 208?
The cheapest new car on sale today is the Dacia Sandero, from the Romanian budget spin-off brand of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The current Sandero is actually a really smart little supermini, despite its value status.