Best used cars for under £10,000

Being on a budget needn't mean missing out; £10,000 is more than enough for desirable SUVs, well-equipped estates and upmarket hatchbacks

BuyaCar team
Jan 27, 2020

You might think that getting your next car is going to cost you tens of thousands of pounds, but actually, that doesn't need to be the case. There are actually some pretty affordable deals out there for you if you know where to look.

Used cars are a great way for you to save money, but also an opportunity to climb into the driving seat of something much better than you'd have considered possible if you were looking at brand new cars.

In fact, a budget of £10,000 can get you the keys to some very desirable models in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Tall, well kitted out sport utility vehicles (SUVs) such as the Kia Sportage are well within reach, as are upmarket offerings from the likes of Audi and Volkswagen.

There are plenty of other benefits in buying a used car. Vehicles registered before 1 April 2017 are taxed under the old rules, which mean that in many cases the cars on this list have a lower annual road tax charge than newer equivalents.


However, look out for diesel cars that don't meet the latest emissions standards, known as Euro 6. These regulations came into force in September 2015, so many cars that were on the road before this date don't comply. Those vehicles which don’t meet these rules are more likely to incur future diesel charges and will be charged to drive in some inner-city clean air zones in London, Birmingham and other British cities.

Best used cars for under £10,000

1. Volkswagen Golf

Best used car under £10,000 for all-round ability

Our pick Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI SE 5dr
Latest Volkswagen Golf deals from £6,999
Monthly finance from £129

A feeling of luxury and everyday practicality come together in the VW Golf - all for a reasonable price. Luxury is evident in the form of a smooth ride, quiet interior, as well as a very solid, upmarket feel to the interior, and practicality, with plenty of legroom, a large boot and split-fold rear seats that fold flat.

There are plenty of basic S models around, but we'd recommend SE or Match trim for their additional equipment and uprated rear suspension that makes the car smoother on bumpy roads yet more agile in corners. The diesel engines are strong and economical but if you cover less than around 20,000 miles per year, consider the mid-power turbocharged 1.4 TSI petrol that will nudge 50mpg yet can accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf buyers' guide

2. Mazda 6 Tourer

Best used car under £10,000 for fun-to-drive practicality

Our pick Mazda 6 2.2D SE Tourer
Latest Mazda 6 Tourer deals from £9,175
Monthly finance from £171

If you’re looking for a lot of space for not a lot of money, family estate cars like the Mazda 6 Tourer are hard to beat. The Mazda is particularly affordable compared with similarly well-equipped estates and will seat five in comfort, while with the back seats folded, its load space is an impressive 1,632 litres.

That's a little less than a Ford Mondeo at 1,740 litres but the Mazda 6 makes up for it with its more stylish looks, higher quality and fantastically smooth, refined and powerful diesel engines. You also get plenty of standard equipment.

The 6 Tourer is also enjoyable to drive thanks to direct steering, strong brakes and plenty of muscle if you pick one of the diesel engines. It’s comfortable and quiet on the motorway, too. With decent practicality, powerful but economical diesel engines, strong equipment levels and great value used prices, the 6 Tourer is a sensible but hugely appealing option.

Mazda 6 buyers' guide

3. Kia Sportage

Best used car under £10,000 for long warranty

Our pick Kia Sportage CRDi 2
Latest Kia Sportage deals from £8,490
Monthly finance from £136

Practical, economical and efficient to drive, the Sportage is a large crossover that brings new meaning to the term 'value for money'. We're primarily referring to the previous generation model here, sold between 2010 and 2016, however, the more recent version (pictured above), is starting to become available for under £10,000 and this is even more appealing.

There are four-wheel-drive models on offer, but these use more fuel than two-wheel drive alternatives without much in the way of added off-road credentials. The 1.7-litre CRDi diesel provides the best balance of economy and performance. If you want leather seats, go for ‘3’ trim. If not, go for the cheap ‘2’ level. This still gets air-conditioning, Bluetooth and reversing sensors.

4. Abarth 595

Best used car under £10,000 for hot hatch performance

Our pick Abarth 595 Competizione
Latest Abarth 595 deals from £7,350
Monthly finance from £118

The hot version of the Fiat 500 only really has the Mini Hatchback to compete with when it comes to combining retro styling with modern hot hatch mechanicals. While the Mini has evolved hugely over the last two decades, the 500 has changed very little, meaning it feels far more retro, if that's your thing.

But what you're getting here in the Abarth is raw, unsullied driving joy. Comfort is stripped back to the bare minimum to allow for all of your driving senses to be well and truly stimulated by a firm ride and barking exhaust. 

Prices for a pint-sized Abarth 595 - the speedy version of the Fiat 500 - are now comfortably below the £10,000 mark. For your money, you get a characterful 1.4-litre turbocharged engine (and accompanying boost gauge), sporty styling and that cracking exhaust note. It may not handle quite as well as the previous generation Ford Fiesta ST, but it sure can put a smile on your face.

5. Audi A1

Best used car under £10,000 for small car quality

Audi A1

Our pick Audi A1 Sport 1.4 TFSI 3dr
Latest Audi A1 deals from £7,480
Monthly finance from £125

The Audi A1 brings the brand’s famed quality within reach of more people. Granted it’s a tiddler compared with huge saloon cars like the Audi A8, but it boasts the same attention to detail and rock-solid feel.

Legroom in the back of the Audi A1 isn't as substantial as you'll find in a Volkswagen Polo or Skoda Fabia (two cars which share the same mechanicals) and it can be awkward to get there if you opt for the three-door A1, which requires you to squeeze behind the tilting front seats, rather than the five-door A1 Sportback.

There is a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the smooth and punchy 125hp turbocharged 1.4-litre unit suits the car’s character perfectly and is the one to have.

Audi A1 buyers' guide

6. Citroen C4 Cactus

Best used car under £10,000 for crossover comfort

Our pick Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 Flair
Latest Citroen C4 Cactus deals from £6,300
Monthly finance from £118

Distinctive, economical and comfy – the C4 Cactus marks a return to form for Citroen. It isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but this wacky car backs up its unconventional style with the increasingly unconventional focus on making the car hugely comfortable rather than sporty in appearance or feel.

The most eye-catching features are its protective plastic 'Airbump' panels on the doors and ‘eyebrow’ daytime running lights above the headlights. However, their divisive nature means that an updated version of the car, launched in 2018, no longer features them so prominently. Whichever version you prefer, you should be able to find one for less than £10,000.

It’s certainly practical, but could be more so if the rear seat folded in two halves, allowing you to boost luggage space and have space for one passenger in the back. It's one of the measures that helped keep the price of the Cactus cheap. A more positive factor in keeping the Cactus cheap - cheap to run, in this case - is the car’s selection of efficient petrol and diesel engines.

Citroen C4 Cactus buyers' guide

7. Dacia Duster

Best used car under £10,000 for SUV value

Our pick Dacia Duster 1.5dCi 110 Laureate
Latest Dacia Duster deals from £5,895
Monthly finance from £118

When it comes to value for money, little can touch a Dacia Duster. New, the SUV range starts at just £10,995, and that is for the overhauled updated model. Buy used and those pounds fall away.

The high-specification Laureate that confounds those who dismiss Dacia as a budget brand by having air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, electric windows all-round and cruise control is the most expensive, but still hardly pricey. However, you can save more by going for mid-range Ambiance trim which is still reasonably well specified.

The diesel engine is fairly economical and powerful enough for swift progress, but most versions sold before September 2015 don't meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations, and so will be charged in low emission zones in cities that include London and Birmingham.

Dacia Duster buyers' guide

8. Volkswagen Up

Best used car under £10,000 for city car convenience

Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 60hp Move Up 5dr
Latest Volkswagen Up deals from £4,000
Monthly finance from £81

Choosing between the little Volkswagen’s sister cars, the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii is no easy task, but the Up gets the nod for its more desirable image, higher quality interior fittings, and, since 2016, slightly wider engine range. There’s a three-door version but the five-door makes much better use of the available space.

The Up is reasonably roomy but to be fair, the back seats are unlikely to be used that often. Instead, it’s forte is nipping along city streets, sipping fuel. If long journeys are a regular part of your driving diet, choose the more powerful but less economical 75hp engine.

Volkswagen Up buyers' guide

9. Ford Fiesta

Best used car under £10,000 for supermini efficiency

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.0 100hp EcoBoost Zetec 5dr
Latest Ford Fiesta deals from £4,680
Monthly finance from £95

Stylish, great to drive, economical and reasonably well packaged, the previous generation Fiesta is a great car. Until the new version came along in 2017, it was the best-selling car in Britain. Its only real shortcoming is a lack of rear interior and boot space.

For under £10,000, your best option is to go for a 1.0-litre turbocharged 'EcoBoost' model with 100hp, which is economical and energetic. Zetec trim provides just about all of the equipment that you need.

Ford Fiesta buyers' guide

10. Audi A3

Best used car under £10,000 for luxury feel

Our pick Audi A3 2.0 TDI SE
Latest Audi A3 deals from £8,495
Monthly finance from £139

The Audi A3’s build quality is unrivalled in its segment, even by the Volkswagen Golf, a car that is mechanically very similar. There are plenty of petrol and diesel options; a choice of three or five doors; as well as the option of a Cabriolet (starting at £13,000 on BuyaCar), and as a saloon(from £12,189.

For less than £10,000, you'll be looking at a hatchback. The petrol engine options are smooth and quiet; more powerful versions are quick too. If you do want a diesel, the 2.0 TDI engine is economical (49.3mpg in real-world testing) but also surprisingly powerful, and has good in-gear acceleration.

Audi A3 buyers' guide


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