Best cars for £10,000 or less

A £10k budget will get you a basic new car. It could also get you an amazing used one. Here are some best pre-owned cars in that bracket

For £10,000, you're starting to move into the realm of new car affordability, with a great range of base level hatchbacks and superminis. In fact, the Dacia Sandero hatchback still remains a bargain, coming in at under the magic £10k mark.

However, thanks to the phenomenon that is depreciation, you could also consider a greater spec of vehicle with the only drawbacks being age, mileage, maintenance, and the fact that someone has owned the car before you. It’s worth considering, right? 

All used cars in this price range should offer you a reasonable drive, with top-drawer economy and more reliability than you can shake a stick at. So, with an imaginary £10,000 in our pockets, we trawled the classifieds to see what a five-figure sum would get us if we were realistic.

For that money you can get your hands on all manner of exuberant used cars, although practical drivers will probably aim for a young, low mileage model in order to make the best use of their cash.

For those wanting a great drive, we found a 2007 Porsche Boxster S with 77,000 miles for just £9,700, while our list also includes a more practical Hyundai i30 hatchback that is barely run in having covered a measly 23,000 miles. And, don't forget Hyundai's generous five-year new car warranty means that the i30 will still have a few years of reassuring manufacturer cover.

Obviously a test drive and full inspection is a must with any used car, even if newer models are less likely to have developed faults or to have been exposed to poor maintenance. But with a clean service history and proper care, there shouldn’t be too much to fear when approaching the second-hand dealership.

With a bit of patience and intuition, you’ll be climbing into the driving seat of your brand new used wheels before you can say ‘half price hero’. The examples below prove that it is possible...

Scroll down to read more about our half-price heroes - all of which can all be bought for less than £10,000 - or see what's available in these other price brackets...

Kia Sportage 

  • Model: 1, 1.6 GDi
  • Year/reg: 2016/66
  • Mileage: 18,000 
  • Price: £10,000

Current-generation Kia Sportages just sneak into our £10,000 bracket, but the only model to do so is likely to have the modest 1 spec, and be an early 2016 car. 

Buyers who are after more equipment might prefer to opt for a later, higher-spec variant of the previous car, but the latest Sportage stays true to the Korean brand’s relentless improvements in quality. Plus you’ll still benefit from the larger part of Kia’s remarkable seven-year warranty. 

The naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine is a little slow, but it does the job, although the turbo-petrol and diesel models are better bets. All Sportages are practical and easy to drive, though.

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

Nissan X-Trail 

  • Model: 1.6 DCI Acenta
  • Year/reg: 2016/66
  • Mileage: 46,000 
  • Price: £10,000

Nissan’s seven-seat take on the wildly popular Qashqai has many of the same benefits as its smaller counterpart, and our ten-grand budget should be enough to nail down an Acenta model on a 66 plate with the 1.6 dCi diesel unit. 

It’s a seven-seater in the same way Nissan’s GT-R is a four-seater; the rear pews are “occasional”, but they should be useful enough for small children, and fold down flat to maximise boot space. 

The X-Trail’s not a hugely exciting car inside or out, but it is well equipped, and comfortable on the road, while the diesel engine provides a good balance of performance and economy.

Check the latest prices for used Nissan X-Trail models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Volkswagen Passat Estate 

  • Model: 1.6 TDI SE Technology
  • Year/reg: 2016/66
  • Mileage: 53,000 
  • Price: £9,995

Family estate cars like the Passat may not be as popular as they once were, but they’re no less suited to the business of moving people, pets and stuff than they’ve ever been. VW’s eighth-generation Passat Estate offers 650 litres of space with the rear seats up (35 litres more than an equivalent Tiguan SUV) and 1,780 litres seats-down, while every passenger gets plenty of room to stretch in the high-quality cabin, too. 

The 1.6 TDI won’t move you fast but it’ll move you far thanks to near-50mpg economy, while the Passat’s comfortable ride quality can be appreciated by all.

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

Porsche Boxster 

  • Model: 987 3.4 S
  • Year/reg: 2007/07
  • Mileage: 77,000 
  • Price: £9,700

The popularity of the Porsche Boxster helped to save the company back in the nineties, but it also means the market is awash with used examples. 

Less than £10,000 will comfortably get a first-generation ‘986’ Boxster, but we’d be tempted to find a tidy 987-generation car, which arrived post-2005. Its sleeker styling, higher-quality cabin and extra performance are all welcome, but go in with your eyes open. Boxsters of this era can suffer from intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing failure and a leaking rear main seal (RMS). Early diagnosis can prevent catastrophic problems, but both can be costly to fix on a relatively affordable car.

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

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

  • Model: 1.6 E-HDI Exclusive Plus
  • Year/reg: 2015/15
  • Mileage: 62,000 
  • Price: £9,000

Trust Citroen to give the humble MPV a radical, futuristic style. The Grand C4 Picasso is one of the funkiest-looking seven-seaters. That theme continues inside thanks to a centrally mounted instrument display and high levels of kit, even if a few scratchy materials shatter the illusion.

Visibility is fantastic thanks to a split-A-pillar design that puts extra windows where you’d normally be staring at a thick panel, and there’s plenty of space, as well as a sliding middle row. 

The futuristic vibes continue with a relaxed driving experience that’s at odds with some rivals’. Do check the electrics and AdBlue system work, though.

Check the latest prices for used Citroen Grand C4 Picasso models on our sister site BuyaCar...

Renault Captur

  • Model: 0.9 TCe Iconic
  • Year/reg: 2018/18
  • Mileage: 28,000 
  • Price: £8,800

Renault launched a new Captur in 2019, so late first-generation cars like this are now conspicuous bargains. They were popular when new, too, which means there’s plenty of choice, with this mid-spec 0.9 TCe Iconic being pretty typical of what you’ll find. 

This 89bhp variant should have enough performance for most owners’ needs, despite an on-paper 0-62mph time of 13.1 seconds. The Iconic trim level brings with it some useful toys, such as satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and cruise control. Light controls and a supple ride make it a doddle to drive, and in the right colour combination the Captur still looks great, too.

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

Ford Fiesta 

  • Model: 1.0 EcoBoost 99bhp
  • Year/reg: 2017/17
  • Mileage: 41,000 
  • Price: £8,500

Year after year, Britain’s car buyers have made Ford’s Fiesta a top seller. The most recent customers have enjoyed the best Fiesta yet, and a few years down the line it makes a cracking used buy too. 

A Zetec in 99bhp EcoBoost form is definitely the pick of the bunch. The 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder has a great mix of performance (0-60mph in 10.3sec) and economy (mid-40s mpg is well within reach), while Zetec spec adds alloys, Apple CarPlay and Ford’s heated windscreen. At only three years old, the nimble and engaging chassis should feel as fresh as it did when new, too.

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

Hyundai i30 

  • Model: T-GDI 1.0 SE
  • Year/reg: 2018/18
  • Mileage: 23,000 
  • Price: £8,200

The progress Hyundai and sister company Kia have made over the years is remarkable, and in few places is this quite as apparent as it is in each firm’s bread-and-butter Ford Focus and VW Golf rival. 

However, the competitive pricing that Hyundai is known for has never gone away, which is why you can get a two-year-old i30 for just over eight grand. The handsome styling is backed up by a fine driving experience and good performance from the turbocharged thee-cylinder engine, but perhaps the best part for used buyers is that a 2018 car will have three years of Hyundai’s warranty left, provided the car has been serviced according to schedule.

Check the latest prices for used Hyundai i30 models on our sister site BuyaCar...

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