Best used cars for less than £5,000

Bargain prices for some seriously good used cars: we've tracked down the best cars available for less than £5,000

BuyaCar team
Sep 30, 2019

Take the family away for a fortnight during the school holidays, and it's not hard to spend the best part of £5,000 on travel, accommodation, food and drinks. This makes buying a relatively new car for £5,000 look like terrific value - if not quite as exotic as cocktails on the beach.

This relatively small budget won't limit you to an old banger either. All of the cars below are five years old or newer and a few still have some of the manufacturer's warranty remaining. All have lost a great deal of their initial value, however, meaning they're now available at a bargain price despite still having many years' worth of life left.

There is usually a choice of cars available for under £5,000, including stylish city runarounds, hatchbacks that are big enough for young families, and sometimes even electric vehicles. However, the selection can be limited: all of the cars below are available at the time of writing, but there may not always be used versions of each available for such a low price. So it's worth keeping your eyes peeled.

If you can't see the car you like for less than £5,000, you may need to increase your budget by a few hundred pounds, which should only have a minimal impact on any finance payments. In fact, as PCP finance costs are calculated from the difference between the car's cash price and its predicted value at the end of the contract, you may even find a £6,500 car for less per month than another £5,000 one (with identical contract terms).

Cash buyers should note that all BuyaCar vehicles include a finance incentive that's not available if you are purchasing outright.

      

The best used cars for less than £5,000

  

1. Volkswagen Up

Best car under £5,000 for all-round appeal

Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 Move Up 5dr
Latest Volkswagen Up deals from £4,795
Monthly finance from £88

The VW Up is one of three virtually identical small cars, the others being the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii. The Volkswagen’s appeal lies in its reassuringly upmarket badge, surprisingly comfortable ride and neat handling.

For this price, you’re most likely to find the least-powerful 60hp petrol engine, which is quiet and nippy enough for town driving. The Up may look small but the interior is surprisingly spacious and the 251-litre boot is huge for this size of car. Move Up trim is an improvement on basic Take Up thanks to the addition of a digital radio, smarter body coloured detailing and air-conditioning.

Volkswagen Up buyers' guide

   

2. Fiat Panda

Best car under £5,000 for practical simplicity

Our pick Fiat Panda 1.2 Easy 5dr
Latest Fiat Panda deals from £4,490
Monthly finance from £84

The Fiat Panda has been around since 2012. Its secret to a long life? Getting the basics right.

You’ll find the Panda is a roomy and undemanding little car with great visibility, lots of handy storage solutions and a good-sized boot that expands thanks to a sliding set of rear seats.

Easy trim is our pick for value and includes essentials such as electric windows, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel.

One thing to be wary of, however, is that the Panda's long life also means it's now nowhere near as safe as newer small cars. So if you want the safest £5,000 car, other models, such as the Toyota Aygo, are a wiser bet.

Fiat Panda buyers' guide

  

3. Citroen C1

Best car under £5,000 for French flair

 Our pick Citroen C1 1.0i VTi
Latest Citroen C1 deals from £4,495
Monthly finance from £79

The striking Citroen C1 is closely related to the wacky Toyota Aygo and the plainer Peugeot 108. They’re near-identical, except for the way they look.

It’s all subjective and in the end your choice is likely to come down to quantifiable things like how much kit one has over the other and the fact that the Aygo has a longer new car warranty (five years compared with the other cars’ three). However, the Citroen does tend to be cheaper on the used market, so if you're happy with the looks, it's worth comparing Citroen and Toyota deals.

On the subject of kit, we’d recommend the mid-spec Feel trim, with its touchscreen media system, driver’s seat height adjustment and air-conditioning.

Citroen C1 buyers' guide

   

4. Dacia Sandero

Best car under £5,000 for space

Our pick Dacia Sandero 1.2 Ambiance
Latest Dacia Sandero deals from £4,000
Monthly finance from £74

With a starting price of £5,995 when launched, the Dacia Sandero has always been a budget car. The Sandero is cheap and cheerful, lacking some of the features that you might expect but offering considerably more space than city cars like the Citroen above.

Go used, however, and you can get far more car for the money, making the most affordable Sanderos great value rather than just cheap, as is the case with new models - now only the most basic Access model is available for less than £7,000 and does without a radio, air-conditioning and electric windows.

A mid-range Ambiance model can be yours for less than £5,000, which does feature a radio, along with a USB port and Bluetooth so you can connect your phone wirelessly. Find a Laureate car and you'll also have air-conditioning.

As the price is so cheap to begin with, the Sandero doesn't have a lot more money to lose, which helps to keep finance payments low.

Dacia Sandero buyers' guide

   

5. Vauxhall Corsa

Best car under £5,000 for young drivers

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Excite
Latest Vauxhall Corsa deals from £4,250
Monthly finance from £83

Ford’s Fiesta outsells the Vauxhall Corsa on the new car market but it’s the Corsa that’s the better used buy for less than £5,000, simply because you can get a newer, lower-mileage and better-specified car for this budget.

There are plenty of basic and mid-range cars to choose from, including the low-insurance but well-equipped Excite model, which comes with good-looking 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The three-door model is cheaper than the five-door but has wide-opening doors that can be a nuisance in tight parking spaces and a steeply-sloped roof that reduces headroom for rear passengers. If these are an issue for you, choose the five-door version.

Vauxhall Corsa buyers' guide

6. Toyota Aygo

Best car under £5,000 for city car safety

Our pick Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i 
Latest Toyota Aygo deals from £4,500
Monthly finance from £76

The Aygo uses the same mechanical parts as the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, so all have the same amount of interior space and are similar to drive. But where the other two models only come with a three-year new car warranty, the Aygo has five years’ cover, making it the better used car buy - a 2016 car will still have around two years of its warranty remaining. It was also crash tested more recently than its siblings and fared relatively well, making it surprisingly safe for such a small used car.

A car of that age will typically only be available for £5,000 in entry-level X trim, which lacks air-conditioning and Bluetooth. Keep a lookout, however, and you can sometimes find higher specification x-play models for this money, which include air-conditioning and Bluetooth.

Alternatively, for around £500 less, consider the previous generation Aygo. There are plenty of 1.0 VVT-I Style models available. This was a special edition trim featuring smart alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, an integrated Tom Tom sat nav and bright LED daytime running lights.

Toyota Aygo buyers' guide

7. Kia Picanto

Best car under £5,000 for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 1
Latest Kia Picanto deals from £4,699
Monthly finance from £85

The Picanto city car has many strong points, among them its neat design, zippy three-cylinder engine and roomy interior.

Head and shoulders above those, however, is its seven-year new car warranty. This means that 2015 models that are available for less than £5,000 will remain under warranty under 2022, meaning that drivers purchasing one in 2019 have just as much warranty cover as most new cars - offering plenty of peace of mind.

Better still, Picanto drivers rate the car as reliable, too, so you'll hopefully never need to use it. 

Kia Picanto buyers' guide

8. Fiat 500

Best car under £5,000 for style

Our pick Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Latest Fiat 500 deals from £4,690
Monthly finance from £81

Fiat has a strong record for making small cars that are brimming with character, including the Panda listed above. The 500 is even more charming, however.

The 500 is not as practical as the Panda but it is much more desirable thanks to the appeal of its large bug-eyed headlamps, compact size and styling that harks back to the 1950s original 'Cinquecento'.

The two-cylinder TwinAir petrol engine suits it perfectly: the car surges forward with puppy dog-like energy when you work the engine, which also produces a gentle growl from the exhaust. You're more likely to find the cheaper 1.2-litre engine for under £5,000, which has steadier acceleration but is likely to be just as economical in real-world driving.

Fiat 500 buyers' guide

9. Hyundai i10

Best car under £5,000 for value

 Our pick Hyundai i10 S
Latest Hyundai i10 deals from £4,969
Monthly finance from £84

It’s not the most glamorous car in the world, or even on this list - but you’ll be able to bag a Hyundai i10 with some manufacturer warranty left on it for just £5,000.

From new, it came with a five-year warranty. This means if you opt for a 2015 model, it still has a year or so left on it. You may be able to find a 2016 model for this price, leaving you with up to two years of cover left.

For this sort of money you’ll predominantly be looking at entry-level S models. But, they do come with useful USB and aux inputs, electric windows in the front, and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat in the rear. If you're happy with a slightly older or higher mileage car, though, you might be able to get an SE model, which comes with a decent selection of extra kit including air-conditioning plus front and rear electric windows.

Hyundai i10 buyers' guide

10. Nissan Micra

Best car under £5,000 for familiarity

Our pick Nissan Micra 1.2 Acenta
Latest Nissan Micra deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £86

For value-conscious car buyers, a Micra is like an old pair of slippers: familiar, dependable and easy to get on with. It’s also a driving school favourite, which says a lot about its durability, convenience and low running costs.

The Micra under the spotlight here is the old one, since replaced by a sharper-looking but more expensive model. Reliable and inoffensive, this is the kind of Micra lots of people grew up with.

There are a few basic-spec Visia models to choose from but we reckon you should aim for mid-spec Acenta if you're after a Micra. This comes with the kinds of things – alloy wheels, front foglights and electric windows – that give the little car that extra, welcome polish.

Nissan Micra buyers' guide

 

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