Best used cars for under £10,000

Being on a budget needn't mean missing out. We highlight the best used cars for under £10,000 on the market today

BuyaCar team
Mar 7, 2018

Prepare to be spoilt for choice: the world of cars costing a little less than £10,000 is packed with a bewildering choice of models, makes and styles. Audis to Volkswagens, city cars to SUVs, Astras to Qashqais – they’re all here.

Finance deals put these cars within easier reach, too. For example, a deposit of £868 and 48 monthly payments of £125 is all you need to get behind the wheel of a fun Mini Cooper convertible, as seen at the bottom of the page.

It’s one of 10 cars we’ve singled out across a range of styles at prices ranging from around £8,500 to £10,000. Read on and see if there’s one that whets your appetite.

One final thought: a major attraction of any used car registered before 1 April 2017 is that it is taxed under the old CO2-based rules. As a result, many of the cars featured below attract a lower annual road tax charge than their new equivalents.

Volkswagen Golf

Best used car under £10,000 for compact quality

Representative example VW Golf 1.4 TSI SE 5dr Age 2013 (13) / 44,000 miles
Price £9,995 Deposit £1,018 Monthly repayments £173

Luxury and everyday practicality come together in the VW Golf. Luxury in the form of supple suspension, general refinement, and deep-down quality, and practicality in the shape of a roomy cabin and split-fold rear seats that fold flat.
There are plenty of basic S models around, but go with SE or Match for their uprated rear suspension that improves the ride and handling. The diesel engines are strong and economical but if you only do average mileage consider the mid-power 1.4 TSI petrol that will nudge 50mpg yet do 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds.

Mazda6 Tourer

Best used car under £10,000 for large hatchback practicality

Representative example Mazda6 2.2D SE Tourer Age 2014 (14) / 46,000 miles
Price £9,990 Deposit £1,017 Monthly repayments £160 
Middle-management estates like the Mazda6 Tourer have lost ground to SUVs in recent years but if you’re looking for a lot of space for not a lot of money, they’re hard to beat. The Mazda6 will seat five in comfort, while with the back seats folded, its load space is an impressive 1,632 litres. This compares with a Ford Mondeo at 1,740 litres but the Mazda6 makes up for it with its more stylish looks and higher quality. It’s also fun to drive thanks to excellent steering, strong brakes and plenty of grunt if you pick the lusty 148bhp diesel engine. It’s a comfortable and refined cruiser, too.  

Nissan Qashqai

Best used car under £10,000 for crossover practicality

Representative example Nissan Qashqai Visia 1.2 DIG-T 113bhp Age 2014 (64) / 33,679 miles
Price £9,990 Deposit £1,017 Monthly repayments £150
Practical, economical and good to drive, the Qashqai is the family-size crossover by which all others are judged. It kicked off the craze for such vehicles 12 years ago and has led the way ever since. In 2013 an all-new model was launched. You may struggle to find one much below £10,000 but look hard, as we did, and you just might be lucky. Low-mileage drivers will appreciate the 1.2 DIG-T petrol’s 50mpg economy and reasonably lively performance. If you do a high mileage however, the more economical 1.5 dCi diesel should be your choice, although it will be more expensive. If you have to settle for the Mk1 version, don't be too downhearted. It may lack the newer model’s up-to-date looks, but it’s the same talented all-rounder.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Best used car under £10,000 for hot(ish) hatch thrills

Representative example Suzuki Swift Sport 1.6 3dr Age 2015 (65) / 8,396 miles
Price £9,980 Deposit £1,016 Monthly repayments £173 
The brilliant Fiesta ST is probably most people’s idea of a great hot hatch and indeed, prices for used ones begin at around £9,300 for a 2014-reg car with around 50,000 miles, so it’s well within our sub-£10,000 price point. However, for smiles per pound you can't beat a Suzuki Swift Sport. For a similar price, you can get behind the wheel of one that’s a year younger than the Ford and with a fraction of its miles. Unlike most hot hatches, the Swift Sport has a naturally aspirated engine that loves to be revved. Even in standard trim a Swift is grippy and composed in corners, but add the Sport’s firmer suspension and the car is transformed into a seriously competitive hot hatch.


Audi A1

Best used car under £10,000 for small car quality

Audi A1

Representative example Audi A1 Sport 1.4 TFSI 3dr Age 2014 (14) / 50,000 miles
Price £9,395 Deposit £958 Monthly repayments 

The Audi A1 brings the brand’s famed quality within reach of more people. Granted it’s a tiddler compared with limousines like the Audi A8, but it boasts the same attention to detail and rock-solid aura. It’s underpinning are similar to the VW Polo, so if you need to carry four adults in limo-like comfort you should look elsewhere. Even so, once you've clambered past the tilting front seats (there’s a more expensive five-door called the A1 Sportback) you’ll find the back of the A1 is surprisingly roomy. There is a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the smooth and punchy 123bhp 1.4 TSI suits the car’s character perfectly and is the one to have.

Citroen C4 Cactus

Best used car under £10,000 for crossover comfort

Representative example Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 Flair Age 2016 (16) / 25,032 miles
Price £9,376 Deposit £956 Monthly repayments £152 
Distinctive, economical and comfy – the C4 Cactus marks a return to form for Citroen. It isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but then good Citroens never are. The most eye-catching features of this mid-size crossover are its protective Airbump panels on the doors and attractive ‘eyebrow’ daytime running lights above the headlights. It’s certainly practical, but could be more so if the rear seat was a split-fold affair. Instead, it’s a bench, which is frustrating. In its defence it’s things like this that keep the Cactus’s price low. Speaking of pricing, the car’s selection of efficient petrol and diesel engines should keep running costs low too.

Dacia Duster

Best used car under £10,000 for SUV value

Representative example Dacia Duster 1.5dCi 110 Laureate Age 2015 (65) / 4,525 miles
Price £9,288 Deposit £947 Monthly repayments £149 
When it comes to value for money, little can touch a Dacia Duster. New, the SUV range starts at just £9,500 before discounts. But buy used and those pounds fall away. We’d go for the high-specification Laureate that confounds those who dismiss Dacia as a budget brand by having air conditioning, 16in alloy wheels, a split-fold rear seat, Bluetooth, electric windows all-round and cruise control. There are chrome roof bars, side sills and scuffs plates, too. Save even more money by going for Ambiance trim which is still reasonably well specified. The Renault-sourced diesel is the engine to have.

Volkswagen up!

Best used car under £10,000 for city car convenience

Representative example VW up! 1.0 59bhp Move up! 5dr Age 2017 (67) / 10 miles
Price £9,080 Deposit £926 Monthly repayments £148 
Choosing between the little Volkswagen’s sister cars the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii is no easy task but the up! gets the nod for its more desirable image, higher quality fittings and, since 2016, slightly wider engine range. There’s a three-door version but the five-door makes much better use of the available space. The up! is reasonably roomy but to be fair, the back seats are unlikely to be used that often. Instead, it’s forte is nipping along city streets, sipping fuel. If long journeys are a regular part of your driving diet, choose the more powerful but less economical 74bhp engine.

Ford Fiesta

Best used car under £10,000 for supermini efficiency

Representative example Ford Fiesta 1.0 98bhp EcoBoost Zetec 5dr Age 2016 (65) / 18,704 miles
Price £9,000 Deposit £918 Monthly repayments £146 
Stylish, great to drive, economical, reasonably well packaged – no wonder the Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-selling new car. It’s only real shortcoming is a lack of rear cabin and boot space, now addressed by the new version only recently launched. The version under the spotlight here is the previous model that benefited from Ford’s then new 1.0-litre EcoBoost range of turbocharged petrol engines. They’re economical things, none more so than the 98bhp 1.0-litre version. It’s eager as a puppy and can do up to 65mpg. Zetec is the best trim.

Mini Convertible

Best used car under £10,000 for fun

Representative example Mini Convertible 1.6 Cooper 2dr Age 2014 (63) / 23,454 miles
Price £8,500 Deposit £868 Monthly repayments £125 Term 48 months APR 8.9%
A Mini is one of those precious cars that defies ageing and changing fashions. For our £10,000 limit you’ll be looking at the previous-generation model. Even so, it loses nothing, apart from cabin space, to today’s all-new and larger version. This talent for looking fresh puts the brakes on depreciation, which in turn benefits finance deals like the one we quote above. The 122bhp 1.6-litre Cooper can do 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds and will hit 50mpg with a light foot.


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