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

Jun 12, 2018

If you can cast your mind back to 2015, high-end maker of electronic goods, Apple, released a watch that cost an eye-watering £8,000. Sure, it had an 18 carat gold case. But still. Pretty expensive for a digital watch.

Fast forward to 2018, and because Britain’s second-hand car market is one of the cheapest in the world, there are thousands of good condition, reliable, and interesting cars on the market for the same price. Our list below highlights just a few of the best ones.

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.

Volkswagen Golf

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

Our pick 1.6TDI Bluemotion (2013, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £7,995 Representative finance £144 a month

Very few family hatchbacks impress like a Volkswagen Golf. It’s a great all-rounder, and is pretty much brilliant at everything. It’s smooth and quiet on the move, and long distances can be gobbled up thanks to economical engines and compliant suspension.

It’s a huge seller as well, meaning there’s a fair amount of choice out there on the used market. For this sort of price you won’t be able to snatch a current generation GTI, or even a GTD, but a Bluemotion diesel is well within reach. It has most of the amenities you’d like, plus a 1.6-litre diesel engine capable of 54.7 mpg, even in real world testing.
Volkswagen Golf buying guide

Dacia Duster

Best car under £8,000 for off-roading

Our pick Dacia Duster Ambiance DCI 4x4 (2013, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £7,450 Representative finance £142 a 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.

Especially in its 4x4 specification, giving it real off-roading ability. But do remember that it is a cheap car, and was a cheap car from new. 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 (2014, 60,000 miles)
Typical price £8,000 Representative finance £150 a 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 (2015, 60,000 miles)
Typical price £8,000 Representative finance £136 a 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 amount of cars on the market. For £8,000 you can just about get yourself into a facelift model, with a sharper nose and some nice interior bits. There’s a new Focus out this year - so expect used prices to take a hammering too.
Ford Focus buying guide

Kia Picanto

Best car for under £8,000 for young drivers

Our pick Kia Picanto GT Line (2015, 5,500 miles)
Typical price £8,000 Representative finance £140 a month

There are a lot of cars out there suited to the young driver. To appeal to the young, cars have to be stylish, economical, and cheap to insure.

The little Picanto ticks all of these boxes - and if you opt for a GT-Line model, you also get sporty styling bits and big alloy wheels. 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. Although obviously not massively fast.
Kia Picanto buying guide

Mercedes C-Class

Best car for under £8,000 for badge appeal

Our pick Mercedes C-Class C180 BlueEfficieny (2011, 63,000 miles)
Typical price £7,995 Representative finance £152 a month

Obviously, all of the cars on this list offer good value for money. But the C-Class is certainly a different kettle of fish entirely.

And once again, obviously, for this price range you won’t be looking at a current model. But you will be able to afford the previous model, which is still good even by modern standards. All versions of the C-Class are quiet and comfortable, and all have enough power not to make long journeys arduous. A word of warning though, executive brands like Mercedes do cost more to run than a similarly priced Ford.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Best car for under £8,000 for seven seats

Our pick Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRI CDTI (2014, 65,000 miles)
Typical price £7,599 Representative finance £125 a month

A seven seater is a bit like a bag for life. Neither are glamourous, 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 Zafira Tourer too, complete with a sharp looking front end and (admittedly optional) touchscreen entertainment.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer buying guide

Renault Zoe

Best car for under £8,000 for zero emissions driving

Our pick Renault Zoe Dynamique (2015, 17,000 miles)
Typical price £7,490 Representative finance £143 a month

The electrification of cars is a hot topic in the news at the moment, with most of the coverage centred around Tesla. But to give Renault its dues, it’s been (pun intended) plugging away at electric cars for quite some time now.

The Zoe has been on sale since 2013, so there are plenty out there on the used market. For this kind of money you’re looking at a 2015 model with around 17,000 miles on the digital clock. It’s surprisingly quick, plus, genuinely roomy - as it has a bigger boot than a Renault Clio. However, and it’s a big one, you need to hire the batteries separately, at a cost of around £50 per month.
Renault Zoe buying guide

Vauxhall Corsa VXR

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

Our pick Vauxhall Corsa VXR (2013, 27,000 miles)
Typical price £8,000 Representative finance £133 a month

Hot-hatches have been around since the Seventies (or as far back as the Fifties if you believe that technically Aston Martin made a hot-hatch) in order to sex-up ordinary hatchbacks.

And the Vauxhall Corsa VXR is no different. It has a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine making a potent 189bhp. It’s exhaust is loud and triangular, and it has big arches to fit big wheels. Get it in a lairy colour like bright orange to complete the look.

Skoda Roomster

Best car under £8,000 for space

Our pick Skoda Roomster 1.2TSI (2014, 50,000 miles)
Typical price £7,400 Representative finance £140 per month

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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