The number of second hand cars available for less than £5,000 really is astonishing. From tiny city cars to practical family transport and even a luxury SUV with a very desirable badge on its nose, the following ten cars are well worth considering.
As always, the advice is to shop around, do your research, get a car history check and dig into the car’s previous MOT results. Spend the time finding the right well looked after car and you’ll save yourself plenty of trouble in the long run.
1. Skoda Citigo
Along with its siblings the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up, the Citigo really is the perfect used city car. All versions will top 50mpg and it’ll be cheap to insure and service, too. You can spend less than £1,500 on one, but £5,000 will get you a late high-spec SE L model.
2. Suzuki Swift
Avoid the noisy but frugal diesel and the Swift is an excellent used buy. Look past the rather plasticky interior and you’ve got an exceptionally reliable supermini that even in petrol guise is frugal, especially if you find a mild hybrid. There’s even a Swift Sport hot hatch for those that like the faster things in life.
3. Ford Focus
The Ford Focus has proved for years that family cars needn’t be boring to drive, and this version in no exception. Look for a 1.6-litre diesel or 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol if economy is a concern, although larger engines are available. There are loads of trims out there, but Zetec should have all the toys you need.
4. Volkswagen Golf
Should you want something slightly classier than the Focus, there’s always the popular VW Golf. They can suffer from a few reliability issues as they approach middle age, so check your prospective purchase has been serviced regularly and avoid the DSG automatic gearbox. We’d be tempted by a 2.0 TDI GT.
5. Dacia Duster
Although they were one of the cheapest SUVs on sale when new, the Duster holds onto its value surprisingly well thanks to its reliability and no-nonsense attitude. Avoid entry-level Access trim as it’s painfully basic and opt for an Ambiance with Renault’s punchy 1.5-litre diesel instead.
6. Honda Accord
If you’re bored with flashy premium-badged stuff and just want honest, reliable and well-equipped family transport, the Honda Accord is well worth a look. The diesel is a punchy and frugal choice whilst those that prefer petrol are well served by the 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine.
7. Skoda Yeti
Based on simple VW technology, the Skoda Yeti is cheap to buy, reliable and perfect for family life. Although four-wheel drive is available, we suspect most will be best served by one of the front-wheel drive models such as the 1.2-litre TSI that blends reasonable performance and economy.
8. Vauxhall Insignia
It’s not glamourous, but the Insignia is great value on the second-hand market and available with strong yet frugal diesel engines, perfect for trundling up and down the motorway. Some reliability niggles have been reported, so make sure you’ve found yourself a well looked after example.
9. Jaguar XF
Don’t believe everything you read about Jaguar reliability, the first generation XF is a solid choice that undercuts the equivalent BMW. Even so, it drives at least as well as a 5 Series while the 3.0-litre V6 petrol we’d recommend is surprisingly frugal when driven gently.
10. Porsche Cayenne
Buying a 15-year-old plus Porsche SUV might seem like a risk, but choose carefully and it can be a trustworthy choice. That means avoiding cars with patchy or no service history and sticking to a well looked after V6 to keep bills a bit more palatable.