Best used cars for under £30,000

Have a budget of £30,000 ready to spend on a new car? Get a whole lot more for your money with some of these excellent used car deals

Simon Ostler John Evans
May 10, 2021

With £30,000 burning a hole in your pocket, your choice of car is limited only by your imagination. From luxury saloons to swanky estates, upmarket SUVs and even some of the latest plug-in hybrid (PHEV) options, they’re all here at this price point - that is the beauty of buying a used car.

Here, we've identified 10 of the best cars you can get for less than £30,000, and you'll be amazed at what's available. Similar cars, if bought brand new, will cost considerably more than their second-hand counterparts, so there really is logic behind the idea of going used.

All of the cars listed here are relatively new, so they aren't really that used at all, and certainly will not have covered obscene levels of mileage. You'll be getting a much better equipped model without sacrificing a whole lot at hugely reduced prices - what's not to get excited about?

Read on for our pick of the best 10 cars you can get for under £30,000.

Best used cars for under £30,000

1. Audi A5

Our pick Audi A5 S Line
Used deals from £19,499
Monthly finance from £293*

With rivals such as the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes C-Class coupes to contend with, the Audi A5 must be good – and it is. Rather than focusing on one aspect in particular, the A5 is a great all-rounder. It's stylish, surprisingly practical, fun to drive, classy and comfortable, as well as being brilliantly well-made and powered by a range of excellent engines. The best news is that you could be sat in the driving seat of a 2020 model for well below £30,000.

The only fly in the ointment is how firm the ride can be with the sports suspension. Find a car with the softer 'Comfort Dynamic' suspension and chances are you’ll be much happier. You can choose from powerful petrol or diesel engines - the latter is the best option if you do tend to cover longer distances. As standard, the A5 is two-wheel drive but there are four-wheel-drive 'quattro' versions that offer better grip in more challenging conditions.

With its low sloping roof you wouldn't expect the A5 to offer acres of headroom in the back, and it doesn't, but there is ample leg and shoulder room for four adults. The boot isn't quite as big as the one in the BMW 4 Series but it is well shaped and easy to load. Add the convenience of split-folding rear seats and you’ve got the makings of a very practical sports coupe.

AUDI A5 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Volvo XC60

Our pick Volvo XC60 2.0 D4 Momentum
Used deals from £24,940
Monthly finance from £364*

There’s no doubt Volvo knows how to make a desirable SUV, with its highly attractive lineup stretching from the smallish XC40 to the imposing XC90 - and this, the XC60 model, which sits in between the two.

The XC60 has everything Volvo fans look for in the brand, starting with that very cool Swedish style that’s at its best in its spacious cabin. Like the XC40 and XC90, the XC60 interior has the sort of contemporary, minimalist appeal that design enthusiasts will love. Minimalist doesn’t mean spartan though, as even the entry-level Momentum trim is equipped with all the comfort features a typical owner could need.

The XC60 isn’t a sporting machine, so if that’s what you’re looking for then check out our deals on the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. However if you appreciate a comfortable, relaxing drive with an upmarket, luxurious and airy feel, then the XC60 should be right up your street.

To meet our £30,000 budget we’re looking at XC60s that are a couple of years old, which means before the latest round of updates. That’s no big deal though, as the great design means pre-2020 cars still look and feel remarkably fresh.

The XC60 lineup offers hybrid engine options if you want to push the budget, but you’ll most likely be looking at the D4 and D5 diesels or T4 and T5 petrols for £30,000. All are turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and while the petrols are a little smoother, they can’t touch the diesels for fuel economy.

VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. BMW 5 Series

Our pick BMW 520d M Sport
Used deals from £27,385
Monthly finance from £382*

The BMW 5 Series has ruled the executive saloon class for decades. It’s the benchmark thanks to its rear-wheel drive chassis that makes it fun around corners, while refined and powerful engines, excellent interior layout and top-notch build quality lift it high above the competition.

In terms of engines, the 2.0-litre 520d diesel is our pick. It’s powerful but frugal with it, although it is a little gruff and vocal, and all of these come with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s your first hint that even in entry-level SE specification the 5 Series is well equipped with leather seats, climate control, a sat-nav and rear parking sensors all standard. Go a step further and M Sport models will also add sports suspension, sports brakes and sports seats along with 18-inch alloy wheels, all for less than £30,000 - and that's for a low-mileage 2019 model.

The interior is roomy even in the rear where there’s plenty of leg and headroom. It’s just a pity there’s a bulky transmission tunnel that forces anyone in the centre seat to place their feet either side.

BMW 5 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford Mustang

Our pick Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT Convertible
Used deals from £29,950
Monthly finance from £361*

The majority of the cars on this list are classy and understated affairs from European car makers. The Mustang isn’t.

It’s as American as a cheeseburger on Route 66, but this generation of the Mustang was the first to be officially sold in Britain with its steering wheel on the correct side. Both coupe and convertible versions are on offer, and there are two different engines to choose from too - you ought to have the choice of the lot with a budget of £30,000 budget.

The 2.3-litre engine is fast enough and should manage just over 30mpg. But if you want an American muscle car with a soundtrack to match, go for the 5.0-litre V8. Better still, opt for the convertible, turn up the active exhaust, and annoy the neighbours.

FORD MUSTANG BUYERS' GUIDE

5. BMW X2

Our pick BMW X2 1.8i sDrive M Sport
Used deals from £23,058
Monthly finance from £337*

If you’re looking for a compact SUV with a contemporary and upmarket feel, the BMW X2 is an appealing choice that stands out from the crowd. It’s a bit different from most other SUV-type cars of this size, largely because it sits lower to the ground and has a more sporty feel than rivals which play up to a tough ‘off-roader’ image - even though most aren’t equipped for real off-roading at all.

Under the skin the X2 is identical to the more boxy and practical X1 SUV, which means it also shares engines and other mechanical bits with the Mini Countryman.

BMW has a reputation to maintain as a manufacturer of ‘ultimate driving machines’, so its engineers have made sure the X2 drives with the sporty feel you’d expect, but it’s comfortable cruising on the motorway, too, as befits the upmarket badge.

There’s a wide range of engines and trims available in the X2 lineup, but the entry-level 1.8i and 1.8d petrol and diesel variants are the most affordable while providing good enough acceleration. You can buy a new X2 for not an awful lot more than £30,000, but prices ratchet up quickly in BMW price lists. That means you’ll need around £35,000 for a 1.8i petrol in popular M Sport trim with 19-inch alloy wheels, sporty bodywork details and lower suspension, so picking a year-old version with low mileage will save you thousands while getting you a very similar car.

BMW X2 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Kuga PHEV

Our pick Ford Kuga 2.5 PHEV ST-Line
Used deals Limited stock

The Ford Kuga is a popular and likeable SUV, especially if your budget runs to the latest third-generation version launched in 2019. Yes, you can get a brand new Kuga for under £30,000, however to get the desirable Kuga Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) version you’d need to spend much more - with prices starting at around £37,000 new. That makes the sub-£30,000 prices for year-old examples here on BuyaCar look like stunning value.

If you’re pondering getting an electric car or plug-in hybrid as your next car, then the Kuga PHEV is definitely worth a look. Unlike other types of hybrid, with a PHEV you get a much bigger battery and can drive a decent distance on electricity alone - provided you charge the batteries first. In the case of the Kuga PHEV that’s 30 miles, so if you’re a typical commuter with a drive to work of less than 10 miles, you can get there and back without using a drop of petrol.

The downside is the requirement to plug-in every night, but recharging the Kuga PHEV takes only 3.5hrs from a typical home wallbox and the daily electricity cost should be less than £1.50. That’s a big saving over the gallon of petrol or diesel you might otherwise burn through every day or so. However, be warned that drivers who rely often on the Kuga PHEV’s petrol engine when the battery runs out mid-journey would likely find a diesel version cheaper to run. That’s because the Kuga PHEV’s fuel economy isn’t likely to be great once you’ve run out of charge and are relying on its petrol engine.

MORE ABOUT THE FORD KUGA

7. Mercedes AMG A45

Our pick Mercedes AMG A45 4MATIC
Used deals from £29,750
Monthly finance from £434*

If you want to travel from A to B at the fastest possible rate, there’s little to touch the astonishingly rapid AMG-tuned version of the A-Class.

AMG is Mercedes’ performance and racing division, whose talents are applied to powerful models across the company’s lineup from the biggest and most luxurious SUVs to this, the relatively humble five-door hatchback. We say relatively, because a new A45 would cost well over £50,000, but that’s where BuyaCar comes to the rescue for thrill-seekers on a tighter budget.

We have 2017 versions of the previous A45 model available for comfortably less than £30,000. It may be the last of the previous generation A-Class, but that’s still a cracking deal for a 381hp road rocket that’s absolutely stuffed with tech, from the clever four-wheel drive system that keeps the A45 glued to the tarmac, to a well-finished and well-equipped interior featuring Mercedes’ excellent media and sat-nav system.

Of course you’ll still face the expense of running an extreme performance model that will do 0-62mph in barely four seconds, so be aware that service costs and insurance bills are likely to cost more than with less powerful alternatives, if you’re tempted.

MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jaguar F-Pace

Our pick Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d R-Sport
Used deals Limited stock

When the Jaguar F-Pace landed in 2016 it set a new benchmark for large SUVs, offering style and substance, and while it faces stiff competition from the likes of Volvo’s XC60 and the BMW X3, it’s still one of the nicest to drive and own.

Under its swoopy skin the F-Pace has a lot of shared engineering with the fine-handling Jaguar XE and XF models, which helps to account for its impressive driving qualities. It’s luxuriously equipped and spacious inside too, although it wasn’t until the 2020 update that Jaguar replaced the F-Pace’s somewhat outdated media system with its new ‘Pivi Pro’ setup.

If the slightly off-the-pace entertainment system puts you off an F-Pace, you’re potentially missing out though. Especially when you look at how much choice there is when it comes to sub-£30,000 deals on BuyaCar. We’d pick a 2019 2.0d in mid-level R-Sport trim with its tasteful body styling details, 19-inch wheels and sports seats, for the perfect balance between running costs and style.

If you wanted to make the same sort of impression with a brand new F-Pace, you’d be looking at spending at least £40,000 to get the current entry-level model.

JAGUAR F-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

9. Peugeot 3008 PHEV

Our pick Peugeot 3008 SUV 1.6 13.2kWh GT Line e-EAT (s/s)
Used deals Limited stock

The Peugeot 3008 plug-in hybrid is quite a car, but you won’t get behind the wheel of a new one unless you’ve got a chunky £37,000 to spend. Sure, the 3008 was facelifted for 2021 with a new grille, light designs and some upgrades to the media screen and digital dials, but the car already looked great before the tweaks and the cabin tech was impressive too.

That’s why we think spending less than £30,000 on a 2020 3008 PHEV looks like a great deal, especially as a handful of the cars available on BuyaCar at that price are the upmarket and rapid Hybrid4 version. That’s the four-wheel drive 3008 PHEV, which has two electric motors instead of the two-wheel drive variant’s single motor. The Hybrid4 is a lot quicker off the line, but also cost a whopping £46,000-plus, and was only available in lavish GT trim - featuring massaging sports seats, panoramic sunroof and ‘self-driving’ features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. Lovely stuff!

All the PHEV trim levels were generous though, as you couldn’t get a low-end 3008 with plug-in tech, so any used models should prove an appealing option for drivers looking for a car that can run on electricity alone when charged up. With an overnight charge - or 1.5hrs on a typical home wallbox - you’ll be getting up to 35 miles of motoring without drinking a drop of fossil fuel. Great for your pocket.

PEUGEOT 3008 BUYERS' GUIDE

10. Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Our pick Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake 2.0 TSI R-Line DSG
Used deals Limited stock

Although estate cars aren’t always as fashionable as the current crop of SUVs, there’s a lot to be said for affordable, practical and good-to-drive estate cars. Once the standard choice for big families who liked to get about and about with the dog, or take the car on holidays, they’re still hugely practical and often look great too. Who wouldn’t feel a tinge of pride with a swanky new VW Arteon Shooting Brake on the drive, for example?

You need fairly deep pockets to buy a brand new one, as list prices start at more than £36,000 - or over £38,000 for the desirable 2.0 TFSI in sporty-looking R-Line spec. Here on BuyaCar we have a selection of barely used examples with just 2,000-3,000 miles on the clock, with prices that will save you around £10,000. That makes them tremendous value for a car that should be virtually indistinguishable from brand new equivalents.

The car only went on sale here in 2020 and the entry-level Elegance trim features goodies like keyless entry, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, as well as a rear-view camera, heated seats and voice controls for the media system. The R-Line looks even more peachy with 19-inch alloy wheels, sporty styling details, a panoramic glass roof and darkened rear glass for a truly upmarket vibe.

VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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