Best high-mileage cars

Want the most car for your money? Going for a used car with a high mileage can be a smart way to get into a more desirable model

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Nov 2, 2021

A car's mileage is one of the first things used buyers consider, but high-mileage cars shouldn't always be avoided. In fact, if a car has been maintained correctly and has racked up most of its miles cruising on the motorway, it could make a very wise purchase. Such vehicles can even prove less troublesome than low-mileage cars only used for short hops around town, where the engine is rarely warmed through.

Worries about big miles come from a time when most cars were lucky to get to 100,000 miles before a catastrophic failure. Things couldn't be more different now, with most modern superminis easily sailing past six digits with routine maintenance.

According to Department for Transport figures, the average car covers 7,400 miles per year. That means you can expect a typical three-year-old car to have around 22,500 miles on the clock. Others, such as fleet cars, taxis and emergency service vehicles could have covered the same distance in the first year alone.

Thankfully, most modern cars are so robust, you’d be hard-pressed to spot the difference between a vehicle with 30,000 miles on the clock and one which has travelled 90,000 miles. Stone chips, some interior wear and more stamps in the service book will be the biggest clues that a car has gone the distance.

Some cars are still better than others at covering vast distances without issues, though, which is why we’ve pulled together a list of the best high-mileage cars, so that you can pick the best car for your budget. Remember, every vehicle supplied by BuyaCar comes with at least a 30-day warranty, so you can buy with confidence.

Best used cars with high miles

1. Ford Fiesta

Used deals from £6,600
Monthly finance from £148*

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s most popular new car, which means you’re spoilt for choice when searching for a used example. At the time of writing, the Fiesta accounted for 3% of all the cars for sale on BuyaCar.

You shouldn’t encounter many problems with a high-mileage Fiesta, but because parts and servicing are inexpensive, any issues which do crop up are unlikely to break the bank. There are a lot of used examples to choose from, so you can afford to be picky, too.

The most durable engine is the 1.5-litre 'TDCi' diesel. It’s perfect for motorways, where you’re likely to get close to the claimed 65.7mpg, meaning low fuel bills. However, the punchy and frugal 1.0-litre 'EcoBoost' petrol engines are the best option if you intend to spend most of your time in the city. The petrol is quieter, and warms up more quickly for short trips.

FORD FIESTA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Honda Civic

Used deals from £8,200
Monthly finance from £188*

The Honda Civic has developed a reputation for reliability and dependability. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying an older example for around £309 per month, or a nearly new Civic for around  per month, you’re unlikely to be forking out for unexpected repairs.

We’re recommending the Honda Civic built from 2012 until 2017, and in particular the 1.6-litre 'i-DTEC' diesel. It offers a compelling blend of performance and efficiency, with official fuel economy of up to 78.5mpg. With real-world driving, this is likely to be closer to 65mpg, however that remains an impressive result.

Honda tweaked the suspension and steering in 2014 to make the Civic better to drive, which was followed by a comprehensive update a year later. All models get Honda’s so-called ‘Magic Seats’ in the back, which can be tilted up to create more luggage space for tall or bulky items in the rear footwells.

2012-2017 HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Toyota Avensis

Used deals from £10,495
Monthly finance from £242*

Although it was a popular choice within company car fleets, the Toyota Avensis was largely overlooked by consumers choosing their own cars. It’s actually an underrated gem, though, especially when you consider used prices.

Don’t let the understated styling fool you, because the Avensis offers the comfort of an upmarket saloon, the space of a family hatchback and the low running costs of a supermini. In fact, the BMW-sourced diesel engines are capable of achieving excellent fuel economy.

The fact that Toyota provided an original warranty for five years or 100,000 miles shows the company has faith in the car’s reliability, and this can now be extended for up to 10 years by keeping an Avensis serviced at a main dealership. The Avensis also scores highly in customer satisfaction and dependability surveys. A well-maintained Avensis should manage 200,000 miles without a problem, which has given them a cult following amongst long-distance drivers.

TOYOTA AVENSIS BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Skoda Octavia

Used deals from £9,500
Monthly finance from £183*

If you’ve ever hailed a taxi to whisk you home from a night on the town, the chances are you travelled in a Skoda Octavia. Cabbies like the Octavia for its huge boot, efficient diesel engines and excellent reputation for reliability. Cars with well in excess of 200,000 miles on the clock are not uncommon.

The previous version of the Skoda Octavia was on sale from 2013 until 2020, which is long enough to assess the long-term reliability of the earliest cars. There’s a choice of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre 'TDI' diesel engines, both of which come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. An optional seven-speed 'DSG' automatic offers smooth and relaxed progress.

Luggage capacity is an impressive 590 litres, which is more than you’ll find in some estate cars. Throw into the mix an excellent level of standard kit and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and you can see why the Octavia is the choice of countless cabbies.

2013-2020 SKODA OCTAVIA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Ceed

Used deals from £7,390
Monthly finance from £191*

Although the earlier Kia Cee'd has been superseded by a new Ceed (without the apostrophe), the old model still makes a lot of sense. Kia wouldn’t offer a seven-year warranty if it didn’t trust the Cee’d to be reliable after seven years of use. You can buy an older model with confidence.

Kia made some pretty bold claims about the efficiency of the 1.6-litre 'CRDi' diesel engine at the time. You’re unlikely to achieve the claimed 78.5mpg, although 50mpg or more should be easy enough to see on the trip computer. You could find that the 1.4-litre 'CRDi' diesel is even more economical.

The entry-level Cee’d ‘1’ is ideal if you’re buying on a strict budget, but the ‘2’ offers more equipment. Highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen media system, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2012-2018 KIA CEED BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota RAV4

Used deals from £12,450
Monthly finance from £210*

If you fancy a high-mileage SUV, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the best options. Launched in 2013, this version of the RAV4 offers a high driving position, an excellent reputation for reliability and a range of efficient engines.

The 2.0-litre 'D-4D' diesel engine is the pick of the range, offering claimed fuel economy of 60.1mpg and a reasonable turn of pace. Alternatively, the 2.5-litre Hybrid offers more performance and economy of around 55mpg, which is good for a petrol-electric hybrid SUV.

For the price of a new city car you should be able to get a five-year old Toyota RAV4, costing from around £250* per month on PCP finance.

2013-2019 TOYOTA RAV4 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. BMW 3 Series

Used deals from £11,595
Monthly finance from £227*

Buying a reliable high-mileage car doesn’t mean you have to kiss goodbye to glamour and a desirable badge. On the contrary, the BMW 3 Series is capable of covering intergalactic distances, providing it has been serviced at the right time. A high-miler you can buy with your head and your heart, therefore.

It helps that the 3 Series is popular with fleet buyers, so many cars enjoy an incident-free life cruising up and down the motorways of Britain. Such lease contracts also dictate that they should never miss a service interval, so you can be confident that there’s plenty of life left in these. Most BMW's don't have fixed servicing points, instead using sensors to detect when a service is required and alert the driver.

A budget of between £200* and £300* per month should be enough to secure a 316d or 318i in SE or Sport trim, although you won’t need to spend much more to get a more desirable M Sport model.

2012-2019 BMW 3 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Toyota Prius

Used deals from £13,999
Monthly finance from £234*

We offer no apology for featuring a third Toyota on this list. The fact is, choosing a car with a Toyota badge is one of the safest options if you’re looking at a model with a high mileage, as Toyota has a long reputation for creating reliable and long-lasting cars.

If you’ve spent any time in a big city, chances are that you've noticed that the Toyota Prius is a popular choice for private hire taxis and Uber drivers. Prices of the current Prius, introduced in 2015, have dropped to such a level that you might be considering one as a used purchase.

Put aside any concerns over the reliability of the battery pack, because even after a decade, you can expect it to have retained around 80% efficiency. Buying a Prius doesn’t make sense if your routine involves mostly motorway driving - as this hybrid is less efficient at higher speeds - but you're likely to be saving money on fuel, brakes and tyres if you intend to drive it in towns and cities.

TOYOTA PRIUS 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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