Best used cars for Cardiff

Whether you’re tussling with fellow shoppers at St David’s, or commuting on the M4, these cars are ideal for Cardiff

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Dec 9, 2020

There are dozens of car dealers in Cardiff, but do you really want to spend your weekend stuck in traffic travelling from showrooms on Penarth Road to other ones on Newport Road? Wouldn’t it be nicer to browse for a used car from the comfort of your home and then have it delivered straight to your front door?

At BuyaCar, we can do just that. This means that it doesn’t matter where your ideal car is located - whether it's in Newport or Newport Pagnell - we will deliver it to you. It could even save you numerous weekends trawling around countless dealers.

According to government statistics, some 2.1 billion vehicle miles were travelled on roads in Cardiff in 2019. On some mornings, it might feel like all those vehicles are on the city's streets at the same time. This is especially true if you’re commuting on the A48 between Cowbridge Road East and Culverhouse Cross. This is one of the most congested roads in Cardiff.

In the future, motorists are likely to face disruption and possible charges as Cardiff Council seeks to improve the air quality in the city. A Clean Air Zone could be introduced where drivers of the most polluting vehicles will have to pay to drive through the city centre. With this in mind, you might want to consider a low-emission or electric vehicle when searching for a used car.

Whether you fancy something classy for the streets of Whitchurch, a practical estate car for a shopping trip to St David’s, or something for posing on the coastal roads of Penarth, BuyaCar is here to help.

1. Volkswagen Up

Best city car

Used deals from £5,000
Monthly finance from £118*

Driving across the city can be a painful experience. The morning commute is torturous, while the traffic on a weekend trip to Queens Arcade or St David’s could make you wish you’d stayed in bed. What you need is something small, nippy and cheap to run. A car like the Volkswagen Up.

It’s as stylish as something you might find in a Morgan Quarter boutique, feels as spacious inside as the Principality Stadium, and can change direction faster than a Cardiff City winger. The standard 1.0-litre petrol engine is fine if you spend most of your time in the city, but the tubocharged 90hp 1.0-litre is the one to choose for regular driving on the M4.


2. Smart Fortwo EQ

Best electric city car

Used deals from £18,300
Monthly finance from £285*

There are an increasing number of electric car charging points in Cardiff. Figures from Zap-Map show that St David’s shopping centre, Bute Crescent and Cathays Park are locations with the most charging points. There are also places to charge your electric car in the PCP car parks on Greyfriars Road, Dumfries Street and Pellet Street.

With a car as small as the Smart Fortwo EQ, however, even the smallest driveway is large enough for you to park up and charge at home. Do this and you may never need to visit a petrol station - or even a charging point - again, if you stick to shorter urban journeys.

If you’re considering your first electric car, it makes sense to start small. They don’t come much smaller than the Smart Fortwo EQ, which offers seating for two and a range of up to 84 miles per charge. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s only 10 miles between the St Mellon and Radyr golf clubs. And if you spend most of your time driving around town, it could be more than enough.


3. Suzuki Vitara

Best car for a shopping trip

Used deals from £10,295
Monthly finance from £181*

Cardiff is a mecca for shopaholics. From the big brands at St David’s and Queens Arcade, to the boutiques of Morgan Quarter and the artistry on show at Craft*folk, you can fill your bags and your car’s boot. The choice of car is important. You want something that’s cheap to run, easy to park, well-equipped and practical enough to cope with a day of shopping.

The Suzuki Vitara is a great choice. Squint, and it looks a little like the considerably more expensive Range Rover Evoque. The mid-range SZ-T comes with a touchscreen media system featuring sat-nav for finding a way to beat the traffic, plus a rear-view camera to make it easier to park.


4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Best car for commuting in comfort

Mercedes C-Class Saloon front three quarters view

Used deals from £12,300
Monthly finance from £257*

Cardiff is the largest single employer in Wales. More people commute in and out of Cardiff than any other Welsh city or region. The inflow of people is double that of Newport. The M4 motorway, A470 and A48 are notorious traffic hotspots for Cardiff commuters. BuyaCar doesn't have a magic wand to remove the congestion, but we can offer a range of comfortable commuter cars.

Launched in 2014, this version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was facelifted in 2018, when 6,500 parts were modified or replaced. It feels like a compact S-Class, featuring similar tech to its luxury sibling, along with a range of efficient engines. Crucially, it’s comfortable enough to soothe even the most painful journey along the M4.


5. Mini Countryman PHEV

Best car for emission-free commuting

Used deals from £24,000
Monthly finance from £362*

According to the RAC Foundation, the average length of a car trip in the UK is 8.4 miles. For some context, that’s the equivalent of travelling from the roundabout where the M4 meets to the A470, to the International Sports Village at Cardiff Bay.

The Mini Countryman PHEV offers up to 26 miles of electric range - providing you charge the battery to begin with - so you should be able to scoot across the city without using any petrol. There’s an efficient 1.5-litre petrol engine for when you need to venture further afield, with enough room inside for three of your mates.

The Countryman PHEV also comes with four-wheel-drive as standard, so it’s ideal for when the weather turns a little… Welsh. While the all-wheel drive system is great for offering a little extra grip on wet and slippery roads, don't expect to head off-road in the Countryman - this is a car very much designed for tarmac.


6. Fiat 500

Best car for students

Used deals from £4,990
Monthly finance from £102*

If you live in Cathays or Roath, you don’t need a car to get to Cardiff University. Indeed, thanks to the public transport network, you may not need a car at all. But what if you fancy travelling further afield or you have to drive home for the holidays? You need a student-friendly car that’s cheap to insure and economical to run, with looks that won’t cramp your style.

The Fiat 500 remains the most stylish city car you can get. Chic enough for providing a backdrop for your Instagram snaps. #nofilter. Most models are in a low insurance group, too, so you shouldn't need to spend a fortune to get covered. Plus, monthly finance payments could be less than a typical caffeine addict's monthly spend in Starbucks.


7. DS 3 Cabrio

Best car for heading to the beach

Used deals from £6,858
Monthly finance from £134*

Cardiff is surrounded by great beaches. Penarth is just five miles up the road, while Barry is only a little further afield, if you want to channel your inner Gavin & Stacey. Then there’s Porthcawl and the Gower Peninsula if you fancy travelling further for an even broader selection of beaches.

There’s something satisfying about taking a convertible to the beach. It’s all about the sand dunes and salty air. The DS 3 Cabrio features a full length retractable roof that opens and closes at motorway speeds. You’ll love the chic styling and upmarket interior, while there’s a range of punchy and efficient petrol and diesel engines.


8. Suzuki Swift Sport

Best car for driving on fun roads

Used deals from £8,324
Monthly finance from £188*

Wales boasts some of the best driving roads in the UK. Names like the Black Mountain Pass, Abergwesyn Pass and the ‘Evo Triangle’ will whet the appetite of many car enthusiasts. Then there’s the A470 from Cardiff to Conwy, which is like Wales’ version of Route 66.

You need something fast and fun to enjoy these roads. The Suzuki Swift Sport is an ideal junior hot hatchback. Its 1.4-litre turbocharged 'Boosterjet' engine is lively and economical, making the Swift Sport feel faster than it actually is. It’s also stylish and well-equipped, with prices starting from around £200 per month.


*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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