Top 3 comfortable used cars for £15,000
“Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for a capable and comfortable long-distance cruiser”
If your annual mileage is high, then a capable and comfortable cruiser could be the best choice of car for you. A cruiser should be able to rack up the miles without fuss, ensuring both driver and passengers arrive at their destination as relaxed as possible.
To be capable of covering long distances in comfort, a car must be relaxing to drive, with a well built cabin that insulates you from the outside world. Wind, tyre and engine noise should all be low at motorway speeds. It must also have comfortable, adjustable seats, and an adjustable steering column to ensure that you can get comfortable.
As comfort is a priority, you’ll want a car with suspension that is tailored for comfort rather than outright agility. The right car should be able to absorb road imperfections without transmitting them into the cabin, while also offering composed handling. Avoid cars specced with the largest alloy wheels and low profile tyres, as smaller wheels and a thicker sidewall will always provide a more refined ride and improved comfort.
Finally, ensure you choose a car with an engine and gearbox combination that is capable of cruising comfortably at motorway speeds. A suitable engine should be capable of relaxed cruising and fuss-free overtaking when required. The choice of gearbox is equally important; most manual and automatic gearboxes with six gears or more allow an engine to cruise at low-revs, ensuring serene motorway trips. Fuel economy is a big consideration if you cover long distances too.
For £15,000, there are a lot of cars available that meet the above criteria. Here we focus on more recent models, including an SUV, hatchback and an MPV that all offer masses of comfort, strong reliability and good fuel economy.
Top 3 used comfortable cruisers for £15,000
Kia Sorento: The driver’s choice
For: Tough, reliable, practical and affordableAgainst: Not much refinement or premium appeal
The second-generation Sorento isn’t quite the mainstream high-quality Kia model we know today, but it’s not without its charms, and the 45,000-mile, £14,999 13-plate KX-2 2.2-litre diesel we found is a lot of car for the money. This is a large and comfortable seven-seat SUV.
Every version is all-wheel drive and has a 2.2-litre diesel engine, which pulls well but isn’t the most refined or economical unit. KX-2 spec adds privacy glass, leather, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control and cruise control.
The Sorento’s cabin is slightly revealing of Kia’s budget status around the turn of the decade. Fit and finish are decent, but the material quality and design are nothing to shout about. It’s robust and should be durable, though.
Under the bonnet is a chain-driven diesel, so there isn’t a cambelt to worry about replacing. The Mk2 Sorento didn’t appear in our Driver Power 2018 owner satisfaction survey, but Kia tends to fare favourably as a brand, and the maker’s scores in our poll suggest that most owners are happy.
Volkswagen Golf: The stylish choice
For: Solid build quality and driving characteristicsAgainst: Not the cheapest family hatchback
Volkswagen’s Golf has many talents, and specced correctly, this is one of the most cosseting family hatches money can buy. Aim for a car on 15 or 16-inch wheels, like the 13,000-mile, 66-plate Match edition our search unearthed for £13,750, and you’re in business.
Match trim is a mid-range spec, but there’s a decent amount of kit on offer, with a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen fitted as standard. The Golf is solid to drive, although for the money you can get a bigger car than this.
The Golf has always been a high-quality model and a glance inside confirms this. It features decent materials and the switchgear layout is sensible, if unexciting. It boasts plenty of adjustability, too, so a good driving position is easy to find.
Seventh-generation Golf did very well in the Driver Power new car survey last year, finishing a more-than-respectable 18th overall, with 92 per cent of respondents reporting no issue with their cars. Electrical faults were the most common failures for those owners who did have problems, however.
Citroen C4 Picasso: The spacious choice
For: Huge space, nearly new examples for the moneyAgainst: Diesel engine is low on performance
MPVs have lost favour with British car buyers in a fairly spectacular way, but the Citroen C4 Picasso is such a convincing, spacious and stylish take on the format that it’s still a car we enthusiastically recommend.
An interesting quirk resulting from the lack of demand for MPVs is that some great deals can be had on the used market. Countless nearly new C4 Picassos are available within your budget, such as an 1,800-mile 17-plate Feel model, with a 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, for £14,595.
All C4 Picassos boast an impressive and spacious interior. The dashboard has been designed with flair, the quality of the plastics used is good and the central infotainment screen is great as well. There’s little to dislike in the Citroen’s cabin.
While the C4 Picasso hasn’t featured in any recent Driver Power surveys, Citroen placed a disappointing 25th out of 26 manufacturers in last year’s new car poll. You’ll be able to pick one up second-hand and still in warranty, such as our 17-plate find, and this will bring added reassurance.
Now take a look at our round-up of the best new cars for motorway travel...