Best used cars for less than £5,000

Bargain prices for some seriously good used cars: we've track down the best cars for under £5,000

BuyaCar team
Jul 5, 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, meaning they're now available at a bargain price and still have many years' life left.

There is usually a choice of cars available for under £5,000, including stylish city runarounds, ones that are big enough for young families, and 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.

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 very minimal impact on any finance payments. 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. VW up!

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

Our pick VW up! 1.0 Move up 5dr
Latest Volkswagen up! deals from £4,465
Finance from £82 per month

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 reassuring badge, surprisingly comfortable ride and neat handling.

For this price, you’re most likely to find the least-powerful 60 horsepower 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 close to class-leading. Move up! trim is an improvement on basic Take up! thanks to a digital radio, smarter body coloured detailing and air conditioning.
Volkswagen up! buying guide


2. Fiat Panda

Best car under £5,000 for practical simplicity

Our pick Fiat Panda 1.2 Easy 5dr
Latest Volkswagen up! deals from £4,450
Finance from £83 per month

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.
Fiat Panda deals


3. Citroen C1

Best car under £5,000 for French flair

Our pick Citroen C1 1.0i VTi
Latest Citroen C1 deals from £4,150
Finance from £74 per month

The Citroen C1 is part of that trio of related cars whose other members are the Toyota Aygo and 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). Although, the Citroen does tend to be cheaper on the used market.

On the subject of kit, we’d recommend the mid-spec Feel trim, with a touchscreen, driver’s seat height adjustment and air conditioning.
Citroen C1 buying guide


4. Dacia Sandero

Best car under £5,000 for space

Our pick Dacia Sandero 1.2 Ambiance
Latest Dacia Sandero deals from £4,195
Finance from £77 per month

With a starting price of £6,995 when new, Dacia Sanderos have always been budget cars. They are cheap and cheerful, lacking some of the features that you might expect but offering considerably more space than city cars like the Citroen above.

If you were buying new, then you'd have to opt for the entry-level Access car to get a real bargain, and do without features, such as a radio. Fortunately your money goes much further on the used market. A mid-range Ambiance car 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 car doesn't have a lot more money to lose, which helps to keep finance repayments low.
Dacia Sandero buying guide


5. Vauxhall Corsa

Best car under £5,000 for young drivers

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Excite
Latest Vauxhall Corsa deals from £4,000
Finance from £77 per month

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 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The three-door model is cheapest 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 could be an issue, choose the five-door version.


6. Toyota Aygo

Best car under £5,000 for city car value

Our pick Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i 
Latest Toyota Aygo deals from £4,990
Finance from £82 per month

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.

A car of that age will typically only be available for £5,000 in entry-level X trim, which lacks 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 to deter prying eyes, an integrated Tom Tom sat nav and bright LED daytime running lights.
Toyota Aygo buying 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 £4,169
Finance from £78 per month

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

But head and shoulders above them is its seven-year new car warranty. It means that a 2015 model has three years’ cover still remaining – as much as most new cars - offering plenty of peace of mind. Owners rate the car as reliable too, so you'll hopefully never need to use it.
Kia Picanto buying guide


8. Fiat 500

Best car under £5,000 for style

Our pick Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Latest Fiat 500 deals from £4,655
Finance from £81 per month

Fiat has a strong record for making small cars that are brimming with character, the Panda as mentioned above, for example.

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 and compact, 1960s styling.

The two-cylinder TwinAir petrol engine suits it perfectly: the car surges forward with puppy dog-like energy when you rev 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 virtually as economical in real-world driving.
Fiat 500 buying guide


9. Hyundai i10

Best car under £5,000 for value

Our pick Hyundai i10 S
Latest Hyundai i10 deals from £4,495
Finance from £82 per month

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

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.

For this sort of money you’ll 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.
Hyundai i10 buying guide


10. Nissan Micra

Best car under £5,000 for familiarity

Our pick Nissan Micra 1.2 Acenta
Latest Nissan Micra deals from £4,490
Finance from £73 per month

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

There are a few basic-spec Visias to choose from but we reckon you should shoot for mid-spec Acenta. 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 buying guide


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