Best older cars on sale

There are thousands of old cars on sale – but while some of them make great used cars, others don't. Here we've rounded up our favourites

James Wilson
Aug 30, 2021

Looking for an old car on sale should be fun thanks to the freedom it brings. Going for an older used car rather than a new or nearly new model means you get more for your money, so you can take your pick from all sorts of cars.

A budget of around £15,000 for a new car, for instance, limits you almost exclusively to small hatchbacks. Spend the same amount of money on an older car and you could get the keys to a thrilling sports car, sleek saloon or stylish SUV.

Opting for an older vehicle has other benefits, too. It allows you to choose an upmarket model from a brand that might be out of reach in new car terms - think Audi, Lexus and BMW. An additional benefit of choosing a model from a premium brand is that upmarket cars often come with the latest technology. So if you do get a plush old car, the chances are that much of the in-car tech will still feel fresh.

Take Apple CarPlay - which allows occupants to connect their iPhone to a car’s media system and mirror apps such as Maps and Spotify onscreen. Mercedes, Volvo and Ferrari were integrating Apple CarPlay in their cars way back in 2014 but it wasn’t until recently that such tech has become commonplace in cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio.

When we are referring to ‘old cars’ here, we aren’t talking about 40-year-old bangers but cars which are six or seven years old and cost a fraction of what they did new. Cars that are affordable and have typically long run out of manufacturer warranty - although this isn’t always the case - but are still safe, economical and full of desirable kit. If you're on a budget but want the most for your money, going for one of these rather than trying to get a much smaller, lower specification three-year-old model, for instance, could be a wise move.

Below we've rounded up eight of these types of car - each handpicked as a great old car for a particular price point. Starting at £5,000 they range from a small and affordable runabout to a £25,000 older version of one of the most luxurious cars on the road. Another thing they all share is that there are plenty available second-hand.

Old cars on sale

1. Vauxhall Corsa

Best old car on sale for under £5,000

Used deals from £4,180
Monthly finance from £99*

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the most popular cars in the UK and has sold in huge numbers for many years. Why? It does very little wrong. It is economical, the interior is well-made for this type of car and is affordable to buy or finance. That last point is especially true when looking at second-hand models that are over five years old.

Being so popular, there are a large number of older Corsas to choose from - including those with three- or five- doors, petrol and diesel engines and manual and automatic gearboxes. For most drivers, we would recommend a petrol with a manual gearbox, as these offer a good mixture of value, economy and performance. Active models come with ample equipment despite sitting low down in the range - cruise control, a heated windscreen and alloy wheels are all standard.

2014-2019 VAUXHALL CORSA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Kia Ceed

Best old car on sale for under £7,500

Used deals from £7,450
Monthly finance from £140*

Kia is a manufacturer that believes in the reliability of its cars so much it is prepared to offer a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty on its entire range. As a result, even a six-year-old used Kia will have some manufacturer protection remaining. For drivers wanting such security in case things go wrong, that makes the Kia Ceed very appealing compared to rivals like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf which come with mere three-year manufacturer warranties.

The only major criticism of the Ceed is that it isn’t much fun to drive, but then again, the Ceed has been designed as the kind of car to make driving from A to B easy and straightforward - and this it does very well. If you want a more sporty Ceed there are Proceed versions and a GT high-performance model, but these tend to be more expensive.

2012-2018 KIA CEED BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mini Convertible

Best old car on sale for under £10,000

Used deals from £11,000
Monthly finance from £215*

When considering an older convertible Mini there are two types to choose from. One is a convertible version of the standard hatchback Mini and the other is a convertible version of the two-seater roadster Mini. The former is more practical as it has four seats while the latter is more sporty-looking although it is significantly less practical.

Both models come with typical Mini handling, in that they are thoroughly enjoyable to drive on roads that have plenty of twists and turns. They also come with a funky interior - which is a blend of retro and modern details. There are petrol and diesel models to choose from but the petrol models get our vote as they suit the Mini’s fun-loving feel better, not least because they sound more sporty than the diesel versions.

MINI CONVERTIBLE BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volkswagen Passat Estate

Best old car on sale for under £12,500

Used deals Limited stock

In terms of refinement and price, the large and upmarket Volkswagen Passat Estate sits above cars such as the Skoda Superb and Kia Optima. There is a wide variety of models to choose from including some more niche options like the rugged-looking Passat Alltrack, which offers some off-road ability. This could be useful if you live down a farm lane, but if you mostly drive in town the more affordable regular Passat is a better bet as it should cost less to run.

There are plenty of saloon Passats as well, but if you want a big boot then estate models offer the most luggage space - 650 litres compared to 585 - and much easier access for large items, with a large hatchback, compared with the small opening of the saloon.

What the Passat does extremely well is functional style. Take the cabin air vents that stretch along the dashboard. The long clean lines add a touch of class yet they sacrifice nothing in terms of heating and cooling ability. The rest of the interior is much the same, with a well laid out dashboard that makes using the controls dead easy. It also feels very high quality, without being overly showy.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volvo XC60

Best old car on sale for under £15,000

Used deals from £15,995
Monthly finance from £316*

Volvos have become established as cars that promise great build quality, a refined driving experience and plenty of safety equipment. The XC60 is Volvo’s midsize SUV and delivers in all three of these areas. Being that midsize SUVs are one of the most popular car types currently, the XC60 has stiff competition in the likes of the VW Tiguan and Mazda CX-5, but it feels more luxurious and comfy.

A budget of £15,000 is enough to buy one of the previous generation XC60s (pictured above) which were sold from 2008 to 2017. The overwhelming majority of models sold during that time had diesel engines but you do get a good choice from models with manual and automatic gearboxes as well as two- and four-wheel-drive. We’d recommend a two-wheel-drive model thanks to the lower running costs.

2008-2017 VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. BMW 4 Series

Best old car on sale for under £17,500

Used deals from £14,499
Monthly finance from £266*

As cars go, the BMW 4 Series is a desirable one for not that much money. It isn’t hard to see why, what with its sleek swooping roofline, upmarket image and range of punchy but also frugal engines. Plus, for those that need the practicality of rear doors and a hatchback, there is the 4 Series Gran Coupe. While a new 4 Series starts at over £40,000, a six- or seven-year-old model can be scoped up for around £17,500 - which is roughly the price of a new VW Polo.

Traditionally, the 420d (a 4 Series with a 2.0-litre diesel engine) offered the best all-round package as it is relatively fast and economical. With diesel models falling from popularity due to concerns over their environmental impact (to find out more about whether a diesel is the right car for you, take a read of this article) you may want to look at the petrol 420i. This version is a bit less economical but petrol is typically a few pence cheaper per litre to buy in the first place, so only higher mileage drivers - those who cover 15,000 miles per year or more - will really notice a difference.

BMW 4 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Audi TT

Best old car on sale for under £20,000

Used deals from £14,790
Monthly finance from £266*

Audi has done an excellent job with the latest TT. Although it is a sports car, one of the most impressive features of the TT is its interior - which is amongst the simplest but most stylish available in any car. The circular air vents look very classy and they are made all the more impressive on models with heated seats where Audi neatly incorporated the control switch into the middle of the vent. This sums up the clever mix of form and function in the TT.

The TT is also enjoyable to drive - with a very broad range of engines to choose from. Entry-level 1.8-litre petrol models are the least powerful but still sound fun when accelerating hard and can be surprisingly affordable. There are more powerful 2.0-litre petrol models should you want more power, as these are impressively quick.

If you want to feel the wind in your hair as you drive, there are plenty of second-hand convertible TTs available, as well. Unlike the Mazda MX-5, these come with an electronically folding roof, so there's no need to faff around putting it up and down - the car does it all for you.

AUDI TT BUYERS' GUIDE

8. BMW 7 Series

Best old car on sale for under £25,000

Used deals from £25,995
Monthly finance from £391*

The BMW 7 Series was designed with luxury in mind. The end product is a car that will gently waft its way from A to B, even if A and B are on opposite sides of a continent. Plus, as the 7 Series sits at the top of the BMW model hierarchy, it is packed with technology such as heated front and rear seats, four-zone climate control - allowing four people to set their own temperatures - and a slick media system.

The 7 Series is also constructed from high-tech materials. The benefit? It is a big car and using cutting edge lightweight materials helps keep its weight down, making it drive better around corners and use less fuel, as it takes less energy to shift. The 7 Series may not win any eco-car competitions but those looking to keep fuel bills down will want to look for a diesel or plug-in hybrid model, as these are impressively frugal for a car of this size. The latter do tend to cost more than £25,000, mind.

2016-PRESENT BMW 7 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

*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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