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Best cars

Best used cars under £10,000

We show you some of the best used cars for £10,000 or less

Best cars for under 10,000

Having £10,000 to spend on a used car is a pretty decent position to be in, because you’ve so many options to choose from. There are plenty of pretty recent or even nearly-new cars out there, or if you’re happy to drive something a little older, you may be surprised at just what your money will buy.

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Choosing a nearly-new model can be a great way of getting a higher specification than your budget would allow if you went for a brand-new car. You might also get the balance of the car’s original warranty and the reassurance of knowing that your car is almost as up-to-date as it possibly can be.

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Cars are constantly being updated and you’ll often find dealers selling older stock at discounted prices to make space for the very latest model. If you don’t mind missing out on a few new features or some subtly different styling, a £10,000 budget can often secure a real bargain.

It’s worth noting that £10,000 is a significant psychological price barrier – since a dealer knows that a four-digit price tag is a lot more alluring than one with five figures, you’ll find a lot of used cars advertised at £9,995. There may still be room for negotiation, too – it’s all too tempting for a dealer to round a car up to that figure without making it look poor value. We can help you to drive the best bargain with our guide to getting the best deal.

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If you’re prepared to own something older, you’ll find some extremely appealing cars for a fraction of their cost when they were new. Be aware, though, that many larger cars have higher running costs, and the saving you make at purchase time may dwindle when maintenance and fuel bills are taken into account.

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As with any car purchase, it pays to be careful when buying a used car for £10,000 but you can be prepared by getting familiar with our used car buying checklist. If you have a different budget in mind, we also have guides for the best cars under £2,000, £3,000, £5,000 and £7,000. Why not check those out once you’ve read through our list of some of the best used cars for £10,000?

Hyundai Tucson Mk3 (2015-2020)

2018 Hyundai Tucson SUV - dynamic front 3/4 view

Car buyers absolutely love SUVs because of the way they mix rugged styling with family-friendly practicality and a high driving position. That means there are plenty on the used market, and the Hyundai Tucson should be near the top of your shopping list. All models come with digital radio, smartphone mirroring and auto headlights, while the Tucson scores well for space and versatility, and is reasonably economical.

There’s a broad choice of engines on the used market – many of them diesels – and a broad choice of specs, too. We’d recommend going for at least the SE spec as it adds parking sensors, climate control and heated front seats. 

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Despite the generosity of Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, most £10,000 Tucsons will now be of an age where they’re no longer covered. If your budget can stretch a little further, however, you won’t have to spend too much more to find an example with some residual warranty left.

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Read our review of the Mk3 Hyundai Tucson, or see what we think of the bold new Tucson.

Skoda Octavia Mk3 (2012-2020)

Skoda Octavia driving - silver

The Skoda Octavia is essentially a Volkswagen Golf with a bigger boot, more rear passenger space and an ever-so-slightly less luxurious interior. If you can live with that, you’ll see why we rate it as one of the best family cars you can buy. The boot of the hatchback version is a similar size to the Golf Estate’s boot, and there’s the even more versatile Skoda Octavia Estate if you need more space. Whichever spec you choose, all feature air-conditioning, Bluetooth and DAB radio, but the top-spec versions include plenty of luxuries like heated leather seats and adaptive cruise control.

The Octavia range also includes rugged Scout and sporty vRS models, and a £10,000 budget is enough to buy most models and trims. Low-mileage, post-facelift cars in well-equipped specs come in on budget, but the vRS models are older and have done more miles.

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Read our review of the Skoda Octavia or see what we think of the all-new Octavia hatchback and the latest sporty Octavia vRS

Ford Fiesta ST Mk2 (2013-2017)

Ford Fiesta ST 2013 front quarter

The previous Ford Fiesta ST is without doubt one of the most thrilling cars you can buy for £10,000. It was one of our very favourite hot hatchbacks of its day, and blew rivals like the Peugeot 208 GTi and Volkswagen Polo GTI completely out of the water. A firm ride and a dated interior are minor downsides, but you won’t care about either on a twisty B-road. Its 180bhp 1.6-litre engine is good for 0-62mph in under seven seconds, and flat out you’ll be doing almost 140mph.

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There are plenty of modified examples out there, but £10,000 can buy an unfettled, low-mileage car. We’d recommend getting at least an ST-2 (kit includes DAB radio, keyless start and more powerful headlights), while the budget will also get you an ST-3, which adds cruise control, climate control, automatic wipers and lights, and sat-nav.

Read our review of the Ford Fiesta ST Mk2 here.

Volkswagen Golf Mk7 (2012-2020)

The Volkswagen Golf hatchback is often the default choice for family car buyers because it’s such a talented all-rounder. Economical engines, decent space and practicality, solid reliability and an upmarket interior are all reasons why you might consider the Golf over rivals such as the Kia Ceed or SEAT Leon.

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The trim levels chopped and changed over the seven years of production, but £10,000 is enough to drive away in a well-specced model. SE includes cruise control, DAB radio and all-round electric windows, while Match models add sat nav, front fog lights and parking sensors. If you’d like exciting performance, very early examples of the sporty Volkswagen Golf GTI just about fall into this budget.

Read our review of the latest Volkswagen Golf here or check out our used VW Golf buying guide

Audi TT Mk2 (2006-2015)

The Audi TT is the oldest car on the list, which just goes to show how desirable it is. Unlike many sports cars, you really can drive the TT everyday, whether you go for one of the powerful petrol engines or the economical diesels. If you’re wanting a faster version, you’ll need to look out for early 3.2-litre V6 versions or TTS and TT RS cars.

Used Audi TT buying guide: 2006-2015 (Mk2)

With TTs, it doesn’t necessarily matter about the mileage as they all use tried-and-tested VW Group parts. However, make sure any potential purchase has a full service history, and that all maintenance has been carried out on time. There are plenty to choose from on online marketplace websites, so if you’re unsure about a particular car, walk away and check out another example.

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Click here to read our reviews of the new Audi TT Coupe, TT RS Coupe and TT Roadster convertible.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso/SpaceTourer Mk2 (2013-2022)

If you’re after a seven-seat family car, you might think you’ll need to compromise on style. The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (now renamed as the Grand C4 SpaceTourer) shows this doesn’t need to be the case, as it even ranks on our list of the best-looking cars on sale now. It’s not as fun-to-drive as a Ford S-MAX but that’s hardly a priority for most MPV buyers. Practicality is top-notch, though; you get acres of space in the front two rows of seats, and the middle row comprises three individual seats – each with their own ISOFIX mounting for child seats.

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It feels quite futuristic inside, thanks to the large digital information display and a central touchscreen, with nothing in front of the driver where you’d normally find an instrument cluster. Diesels are much more common than petrol models, and they’re better for lugging a fully loaded car. Many are high-spec Exclusive versions, and we’d recommend going for the 2.0-litre diesel if you can find one with a similar mileage/condition to a 1.6-litre engine.

Read our review of the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer here.

Mazda6 Tourer Mk3 (2012-2022)

Mazda6 Tourer

If you want a premium estate car with lots of space for £10,000, you’d probably look at the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant first. The Mazda6 Tourer is a good alternative, however. Provided you can live with an infotainment system that's not quite as slick as BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI systems, you’ll get an impressively upmarket car with around half the mileage of most equivalent BMWs and Audis.

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All trim levels of the 6 are well equipped, coming with goodies like sat nav, cruise control and parking sensors. Many original owners went straight to the Sport Nav near the top of the range, which also includes a Bose sound system, heated seats and a reversing camera. However, don’t discount the mid-spec SE-L Nav, as you’ll be able to get a low-mileage example for £10,000. Most come with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that is surprisingly powerful and pleasingly economical, and there are plenty of automatic versions available if you don’t want to change gears yourself.

Read our review of the Mazda6 Tourer here.

BMW 3 Series Mk6 (2011-2018)

However, it's in the corners where the BMW 3 Series really excels

For those that are swayed by the BMW badge, the previous-generation BMW 3 Series saloon is a good option for £10,000. You’ll typically pay a little more for the Touring estate than the saloon, but you can get a four-door model with decent mileage for the budget we have here. All should have digital radio, parking sensors and two-zone climate control, while higher-spec cars get extras such as cruise control and sat nav.

The 3 is excellent to drive, living up to BMW’s ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tag, and models on standard suspension are comfortable too. There’s an engine for every taste, from frugal diesels to super-powerful petrol engines, although our £10k budget will probably limit you to the more modest choices, and the range-topping M3 will be way out of reach. Of course, the boot opening isn’t as wide as the estate’s, but the boot is still very large at over 500 litres. Want an even plusher executive saloon? We found plenty of Audi A6 models with average mileage within budget.

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Read our review of the BMW 3 Series Mk6 here.

Renault Captur Mk1 (2013-2019)

Renault Captur mk1 facelift

The Renault Captur was one of the first small SUVs and continued to be popular until it was replaced in 2019. It combined the low running costs of the Renault Clio with the high driving position and practicality of an SUV, although the Clio is better to drive. The Captur’s petrol engines will suit anyone who mainly does short, urban journeys, while the diesel is good for higher-mileage drivers, and all of them fall within budget.

The Captur’s popularity means there are loads for sale, making it cheaper than most of its rivals on the used market, and we’d suggest hunting out a Dynamique Nav model or similar to get plenty of equipment for your money. If the Captur is a bit too small, the bigger Renault Kadjar is also widely available within our budget.

Read our review of the Renault Captur Mk1 here.

Toyota Prius Mk3 (2009-2015)

Since the Toyota Prius was launched at the end of the nineties, its role has changed somewhat. From its early beginnings as an alternative family car with a strong focus on low emissions and great fuel economy, the Prius has come to form the backbone of many urban taxi fleets, where operators love it for its low running costs and reliability. And there’s no reason private owners shouldn’t enjoy the same virtues.

Used Toyota Prius buying guide: 2009-2015 (Mk3)

The Prius drives rather differently to other family cars – the controls aren’t as immediate and responsive as a Ford Focus, for example – but it’s comfortable and makes fast motorway journeys effortless. For £10,000 you can buy a tidy example that’s escaped the grip of an Uber driver, although there are many higher-mileage cars out there that have seen service as minicabs. This isn’t necessarily an issue if maintenance has been kept up-to-date, but look out for signs of wear and tear.

For more used car choice, read our best used cars guide or see what you can get for £5,000.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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