Best used cars for less than £8,000

Don't think you can buy much car for £8,000? Think again. Choose from sporty, stylish hatchbacks, spacious seven-seaters and comfy cruisers

BuyaCar team
Aug 20, 2020

Purveyors of fashionable and expensive electronic items, Apple, made a watch in 2015 that cost a whopping £8,000. Yes, we said £8,000. You could buy one of those, or you could turn away and instead invest your money in a Mini Cooper.

While that Apple watch weighs in at around £297 per gram the Mini will set you back 0.06p per gram. The Mini will also take you to work and back. Plus, it tells the time just as well as the watch. How’s that for value for money?

There are thousands of reliable and interesting cars on the market in tip-top condition for less than £8,000 - whether you're after a relatively new and fun-to-drive hatchback or a super-sensible seven-seater. That's not to say you'll be taking your pick from all of the best and most desirable cars on the market, but we've still managed to get you some pretty decent models to choose from here on BuyaCar.

It's worth considering your options nevertheless. If you have £8,000 in cash lying around you might be tempted to go right ahead and spend it. But you could instead look at some equally good value finance deals that you may find open up doors to better cars than you might expect. A car with a higher cash price might well come with lower monthly finance payments, so it could be worth your time to experiment with the different options before making a final decision.

Best used cars for under £8,000

1. Seat Leon

Best car under £8,000 for all-around ability

Our pick Seat Leon 1.2 TSI 110 SE Technology
Used deals from £6,500
Monthly finance from £127

You won't find a Volkswagen Golf at this age and mileage for £8,000, but the Seat Leon is a more-than-worthy alternative. Seat is owned by Volkswagen so the two cars have much in common under the skin - including engines, gearboxes and in-car tech - and feel very similar. However, the Leon is actually a little more fun to drive, as befits Seat’s sporty image.

The Leon is just as roomy and practical as the Golf, though, and its 1.2-litre petrol - which is far more punchy than you'd expect from its small size - is just as economical (expect around 45mpg). Go for the Technology pack and you’ll get sat-nav to add to the car’s standard-fit digital radio, Bluetooth, all-round electric windows, air-conditioning, hill-hold control and alloy wheels.

SEAT LEON BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen C4 Picasso

Best car under £8,000 for keeping the family comfy

Our pick Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 BlueHDi VTR+
Used deals from £5,650
Monthly finance from £114

Families looking for practicality are increasingly moving away from sensible people carriers, in favour of 'crossovers' that add some 4x4 style to the hatchback format. But you'll have to pay for most crossovers with higher prices and limited practicality; the C4 Picasso offers more flexibility than most crossovers, plus, on the used market they can be snapped up for well below £8,000.

Comfort is king with the Picasso, and it delivers this with a smooth ride and supportive supple seats. Every C4 Picasso has a seven-inch colour touchscreen media system too. Inside it's cavernous and filled with nooks and crannies for storing all the family kit you could need. The boot, at 537 litres, is bigger than the boots of rivals like the Ford C-Max and Renault Scenic, meaning carrying children and plenty of luggage at the same time should pose no problems.

CITROEN C4 PICASSO BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Vauxhall Insignia

Best car under £8,000 for motorway mileage

Our pick Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi SRi Nav
Used deals from £5,896
Monthly finance from £112

First introduced in 2008 to replace the Vauxhall Vectra, the Insignia became very popular with business drivers because of its value for money and economical engines. This is even more true when buying a used car.

We’d recommend going for a post-2013 model, as these have significant upgrades inside, including a wraparound dashboard and touchscreen media system. If you’re doing a lot of miles, opt for the 2.0-litre CDTI diesel engine. It’s punchy, but even in real-world fuel driving it should get more than 50mpg.

VAUXHALL INSIGNIA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford Focus

Best car under £8,000 for small families

Our pick Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Titanium
Used deals from £5,937
Monthly finance from £111

Not only is the Focus reliable and comfortable, it’s also one of the most fun cars to drive in this family car segment, thanks to its precise steering and strong engines. The 1.6-litre diesel may not make the Focus particularly fast, but it's economical and suitably powerful for lugging a small family and their luggage around without fuss.

As the Focus has long been one of the best-selling cars in the UK, there’s an enormous number of versions on the market. For £8,000 you can get yourself into a facelifted 2015-on Zetec model with alloy wheels, bluetooth and a heated front windscreen, but you may also be able to get a more luxurious Titanium model within budget if you keep your eyes peeled.

FORD FOCUS BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Picanto

Best car for under £8,000 for young drivers

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 2
Used deals from £4,600
Monthly finance from £84

The little Picanto is easy to drive and cute and because it's so affordable, you can afford a number of 2019 versions for less than £8,000. We'd recommend getting a 2018 model, however, to get ‘2’ trim in budget, as this makes the car feel much more upmarket than the entry-level model, with features such as alloy wheels, electric windows all-round, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Inside it's not as luxurious as older versions of larger cars for the same money, as you'd expect, but it’s still an appealing car inside and out. Another plus point is the boot which is huge for a city car at 255 litres and on the road it’s a relatively fun drive and feels nimble, especially around town.

KIA PICANTO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mini Hatchback

Best car for under £8,000 for badge appeal

Our pick Mini Cooper 1.5
Used deals from £7,000
Monthly finance from £117

It may only be a small car but the combination of Mini heritage and BMW engineering - since BMW owns the British company - provides this car with the kind of drive and feel that typically only larger, more expensive, upmarket cars can boast. Add the Cooper name and it rises to another level.

New, there are many personalisation options to choose from with the Mini, not to mention option packs. This presents used buyers with a huge opportunity to buy something very well equipped for a lot less money, since even if the original owner added many thousands of pounds worth of options, these shouldn't bump up the second-hand price too much.

Add the surprisingly potent 1.5-litre petrol engine and the car’s agile handling and funky interior, and you’ve the ingredients for a whole lot of fun.

MINI HATCHBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Best car for under £8,000 for seven seats

Our pick Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi SRI
Used deals from £6,899
Monthly finance from £128

If we go back to our cost to weight comparisson for a moment, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer stands at over two tonnes, so you're getting a whole lot of car for you money here.

A seven seater is a bit like a bag for life. Not glamorous, but serves a very important purpose. And much like you cram your shopping into a bag for life, you can cram a near-endless supply of bags into a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.

Alternatively, you can unfold the rear seats and sling two kids in the back, too, and a couple more in the middle row. Think about how popular you’ll be with the local football team. Your £8,000 will get you the latest style Zafira Tourer too, complete with a sharp looking front end and (admittedly optional) touchscreen media system.

VAUXHALL ZAFIRA TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Honda Jazz

Best car for under £8,000 for flexible rear seats

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.4i-VTEC ES Plus
Used deals from £5,965
Monthly finance from £116

Don't underestimate the value of clever rear seats in a car. While the Zafira's two rows of rear seats fold into the floor, the Jazz’s are particularly smart because they not only split and fold like all other hatchback seats, but the seat bases can also be folded up against the seat back to create an unimpeded load space extending from floor to ceiling – perfect for standing tall objects such as plants from the garden centre.

Add a spacious hatchback boot and the little Jazz has the potential to be a pretty big load mover considering how small and easy to drive it is.

It’s also easy to get in and out of, while the 1.4-litre petrol engine is one of the smoothest and quietest in the class. With prices for the latest Jazz falling, you can take you're pick from pretty much any of the previous generation model or several of the more affordable versions of the current Jazz.

HONDA JAZZ BUYERS' GUIDE

9. Suzuki Swift Sport

Best car under £8,000 for hot-hatch thrills

Our pick Suzuki Swift Sport Nav 5dr
Used deals from £6,499
Monthly finance from £127

This may be the old-model Swift Sport, replaced in 2018 by an all-new one, but for many drivers it’s the better car. The key to its appeal is a zingy 1.6-litre petrol engine that provides more and more power the harder you work it and makes this car feel more hardcore than the new model, which has a bland engine that packs plenty of punch at low engine speeds but doesn't engage the driver in the same way. That might sound a bit geeky, but on the road you really feel the difference with the older car having much more character.

The Swift is tall, but it resists body lean surprisingly well in corners, while the steering is sharp and precise, and the ride sporty but comfortable. The gearbox is delightfully quick and mechanical, too. A good equipment level is the icing on the cake, with far more standard equipment than you'd expect from a used car of this size.

SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

10. Skoda Roomster

Best car under £8,000 for space

Our pick Skoda Roomster 1.2 TSI SE
Used deals Limited stock

As the name would suggest, the Roomster offers a fantastic amount of room for the size of car. Its looks are divisive, but if you like them, you're not the only one; we can totally get on board with a family car that looks like a van crossed with a Lancia Stratos - a wild 1970s sports car.

The interior feels light and airy because there’s so much room, and the boot is a substantial 450 litres with the seats up (eclipsing the likes of the VW Golf with 380 litres) and a cavernous 1,780 litres with the rear seats down. Speaking of which, the rear seats can be removed entirely if you want to free up as much space as possible.

You can't buy a brand new Roomster anymore, so your best bet is to find a great value deal on the used market if you're keen to get your hands on one. Luckily we've got a handful of models on offer for less than £8,000.

 

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