Best cars under £5,000

Bargain prices for some seriously good used cars: see the best cars for under £5,000

BuyaCar team
Nov 23, 2016

You can spend the best part of £5,000 on a fortnight away with the family during school holidays or get terrific value for money with a used car for the same price.
Whether you’re looking for the features, performance and comfort of the latest models, or a a bargain that costs just a fraction of its price when new, then there’s a £5,000 used car for you.

There are big savings to be made because mainstream cars will typically lose up to half their new cost in three years or so. At that age, many are still performing pretty much as new.

Add a few more years and the bargains are even more spectacular - there is still plenty of life left in the cars too.


Search BuyaCar for all cars under £5,000


Volkswagen Golf Mk6 (2009 - 2013)

Best used car for a family hatchback that looks brand new

The Volkswagen Golf has long been the class benchmark when it comes to build quality, the use of premium materials and an understated, classic elegance. And the multiple award-winning Mk6 (sixth generation) upheld all of those principles and more.

The Golf is available as a three-door or five-door hatch, as well as estate and convertible – at this budget, though, you’d likely be looking at a three or five-door hatch model. There are also a huge array of engines on offer, from a super frugal 74.3mpg diesel to a storming 261bhp petrol performance model.

As a family car, the Golf is supremely easy to live with, although the boot space isn’t class-leading with the rear seats up – lower them and the larger 1350 litre volume is a much more competitive space.

We’d recommend the Golf 2.0 TDI turbodiesel, which perfectly blends frugality and performance. Standard equipment from the Golf Mk6’s launch included electric windows, climate control and no less than seven airbags.

Remember, there are a vast number of used Golfs on the market, so you can afford to be very picky about the one you plump for.

See all used VW Golf deals



Skoda Superb Mk2 (2008-2015)

Best used car for a well-built, spacious interior

The Skoda Superb Mk2 is a massively spacious contender built in either estate or saloon form. It’s uses the mechanical parts from the Volkswagen Passat, so it’s well-engineered

The saloon also features a neat trick called Twindoor – the bootlid either hinges open conventionally or can stay rigidly attached to the rear window as the whole assembly opens to reveal the huge load bay. So it combines the style of a saloon with the practicality of a hatchback.

The beautifully finished and spacious interior offers plenty of room for five people, with legroom in the back particularly generous. Even entry-level Mk2 S-trim Superbs have a good level of equipment, including alloy wheels, electric windows, an eight-speaker stereo and air-con. Go for the saloon – which will have more than enough space and is better looking than the estate – equipped with the 2.0-litre TDI and you won’t go wrong.

Superbs are hugely practical, too. Lower the seats on the saloon and you’ll gain a simply massive load area. It goes without saying that the estate is almost van-like in its capacity.

There’s a very wide range of engine choice, too, with plenty of frugal diesels and powerful petrol versions. The larger displacement engines were also available with four-wheel drive.

See all used Skoda Superb deals



Ford Fiesta Mk7 (2008-present)

Best used car for cheap, practical driving

Fiesta Style

Unlike some entry-level models, the Ford Fiesta Style looks good, with an attractive wheel design as standard

The current Ford Fiesta neatly blends good looks, fine driving manners and a practical, well built interior to complete a package that few rivals can match. The Fiesta is available as a three or five-door model, each of which flaunts an edgy, rakish body style. And as the Fiesta is one of the best selling cars in the UK, you won’t be short of a used selection, either.

The interior is very well laid out, with all of the dash controls logically located – it all feels rather well screwed together, although if you look closely, some of the less obviously located plastics feel a bit rough and cheap. That’s really what you’d expect in a car at this end of the market.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you plan on transporting adults in the back with any regularity, they’ll find head and legroom very tight. Likewise, the boot is small compared with most rivals, seats up or down.

There’s an unbelievable number of used Fiestas on the market, and we reckon that buyers should treat themselves to the high-spec Titanium trim – well within budget for a later model – which includes climate control, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and electric door mirrors. The 1.6-litre diesel is also very frugal and provides a really good drive.

See all used Ford Fiesta deals



Nissan Qashqai (2006-2013)

Best used car for an affordable crossover

Nissan was among the very first to launch the ‘crossover’ concept, which offers the ride height off-roader, but with interior versatility and running costs of a family hatchback. The Qashqai was a hit pretty well from day one, too, and as a result, they are very plentiful on the used market.

The five-passenger Qashqai features 60/40 split folding rear seats that open up a genuinely useful load space (although they don’t quite fold flat). The interior is comfortably spacious and is robustly resistant to wear. And that high driving position makes it easy to manoeuvre – whilst the Qashqai has the look of an SUV, it’s not actually that large.

From its launch back in 2006, there were two petrol and two diesel engines on offer, with five and six-speed manual gearboxes as well as an automatic. So depending on how you drive, there should be a powertrain to suit. And the diesels really suit the Qashqai’s butch character, as well as delivering good fuel economy – the 2.0-litre DCi is a particularly strong contender.

And for those who want a little more SUV-style off-road ability, four-wheel drive is available.

See all used Nissan Qashqai deals



Mini Hatchback

Best used car for a hatchback with class and charm

It’s hard not to smile when a MINI goes past, with its iconic styling and cheeky stance. But underneath those characterful body panels lies the reassurance of BMW engineering and reliability (the company owns MINI).

With its big gauges and retro toggle switches, the MINI’s interior is just as engaging as the exterior. But while space in the front is generous, the back seats are quite tight and luggage space isn’t great, even with the rear seats folded down. The three-door MINI is also strictly a four-seater – there are just two seatbelts in the rear. So it really is a case of carefully judging how much practicality you need – if you can live with the restricted space, the MINI’s interior is great fun.

Not surprisingly given the MINI’s parentage, it’s quite a good thing to drive. And there is a wide selection of diesel and petrol engines, which will suit buyers looking for a frugal hatch, or one with a high-performance kick. The best compromise is the MINI Cooper 1.6 16V, which is a fine blend of driving pleasure and economical running. It also comes standard with aircon and alloy wheels, which is not a given with entry level models of MINI.

See all used Mini deals

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