Best used cars under £8,000

The depth and breadth of choice for £8,000 might just surprise some people. Take a look at some of the best cars for under £8,000

BuyaCar team
Feb 1, 2019

Purveyors of fashionable and expensive electronic items, Apple, made a watch in 2015 that cost a whopping £8,000.

In 2019, your £8,000 will easily buy you three year old Mini Cooper. That Apple watch weighs in at around £297 per gram. The Mini will set you back 0.06p per gram. And the Mini will take you to work and back. Plus, it tells the time just as well as the watch. How’s that for value for money?

Britain’s second-hand car market is one of the cheapest in the world. This means there are thousands of good condition, reliable, and interesting cars on the market for your £8,000.

When searching for yourself, if you can’t find anything you like, try increasing the budget by just a couple of hundred pounds. This will allow a few more cars into your search, but will only have a minor impact on monthly payments.


Seat Leon

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

Our pick Seat Leon 1.6TDI SE Technology
Latest Seat Leon deals from £5,995
Finance from £98 per month

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

It’s just as roomy and practical, as the Golf, though, and its 1.6 diesel engine is just as economical (expect around 55mpg). Go for the Technology pack and you’ll get a sat nav to add to the car’s already standard digital radio, Bluetooth, all-round electric windows, air con, hill-hold control and alloy wheels.
Seat Leon buying guide

Dacia Duster

Best car under £8,000 for off-roading

Our pick Dacia Duster Ambiance DCI
Latest Dacia Duster deals from £5,999
Finance from £115 per month

The Dacia Sandero might be the most famous car in the Dacia range as it’s Britain’s cheapest new car. However, the Duster is worthy of your attention too.

You won't find the 4x4 version for this money (like for like it’s around £1500 more expensive) but a two-wheel drive one still offers plenty of grip in everyday motoring. 

Do remember that the Duster was a cheap car new, never mind used, so don’t expect Lexus-like build quality. Standard equipment levels are low, but if you don’t rate luxury go for as basic as possible and save yourself some cash.
Dacia Duster buying guide

Vauxhall Insignia

Best car under £8,000 for motorway mileage

Our pick Vauxhall Insignia 2.0CDTi
Latest Vauxhall Insignia deals from £7,300
Finance from £135 per month

First introduced in 2008 to replace the Vauxhall Vectra, the Insignia became very popular with business buyers because of its value for money and economical engines.

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

Ford Focus

Best car under £8,000 for small families

Our pick Ford Focus 1.6TDCi
Latest Ford Focus deals from £6,990
Finance from £121 per month

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 direct steering and poky engines.

And it's one of the best-selling cars in the UK, so there’s an enormous number of cars on the market. For £8,000 you can get yourself into previous generation Zetec model, with alloy wheels, bluetooth, and Ford’s heated front windscreen technology.
Ford Focus buying guide

Kia Picanto

Best car for under £8,000 for young drivers

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 2
Latest Kia Picanto deals from £4,894
Finance from £90 per month

The little Picanto ticks all of these boxes while ‘2’ trim makes the car feel much more upmarket with features such as alloy wheels, electric windows all-round, air conditioning, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Inside it does feel a bit plasticky but it’s not the worst around, and the boot is a class-leading 255 litres. On the road it’s a fun drive, and feels nimble and engaging, especially around town.
Kia Picanto buying guide


Best car for under £8,000 for badge appeal

Our pick Mini Cooper 1.6
Latest Mini deals from £6,599
Finance from £115 per month

It may only be a small car but the combination of Mini heritage and BMW engineering and backing gives it the kind of image that only larger, more expensive premium cars can boast. Add the Cooper name and it rises to another level.

New, there are many personalisation options to choose from, not to mention option packs. This presents used buyers with a huge opportunity to buy something very well equipped for a lot less money.

Add the sporty 1.6 petrol engine and the car’s nippy handling and plush interior, and you’ve the ingredients for a whole lot of fun.
Mini buying guide

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Best car for under £8,000 for seven seats

Our pick Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRI CDTI
Latest Vauxhall Zafira deals from £7,222
Finance from £122 per month

A seven seater is a bit like a bag for life. Neither is glamorous, but they both serve a purpose. And much like you cram your shopping into a bag-for-life, you can cram a near-endless supply of bag-for-lifes into a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.

Alternatively, you can erect the rear seats and sling two kids in the back too. Think about how popular you’ll be for 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 entertainment.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer buying guide

Honda Jazz

Best car for under £8,000 for clever seating

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.4i-VTEC ES Plus
Latest Honda Jazz deals from £5,798
Finance from £111 per month

Don't underestimate the value of clever rear seats in a car. The Jazz’s are particularly smart because they not only split and fold like all other hatchback seats, but the squabs can also be raised to the vertical, cinema-style.

So arranged, they 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.

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.

Suzuki Swift Sport

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

Our pick Suzuki Swift Sport Nav 5dr
Latest Suzuki Swift Sport deals from £7,990
Finance from £136 per month

This may be the old-model Swift Sport replaced in 2018 by an all-new one, but to some minds it’s the better car. The key to its appeal is its zingy 1.6-litre petrol engine that feels more hardcore than the new model’s smaller turbocharged unit. That might sound a bit geeky but on the road you really feel the difference with the older car having much more character.

This old-model Swift is tall, but it resists body lean surprisingly well in corners, while the steering is sharp and incisive, and the ride sporty but comfortable. The gearbox is delightfully quick and mechanical, too. A good equipment level is the icing on the cake.

Skoda Roomster

Best car under £8,000 for space

Our pick Skoda Roomster 1.2TSI 

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 dig them, we can totally get on board with a family car that looks like a van crossed with a Lancia Stratos.

The interior feels light and airy because there’s so much room, and the boot is a spacious 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.


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