Best used cars under £25,000
A budget of £25,000 isn't to be sniffed at, but it won't go very far if you're after something new. It's enough for a family hatchback or a small SUV, but you'll need more cash if you fancy a family SUV or estate car.
There's better news if you prepared to dive into the used car market, because £25,000 goes a very long way. Maybe you want a cool convertible, classy coupe or a luxurious limo. Or perhaps you need a family SUV with space for seven or an electric car that offers up to 300 miles of range. With £25k in your pocket, these cars are in reach.
Buy wisely, and the car could still be covered by the original warranty, so you won't have to worry about a big bill if something goes wrong. Buying something older means your money will go further, but you might want to consider an aftermarket warranty.
To get you started, here's a list of some of our favourite used cars available for less than £25,000. Do your homework and you could be laughing all the way to the bank in your new (but used) car.
Best used cars under £25,000
The Ford Puma is the best small SUV you can buy. It’s based on the excellent Ford Fiesta, which means it’s great fun to drive, with sharp handling and communicative steering. The cheerful styling is a welcome tonic to the aggressive look of some of its rivals, and harks back to the Puma coupe of the 1990s. All models come with a generous amount of standard equipment, not least because Titanium is the entry-level trim. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is punchy and efficient, but the 1.5-litre unit in the Puma ST turns this little SUV into a more practical hot hatch.
If the Puma is the best compact SUV, the Skoda Kodiaq is in with a shout of being the best family SUV. A five-seat version is available, but most buyers choose the more versatile seven-seat Kodiaq. It’s more of a ‘5+2’ SUV than a true seven-seater, but it provides the option of transporting two additional children – or having an extremely large boot. We named it the best SUV at one of our Car of the Year awards, praising its blend of space, comfort, practicality and equipment. Few cars are perfect, but the Kodiaq gets very little wrong.
Tesla Model 3
Few cars have popularised electric vehicles more than the Tesla Model 3, and with good reason. It’s a car that looks like nothing else on the road, inside or out, and it’s riotously good fun to drive. The features included are also unique to Tesla, with a huge central screen controlling just about everything, and myriad useful (and quirky) systems to play with. Your £25,000 budget should get you a two or three-year-old Standard Range car with less than 50,000 miles, or a higher-mileage Long Range model.
Stop! Before you buy a premium SUV or MPV with seven seats, take a look at the Kia Sorento. As the flagship of the Kia range, it feels more upmarket than the familiar Sportage, with styling that does a passable impression of a premium SUV. Opt for a higher trim level and you’ll get the equipment to match its lofty ambitions, such as solar rear window blinds, ventilated electric front seats with 10-way adjustment, a panoramic sunroof, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, LED headlights, wireless phone charging and an electric tailgate. The 2.2 CRDI diesel engine offers excellent pulling power, with all-wheel-drive coming as standard.
BMW 7 Series
Keep one eye on the running costs, but £25k could get you a flagship BMW saloon that can quite easily double as a limousine. For this money, a 730d from between 2017 and 2019 will be in reach, offering you serene comfort and refinement and punchy performance from a 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel engine. This is proper luxury motoring in a car that cost more than £60,000 when new, and that's before you factor in inflation.
MG 5 EV
The MG 5 EV is a really interesting proposition if you’re after a practical electric estate car. Indeed, it’s currently the only electric estate you can buy. Because it’s so affordable when new – prices start from £31,000 – it’s possible to buy a relatively new example for £25,000. For that, you get a 578-litre boot, up to 250 miles of electric range and a seven-year or 80,000-mile warranty. The entry-level Excite trim covers all the bases, so there’s no need to splash out on the pricier Exclusive. We only wish the MG 5 looked a little more exciting.
Hyundai Kona Electric
We can’t say the same thing about the Hyundai Kona Electric, which looks bold and interesting from every angle. A budget of £25,000 is enough for a car registered in 2022 or 2023, which means you'll enjoy the remainder of Hyundai's excellent five-year warranty. Up to 300 miles of range is available from a fully charged battery, but it’s worth noting this is based on the larger and more expensive 64kWh version. Opt for the 39kWh model and the official range drops to 189 miles.
As Audi’s smallest and most affordable SUV, the Q2 is an interesting alternative to the A3 hatchback. In fact, its 405-litre boot is a great reason to choose one over the A3, because it’s ideal for pushchairs and bulky shopping bags. While it’s true that you’re paying for a premium badge, the Q2 boasts chunky, upmarket styling, a classy interior and some lavish trim levels. New car buyers could also choose from an array of personalisation options, so look out for these when buying used. We’d recommend the punchy 1.0 TSI petrol engine, but would avoid the 1.6 TDI unless you must have a diesel.
There are plenty of good reasons why the Mazda MX-5 is the world's most popular sports car. It's brilliant to drive, superb to look at and affordable, which might explain why it's currently the only junior sports car you can buy new. Even better news is the fact that prices start from £25,000 when the car is new, so you can afford a relatively new example that's still covered by Mazda's warranty. The 2.0-litre engine is the pick of the bunch, but don't rule out the 1.5-litre version which is cheaper to buy and more economical. If you fancy an MX-5 with more roof, check out the MX-5 RF which features a trick metal folding roof.
All things considered, this is probably the best estate car you can buy. The Mercedes E-Class Estate feels as luxurious and comfortable as an S-Class saloon, yet benefits from a class-leading 640-litre boot, which you can increase to a mammoth 1820 litres by folding the rear seats. There’s a range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, including some seriously rapid AMG versions. You can even buy a rugged E-Class All-Terrain, which is an interesting alternative to a Mercedes SUV. Faults are few and far between, especially when the initially high purchase price is chipped away by early depreciation.
Which new car should I buy for £25,000?
It all depends on what you’re after, but a mid-range Ford Focus would be a good place to start. It’s better to drive than any of its rivals and comes with a choice of economical engines and a long list of equipment. There’s a sporty ST version and a rugged Active model, plus the option of an estate. For a longer warranty and a new range of efficient engines, take a look at the Hyundai i30.
What’s the best used convertible for under £25,000?
If you’re after a relatively new convertible with space for the family, take a look at the Audi A5 Cabriolet or Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. Alternatively, it may be worth stretching the budget to an E-Class Convertible – your rear-seat passengers will thank you for the extra space. For something smaller, take a look at the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet, because prices are now dropping below the £25,000 mark. Finally, the MINI Convertible is fun and reasonably spacious.
What’s the best used luxury car for under £25,000?
Assuming you want something reasonably new, we’d recommend the Mercedes E-Class. Highlights include understated styling, an upmarket cabin, a comfortable ride and a strong image. Some of the higher trim levels feel as lavish as an S-Class. Alternatively, consider the Volvo S90, which is as comfortable as an E-Class and boasts a sophisticated and high-quality interior. Another option would be the Lexus GS 300h, which benefits from an efficient hybrid powertrain.