Top 10: Used city cars for £4000
Whether you’re looking for your first car or a family runabout for trips around town, there is an excellent choice of used cars for £4000 that fit the bill. And don’t expect them to be boring or basic – they might be small but good looks, plenty of equipment, and good driving manners are all on the menu for today’s demanding car buyer.
No one should buy a city car without considering one of the Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii/Volkswagen Up trio. They're brilliant little cars with clever packaging that still looks modern today. There's little to decide between them, although the Skoda badge will put a few people off the Citigo - meaning it represents particularly good value for money on the second-hand market. £4000 will get you an early model in a desirable trim level.
Launched in 2005 alongside its Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo siblings, the C1 proved a hit with buyers as a capable and good value urban runabout. Our budget will get you a late example of the original model, which will feel a bit old-fashioned compared to newer rivals, but they're fun and easy to drive. Running costs should be very low, too.
Even 11 years since its launch, the 'new' Fiat 500 remains the default choice for drivers wanting a fashionable car on a budget. It's not as good as a Volkswagen Up or Kia Picanto, but £4000 will get you an example with low miles from around 2014. Look for special editions like the Colour Therapy model if you want to stand out.
The second-generation Ford Ka is closely related to the Fiat 500 but, as it's not such a trendy choice, you'll find your £4000 will go further. The 1.2-litre petrol engine - the same as in the Fiat 500 - is frugal, and any garage should be able to work on a Ka without charging a fortune. We'd hunt out a Zetec for desirable features like air con and remote central locking.
We often recommend the Hyundai i10 as a sensible city car for those on a budget. The original model was on sale until 2014 and £4000 will get you a late example. Hunt out a Style for desirable features like heated seats, an electric sunroof and alloy wheels.
We'll be frank... there are better city cars on the market than the Mitsubishi Mirage. But they're pretty cheap, with our £4000 limit picking up a top-spec '3'. It's an easy car to drive and will be affordable to run, and ought to be very reliable too. Just don't expect a plush interior or much in the way of excitement.
Cute looks and impressive safety credentials are features of the Twingo, and while the 1.2 engine is nothing special it proves amply nippy around town. Five-year old examples in ‘Dynamique’ trim are within £4000 and are likely to show around 30-40,000 miles at non-franchised dealers.
The Suzuki Celerio was relatively short-lived and initially plagued by brake problems, but they were sorted and it's actually a pretty good little city car. The majority of Celerio models within our £4000 budget are entry-level SZ2 models which are relatively well-equipped with DAB radio, air con and electric front windows. Seek out an SZ3 if you want alloy wheels, however.
While a Toyota Aygo is the go-to city car for many buyers on a budget, the iQ is a much rarer and, in our opinion, more interesting choice. It's tiny, which means it's not great for carrying large loads, but it's fun to drive around town and the 1.0-litre VVTi engine will be a reliable choice. A tidy example from 2011 will be within reach for £4000.
If you're after a city car on a budget, you could do far worse than hunting out a Kia Picanto. It represents excellent value for money, has a quality interior and, if you're lucky, you might even find one with the remainder of its manufacturer warranty within budget. It's not a fashionable choice but the Picanto is an easy car to recommend.