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Best cars for £2,000 or less

A tight budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Here are some great used cars available for £2,000 or less

It’s a sad but true fact that cars, both brand-new and used, are becoming more and more expensive. However, search hard enough and you can still find some excellent bargains. To make your low cost used car search as easy as possible, our experts have rounded up the very best cars for £2,000 or less right here.

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There’s plenty of variety up for grabs, too, with everything from a small city car to a mighty seven-seater all making an appearance on this list. You won’t be left wanting for quality, either, as these cars are still highly praised by our road-testing team, they will just have a few miles on the clock. 

Of course, as with any used car, any potential purchase will need a thorough inspection. There are some great deals out there, but there are also plenty of cheap cars that are way past their prime and cheap for a good reason.

With the right amount of caution and research, though, you can get hold of a great car for less than the deposit on a brand-new model.

The best cars for £2,000 or less

Read on to find the best used car bargains for a £2,000 budget.

Ford Mondeo Mk3

  • Best estate for under £2,000
  • We found: 2.0 TDCi Zetec, 2009, 92k miles for £1,995
  • Years produced: 2007-2015
  • Engines available: 1.6, 1.6T, 2.0, 2.3, 2.5 petrol, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 diesel
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By the time the third-generation Ford Mondeo arrived in 2007, Ford’s rep special was selling in tiny numbers compared with the Mk1. But there was still a huge range, with lots of engines, transmissions and trims, plus three bodystyles. 

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By this point the Mondeo was a big car compared with its predecessors and it’s not as much fun to drive as a result. But for two grand you can bag a truly accomplished family holdall that’s safe, well equipped, refined and cheap to run into the bargain.

ProsCons
Plenty to buyThis is a big car
Carvernous load bayPoor all-round visibility

Peugeot 107 Mk1

  • Best city car for under £2,000
  • We found: 1.0 Urban, 2009, 76k miles for £1,995
  • Years produced: 2005-2014
  • Engines available: 1.0 petrol

Mechanically similar to the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, the Peugeot 107 is more plentiful in the classifieds than its siblings, but purchase and running costs are much the same for all three. Small and light, all are fun to drive and ultra-cheap to run, thanks to replacement parts costing peanuts. 

Launched almost two decades ago, the 107 is dated in most ways, but that counts in its favour because its simplicity means reliability is much better thanks to there being so little to go wrong. Just be sure to buy a car with a manual gearbox, and not the alternative 2-Tronic automatic.

ProsCons
Cheap to runPoor crash safety
Fun to driveBuilt cheaply

Skoda Octavia Mk2

  • Best family car for under £2,000
  • We found: 1.9 TDI Elegance, 2008, 100k miles for £1,995
  • Years produced: 2004-2013
  • Engines available: 1.2T, 1.4, 1.4T, 1.6, 1.8T, 2.0T petrol, 1.6, 1.9, 2.0 diesel
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For years, taxi drivers and the police have run the Skoda Octavia because of their affordability, reliability and usability. When high-mileage users like these put their faith in a car, you know it’s a good bet. 

The Mk2 Octavia still looks fairly modern today, despite having arrived two decades ago. Most have covered huge mileages, but the engines are tough, especially the 1.9 TDI diesel. The manual gearboxes last well and while the DSG is slick, reliability isn’t quite so good. But buy a cherished Octavia, look after it, and it should give years of faithful service.

ProsCons
Very practicalDynamically so-so
Wide model rangeMany are neglected

Suzuki Swift Mk5

  • Best supermini for under £2,000
  • We found: ​​1.5 GLX, 2006, 95k miles for £1,795
  • Years produced: 2005-2010
  • Engines available: 1.3, 1.5, 1.6 petrol, 1.3 diesel

The Suzuki Swift was originally added to the brand's price lists in the mid-eighties, but this Mk5 model is the edition that put the slightly left-field supermini on the map. 

The fifth-generation Swift came only as a five-door hatchback in regular guise, but the 125bhp 1.6-litre Swift Sport had just three doors, and that’s the pick of the bunch if you favour fun over practicality. These start at £2,500, unless you find a high-mileage example – but don’t be fazed by taking on one of these because the Swift has an excellent reliability record, helped by generally being bought by fastidious older drivers.

ProsCons
Roomy cabinSmall boot
Excellent reliabilityNoisy at high speed

Toyota RAV2 Mk2

  • Best SUV for under £2,000
  • We found: 2.0 D-4D XT3, 2005, 115k miles for £1,975
  • Years produced: 2000-2006
  • Engines available: 1.8, 2.0 petrol, 2.0 diesel
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The original Toyota RAV4 was the first mini-SUV that was nearly as good to drive as a regular small car. Plus, being a Toyota it was also dependable, if a little costly to buy as a new car. 

The Mk2 provided more of the same, but was better to drive and had a more grown-up interior. There was also a diesel engine for the first time, and this 2.0 D-4D unit powers about half of the RAV4s for sale. In comparison, the petrol engines feel lacklustre and tend to use oil, which is why we’d take the diesel route and keep a lid on costs.

ProsCons
Capable off-roadMost are high mileage
Economical and reliableScarce on the used market

Vauxhall Zafira Mk2

  • Best seven-seater for under £2,000
  • We found: 1.6 Exclusiv, 2008, 85k miles for £1,995
  • Years produced: 2005-2012
  • Engines available: 1.6, 1.8, 2.0T, 2.2 petrol, 1.7, 1.9 diesel

Vauxhall broke new ground with the Zafira, the first compact seven-seat MPV. With its brilliant Flex7 seating, you simply fold rows two and three into the floor to create up to 1,820 litres of carrying capacity. The third row is best for children, but it will take adults if they’re not too tall. 

Avoid the base cars and kit levels are good, but build quality is patchy, so check the electrics work, and beware automatic transmissions that are about to expire.

ProsCons
Readily availableBuilt down to a price
Supremely practicalLacklustre to drive

Best cars for £2,000 or less

Buying Advice

“You can’t be quite as picky at this price as with a bigger budget, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great bargains to be had. Be diligent, and this is as close to free motoring as you’ll get.” - current affairs and features editor Chris Rosamond.

Now take a look at the rest of our used car superstars… 

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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