Top 3 used easy-to-drive cars for £15,000
“Dear Carbuyer, I have mobility problems and want to spend £15,000 on an easy-to-drive hatchback or small SUV. Any ideas?”
Hatchbacks have long been a popular choice for motorists in the UK thanks to their practical, yet compact dimensions that make them easy to manoeuvre and park. Small SUVs build on this ethos by combining the versatility of the classic hatchback with the high driving position and comfort of an SUV. Any of these used hatchbacks or small SUVs could appeal to those with mobility issues, and their price second-hand makes them even more appealing.
A budget of £15,000 should be healthy enough to give you a choice between some real contenders, and they needn’t be bland and boring. Some come with the convenience of Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility, which makes it simpler than ever to connect your smartphone, while others include some novel features to improve practicality.
All three of our favourite easy-to-drive used cars tick many boxes for those with mobility issues, although some will appeal more than others depending on your priorities. Read on for the low-down on each of our recommendations.
The comfy choice: Citroen C3 Aircross
For: Comfortable and refined, newest model of this trio
Against: Some so-so cabin plastics, imprecise manual gearbox
The Citroen C3 Aircross doesn’t just look the part, this funky, small, SUV is competent in nearly all areas. It’s comfortable on poor road surfaces due to its soft suspension, yet it settles down well on a cruise, offering impressive refinement with nicely suppressed road and wind noise.
Light steering makes it easy to manoeuvre, and while the manual gearbox is okay it’s a little imprecise, so the automatic may appeal more to some. Just under £14,700 buys a 12,900-mile, 19-plate C3 Aircross 1.2-litre PureTech Flair auto (109bhp, 49.6mpg, 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds).
The Aircross’ interior looks quite stylish and feels well made, yet there are still a fair few scratchy plastics to contend with.
The infotainment system works well, while standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make life even easier. There is also a good amount of space in the rear seats for passengers, but it’s worth noting that the C3 Aircross’ optional panoramic sunroof does have an impact on headroom.
The boot offers a decent 410 litres of space normally; if you need more room, just slide the rear seats forwards and the capacity increases to 510 litres, significantly more than you’ll find in the Honda Jazz or Renault Captur.
The practical choice: Honda Jazz
For: Compact size with strong practicality, good quality
Against: Old-hat infotainment, CVT automatic gearbox is noisy
With a great reputation for reliability, practicality, light controls and good visibility, the previous-generation Honda Jazz makes a great case for itself as an easy-to-drive hatch.
The standard 1.3-litre engine isn’t quick, but it’s perfectly adequate for getting from A to B. The manual transmission is slick, while the CVT auto is smooth and requires less effort – however, the CVT can send the revs rising noisily under acceleration.
For £14,680, you can have a 20-plate Jazz 1.3 i-VTEC CVT SE (101bhp, 60.1mpg, 0-60mph in 11.8 seconds) that’s covered only 3,000 miles.
The Jazz has a neat and inoffensive dash design, which emphasises ease of use. Build quality is good, but while most of the plastics are reasonable, some of the ones lower down feel cheap to the touch.
Honda’s infotainment system was never a strong suit, and that’s even more true today. One highlight of the Jazz’s interior, however, are its ‘Magic Seats’, which are impressively versatile. These rear seats can be folded up, cinema-style, allowing you to put tall items like pot plants on the floor, while folding them flat increases the Japanese hatchback’s boot capacity from 354 to 1,314 litres.
The do-it-all choice: Renault Captur
For: Lots of room for rear passengers, light controls
Against: Uninspiring to drive and could be comfier
As with its rivals here, the previous-generation Captur has light steering and is easy to drive around town. It’s perfectly adept on the open road, too, even if it doesn’t feel quite as refined as the C3, which is a more recent car.
The Captur is comfy, but doesn’t deal with potholes as well as the Citroen. The 1.5-litre diesel is economical, yet the petrols are more refined. While the optional automatic gearbox is a little slow to respond, it’s better than the Jazz’s CVT unit. A 19-plate, 14,600-mile Captur 1.5 dCi 90 auto (89bhp, 53.3mpg, 0-62mph in 13.8 seconds) Iconic was on sale for £14,000.
The Renault Captur’s cabin is certainly smart enough and logically laid out, but the design is starting to show its age a little.
This model makes good use of its relatively small dimensions; there’s a decent amount of rear head and legroom for passengers travelling in the back. As with the C3 Aircross, the rear seats can be slid backwards and forwards, although boot space isn’t as competitive, at 377 to 435 litres.
One useful feature is that the seat covers can be unzipped and removed, making it far easier to wash them, or indeed change them for new ones. As with the Jazz, the infotainment system fitted in the Captur is a little behind the curve today.
Carbuyer’s choice as picked by content editor Charlie Harvey
While the Citroen C3 Aircross may come with a better infotainment setup than its rivals and the Renault Captur is arguably the most attractive of the three to look at, given its reputation for reliability and practicality, the Honda Jazz is our pick. These aspects mean that not only should the Jazz be easy to drive, it should prove to be easy to live with in the long run too. Some versions of the Jazz were also offered with a more fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrain, so it can also tick the box if this is on your priority list, too.
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