Best used cars under £10,000 for 2023
A budget of £10,000 can go an awful long way in the used car market; we have a wide selection of quality and desirable options on offer
The best thing about used cars is that it's possible to get so much more car for your money than if you shop for a brand new one. With £10,000 in your pocket, there are so many exciting possibilities within your reach. Whether you're looking for something loud and exciting, or a more sophisticated and comfortable cruising experience, you'll be able to find what you're looking for at this price point.
In terms of brand new cars, £10,000 isn't enough to buy anything in 2022. Simply switching your attention to the used car market broadens your choices dramatically. You'll have the pick of super-practical SUVs and estate cars and high-quality family hatchbacks, with even a few sporty options thrown into the mix as well.
If you're interested in getting the absolute most for your money, it's difficult to argue with a used car deal. The fact you can take home a Volkswagen Golf, or a Kia Sportage (cars that would cost more than £20,000 from new) for under £10,000 underlines just how much car you're getting for your money.
The best thing about buying a great value used car with BuyaCar is that we're here to help make the whole process easy and convenient. You don't have to pay cash prices either; you could make things even more affordable with used car finance. While you won't actually own the car yourself while you're paying off the finance, if minimising the initial cost is of greater importance to you, a PCP finance deal on a used car might just be the way to go.
Cars under £10,000
Best used car under £10,000 for all-round ability
Driving a Volkswagen Golf gives you a feeling of luxury from behind the wheel, while you'll also find it immensely practical in most everyday situations. Its best features include a smooth ride and quiet interior, as well as a very solid and upmarket feel, while there's also plenty of legroom in the back, a large boot and split-fold rear seats that fold completely flat if you need to transport some bulky furniture. All of this is on offer for less than £10,000.
The cheapest options available to you will be powered by either a 1.6-litre diesel engine or a 1.4-litre petrol. Neither of these are particularly powerful, but they do offer fantastic fuel economy, especially in the case of the diesel where you can expect to achieve more than 60mpg.
This model was on sale from 2013 until it was replaced by a new version in 2020, but that newer one is still far more expensive than our £10,000 budget, so if you want the best and most practical hatchback for your money, this older model is the one you should aim for. Keep an eye out for the post-2017 update which brings some extra kit and refinement; although they're generally more expensive, it could be a case of a few pounds per month separating this and the earlier version.
Best used car under £10,000 for long warranty
Practical, economical and efficient to drive, the Kia Sportage is a large crossover that brings new meaning to the term 'value for money'. We're primarily referring to the model sold between 2010 and 2016 here, however, there is a more recent version (pictured above) that is beginning to get cheaper thanks to yet another new version that landed in 2021.
There are four-wheel-drive models on offer, but these use more fuel than two-wheel-drive alternatives without much in the way of added off-road credentials. The 1.7-litre CRDi diesel provides the best balance of economy and performance. If you want leather seats, go for ‘3’ trim. If not, go for the cheap ‘2’ level, this still features air-conditioning, Bluetooth and reversing sensors.
While the Sportage might be classed as a 'large' car, it certainly doesn't feel it when you're sat behind the wheel. Its steering has a compliant and direct feel that inspires confidence when you're navigating even the narrowest of lanes.
Best used car under £10,000 for hot hatch performance
We're taking a few steps away from practicality for a moment and instead focusing on raw driving enjoyment and sensory stimulation. The Abarth 595 is a stripped-down and tuned up version of the Fiat 500, so you're getting much of what you see in the standard city car, but with a few rather garish additions.
For starters there's a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering far more power than the little Fiat was ever designed for, which is connected to an exhaust system that growls and pops constantly and elevates volume levels to a maximum at all times - subtle is not an option here, especially not in Competizione trim where things get even noisier.
There's a sporty body kit, with bulky front and rear bumpers, sporty side sills and alloy wheels, you also get sports seats, a sports steering wheel, and super-firm suspension that makes things rather rough and aggressive at any speed on any road. Any notions of comfort are thrown out the window and replaced by full-scale sensory overload.
The Abarth will only cater to a very specific set of needs, but you're looking for cheap thrills, there aren't many better.
Best used car under £10,000 for small car quality
The Audi A1 brings the brand’s famed quality within reach of more people. Granted it’s a tiddler compared with huge saloon cars like the Audi A8, but it boasts the same attention to detail and rock-solid feel.
Legroom in the back of the Audi A1 isn't as substantial as you'll find in a Volkswagen Polo or Skoda Fabia (two cars that share the same mechanical parts as the A1), but the Audi does feel like a big step up when it comes to quality and comfort, and if your main concerns are comfort up at the front, that's where the Audi comes into its own.
In terms of power, there's a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the smooth and punchy 125hp turbocharged 1.4-litre unit suits the car’s character perfectly and is the one to have.
Best used car under £10,000 for crossover comfort
Our pick Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech Feel
Used deals Limited stock
Distinctive, economical and comfy; it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but this wacky car backs up its unconventional style with the increasingly unconventional focus on making the car hugely comfortable rather than sporty in appearance or feel.
The most eye-catching features are its protective plastic 'Airbump' panels on the doors and ‘eyebrow’ daytime running lights above the headlights. However, their divisive nature means that an updated version of the car, launched in 2018, no longer featured them so prominently. Whichever version you prefer, you should be able to find one for less than £10,000.
It’s certainly practical with good space in the back and a decent size boot, but the rear seats only fold as one piece, so keep that in mind if you ever need a bit of extra flexibility in your luggage space. The Cactus is incredibly cheap to run, though, thanks to a strong selection of efficient petrol and diesel engines.
Best used car under £10,000 for SUV value
Our pick Dacia Duster 1.5 dCi Laureate
Used deals Limited stock
When it comes to value for money, little can touch a Dacia Duster. As a new car, the Duster starts at around £15,000, and that is for the overhauled and recently updated model. Opt for a used alternative and those pounds fall away.
The high-specification Laureate, which confounds those who dismiss Dacia as a budget brand, features air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, electric windows all-round and cruise control. It's by far the most expensive Duster variant, but still great value in comparison to many rivals. You can save more by going for mid-range Ambiance trim which is still reasonably well equipped.
The diesel engine is fairly economical and powerful enough for swift progress, but most versions sold before September 2015 don't meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations, so they aren't the best choice if you're intending to travel into London's ULEZ or other clean air zones.
Best used car under £10,000 for city car convenience
Our pick Volkswagen Up 1.0 Beats
Used deals Limited stock
Choosing between the little Volkswagen’s sister cars, the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii is no easy task, but the VW Up gets the nod for its more desirable image, higher-quality interior 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, its 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 75hp engine.
All three models are available with electric motors rather than petrol engines, and while these can cost a lot more to buy in the first place there are huge savings to be had in fuel costs.
Best used car under £10,000 for supermini efficiency
Because the Ford Fiesta is available at such a low price, you have two options. You can either save thousands from your £10,000 budget and go for the previous-generation version that was on sale from 2008 to 2017, or you can spend a bit more and go for the most recent model that has been on sale since 2017.
In either case, you'll be getting a stylish, and economical hatchback that's practical for its size and great to drive. The Fiesta was the best-selling car in the UK for a long time, and it's very easy to see why. The main differences between the two can be found on the inside, the latest model has a more modern media system with Bluetooth, and the likes of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available in Zetec models.
In terms of engines, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost units are the pick of the range. They're available with either version of the Fiesta, and offer a great mix of punch and efficiency.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
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
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.