Best used cars for under £5,000

Modern motors on a tight budget: the best used cars for under £5,000 - or £25 a week

John Evans
Feb 28, 2018

With a budget of £5,000 - or no more than £25 a week on finance - you’ll have a vast choice of modern, capable and economical used cars.

They range from small city cars to models more suitable for a family, and none are more than five years old.

if there’s nothing that fits your precise requirements, then you can search for all cars costing less than £5,000 below, or increase your budget by a few hundred pounds for substantially more choice.

One benefit of buying a used car that was first registered before 1 April 2017 is that it is taxed under an older set of rules. As a result, many of the cars featured here pay little or no annual road tax.

Skoda Citigo

Best used car under £5,000 for city car convenience

Our pick Skoda Citigo SE 1.0 5dr (2014, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £4,995  Monthly repayments £89

The Skoda Citigo is one of three virtually identical small cars, the others being the VW up! and Seat Mii.

Neither offer quite as much value as the Citigo: you can buy a three-year-old car for less than £5,000 in popular SE trim, which includes air-conditioning, a fully adjustable driver’s seat and electric front windows.

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 Citigo may look small but the interior is surprisingly spacious and the 251-litre boot close to class-leading.
Read the Skoda Citigo buying guide


Dacia Sandero

Best used car under £5,000 for value

Our pick Dacia Sandero 1.2 75bhp Ambiance (2015, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £4,995  Monthly repayments £93

The basic Dacia Sandero doesn’t cost much more than £5,000 as a new car, so it’s no surprise that you can get a fairly recent model for less.

Cheapest of all are the entry-level Access models which come without even a radio as standard. Unsurprisingly, most buyers avoid this and opt for the more generous Ambiance trim, so there are far more of these higher-specification cars available. At a minimum, you can expect electric front windows, a radio/CD with Bluetooth and USB connection.

The Sandero offers much more space and practicality than the city cars, which are more common in this price range. Increase your budget by £1,000, and you could get behind the wheel of a 0.9-litre version, which is smoother, more powerful and more efficient than the more basic 1.2-litre engine.
Read the Dacia Sandero buying guide


Fiat 500

Best used car under £5,000 for style on a budget

Our pick Fiat 500 1.2 Pop (2014, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £4,995  Monthly repayments £90

The Fiat 500 offers a rare combination of desirability and low prices. The cute and curvy design of the city car still looks fresh, and it’s available even on a tight budget.

Although it does have four seats, the lack of legroom in the rear means that the back seats are best left to children. Approach it as a two-seat runabout and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Entry-level Pop cars include electric front windows and a radio with CD and MP3 player, as well as little retro touches, including chrome door handles and body coloured bumpers, which make it feel special.

The cheapest 1.2 petrol engine is not as advanced as its more expensive and nippier 0.9-litre TwinAir alternative but in real-world terms, it’s almost as economical.
Read the Fiat 500 buying guide


Citroen C3 Picasso

Best used car under £5,000 for space

Our pick Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi VTR+ (2013, 35,000 miles)
Typical price £5,000  Monthly repayments £95
The Citroen C3 Picasso is one of the zanier-looking family cars, but one of the more sensible choices. It can seat five adults comfortably; has sliding rear seats, so you can choose between more legroom or a huge 500-litre boot; and comes well equipped as standard.

Prices regularly dip below £5,000 for early 2013 models, but you’ll need a budget of £6,000 or £120 a month for more choice.
Read the Citroen C3 Picasso buying guide


Peugeot 208

Best used car under £5,000 for looks and value

Our pick Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi Access+ 3dr (2013, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £4,500  Monthly repayments £85

The Peugeot 208 is popular for its curved design but the car isn’t just a pretty face. It’s roomy inside, and has a decent-sized boot that’s slightly larger than you’ll find in a VW Polo.

The small steering wheel is supposed to make the car feel more nimble in corners, and all but the entry-level Access and Access+ cars come with a dashboard touchscreen.

You can also expect air conditioning, cruise control with a speed limiter and a refrigerated glovebox to keep drinks and snacks cool as standard in every car.
Read the Peugeot 208 buying guide


Toyota Aygo

Best used car under £5,000 for city car value 

Our pick Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i x 3dr (2015, 25,000 miles)
Typical price £4,990  Monthly repayments £81

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 2015 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, but low-mileage examples are common.
Read the Toyota Aygo buying guide


Fiat Panda

Best used car under £5,000 for functional appeal

Our pick Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop (2014, 20,000 miles)
Typical price £4,995  Monthly repayments £95

The Fiat Panda might not have much style, but its boxy design is part of a no-nonsense offering, which delivers space, practicality and all-round ability for a low price.

There’s plenty of headroom for tall passengers and the rear seats slide, allowing you to increase boot space or legroom. Soft suspension absorbs potholes on local roads and delivers a fairly smooth ride on motorways too, although this set-up does cause the car to lean in corners if you’re going at speed.

There are plenty of entry-level Pop cars available for under £5,000 or £100 a month with representative finance. These come with a radio, but air conditioning wasn’t standard.
Read the Fiat Panda buying guide


Skoda Fabia

Best used car under £5,000 for space and reliability

Our pick Skoda Fabia 1.2 SE (2013, 45,000 miles)
Typical price £4,995 Monthly repayments £90

Skoda’s Fabia is larger than the Skoda Citigo further up this list, so although £5,000 will buy you extra space, you'll have to compromise with an older model that has covered a few more miles.

Aty this price, you’ll be looking at the previous-generation Fabia with large, curved headlights (lights on newer cars are more angular). It's still a good car, and SE models include air conditioning, alloy wheels and electric front windows as standard

The downside is a 1.2-litre petrol engine that takes almost 15 seconds to go from 0-62mph - when you’re in the driving seat and your foot’s to the floor, it feels even longer.


Vauxhall Corsa

Best used car under £5,000 for supermini value

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Sting (AC) 3dr (2014, 15,000 miles)
Typical price £4,795  Monthly repayments £80

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, 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 Sting model, which coms with white bonnet stripes, roof and side mirrors, plus air conditioning.

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.


Kia Picanto

Best used car under £5,000 for peace of mind

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 1 3dr (2014, 30,000 miles)
Typical price £4,990  Monthly repayments £92

Kias come with a mammoth seven-year warranty, limited to 100,000 miles, which is the longest in the car industry. Like most warranties, it can be transferred to new owners.

This makes the Picanto city car an appealing choice for the money. Not only does the warranty provide extra peace of mind, but the car’s 1-litre petrol engine is smooth, nippy and economical - at least in town. You’re better off looking at the larger Kia Rio if you’ll frequently be taking the car on faster roads.
Read the Kia Picanto buying guide


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