Top 25: Used cars for £10,000 in 2021
A budget of £10,000 goes a surprisingly long way on the used car market in 2021. Whether you're looking to buy a reliable little runaround, a fun weekend sports car or a motorway mile muncher, we've picked out 25 of the best second-hand cars on sale today – all of which could be on your driveway for less than £10,000.
A used BMW X3 proves you don't have to break the bank to buy a genuinely desirable SUV. It's a premium car with a classy interior and enough room for all the family. Being a BMW, it's also great to drive – especially if you hunt out one of the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesels. The more popular 2.0-litre will return lower running costs, though, and don't expect to find a petrol model.
The Honda HR-V is an incredibly versatile little crossover SUV, intended to rival cars like the SEAT Arona and Nissan Juke. It's one of the best on sale for less than £10,000, especially if you're after practicality and a strong reliability record. You'll find that most on the market are powered by the strong and dependable 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine, but hunt out a petrol if you don't cover many miles.
While £10,000 might seem a lot of money to splash on an old Mini, they're a really good route into classic car ownership. There are loads still on the road – so you can be picky about finding a good one – and the support of owners' clubs is unbeatable. They do like to rust, mind, so we wouldn't recommend a Mini for daily use over winter unless you're prepared to fork out for costly bodywork repairs.
Of course you can get a used Vauxhall Corsa for £10,000. You can get one for £500. In fact, you can almost get a brand-new Vauxhall Corsa for £10,000. But to get the best deals, look for a pre-registered example – a car registered by the dealer and so officially second-hand, but effectively as good as brand new. That means you get the current number plate and a car with just a handful of miles, but with discounts of thousands of pounds off the new price. All because you’re listed as the second owner on a piece of paperwork… £10,000 gets you a pre-reg model in a decent trim level too, so you get handy gadgets like Apple CarPlay.
For buyers on a budget, you could do a lot worse than heading to your nearest Suzuki dealer. The Vitara is the brand's Juke rival, with plenty of interior space and eager petrol and diesel engines. Look for a high-spec LED model for desirable features like LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels and adaptive cruise control.
The Hyundai Tucson replaced the ix35 as the Korean firm's Qashqai rival in 2015 and early examples are now dropping below £10,000. It represents excellent value for money and has plenty of space for all the family. Our budget will get you a 2016 model with the desirable 1.7-litre diesel engine.
You don't have to settle for something boring with a £10,000 budget. There are plenty of desirable second-hand cars on the market for this price, including the second-generation Audi TT, which still looks the part today. You'll be able to choose from petrol or diesel engines with our budget, as well as coupe or convertible models. £10,000 will get an S Line coupe from around 2013.
If you have no real need for practicality and roof-down motoring appeals, the Mercedes-Benz SLK could be an excellent way of spending £10,000. This'll get you a low-mileage 2012 model with the 1.8-litre petrol engine. Most will be the lower-powered SLK 200 but it is possible to find the quicker SLK 280 or 300 within budget. If you're after excitement, rivals from Porsche and BMW are more fun, but the SLK is a great little cruiser.
If you want an upmarket hatchback but the usual German choices aren’t up your street, the Volvo V40 is a decent alternative and is affordable second hand. It isn’t quite as classily finished inside as an Audi A3, but it’s quiet, comfy and easy to drive – not to mention safe. The vast majority of V40s for sale in our price bracket use the economical 1.6-litre D2 diesel engine, but the D3 and D4 can be found within budget and are much nicer to drive.
In terms of value for money, nothing comes close to the Skoda Octavia on the used car market. It shares a platform with the Volkswagen Golf but is both bigger and more affordable – it's incredible how much further your money can go if you're not fussed about the badge on the bonnet. £10,000 gets you a three-year-old model with the 1.0 TSI petrol engine, while diesels cater for high-mileage drivers. There's also an estate model if you need even more space.
Whether you're a new driver or just want something that'll be extremely cheap to run, the Kia Picanto is our pick of affordable city cars. It's well-equipped, surprisingly spacious and will put a smile on your face when darting around town. £10,000 gets you a nearly-new model in high-spec GT-Line S trim.
On the one hand, there's probably no more luxurious all-rounder available on the second-hand market than a Range Rover. Our £10,000 budget will get you plenty of choice, with the TDV8 diesels being the most desirable and slightly more frugal than the supercharged petrols. Having said that, you might want to avoid any with high miles or showing signs of neglect. And it's probably worth considering an aftermarket warranty.
If you're after a stylish convertible, you might be inclined to look towards soft-top versions of the Audi A5 and BMW 3 Series. But, between 2013 and 2018, Vauxhall sold a very attractive cabriolet badged the Cascada. Our £10,000 budget will buy a late example, with petrols and diesel models roughly splitting the market 50/50. Check that the electrically-folding fabric roof works correctly, but otherwise it ought to be a pretty sensible purchase.
Although the Volkswagen Golf may not seem an exciting choice, it's made a name for itself as a really solid, dependable family hatchback. There's a Golf for everyone, too, from an efficient diesels to sporty GTI and R models. Our £10,000 budget buys a mid-spec 1.4-litre petrol from around 2017, or a 2.0-litre GTI from 2011.
If you're happy to look at older cars, a £10,000 budget will get a surprisingly premium vehicle that you'd otherwise expect to be well out of your price range. One such example is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. You'll be restricted to the last-generation model, most likely with higher miles, but you do get a choice of saloon, estate, coupe and even convertible models. Make sure it has full service history, and hunt out a 3.0-litre 350 CDI if you'd like something much nicer to drive than the popular 2.1-litre models.
If you need a family load-lugger but want something that's fun to drive, look to Ford. Even the big Galaxy seven-seater is surprisingly nimble, but the S-MAX is even better. Not only is the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer rival great to drive, it's also ultra versatile – with a spacious second row or seats and a pair of occasional use seats in the boot. Avoid the problematic Powershift automatic gearbox but the 2.0-litre TDCi is a torquey diesel motor.
Yes you can buy a Porsche for just £10,000 – and it'll actually be a pretty decent one. You see, the Boxster is actually a very underrated sports car, with a mid-engined layout and stylish design. It's even a soft-top, meaning you can top up your tan in the summer. Of course, it'll cost a little more to run than a family hatchback, but do your research and it needn't be a money pit. You can pick up a 987 model from 2005 onwards for £10,000. You'll find a good 2.7-litre model easier to find rather than the faster 3.2-litre Boxster S – look out for evidence of regular servicing and avoid cars that have had lots of owners.
There's a reason why Uber drivers love a Prius. They're cheap to run, quiet and comfortable – capable of pootling around town or traipsing up and down the motorway. The excellent new model is dropping within budget now – its design might be controversial, but it has a phenominal reliability record and should comfortably see more than 60mpg.
The Jaguar XF manages the rare feat of making you feel special when you drive it – and arguably that’s more true of the original, 2008 to 2015 car than the current one. There’s loads of choice at £10,000, including the facelift model introduced in 2012. Whether you're after a petrol or diesel, we'd opt for one of the 3.0-litre V6 engines - they're smooth, torquey and sound great. No matter which engine you go for, the XF offers a superb blend of handling and comfort.
In its latest incarnation the Peugeot 308 is an excellent car that gives all of its rivals a run for their money. Interior material quality, comfort, refinement and driving dynamics are all very impressive, with just a slightly long gearchange throw the only fly in in the ointment. And yet it’s incredibly good value used. Low mileage, high-power, well-equipped cars that are just two years old are available for within our £10,000 budget, even when equipped with desirable optional extras like an automatic transmission.
It’s excellent value new, so it’s no surprise that a used Skoda Superb is a smart buy. They’re huge inside, with masses of rear leg and headroom along with a huge boot. If you're looking for a sensible yet comfortable car for covering high mileages, you'll struggle to do better than a Superb. Our £10,000 budget will get you the latest model with low miles in good condition and with a decent level of specification. It's worth hunting out a 2.0-litre TDI for its extra punch and still impressive economy.
Lexus CT 200h
We’ve featured the Prius in this list – but if you’d prefer that same hybrid experience encased in a plusher car with more traditional hatchback styling, the Lexus CT 200h is just the ticket. Well-made, comfortable, relaxing to drive and economical, there’s plenty to like about the smallest Lexus. It can be a little loud when accelerating and it isn’t exactly fun to drive like a BMW 1 Series, but if you tend to drive in town or on the motorway it’s ideal. £10,000 gives you lots of choice, with plenty of immaculate, low-mileage examples on offer.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
Seven seats, a nicely finished cabin and quiet, smooth driving dynamics combine to make the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso a very family-friendly machine. And one that’s very good value used. Go for the 2014-on model though – it’s much better than its predecessor. £10,000 will get you a low-mileage car with a good level of equipment. Almost all the cars we found for sale were fitted with the 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel engine, which isn’t exactly powerful, but there is at least a choice of auto or manual transmissions.
There's not much out there as trendy as the MINI Hatch for £10,000. If you're wanting the ultimate in fun, look for a Cooper S - with its exciting performance, enthusiastic exhaust note and brilliant handling. A regular Cooper will suit most buyers, however, and is available with petrol or diesel engines. Models with the optional Chili Pack are the most desirable, costing an extra £3200 when new, and adding things like 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning and a drive mode selector.
Fiat may have created an absolute hit when it came up with the 500 – but actually it’s a pretty poor car. The driving position is bad, the use of space isn't great, the handling is poor, there isn’t much space in the boot and the engines aren’t great. But it certainly looks the part – and if you like the looks, why not go for the wild Abarth version. Packing a fizzy, characterful 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, the Abarth is overly firm and doesn’t handle all that well, but it’s still a lot of fun and it turns heads in a way lesser, Fiat-badged 500s could only dream off. £10,000 gets a really recent, low-mileage car in perfect condition with full history.