Best used cars under £15,000 for 2023
With a budget of £15,000 the world of used cars really is your oyster. Our list of the best cars at this price ought to get you excited
Got some spare cash to the tune of £15,000 and unsure of what you ought do with it? You won't be short of options with a budget that size, and the selection of cars to choose from is varied, so you'll be catered for whatever your needs may be.
In even better news, these are all great cars - some of the best you can buy in their respective markets, and the fact they're used models at the cheaper end of the scale does nothing to diminish their quality, it just makes them even better value for money. Whether you're keen to experience a nimble two-seater sports car, or you require the extra space of a seven-seater people carrier, this list of used cars includes a little bit of everything. To top it all off, all of these cars are ready and waiting to be delivered straight to your door, so there's no need to go traipsing round local dealerships.
These are all quite recent models, too, dating back only a handful of years and featuring plenty of up to date technology in terms of safety, efficiency and in-car media. So it's possible to get hold of the likes of Apple CarPlay if that's important to you, and you'll also be driving something that meets the current emissions standards required to comply with London's ULEZ restrictions as well as other clean air zones around the UK.
Getting a used car at this kind of price is a great way to get plenty of car for your money. Read on for our selection of great used cars for under £15,000, or you can head over to the BuyaCar search page to take a look at an even wider selection of options.
Best used cars for under £15,000
Best family hatchback for under £15,000
Our pick VW Golf 1.0 TSI Match Edition 5dr
Used deals Limited stock
A £15,000 budget is now easily enough to buy post-2017-update Volkswagen Golf models, which are a little smarter than pre-update ones thanks to LED daytime running lights. Our favourite Match Edition version stands out further with chrome front-end trim and stylish alloy wheels. Opt for a used Volkswagen Golf and you'll get solid build quality, neat styling inside and out and a comfortable ride on British roads with stable and responsive cornering.
The Golf's diesel engines are still good options if you’ll mostly be doing longer journeys, but we recommend the smooth and powerful 1.0-litre petrol engine for most drivers. It also returns decent fuel economy with figures reaching almost 50mpg during real-world driving, and insurance costs should be reasonable as well.
Match Edition trim is well-equipped with adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the car in front, parking sensors front and rear, air-conditioning and an eight-inch touchscreen media system mounted on the dashboard with digital radio included. This model was replaced by a new Volkswagen Golf in 2020, but we found the interior quality to be better and the media system easier to use on the version we have here than on the newer version.
Best family crossover for under £15,000
Crossovers are a fairly recent phenomenon, but their high driving position and smooth comfort mixed with low running costs and practicality make them strong all-rounders. You only need to take a quick glance at crossover sales figures to see just how popular these cars are.
The Seat Ateca is arguably the best medium-sized crossover around, and the fact used prices have just dropped below the £15,000 mark makes it a very, very tempting proposition. There is plenty of space inside - it offers ample room for five adults - plus a larger boot than many of its rivals. The sharp angles around the Ateca's front end makes it look sporty and aggresive, setting it appart from other, softer-looking alternatives.
Best hot hatch for under £15,000
The Mini Cooper S takes the standard Mini hatchback and incorporates a more powerful engine for a small performance gain. It feels quite large and spacious compared to a Ford Fiesta, with a more grown-up interior that feels better quality.
The Cooper S just as fast as the Ford Fiesta ST, but its larger size makes it less nimble and exciting to drive around corners. There is a lot of standard equipment on board, such as climate control, air-conditioning and keyless push-button start, plus a big touchscreen media system with a digital radio and smartphone connectivity.
An updated Mini Cooper S was launched in April 2021, but the changes are broadly cosmetic compared with the version we have here. The three-door Mini is enduringly popular, but if you need more space in the back seats, the five-door Mini will appeal.
Best premium family car for under £15,000
The BMW 3 Series is a fantastic car, full stop. While the very latest version is available from around £25,000 on BuyaCar, you can find the previous-generation model for less than £15,000, which makes the idea of buying one worth plenty of consideration.
It’s the complete car. It's comfortable, great to drive and features a very posh badge on the bonnet. But it's not just about the BMW name, the German brand's strong image helps to maintain the car's value, which in turn helps to reduce the monthly payments of a PCP finance deal.
Despite the adverse publicity that diesel engines tend to get these days, a diesel engine is an excellent fit for the 3 Series. It makes for an effortlessly smooth, quiet and economical driving experience - we like the 2.0-litre 320d the best. It's also worth noting that most 3 Series models sold from mid-2015 will comply with the Euro 6 standard, and are therefore less likely to be affected by charges in clean air zone charges. You're in luck here too, as £15,000 will get you the keys to models from 2016.
Best large people carrier for under £15,000
The Renault Grand Scenic is often overlooked for other people carriers like the Ford S-Max or Volkswagen Touran, but it’s worth checking out if you’re in need of a lot of seats and space. Adults should be happy enough in the middle row of seats and, while the third row is best reserved for children, that’s the case in many of the Scenic’s rivals too. Extra practical touches, like the tray tables, USB sockets and numerous storage cubbies should all help take the stress out of family life and long journeys.
Neither engine is particularly exciting, so the choice of petrol or diesel will come down to whether you do regular long journeys or not - you’re better off with diesel power if you do. One thing the Grand Scenic does have on its side is style, with sharp lines and vast 20-inch alloy wheels that are fitted as standard. The Scenic is arguably stylish enough to compete with an SUV, especially if you choose a car with a contrasting black roof. Despite the big wheels, the Scenic is very comfortable and relaxed to drive.
Even the entry-level Play specification comes with rear parking sensors, a touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone connectivity, and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers. Iconic, a mid-spec trim, adds sat-nav and a driver tiredness warning.
Best sports car for under £15,000
Our pick Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L Nav
Used deals Limited stock
Light, nimble and simple, the Mazda MX-5 is designed to make you fall in love with driving - and you'll more than likely find yourself making excuses to get back behind the wheel if you end up with one outside your home.
Push back the roof, start up the engine and feel the wheels bobbing over bumps and carving their way around corners through the slimline steering wheel. It's best on sunny days on a country road, where you can enjoy working the engine hard and scything through corners well within the speed limit, unlike more powerful sports cars, which are barely into their stride by 60mph.
There are two body styles: the soft-top and the RF with a folding hard-top roof, which provides more security and better insulation in winter, but does come in just over budget. The boot will accept a couple of carry-on suitcases, so the MX-5 is a reasonably practical proposition, too. There are several of the latest model available on BuyaCar. We've gone for the SE L Nav which brings a decent level of comfort and convienience to this little bundle of fun.
Best electric car for under £15,000
Our pick Renault Zoe Dynamique Nav
Used deals Limited stock
If you have a medium-distance commute and the possibility of recharging your car at the end of your journey, there’s lots to recommend an electric car, especially one like the Renault Zoe. Quiet and nippy, it's quite happy at motorway speeds and comes well-equipped in in Dynamique Nav specification, with sat-nav, cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard.
The Z.E.40 model, launched in 2016, provides a realistic range of around 160 miles in between charges and picking one with the Quick Charge system allows it to be recharged from zero to 80% in 65 minutes - if you connect it to a fast charger. So-called ‘i’ versions of the Zoe have the battery included in their price, but most require you to lease the battery, which will cost at least £50 per month, and most likely more, depending on your annual mileage.
As used electric cars go, there is no doubt this first-generation Renault Zoe is one of the more affordable on the market.
Best large estate car for under £15,000
When it comes to shifting big loads, few cars can touch the cavernous Skoda Superb Estate. Its boot expands from 660 litres with the seats up to a maximum of 1,950 litres with them folded down. That's more than you get in the Mercedes E-Class Estate and is on a par with the Volvo XC90 large SUV – for a lot less money.
All this loadspace doesn't come at the expense of interior space though. Three adults can sit in comfort in the back thanks in particular to a good amount of legroom.
The Superb provides a smooth ride wherever it's driven but it’s on the motorway, soaking up the miles comfortably and quietly, that the Superb Estate excels. For this role, the 2.0-litre TDI diesel is the engine to choose.
*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.