Best cars for £20,000 or less

A budget of £20k will get you a good new car, but it could land you a brilliant used one. Here are the best used cars in that bracket

Premium sports car, luxury saloon, roadster, hybrid, even an electric car - with £20k as a budget you’ll be able to pick from a vast selection of desirable used cars. All the choice makes finding the right car that much trickier, of course, but we’re here to help with our selection of the best used cars for under £20,000. 

If you’re seeking thrills, you could do much worse than choosing a 997-generation Porsche 911. We found a 55k-mile example for just £19,500, which should give you enough change to afford the next service.  

What about a luxury limousine that isn’t a Mercedes S-Class? The Maserati Quattroporte we found for £19,950 will ensure you’re travelling in comfort and style - accompanied by a fantastic V8-soundtrack. There are lots of more middle-of-the-road machines in our list below too from the handsome and practical Volvo V90 to a stylish BMW i3 electric car.

Despite some of our choices being only a few years old, a test drive and thorough inspection is strongly advised to make sure there are no nasty surprises in store. This is especially true with the more premium models listed as any replacement parts or repairs needed will be that bit more expensive. 

Scroll down to read more about our half-price heroes - all of which can be bought for less than £20,000 - or alternatively discover what's out there in these other price brackets...

Volvo V90

  • We found: 2.0 D5 AWD R-Design Pro (2017/17, 48k miles)
  • Price new: £49,855
  • Price used: £17,750
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 232bhp
  • Economy: 43.5mpg 
  • CO2: 129g/km 
  • Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2017)

Grace, pace and space. No, not from a Jaguar, but the hugely desirable V90. One of the first models from the firm following its Chinese takeover, this versatile estate is also one of its best. 

It’s not as big as Volvo’s past load luggers, but with a fair 560-litre boot (1,526 litres with the seats folded), you certainly won’t have to leave the kitchen sink behind. Yet this utility doesn’t come at the expense of style, inside or out, while the V90 features the most comfortable seats in the business. There’s loads of kit too, including an intuitive tablet-style touchscreen. 

On the move, refinement is the order of the day, with a plush ride and a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic. Yet with 232bhp, the V90 is no slouch in the space race.  Not only is it great value, strong fuel economy and low emissions mean the V90 is also cost-effective to run. 

Check the latest prices for used Volvo V90 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Porsche Panamera

  • We found: 3.0 Diesel V6 Tiptronic S (2011/11, 62k miles)
  • Price new: £62,189
  • Price used: £17,500
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 247bhp  
  • Economy: 43.5mpg  
  • CO2: 172g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

What do you get when you mix a sports car with a luxury saloon? The Porsche Panamera. Combining the German firm’s high performance know-how with impressive comfort and refinement, it’s as thrilling for drivers as it is relaxing for passengers. It’s a sensible choice too, with a versatile hatchback layout and top-notch build quality. 

Porsche purists are sure to be up in arms about the diesel engine under the bonnet, but the fast and frugal V6 is arguably the pick of the line-up, because it delivers 0-62mph in a rapid 6.8 seconds and around 40mpg at the pumps. With prices starting at around £17,000, the Panamera is a bit of a bargain to boot.

Check the latest prices for used Porsche models on our sister site BuyaCar...

BMW i3

  • We found: Range Extender (2016/66, 28k miles)
  • Price new: £35,480
  • Price used: £17,595
  • Engine: 0.65-l 2cyl/e-motor, 168bhp  
  • Economy: 471mpg  
  • CO2: 12g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

BMW updated the i3 in 2016, so even the Range Extender model got a 33kWh battery pack. This gave an all-electric range of about 150 miles, with fairly rapid recharge times, while a small petrol engine acts as a generator, so range anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.

The ride is a bit firm, but the i3 is a funky car that was ahead of its time. With up to 471mpg possible if you plug-in often, at this price it’s a fantastic economy-focused buy.

Check the latest prices for used BMW i3 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Maserati Quattroporte

  • We found: 4.2 V8 (2010/10, 40k miles)
  • Price new: £80,275
  • Price used: £19.950
  • Engine: 4.2-litre V8, 400bhp  
  • Economy: 19.2mpg  
  • CO2: 345g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

Is there a better-looking luxury limo than the Quattroporte? If you find German offerings a little sensible, then Italy’s finest four-door has to be on your shortlist. It can’t match a Mercedes S-Class for tech, but it compensates with a flamboyant cabin and a glorious V8. 

A decade ago a Quattroporte would have cost £80,000, but today they’re a quarter of that. Just be sure to budget for dampers – replacement SkyHook units are pricey.

Check the latest prices for used Maserati models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Volkswagen Passat

  • We found: 2.0 BiTDI R-Line 4MOTION DSG (2016/16, 34k miles)
  • Price new: £35,850
  • Price used: £15,000
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 237bhp  
  • Economy: 51.4mpg  
  • CO2: 144g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2014)

As an all-round family car, the Passat is hard to fault. It’s relaxing to drive, the cabin is vast, and it looks expensive, yet it’s subtle enough to not be too attention-seeking. 

The 2.0 BiTDI was a twin-turbo 237bhp range topper. Combined with a twin-clutch auto, four-wheel drive and sporty R-Line trim, the Passat offers cut-price executive appeal at £15k. It’s a steal, considering someone paid £35,850 for it new just five years ago.

Check the latest prices for used Volkswagen Passat models on our sister site BuyaCar...

BMW 6 Series Convertible

  • We found: 3.0 640i M Sport (2015/65, 52k miles)
  • Price new: £68,225
  • Price used: £19,950
  • Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 320bhp  
  • Economy: 35.8mpg  
  • CO2: 184g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

There are few classier ways to spend 20 grand than on a second- hand 6 Series Convertible. As BMW’s flagship drop-top of the time, it offered well heeled buyers style, pace and refinement in a handsome four-seat package. The fabric hood folds away electrically in just 19 seconds to reveal a smart, spacious cabin that offers up solid build quality and a great infotainment system. 

While diesel versions make great long-distance tourers, our choice is the 640i and its petrol-powered 3.0-litre straight-six; examples with around 50,000 miles on the clock fall just within budget at this price level.

Check the latest prices for used BMW models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Porsche 911 (997)

  • We found: Carrera (2007/56, 55k miles)
  • Price new: £61,675
  • Price used: £19,500
  • Engine: 3.6-litre 6cyl, 325bhp
  • Economy: 25.7mpg  
  • CO2: 266g/km 
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

While the first water-cooled 911 caused some horrified reactions from die-hard Porsche fans, people had warmed to the idea by the 997 generation. Plus the return to more classical styling means the 997 is sure to go down as one of the best 911s ever.

It’s a brilliant, well-rounded performance car and, while the special GT3 and RS models do command incredible values, the more basic Carrera and S variants are still temptingly attainable. With values highly unlikely to dip much lower any time soon, our advice is to grab one now before the 997 attains modern classic status.

Check the latest prices for used Porsche models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Bentley Continental Flying Spur

  • We found: 6.0 W12 (2006/56, 55k miles)
  • Price new: £133,255
  • Price used: £19,000
  • Engine: 6.0-litre W12, 552bhp  
  • Economy: 17.0mpg  
  • CO2: 396g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

If you want luxury for less, then take a look at the original Flying Spur. Savage depreciation means that this stately saloon now costs less than an entry-level Vauxhall Insignia

Powered by Bentley’s famous 6.0-litre W12 the Flying Spur offers refined performance, while inside it blends craftsmanship with a long list of standard kit. These qualities don’t come cheap – you’ll struggle to crack 15mpg – but few limos are as charismatic.

Check the latest prices for used Bentley models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Fiat Fullback

  • We found: 2.4D LX Auto (2016/66, 46k miles)
  • Price new: £31,384
  • Price used: £15,594
  • Engine: 2.4-litre 4cyl, 178bhp  
  • Economy: 39.8mpg  
  • CO2: 186g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2015)

Rugged and ready for anything, the Fullback is as at home on a building site as it is on the school run. Look past the Fiat badges and you’ll find a Mitsubishi L200, so you get the same utility and a roomy interior that matches most executive saloons for kit. 

The torquey diesel engine provides plenty of pulling power and is frugal, too, while off-road the Fullback will tackle terrain that’d make a mountain goat think twice. 

Check the latest prices for used Fiat Fullback models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Land Rover Discovery 4

  • We found: 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech (2015/64, 83k miles)
  • Price new: £46,860
  • Price used: £16,750
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 255bhp  
  • Economy: 36.7mpg  
  • CO2: 184g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2009)

The Discovery 4 is hugely sought after among used SUVs buyers, and with good reason. Taking the tried and tested mechanicals of its predecessor, the Mk4 adds an extra gloss of sophistication.

Yet it manages this without compromising on its greatest strengths: a roomy seven-seat cabin, relaxing on-road manners and unbeatable off-road ability. It’s a lot of car for the cash – just budget for a warranty, too.

Check the latest prices for used Land Rover Discovery 4 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

TVR Cerbera

  • We found: 4.0 Speed Six (1999/V, 41k miles)
  • Price new: £41,155
  • Price used: £17,995
  • Engine: 4.0-litre 6cyl, 350bhp  
  • Economy: 17.7mpg  
  • CO2: N/A  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

If you want a sports car that stands out, look no further than the stunning Cerbera. This wild two-plus-two coupé looks spectacular, while its snarling straight-six and lively rear-wheel-drive handling will put a smile on your face. 

TVRs were notoriously unreliable, but most niggles have since been solved by dedicated owners, so it’s more reliable than you’d think. And with prices unlikely to sink any lower, this brawny machine could be a great investment.

Check the latest prices for used TVR models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Audi Q7 

  • We found: 3.0 TDI S line (2007/07, 80k miles, £18,500)
  • Price new: £41,180
  • Price used: £18,500
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 237bhp  
  • Economy: 27.0mpg  
  • CO2: 279g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2006)

Prices for the Q7 were north of 40 grand in 2007, but this tech-laden, seven-seat SUV is barely a quarter of that now. Few cars can carry so many in such comfort, the V6 diesel is strong and smooth, and the interior feels solid. 

Before you buy, check that all of the electronics work – there are a lot in the Q7 – while damp carpets could be a symptom of blocked sunroof drain holes. Be sure to factor fuel and tyre costs into your budget.

Check the latest prices for used Audi Q7 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Mercedes A 45 AMG

  • We found: A 45 AMG (2013/13, 61k miles)
  • Price new: £38,015
  • Price used: £18,000
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 355bhp
  • Economy: 40.9mpg  
  • CO2: 161g/km 
  • Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2012)

It’s hard to think of another car in this price band that can cover ground with such phenomenal pace as the A 45 AMG. Its 355bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine sends power to all four wheels, and the resulting performance leaves most other hot hatches in its wake. 

But there’s more to the A 45 than just its blistering 4.6-second 0-62mph time. Despite being the entry point to the AMG division line-up, the A 45 still has the premium cabin and the smart tech that you’d expect from the brand. Just make sure you sniff out an example that’s been well cared for – a comprehensive service history is desirable.

Check the latest prices for used Mercedes A-Class models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Jaguar XJ

  • We found: 3.0 TDV6 Premium Luxury (2014/14, 61k miles)
  • Price new: £60,490
  • Price used: £16,250
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 271bhp  
  • Economy: 46.3mpg  
  • CO2: 159g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: N/A

With the all-electric replacement scrapped, there’s never been a better time to buy a used XJ. With its cosseting interior, engaging driving dynamics and surprisingly affordable running costs, the boldly styled big cat has all the requirements of a luxury limousine covered.

Better still, as with all large saloons, it suffers from hefty depreciation, so you can pick up a mint example for less than a quarter of its new price. There are plenty to choose from, but the effortless V6 diesel serves up the best blend of performance and economy, while Premium Luxury trim has all the kit, including wall-to-wall leather trim and a panoramic glass roof.

Check the latest prices for used Jaguar models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Lexus IS 300h

  • We found: 2.5 Sport (2016/16, 47k miles, £16,500)
  • Price new: £33,865
  • Price used: £16,500
  • Engine: 2.5l 4cyl/e-motor, 223bhp  
  • Economy: 61.4mpg  
  • CO2: 109g/km  
  • Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2013)

Five years ago, a brand-new Lexus IS 300h would have set you back £33,865. Now, it’s possible to bag this compact executive saloon for a shade under half of that. 

It’s a leftfield choice, thanks to its petrol- electric powertrain, and it’ll make the most sense for drivers who spend the bulk of their time in town. What’s more, the IS is a regular top 10 finisher in our annual Driver Power surveys, so reliability should be assured.

Check the latest prices for used Lexus IS models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Recommended

Best new car deals 2021
Best new car deals 2021
Best cars & vans

Best new car deals 2021

Thinking of buying a new model? Check out our list of the best new car deals right now
16 Jul 2021
Best car leasing deals 2021
Best car leasing deals - header
News

Best car leasing deals 2021

Car leasing is one of the cheapest ways to drive around in a brand new motor, and we’ve picked out some of the best new car leasing deals available ri…
12 Jul 2021
Mercedes-Benz A250 AMG Line: Deal of the Week
DotW Mercedes A250 - Offside front
Sponsored

Mercedes-Benz A250 AMG Line: Deal of the Week

This 2020 2.0-litre petrol Mercedes A250 in AMG Line trim is the BuyaCar Deal of the Week
14 May 2021
Best cars for £15,000 or less
Best cars for under £15,000
Best cars & vans

Best cars for £15,000 or less

Spending around £15k will get you a good new car, but it could land you a brilliant used one. Here are the best used cars for that budget...
13 Apr 2021

Most Popular

New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal
Vauxhall Crossland Griffin
Vauxhall Crossland

New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal

The new Vauxhall Crossland Griffin undercuts the SE on price, but adds more equipment
26 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021