Best used cars for Bristol

Whether you’re battling the crowds at Cribbs Causeway or commuting on the M32, these cars are ideal for driving around Bristol county

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Dec 1, 2021

With a population of just over 465,000 people, Bristol is a city with dozens of car dealerships, but do you really want to get stuck in traffic looking for your next car? You don't need to, since BuyaCar can deliver cars from across the country to your front door, without you even having to leave the house.

According to government statistics, 1.52 billion vehicle miles were travelled on roads in Bristol in 2019. At times, it might feel like there are more than a billion cars jostling for position on the M32 during the morning commute. And good luck trying to get to a Bristol City FC match or Ikea at the Eastgate Shopping Centre at the weekend.

Bristol City Council is planning to introduce a Clean Air Zones in the city in summer 2022. This will cover the city centre, including major roads in and out of the zone, including sections of the A370 to the south, A4044 to the east and A38 to the north.

The aim is to improve air quality in Bristol, which means owners of some older vehicles will be charged £9 if they enter the city, payable once during a 24-hour period. Although plans to ban diesel cars from the city appear to have been shelved, there’s nothing to stop the ban being introduced should air quality fail to improve. Bristol residents, therefore, may want to consider a low-emission petrol or electric car to increase the chances of continued free movement around the city - without additional charges.

Whether you want a classy car for cruising around Clifton in comfort or something low-key for parking in St Paul's without worrying about it being there in the morning, we have all sorts of great value cars that could fit the bill.

Best used cars for Bristol

1. Ford Fiesta

Best small car

Used deals from £8,931
Monthly finance from £216*

There’s a good reason why the Ford Fiesta is Britain’s most popular car. It’s great to drive, stylish, cheap to run and servicing is available at three dealerships nearby. These are located in Ashton Gate, Cribbs Causeway and Winford, along with Chipping Sodbury and Bath, if you’re travelling further afield.

Even the current entry-level Fiesta Trend is well-equipped, featuring 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an eight-inch touchscreen media system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a heated windscreen and air-conditioning. To cope with the potholes on Cabot Way, choose the Fiesta Active with its raised suspension. Fancy a quick drive to Cheddar Gorge? Choose the sporty Ford Fiesta ST.


2. Renault Zoe

Best electric small car

Used deals from £8,000
Monthly finance from £346*

There is an increasing number of electric car charging points in Bristol. Data from Zap-Map shows that York Road, City Hall, Cabot Circus and Trenchard Street are locations with the most charging points. There are also places to charge your electric car in the Park and Ride car parks at Brislington, Portway and Long Ashton. If you can charge at home, though, you needn't worry about finding public chargers around the city.

If you’re considering the purchase of your first electric car, the Renault Zoe is a good place to start. It’s small but practical, and right now, it’s the most affordable electric car on the BuyaCar website. Although the range of the earliest cars could be as low as 60 miles of everyday driving, that’s easily enough for a round trip from Almondsbury to Bristol Airport - and newer versions offer a much higher range. Go for a new one and you could get up to 245 miles per charge.


3. Skoda Superb Estate

Best car for shopping

Used deals from £9,999
Monthly finance from £366*

Bristol is one of the shopping hubs of the South West. Whether you’re loading up with electrical items at John Lewis, finding a new wardrobe at Ikea, or shopping for clothes at Cabot Circus, you’re going to need a car with a big boot.

The Skoda Superb Estate is one of the biggest and best. With the rear seats up, the load-lugging Skoda offers 660 litres of luggage space, which is more than enough for a day of hitting the aisles at Cribbs Causeway. With the rear seats folded down, you can quite literally fill your boot(s) at Ikea. Unfortunately, the Superb can't help with putting the flatpack furniture together.


4. BMW 5 Series

Best car for commuting in comfort

Used deals from £17,300
Monthly finance from £385*

The M32 has been a thorn in Bristol’s side since it was opened in 1966. At 4.5 miles long, it’s one of Britain’s shortest motorways, but it packs a lot of pain into the stretch running from the M4 to Bristol city centre. If you’re unfortunate enough to face the M32 on a regular basis, you need something comfortable.

This is where the BMW 5 Series comes in. While it’s possible to buy a cheaper upmarket car, few models offer the same blend of comfort, efficiency, style and equipment. Opt for the BMW 520d M Sport for sporty styling and the kind of fuel economy that means you won’t be a regular at the Sainsbury’s petrol station on St Philips Causeway.


5. Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Best car for zero-emission commuting

Used deals Limited stock

According to RAC Foundation figures, the average length of a car trip in the UK is 8.4 miles. For some context, that’s the equivalent of travelling from Filton to the Asda superstore in Bedminster. A plug-in hybrid car should easily provide enough electric range to get to Asda and back - provided you've remembered to charge it at home before setting off.

The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid offers over 30 miles of electric range, with a total range of 660 miles from a single charge and a full tank of petrol. There’s enough room inside for five adults, and, by George, a boot large enough for the weekly grocery shop. You even get a pocket-tapping five-year warranty.

That means that even if you get a two-year old model, you'll still have three years' worth of peace of mind, compared with nothing, which is what you'd get with a large proportion of three-year-old cars.


6. Seat Ibiza

Best car for students

Used deals from £8,790
Monthly finance from £0*

If you live on Gloucester Road or in Clifton Village, Fishponds or Bedminster, you won’t need a car to transport you to university. But you might need a set of wheels for travelling further afield, or when you really need to take that pile of washing home to your parents. When it starts to smell, it’s usually a sign that some Persil might be required.

The Seat Ibiza is an excellent car for students - and not just because it sounds like a great destination for a Club 18-30 holiday. Not only is it one of the most stylish superminis you can buy, but there’s also plenty of room for you and your mates to pay a visit to the Tobacco Factory.


7. Honda Civic Tourer

Best car for carrying a bike

Used deals Limited stock

Bristol is the UK city with the highest number of transportation cyclists per head of population. It makes it the leading cycling commuter city, with 29 people taking to two wheels per 1,000 residents. Go Bristolians!

This could mean you leave your car at home all week. But what if you fancy taking your beloved bike for a day out in the Cotswolds or across the border to the Brecon Beacons? The Honda Civic Tourer is one of the best compact estate cars you can buy. It’s reliable, well built and there's plenty of room in the boot for bikes, even compared with boxy rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia equivalents with a gargantuan boot.


8. Citroen C3 Picasso

Best car for visibility

Used deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £0*

Early in 2020, Bristol Live asked local residents to name the worst road junctions in the city. Many will be familiar to you, including the traffic light-controlled junction near the Brislington Park and Ride, the slip road for the M32 for drivers coming from the M4, and the notorious (and illegal) left turn onto Hockey’s Lane from Fishponds Road.

At BuyaCar, we don’t have the power to improve road safety, but we can offer a range of cars with excellent visibility. Take the Citroen C3 Picasso, which has one the largest glazed areas for this type of car, especially if you opt for the panoramic sunroof. At least you’ll be able to spot the Bristolians failing to drive with due care and attention.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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