Best used cars under £10,000
The days of buying a new car for £10,000 are over. Today, you'll need at least £13,500 to buy something new, which might explain why you're here looking for used cars under £10,000.
Fortunately, you're in luck, because there are tens of thousands of used cars available for ten grand. From small cars still covered by a manufacturer warranty to something with space for the family, your budget might go further than you think.
You'll still need to do your homework before parting with your cash. We'd suggest making a list of needs and wants, including rational things like space for a pushchair, back doors for ease of strapping your precious ones into a child seat, or an economical engine to keep running costs to a minimum.
Then, consider things you'd like to have, such as heated seats for a cold morning, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or leather seats. That should help to narrow the search to a more manageable level.
To help you on your way, here are ten of the best used cars that cost less than £10,000. We’ve fixed some criteria – no cars from before 2010, and none with more than 100,000 miles on the clock.
Best used cars under £10,000
There’s no shortage of used city cars available for £10,000, but few are more appealing than the Volkswagen Up. It might be small on the outside, but it feels surprisingly spacious on the inside, with plenty of headroom for all occupants. We’d recommend the five-door Up for the best practicality, but all versions will be cheap to run and great to drive. Unlike some city cars, the Up doesn’t feel out of its depth on a motorway, especially if you opt for the 75PS version of the 1.0-litre engine. Strong residual values give the Up the edge over its Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii siblings.
Yes, it’s another city car, but the Hyundai i10 offers something different to the Volkswagen Up. For a start, it’s covered by a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, which is transferable to the car’s next owner. A budget of £10,000 is enough for a 2019 model, so you’ll be covered until 2024. The i10 model we’ve selected was on sale from 2014 until 2019, so there are plenty to choose from. All versions are well equipped, but Premium SE trim feels positively lavish. The 1.0-litre engine is fine around town, but the 1.2-litre is recommended for life beyond the urban sprawl.
The Kia Ceed – formerly known as the Cee’d – is a great value alternative to family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. It’s not the most glamorous of cars, but the current Ceed on sale from 2018 offers exceptional value for money. You get plenty of equipment as standard, while 1.5-litre T-GDI turbocharged four-cylinder petrol offers a terrific blend of performance and fuel economy. A budget of £10,000 is enough for a Ceed registered in 2020, so you'll be covered by Kia's warranty until 2027.
The Civic is a great family hatchback. While a new version came to market in 2021, and the previous generation was just a shade over £10,000 at the time of asking, you can pick up a wide range of the generation before that (sold between 2012 and 2017) for less than ten grand. There are loads to choose from, with the punchy diesel engines particularly impressive, and the Civic’s practicality and reliability is really impressive. There's also an extremely spacious Civic Tourer, although it's rarer than the hatchback version.
The Octavia is Skoda's most popular new car, which means there are lots to choose from on the used car market. We're focusing on the model on sale from 2013 until 2020, which was available as a spacious hatchback and an even more practical estate. You'll almost certainly find an Octavia that's right for you, whether you're after a basic version with an economical diesel engine or a model with the performance to rival a hot hatch. If that's the case, look no further than the Octavia vRS.
With a new Hyundai Tucson launched in 2021, the previous generation is now looking like a proper bargain. For less than £10k, you’ll get a family SUV with loads of interior space, a top safety rating and very reasonable running costs. All models had plenty of features as standard, with all versions coming with alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and steering wheel controls If you’re very lucky you might find one still inside Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
The Honda Jazz remains an unsung hero of the used car market. It might not be as nice to drive as a Ford Fiesta or as plush as a Volkswagen Polo, but the Jazz is by far the most practical car in its class. You get plenty of space on the inside for four adults, a large boot and Honda's famed 'magic seats'. That means the rear seats can fold and flip in various ways to allow you to carry surprisingly large and tall items, such as houseplants, vacuum cleaners, bicycles and garden statues. The Jazz is also one of the most reliable small cars you can buy.
You could play it safe by opting for a BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 or Mercedes A-Class. Alternatively, you could play it safer by opting for a Volvo V40. We’re talking about the V40’s excellent safety credentials, of course, but there’s more to this desirable hatchback than a five-star Euro NCAP rating. Over a decade on from its launch, the styling still cuts a mean figure in a crowded market, while the interior, although dated in some ways, remains interesting and uniquely Swedish. The entry-level D2 engine is the best of the bunch, so you needn’t splash out on a more powerful unit.
If you’re after the practicality of a small SUV and the running costs of a hatchback, and you’re not too fussed about brand or image, the Toyota RAV4 is the ideal car for you. On sale from 2013 until 2019, this generation of RAV4 comes with a range of engines, including an efficient 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain, with front- and four-wheel-drive versions available. Inside, there’s plenty of space for a growing family, while the boot should handle everything you throw at it. Just don’t expect much in the way of excitement; the RAV4 is great at being sensible and dependable.
The Dacia Duster arrived in 2012 and cemented itself as Britain’s cheapest family SUV. Using tried-and-tested Renault parts to great effect, the Duster majored on space, low running costs and extremely low prices. This means it represents even better value on the used car market, with a £10,000 budget enough to secure an early example of the current and much improved Duster. Avoid the entry-level Access model unless you enjoy the sound of your own singing voice and the whiff of smelly armpits: a radio and air-con weren’t included.
Should I buy a used car or opt for a new car on PCP?
Buying a new car on a personal contract purchase (PCP) finance plan might work out cheaper than spending £10,000 on a used car. Because you’re essentially paying for the depreciation over the course of the contract, the repayments are likely to be more affordable, possibly as low as £200 a month. You’re also covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. That said, you don’t own the car, so you could have nothing to show for it at the end of the contract.
Where’s the best place to buy used for £10,000?
A used car supermarket would be a good place to start, as these tend to focus on relatively new cars. Alternatively, look at the many manufacturer-approved used car schemes, as you’re likely to get a minimum one-year warranty and possibly free insurance and breakdown cover thrown in. Other options include buying from a private vendor or at an auction, both of which could be cheaper. Just be aware of the increased risks, as you don’t get so much consumer protection if something goes wrong with your new purchase.
Can I still buy a new car for £10,000?
With the likes of Kia and Hyundai pushing upmarket, it’s no longer possible to buy a new car for £10,000. The cheapest new car is now the Kia Picanto, which comes in at around £13,700. The days of the £10,000 new car appear to be over, which is partly why so many people decide to buy used. You can buy a new Citroen Ami for less than £8,000, but that’s technically a quadricycle rather than a car.