From city cars to large SUVs, many of the world’s top car manufacturers offer automatic variants of their most popular models, ensuring there’s something to suit your budget and lifestyle.

To help in your search for your next vehicle, we’ve put together a list of ten of the best used automatic cars to consider.

In this article:

Why should you buy a used automatic car?

Automatic cars offer many additional benefits over manual cars, such as:

Easier to drive

With only two pedals to worry about, automatic cars are much easier to drive than a manual alternative. There’s no clutch ‘bite’ point to worry about, hill starts are much easier, and you’re much less likely to stall during everyday driving.

Better fuel efficiency

Generally speaking, modern automatic cars are more fuel efficient overall. This is thanks to more sophisticated gearboxes that are able to minimise fuel usage and engine revs during normal use.

Quicker acceleration

This may come as a surprise to those who have driven older automatic cars. However, over the last 10-15 years, automatic transmissions have become so sophisticated and efficient that they can actually change gear significantly faster than a human can operate a manual gearbox, particularly on performance cars. This leads to improved power delivery and acceleration.

Smooth operation

Gear changes in vehicles fitted with a modern automatic gearbox are so instantaneous that they can often be almost unnoticeable. This leads to a super-smooth driving experience for both drivers and passengers alike.

What should you consider before buying a used automatic car?

Purchase price

Generally speaking, a used automatic car will be more expensive than a manual equivalent. This is largely because manufacturers charge extra for them when they are new, and this translates into the used market.

This is not always the case, however, and can vary between brands and even the type of car you are looking at. For instance, manual performance cars can often attract a premium when they are sold as used vehicles, with enthusiasts willing to pay a premium for their more engaging driving experience.

Type of automatic gearbox: Semi-Auto vs Auto

When searching for a used automatic car, you may have come across the term “Semi-Automatic” or “Semi-Auto” and wondered what it means.

Essentially, semi-automatic gearboxes operate as normal automatics, in that there’s no clutch to worry about and they change gears for you. The benefit is that you can also change gears yourself, usually using paddles located behind the steering wheel, giving you more control when you need or want it.

The best used automatic cars

Whether you’re looking to buy your first automatic car or are thinking of upgrading your current one, here are ten of the best for you to consider:

  1. Volkswagen Polo
  2. Skoda Kodiaq
  3. Peugeot 208
  4. Honda Jazz
  5. Ford Focus
  6. BMW X7
  7. Jaguar F-PACE
  8. Toyota Corolla
  9. BMW 3 Series
  10. Porsche 911

1. Volkswagen Polo DSG (2017-Present)

As one of the brand’s most popular models, the Volkswagen Polo is a hit amongst many thanks to its straightforward driving experience and well-equipped cabin.

Equipped with the DSG automatic gearbox, which is widely used across many of the Volkswagen group’s vehicles, automatic Polo variants perform well across the board, offering both refinement and performance when needed. The ride is supple too, ensuring the car is comfortable in both urban and rural areas.

Entry-level ‘Life’ variants come equipped with plenty of technology for you to enjoy and are one of the best cars for young drivers thanks to their low running costs. Equipment gradually improves as you work your way up the range, with the range-topping GTI offering the most dynamic experience available.

Best Features

  • Good value for money
  • Cheap to insure (depending on variant)
  • Fun to drive

2. Skoda Kodiaq DSG (2016-Present)

The Skoda brand is well-known for offering vehicles that are incredibly practical, and the Kodiaq SUV fits that mould.

As one of the largest Skoda models available, the Kodiaq refuses to sacrifice boot space and is excellent for road trips with family or friends. It’s a 7-seat SUV too, and with a maximum boot space of over 2,000 litres, it’s immensely spacious inside and makes light work of carrying luggage.

Available in both petrol and diesel variants, the Kodiaq offers a reliable DSG automatic gearbox that’s commonly used across the brand’s lineup. Those that often venture off-road will also find the 4×4 option appealing, allowing you to successfully take on the trickiest of terrains.

Best Features

  • Colossal boot space
  • 4×4 availability
  • Comfortable and well-built interior

3. Peugeot 208 EAT (2019-Present)

The latest version of the Peugeot 208 is an outstanding hatchback, and it’s available with Peugeot’s excellent EAT (electronic automatic transmission) gearbox. After the second generation was launched in 2019, the 208 became revered for its looks both inside and out and comes with plenty of space and technology packed into its compact dimensions.

Thanks to its compact nature the Peugeot 208 is at home in urban areas. The steering is agile, and the car generally feels sharper when required. If opting for the automatic gearbox, you’ll notice the car feels more lively and engaging than its manual variants, too.

While there is much to like about the petrol automatic 208, there is also the option of the fully electric e-208. While you can expect to pay more to buy an electric version, it is significantly quicker in terms of acceleration and overall running costs may well be lower in the long run.

Best Features

  • Stylish cabin filled with technology
  • Easy to drive around the city
  • Responsive feel while driving

4. Honda Jazz eCVT Hybrid (2020-Present)

The popular Honda Jazz, in its latest form, is a well-rounded car that ticks a lot of boxes and is particularly beneficial for those looking for an efficient and easy-to-drive small automatic car.

While it won’t win any awards for its dynamism, the Jazz focuses on delivering practicality and a comfortable driving experience. Despite this, it’s still nippy enough to deal with urban traffic and can comfortably cruise along motorways, too.

The latest generation comes with a hybrid powertrain that utilises a 1.5-litre petrol engine that works in tandem with two electric motors. Not only do you get fantastically smooth gear changes, fuel economy is excellent, too.

Best Features

  • Extremely practical for its size
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Hybrid powertrain as standard

5. Ford Focus Auto (2018-Present)

The Ford Focus is still one of the most popular used cars in the UK and showcases all of the brand’s experience in creating well-rounded cars that appeal to the masses.

The ride in the Focus is comfortable for both driver and passengers, with lots of legroom in the front and back. There’s a sportiness about the Focus too, providing an engaging driving experience with excellent steering and handling.

Ford’s automatic gearbox is available on a variety of Focus models and generations, including 1.0-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre diesel variants. Choose petrol if you mostly do urban driving, or diesel if you regularly travel further afield.

Best Features

  • Plenty of safety features as standard
  • One of the best all-rounders available
  • Great value for money

6. BMW X7 (2019-Present)

The BMW X7 is a luxury SUV that comes with plenty of technology and a design that certainly makes a statement. It sits at the top of the BMW SUV line-up, but truthfully any of the X1, X3 and X5 could have also made this list as they’re all excellent cars.

Inside, BMW has ensured the X7 is comfortable, with plenty of space for both front and rear passengers. Ride comfort is very good as you would expect, but because this is a BMW, the X7 still manages to be engaging and fun to drive.

Equipment lists are extensive no matter the version you get, but look out for cars equipped with additional optional extras. M Sport variants are the ones to go for if you want more aggressive styling.

Engine options begin with 3.0-litre petrol or diesel engines and end with the monstrous 4.4-litre petrol V8. No matter which engine you choose, all used X7s come with a silky-smooth automatic transmission.

Best Features

  • Tremendous refinement
  • Beautifully crafted interior
  • All-wheel drive as standard

7. Jaguar F-PACE Auto (2016-Present)

As an SUV that combines practicality and performance, the Jaguar F-PACE has won plenty of fans since its introduction in 2016. It has been updated over time, but the same handsome and upscale design remains.

The steering is smooth, precise and inspires confidence, making it one of the most fun large SUVs in terms of driving. You’ll find that bumps and potholes do little to impact comfort, too, with the car being as smooth on rough country lanes as it is in the city.

Those leaning on the side of refinement will be more than happy with the 2.0-litre petrol or diesel powertrains. More powerful 3.0-litre variants are available on the used market too, although the increased performance will have a detrimental effect on running costs.

All used F-PACEs come as standard with an automatic gearbox, so you don’t need to look out for a specific version.

Best Features

  • Strong blend of performance and practicality
  • Excellent ride and handling
  • Sports car-like feel

8. Toyota Corolla Hybrid (2018-Present)

Returning as a nameplate in the UK in 2018, the latest generation of the Toyota Corolla benefits from sharp looks as well as the practicality and comfort buyers came to expect of older models. It’s well equipped as standard, too.

Its standout feature amongst cars such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf is its standard-fit petrol hybrid powertrain in automatic models. It’s smooth, quiet and promises up to 64mpg during everyday driving, which is impressive.

Most Corollas were bought as hatchbacks, but the estate version is popular, too. The saloon bodystyle is rare on the used market, but there are some examples out there that are available to snap up.

Best Features

  • Petrol-electric hybrid powertrain
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Good standard equipment

9. BMW 3 Series Auto (2018-Present)

The BMW 3 Series has been one of the brand’s best-selling models for many years. The vast majority of cars sold from 2018 onwards were automatics, purely because BMW’s automatic transmissions are so revered by their customers.

The automatic gearbox found in the BMW 3 Series offers smooth gear changes regardless of which driving mode you’re in. Comfort mode, which is the tamest of the car’s settings, is focused on refinement, while switching to Sport mode enhances the driving experience further, with sharper responses to driver input.

Overall, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a car that’s as good an all-rounder as the 3 Series. It’s practical, looks the part, drives superbly well, and fuel efficiency is very good too, particularly on 2.0-litre diesel models. The interior is a very nice place to spend time, and despite the premium nature of the brand, pre-owned examples provide excellent value on the used car market.

Best Features

  • Very good refinement
  • Great all-round capabilities
  • Premium interior feel

10. Porsche 911 PDK (2018-Present)

The Porsche 911 needs no introduction, really, as it’s well-known worldwide for offering exceptional levels of performance and sublime handling.

Automatic variants come with the brand’s fabled PDK automatic transmission, taking the car from 0 to 62mph in as little as 3.5 seconds depending on which variant you opt for. Despite this level of performance, the 911’s overall ride is surprisingly relaxing when it needs to be, allowing you to comfortably cruise when required. Standard Carrera models have two back seats, too.

Convertible or Targa models may appeal to those looking for open-top driving, while performance-oriented variants such as the Turbo or GT3 are ideal for adrenaline seekers.

Best Features

  • Excellent performance
  • Slick PDK transmission
  • Plenty of kerb appeal

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