Urban to SUV: Best value-for-money fuel, electric cars in 2024

A parked white ford explorer SUV

Are you thinking about buying a new car or replacing your existing one? Most likely, you will focus on models that meet the rule of “B”: brilliance, beauty, and bargain. 

Different from our write-up on affordable cars, this article focuses on the best-quality-priced automobiles, and that does not mean that they must be cheap; rather, the dollar invested in such a vehicle is reflected in its quality, in its accessories, and in its mechanical range. In short, in everything it can offer.

We have selected a vehicle we think is the best option by category, but this doesn't mean it's the best car or the one that best suits your needs. In addition, we supplement the decision with some extra options that you should also consider. 

The following are the best value-for-money cars in the world right now, sorted by category:

Urban: Kia Picanto

In the urban segment, the Korean models Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 are the ones that fit best with what we are looking for. We chose the Picanto over the i10 for aesthetics and for an interior that seems more original to us.

It is a car only 3.6 metres long with a very small trunk, but it travels to the thousand wonders of any city.

Electric alternative

The urban car segment is one of the most ideal options for entering the world of the best electric cars, with proposals such as the Dacia Spring or the Fiat 500e, without much autonomy but perfect for short trips in the city at “accessible” prices.

Utility: Seat Ibiza

The classic Ibiza is one of Spain's superstars, as well as one of the best in the utility category. Its gasoline mechanical range will meet the needs of buyers, with power of 80, 110, and 150 hp, in addition to a fourth TGI engine with compressed natural gas of 90 hp and an ECO label. The car boasts a well-finished exterior, a pleasant interior, and an exceptional rolling performance.

Electric alternative

The Opel Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208 are essentially the same car, albeit adorned with different brand names. They share electrical mechanics at 80 kW (136 hp) and an approved range of 330 km. Another option is the Renault Zoe, which is slightly more expensive, less powerful, and has a smaller battery.

Compact: Peugeot 308

We pondered between the Seat León and the Peugeot 308, and we settled for the latter because of its better mechanical offer. With the label Zero, the French model offers diesel and petrol versions of 130 hp, as well as plug-in hybrids of 180 and 225 hp.

The 308 is one of the best in terms of interior finish, with a unique style and a very marked technological input. It has a much more comfortable approach than the Seat León or Ford Focus, for example.

Electric alternative

Cupra Born is one of the best proposals ever seen for electric compacts. Alternatively, the Volkswagen ID.3 is the same car but slightly more expensive. Another interesting option is the new MG4, from the legendary brand MG, now of Chinese origin, which has returned to the market with products with a great price-quality ratio.

Family: Skoda Octavia Combi

With Skoda always seeking to manufacture useful cars that are spacious, well-finished, and have a very well-thought-out pricing policy, a Skoda could not be missing from this list. 

The Skoda Octavia Combi is an excellent family car with a huge luggage compartment of 640 litres, perfect for families that need a lot of cargo space. The mechanical range is very wide, with petrol, diesel, micro-hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.

Electric alternative

The MG5 is the best family electric car available, with a 4.6-metre-long body and 156 and 177 horsepower.

However, we believe it will soon fall behind the unreleased Opel Astra Sports Tourer electric, which, as its name implies, will be the family Astra with 100% electric propulsion, 204 hp of power, and a 64 kWh battery that would allow it to do up to 450 km with a single charge.

Also recently launched was the electric Peugeot 308, with similar features. Another option that is a little out of line is the Maxus Euniq 5, a huge Chinese monovolume.

Sedan: BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is classified as a premium vehicle, along with its classic German rivals, the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz Class C, as well as other alternatives such as the Volvo S60 or the Alfa Romeo Giulia, for example. 

One step below, we have other good alternatives, such as the Skoda Octavia, the Toyota Corolla Sedán, the Mazda 3 SportSedan, or the Hyundai i30 Fastback, all of them at a better price.

The Series 3 seems to set the current benchmark, with a sporty exterior, very sporty driving, and a quality interior with an enjoyable design, good materials, and plenty of space for its occupants.

Its mechanical range is extensive, with multiple power versions to choose from and petrol and diesel combustion engines, in addition to plug-in hybrid technology.

Electric alternative

The BMW i4 and the Tesla Model 3 are two good 100% electric alternatives to fuel-powered sedans.

While electric fashion focuses on SUVs and crossovers, due to their increased market demand, BMW and Tesla are betting on the three-volume body (with the aire coupe) as an option for anyone who wants to make the move to the electrified world.

The arrival of the BYD Seal, the Polestar 2, or the Hyundai Ioniq 6 has also opened up a range of possibilities.

Large sedan: Skoda Superb

In this sector, we could refer to some of the German premium models, but we believe that their prices are beginning to be too distorted. It is for this reason that we are again betting on the Czech brand for the large sedan segment, with the Skoda Superb being a genuine delight at a “reasonable” price. 

The equipment on offer is first-class; it is well finished; it is pleasant; and its driving dynamics have nothing to envy those of its rivals. In addition, it is one of the most spacious we have found, both in the front and in the rear seats, coupled with its commendable trunk.

Electric alternative

The Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan have the highest electric exponents around the 5 metres of length that make up a crossover body.

The Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan are both extremely powerful models, boasting great autonomy, yet each takes a slightly different approach.

While Tesla’s Model S is more focused on the well-being of its passengers, Porsche’s Taycan is a real sports car with rear seats. 

Small SUV: Ford Puma

We like the Ford Puma for its unobtrusive design and good equipment, but above all, for its driving dynamics. Of all the small SUVs on the market, we assert that they are the most fun to drive. 

This small SUV has a slightly more sporty set-up than its rivals but does not get uncomfortable. The mechanical range is not extensive; it only offers micro-hybrid petrol engines of 125 and 155 hp, but they seem to have perfect power for drivers to move freely.

Alternatively, there is the Puma ST version with 200 hp that is even more sporty. We also love the Skoda Kamiq for its price, space, and trunk, but to have decent equipment, you have to go to the higher trims.

Electric alternative

Today, the Hyundai Kona electric seems to be the best option in the small SUV category with 100% electric propulsion. It offers us two power levels, 136 or 204 HP, and two battery capacities, 39 kWh and 64 kWh, the first for the least powerful and the second for the 204 HP versions.

Depending on the selected model, the WLTP cycle indicates a range of 305 km to 484 km.

The MG ZS EV is a Chinese model with an unbeatable price, which could be another option. Thanks to its 50.3 kWh or 70 kWh batteries, it can reach 440 km of range, but the level of interior finishes is lower than the Kona, for example.

We also like the new BYD Atto 3, which has become a new benchmark in the electric segment.

Medium SUV: Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson share many elements and have very similar qualities. We opted for the Sportage because we prefer its interior, with the double panoramic screen, although any of the two options are excellent choices.

These are two very comfortable vehicles, with large luggage compartments and good mechanical options with ECO and CERO labels for their plug-in hybrid options.

Electric alternative

With the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, something similar happens: they use the same platform, but each brand bets on dressing them differently.

We prefer the Ioniq 5, but the EV6 has a GT version with 585 hp, which is a real beast. We also like the Skoda Enyaq iV because it adheres to Skoda's philosophy of adjusting prices with great equipment.

However, if you're on a budget, consider the DFSK Seres 3, a 100% electric Chinese SUV with an unbeatable price but some shortcomings in the finish.

Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe/Kia Sorento

Again, a Korean head-on forces us to choose between a Hyundai and a Kia model. Santa Fe and Sorento are, in essence, the same car, large and spacious, with seven seats and some trunk to remove. 

The mechanical offering is also the same, with diesel combustion engines, petrol hybrids, and plug-in hybrids of 265 hp.

We also like the Peugeot 5008 very much, but it is only available with 130-hp petrol and diesel engines.

Electric alternative

The market for the electric large SUV offer is slightly smaller, and in this case, the disbursement that will have to be made to buy one of these will be quite significant.

One of the most affordable is the Ford Mustang Mach-e, and we like it, but a Tesla Model X, a Jaguar i-Pace, an Audi Q8 e-tron, a Mercedes EQC, or a BMW iX are a step above. However, do not rule out the arrival of the BYD Tang, which is very complete too.