Top 11 Best Used Cars Under £10,000
When looking to replace your old car, you don’t have to go down the ‘new’ route. After all, new cars lose thousands as soon as you drive them out the door, so dipping into the used car market for a quality vehicle in good condition could save you thousands of pounds in depreciation costs.
The key with quality, nearly-new used cars is to look for cars that are less than three years old, with one owner (two at the very most) and low mileage. With miles on the clock, 30,000 should be the upper limit, but obviously the lower that figure is, the better.
With those golden rules in mind, what can you buy on the used car market for less than £10,000?
We’ve taken an ‘all market’ approach to this guide by looking at cars that span the range of small vehicles, compact cars and a few SUVs for good measure. We’ve also taken steps to make sure that most vehicles have great MPG to ensure maximum fuel economy.
The research for this guide was carried out in February 2019 and there is something for everyone…
Our top 11 best used cars to buy under £10,000 are:
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Citroen C3
- Vauxhall Astra
- Citroen C4 Picasso
- MINI Roadster
- Fiat Tipo Estate
- Mitsubishi L200
- Nissan Juke
- Toyota GT86
- Ford Fiesta
- Renault Zoe
The Corsa is perhaps the ultimate first car and you can find examples with less than 2,000 miles on the clock. More specifically the author found a three-door ‘Limited Edition’ model on an ’18 plate for our headline £10,000 budget. That’s a bargain.
Checking this against the current – Sri Nav model (that sits new in showrooms in 2019), you’re saving a vast £7,910 off the retail price, just because it’s a year old with less than 2,000 miles on the clock.
Current generation Corsas come in four engine flavours, all are a 1.4L, but horsepower ranges from 74 to 148 BHP. Look for the 1.4 turbo with 98 BHP, it’s the middle of the pack and will give you plenty of torque making the Vauxhall feel nippy around town, while still returning around 38 MPG.
There was a recall on the 1.4 turbo engine, but this affected older models from 2016. Just beware if purchasing one before 2017 that it’s been recalled and fixed. It’s nothing to worry about now, but there were a few reports of them catching fire.
Another nearly new bargain is the Citroen C3, its more modern, funkier styling beats the Vauchall Corsa hands down in terms of design and character. 2018 models with around 15,000 miles on can also be had for £10,000!
Comparing that to the showroom price of the same 1.2 litre ‘Flair’ model you’d save £5,285, that’s over 1/3 of the new price.
Citroen offer the C3 with an 82 and 110 BHP engine, as well as a 100 BHP diesel. You can also find the 110 petrol with an automatic gearbox. Ideally, leave the lowest power option on the forecourt, it’s a little sluggish at higher speeds while the 110 copes far better at a motorway cruise.
As the C3 is such a new model there aren’t any known major faults, some have had a few electronic quirks crop up, but at this age, you’d still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty should anything go wrong.
Moving up the scale in size, we find family hatchback the Vauxhall Astra. An ’18 plate with around 20,000 miles can be found second hand for £9,500.
At this age, most should have only a single owner unless they were demo cars or pre-registered by the dealership.
Comparing it to the price of a new model in the same trim, the 1.4i 16v ‘Design’ that we found, you could buy two, yes two, secondhand Astra’s for the price of a new one.
You would save nearly £10,000 off the showroom price, meaning the Vauxhall has almost lost half its original value in a year and 20,000 miles.
The Astra is a decent enough car, it handles well, and if you opt for the newer 1.4-litre turbo with 148 BHP, it’s pretty nippy. The comfy ride soaks up the worst of our British roads, just watch out for the lower spec models like the aforementioned ‘Design’, they can be a little sparse on kit.
Citroen C4 Picasso
If you’re after something a little bigger to lug the family around, take your old furniture to the dump or to transport mountain bikes, you’ll need a people carrier or MPV. In steps the Citroen C4 Picasso, yes it’s a little older than our golden rules stipulate, but at this price, you’ll have to sacrifice age.
A 2015 model with the frugal 1.6 BlueHDI diesel engine can be yours for bang on £10,000. There are a few on the market with around 20,000 miles on the clock which means the car will have barely been used in the last four years, likewise, just find a first-owner example and it should have been well looked after.
Now the C4 Picasso has recently been updated with a new model, the C4 Spacetourer. It looks nearly identical from the front, but the back and interior received a few minor changes, essentially it’s the same car.
The starting price for this latest model is a whopping £24,170. You can buy a second car with the savings you’d make on this used Citroen.
A few isolated faults have been reported to do with the automatic gearboxes on this model of the C4, so when test driving make sure every gear selects cleanly without judder and that reverse also works.
Most of the ones we found for sale were just older than three years, so it may well be worth taking out an extended warranty.
Fancy a drop top for the summer? Well, your £10,000 can stretch to a soft top MINI Cooper Roadster. There are a few up for sale, some with mileage as low as 13,000, again they will be slightly older on a 2015 plate but then the current convertible MINI starts at £20,000, so it’s effectively half price.
MINI discontinued the Roadster in 2015; they only built them for three years, so this MINI is a rare old sight on UK roads.
Make sure the power-assisted roof opens and closes without issues. Roof issues can be a pricey to fix especially as many won’t be under warranty if you buy one used now.
There have also been a few reports of issues with the 1.6-litre version of the engine; the timing chain can stretch as well as there is low pressure on the oil pumps, check the paperwork or history to see if any of these issues have already been addressed.
Fiat Tipo Estate
If you don’t want a bulky MPV or crossover to drive around your sports equipment, family or dog then a Fiat Tipo estate is a great alternative. They handle more like a conventional car, but their added load-swallowing abilities put them in competition with an SUV.
A nearly-new 2018 Fiat Tipo estate with just 2,610 miles was spotted online for our top budget of £10,000. That may seem a lot for a small Fiat, but when you look at the sticker price that it currently sells for you soon realise what a bargain it is.
The very same Tipo ‘Easy Plus’ model sits in showrooms right now for £16,550, now that is with the entry level 1.4 litre engine which will be dog slow with just 95 BHP, ideally you want the 1.4 turbo with its 120 BHP, but one of those will set you back even more at £16,550.
There are some known issues with the emissions (DPF) filter on the diesel models, make sure the previous owner hasn’t solely used it for short urban journeys, but at this age, it shouldn’t be an issue especially with such low mileage.
A bit of a curve ball here, the Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck can be found for just less than our £10,000 maximum figure.
They will be 2015-era or older, but a handful with our top figure of 30,000 miles are knocking around on the used market.
Not everyone needs a pickup, but if you’re in the countryside and need a full time 4×4 vehicle, they make a great choice. Many builders and tradesman also purchase them instead of a van.
There is only one engine to choose from, a hefty 2.5-litre diesel engine with 134 BHP and plenty of torque. The current Series 5 model of the L200 starts at £19,855 plus VAT, so there’s a healthy saving to be made by going used, you can also claim the VAT back on it if you run your own company.
L200’s are pretty bulletproof, they’re made to be workhorses, and as long as the engine is well looked after, they will go on for years. And anyway, at three years old there really shouldn’t be any issues and we couldn’t find any common faults reported on the Series 4 model.
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one crossover, they’ve been the latest craze for the last ten years, and it looks as though their popularity isn’t going to diminish any time soon.
One of the smallest crossovers on the market is the Nissan Juke. It’s about the size of your average hatchback and merges a taller ride height with small dimensions. It looks like a frog and it’s great for city driving.
A 2017 model with less than 2,000 miles can be found for just under £10,000. Fitted with the 1.2-litre turbo engine making 113 BHP you’ll have just enough power for it to feel nippy while keeping your tax and insurance costs to a minimum.
The same model brand new would cost you £17,450.
Now the Juke has had its fair share of recalls, seven in total, so make sure you get the reg or the VIN checked. And you can always talk to a Nissan franchised dealer to get extra warranties before you buy.
Avoid the CVT gearbox; it’s known to go wrong – often needing the whole thing to be replaced. Turbo’s on both petrol and diesel models can also die, so make sure servicing has been carried out regularly.
Love driving? Want a fun rear-wheel-drive coupe? The Toyota GT86 is the car to buy for under £10,000. It’s not particularly speedy, but it will teach you a lot about car control.
Although it’s hard to find them for sub-£10,000, a few higher mileage examples are floating around on auction sites. These will be early 2012 models and have upwards of 60,000 miles on them though, so choose wisely.
Make sure you get an HPI check on the Toyota as many of them have had prangs and could well have been written off in the past.
There can often be corrosion on the door pillars near the mirror and there’s also a common issue of condensation in the rear lights.
Other than that, reliability is pretty good, just be aware that it’s a high revving 2.0-litre petrol so it will get through fuel far faster than anything turbo powered. Insurance will also be higher.
Everyone loves the UK’s favourite supermini the Ford Fiesta, and we managed to find a current model, on an early ’67 plate in black with just 1,983 miles on for £10,000.
This same car in Zetec trim with optional £500 shadow black paint sits in showrooms for £15,965.
You don’t need to do any complex calculations here – you’re saving a third off the new price just by purchasing a model that’s a year old with less than 2,000 miles on the clock. With that sort of discount, why would anyone buy a new Fiesta?
It’s the latest seventh-generation model, so fault wise it’s too early to tell what’s likely to go wrong with it. However, as it’s so new, you’ll have at least two years of manufacturer’s warranty left, so if anything breaks, you are covered anyway.
Naturally, as with all the cars found from main dealers you can finance them from the dealership, many private garages will also offer finance packages making it affordable to pay for your vehicle monthly.
However make sure the rate they offer is as low as possible, you can often get a personal loan for a much better rate over a slightly longer timeframe than a dealership will offer you on finance.
Last but by no means least – the only electric car on the list – the Renault ZOE. You can pick these up for well under £10k, in fact, a decent spec Dynamique model with fewer than 11,000 miles on the clock can be purchased for a smidge less than £8,000.
New or used, it’s one of the cheapest electric cars on the market.
Renault’s ZOE is one of the most popular electric hatchbacks, roughly the size of a Ford Fiesta. It has a pure electric range of around 90 miles on a single charge.
You won’t pay any road tax, and you can forget about visiting the petrol station ever again. You can even get a grant to have a home charger installed, just plug it in when you park up and you’ll be fully charged from empty in around 8 hours.
A fast charger should give you about 80% in just half an hour.
One thing to look out for is the fast charge ability and the battery model of second hand ZOE’s, not all of them are created equal.
Fast chargers became optional, and over recent years the battery size has increased giving you more miles per charge. Initially, the ZOE could only achieve around 40-60 miles on a full battery.
Be aware of the £60 a month ‘battery rental’ fee with a used Renault ZOE
Another catch to be aware of is that Renault ZOE’s can incur a monthly ‘battery rental’ fee, this is roughly around £60 a month but can become higher depending on the miles you drive.
This has to be paid or Renault can remotely disable the car. Allegedly the fee is there to cover the battery in case it ever needs replacing during your ownership, similar to an extended warranty, but one that has to be paid for during the life of the vehicle.
So there we go, 11 cars covering every possible need under £10,000, from family to fun, eco to city sprinter.
We’ve proved you don’t need a new car to get yourself a fresh set of wheels, just look around and do your research before purchasing.
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