French cars have always led the way in terms of affordable, low-cost yet fun-filled motoring. Throughout the years, they’ve been runabouts for families, couples, city-dwellers and explorers alike. In fact, with such a strong tradition of car building, it’s little wonder why French cars are still so popular today.

There are, of course, three main manufacturers – Peugeot, Citroen and Renault. However, there are a few other French car builders alongside the big three – and we’ll be having a look at all of them today.

Reasons to buy a French car

There are plenty of positives to French car ownership. Being so close to the country means that the UK has great access to French cars and it’s probably why France-built vehicles often top the monthly best-sellers charts. When it comes to French cars, you’ll find that they often:

– Offer a real flair for style and design
– Bring a great level of value-for-money
– Light, nimble handling ideal for urban environments

The top 10 French cars

As we’ve already mentioned, the French car maker scene is dominated by the big three. As a result, the majority of the cars on this list come from Peugeot, Citroen or Renault. The trio produces millions of cars each year providing transportation to countless countries across the globe – including the UK.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the top 10 French cars.

1. Renault Clio

We had to start this list off with the Renault Clio, didn’t we? As French as Champs-Élysées, the Clio has provided low-cost transportation for the masses over several decades. The latest model is the most technology-heavy to date, with a large central screen ensuring the cabin feels very cutting-edge.

It has recently been helped with the inclusion of a mild-hybrid system to help clean up the engine even further, while a full hybrid E-Tech version features an engine, two electric motors and the ability to return up to 64.2mpg.

Best features –
– Low cost
– Cheap to run
– Extensive range of used options

Used prices from: £350

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2. Citroen C5 Aircross

If there’s one thing Citroen knows how to do, it’s how to make a car feel comfortable. This is particularly evident with the C5 Aircross – a large SUV that has been designed to ride as well as possible. This makes it immensely pleasing to drive in the UK, since it’s able to float over potholes and smooth out the very worst of the UK’s roads. <

As we’re seeing so often across the new car industry, there’s also a hybrid version of the C5 Aircross. Thanks to a plug-in setup, it’s able to deliver excellent efficiency and the ability to top up the car’s batteries by plugging it in.

Best features –
– Superb comfort
– Spacious and practical
– Choice of efficient engines

Used prices from: £15,490

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3. Alpine A110

When other carmakers were making their sports models heavier and more powerful, Alpine bucked the trend by ensuring that its A110 was as light and as nimble as possible. As a result, it’s one of the most involving and entertaining cars on sale today, providing a driving experience closer to that of an old-fashioned sports car.

It’s powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine bringing punchy acceleration. But it’s all about the handling here – Alpine has made the A110 energetic and lively and this helps to transform even the dreariest of journeys into something very special.

Best features –
– Punchy performance
– Old-school looks
– Compact size

Used prices from: £43,995

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4. Peugeot e-208

Peugeot has always been great at creating small, lightweight city cars, but how was it going to translate this into an electric car? Well, it managed it with the e-208. Light and nimble but offering an electric range of over 200 miles, the e-208 packs a whole lot of features into a very compact car.

Forming part of Peugeot’s electrification strategy, the e-208 is definitely a sign of things to come. From where we’re standing, the future is looking very rosy for Peugeot indeed.

Best features –
– Low running costs
– Sharp design
– Punchy electric powertrain

Used prices from: £21,983

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5. Citroen C5 X

If you’re after a peek into the future of Citroen, then just take a look at the new C5 X. Toeing the line between estate and SUV, the C5 X takes the place as the firm’s range-topper and, as a result, it’s absolutely packed with features. It’s quite long, too, so there’s loads of space for those sitting in the back while Citroen’s new 12-inch infotainment system ensures that those up front aren’t left wanting for features either.

Revealed back in April, it’s expected that the new C5 X will hit the road later this year.

Best features –
– Classy looks
– Range of powertrains
– Spacious and high-end interior

6. Bugatti Chiron

Okay, so this one is a slight stretch. Bugatti is, of course, owned by German Volkswagen Group, but its history is very much rooted in France. Founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, it was set up in Molsheim, Alsace – and that’s where its headquarters remain today.

The Chiron is the firm’s latest endeavour, taking over from the well-known Veyron. As one of the most powerful – and expensive – cars on the road, the Chiron is a real poster star of the motoring world. Capable of managing a top speed of 261mph, the Chiron brings otherworldly performance to the road – and all in a luxurious, high-end body.

Best features –
– Lightning-quick acceleration
– Luxurious interior>
– One of the fastest cars on the planet


7. DS7 Crossback

DS is a carmaker centred around tributes to the past. It is, after all, named after the Citroen DS, the famous swooping, elegant classic of the 1950s. Fast forward to the present day and DS cars have got a lot more technology-heavy, but they still pack plenty of class. The DS7 Crossback is the firm’s large SUV and brings a raised ride height alongside loads of clever interior touches that help to differentiate it from the rest of the segment.

It looks like few other cars on the road, in fact, while its interior is far from conventional either.

Best features –
– Standout looks
– Classy, high-end interior
– Relaxed and comfortable driving experience

Used prices from: £17,770

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8. Renault Megane

Much like the Clio, the Megane is one of Renault’s best-known models. Affording a little extra space over its smaller stablemate, the Megane is a great option for those who need a bit more in the way of practicality, owing to its larger cabin and roomier boot.

It’s efficient, too, thanks to a variety of clean petorla and diesel engines. Plus, there’s an E-Tech plug in hybrid that not only drives down fuel costs but adds a little extra zip to the Megane’s performance. As a compromise between efficiency and fun, the Megane makes a solid case for itself.

Best features –
– Robust and spacious cabin
– Striking exterior design
– Plug-in hybrid powertrain brings added efficiency

Used prices from: £395

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9. Citroen Ami

Okay, so the Ami might not be the most practical of choices – nor one that you can officially get in the UK just yet – but we couldn’t leave it out of this list. Effectively classed as a quadricycle, the Ami has been designed as a transport solution for those in the city. It’s electric and will top out at a heady 28mph – but that’s more than enough for darting around town.

There’s an ongoing consultation happening as to whether or not the Ami will come to the UK – but we’re hoping that the dinky little model hits these shores soon.

Best features –
– Tiny size
– Clever packaging
– Efficient powertrain

10. Peugeot 3008

Finally, we have the Peugeot 3008. It’s no secret that the SUV segment is expanding at an incredible rate, so the 3008 has done exceptionally well to make a name for itself in what is an exceptionally fought-after sector.

But with striking looks and an equally innovative interior, it’s not hard to see why. The 3008 really does offer a breath of fresh air compared to its competitors, while a focus on comfort and spaciousness means it’s a great option for families.

Best features –
– Elegant looks
– Great level of standard equipment
– Range of powertrains

Used prices from: £1,250

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