Best second-hand cars under £5,000

Snap up some seriously good used cars for a bargain price: we've tracked down the best cars available for less than £5,000

BuyaCar team
Aug 12, 2021

Buying a relatively new car for £5,000 can be a great way of ensuring you get excellent value for money. Although it's a small budget, you shouldn't have to compromise on quality. There are plenty of stylish city cars available at this kind of price, along with a choice of larger superminis and even models protected by a seven-year warranty.

All the cars we've listed below are around five years old or newer and a few still have some of the manufacturer's warranty remaining. The good thing about cars of this age is that they have already lost a great deal of their initial value, so bargain prices are really quite easy to come by, but a car that's been well looked after should feel pretty much as the same as it did when it was new.

While there are a great number of quality used cars available within budget, finding particular models can require patience. So it's worth deciding what you want in advance and keeping your eyes peeled for when an excellent deal arrives.

If you're struggling to find a car you like, you may need to increase your budget, or you could instead consider a car finance deal. In fact, as PCP finance monthly payments cover the difference between the car's initial cash price and what it's predicted to be worth at the end of the contract, you may even find some £6,500 cars for less per month than a number of £5,000 ones (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. Skoda Citigo

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

Our pick Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI SE
Used deals from £5,190
Monthly finance from £98*

The Skoda Citigo is one of three virtually identical small cars, the others being the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii. The Citigo's appeal lies in its surprisingly comfortable ride and neat handling. It also feels fairly upmarket: while the equipment levels are far from extensive, the materials used are strong and everything's logically laid out - a benefit of sharing many of its parts with Volkswagen, a company renowned for building solid cars.

For this price, you’re most likely to find the least-powerful 60hp petrol engine, which is quiet and makes the Skoda nippy enough for town driving. The Citigo may look small but the interior is surprisingly spacious and the 250-litre boot is huge for this size of car. Besides air-conditioning, you won't get much else.


2. Fiat Panda

Best car under £5,000 for practical simplicity

Our pick Fiat Panda 1.2 Easy 5dr
Used deals from £5,995
Monthly finance from £118*

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 large 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.


3. Citroen C1

Best car under £5,000 for French flair

Our pick Citroen C1 1.0 VTi
Used deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £99*

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.


4. Dacia Sandero

Best car under £5,000 for space

Our pick Dacia Sandero 1.2 Ambiance
Used deals from £5,800
Monthly finance from £109*

With a starting price of £5,995 when originally 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 if you go for the most basic versions, 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 £8,000 and does without a radio, air-conditioning and electric windows.

A mid-range used 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, too.


5. Vauxhall Corsa

Best car under £5,000 for young drivers

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Excite
Used deals from £6,490
Monthly finance from £124*

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 well-equipped Excite model that's likely to be cheap to insure, 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.


6. Toyota Aygo

Best car under £5,000 for city car safety

Our pick Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i
Used deals from £6,099
Monthly finance from £113*

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 - get a three-year-old model and you'll still have two years' manufacturer warranty remaining rather than nothing.

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 do 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 TomTom sat-nav and bright LED daytime running lights.


7. Kia Picanto

Best car under £5,000 for a long warranty

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 SE
Used deals from £6,799
Monthly finance from £123*

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 four-year old models that are available for less than £5,000 will remain under manufacturer warranty for another three years, so drivers purchasing a four-year-old model 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 actually use that warranty. It's good to know it's there, though.


8. Fiat 500

Best car under £5,000 for style

Our pick Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Used deals from £6,495
Monthly finance from £123*

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 headlights, compact size and styling that harks back to the 1950s original 'Cinquecento' - that's Italian for '500' if your language skills are a little lacking.

The two-cylinder TwinAir petrol engine suits the 500 perfectly: it 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.


9. Hyundai i10

Best car under £5,000 for value

Our pick Hyundai i10 SE
Used deals from £5,495
Monthly finance from £108*

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 three-year-old model, you'll still have a year or two of warranty left - you may need to spend closer to £6,000 to have the most options with this amount of warranty left, though.

If you are willing to stick with your £5,000 budget, you’ll predominantly be looking at entry-level S models. But, they do come with useful USB and auxiliary inputs, electric windows in the front, and a 60:40 split-fold rear seat. 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.


10. Ford Fiesta

Best car under £5,000 for being fun to drive

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec
Used deals from £6,700
Monthly finance from £131*

How could we complete this list without Britain's favourite car? The Ford Fiesta has been a top seller for many years, and there's no wonder why. It's fun to drive thanks to direct steering and a range of punchy engines, particularly the EcoBoost turbocharged petrol options.

Stretch your budget a little further and range-topping Titanium models might come into reach, with all the gadgets and gizmos you need on a small car like this. At this price point, though, it's most widely available with the 1.25-litre petrol engine in Zetec form, which includes air-conditioning as standard.


*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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