Best used cars for £10,000
Are you looking for an affordable and efficient used car for under £10,000? Our team of second-hand car experts have searched heycar to find the best used cars you can buy right now.
Each of these models has been hand-picked because they have a spacious interior, good fuel economy and excellent ride comfort. This top 10 list includes some of the UK’s best-selling cars, including the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. All of these cars are cheap to run with advertised fuel economy on some models peaking at 60+mpg.
In some cases, like the Kia Picanto, you’ll also get a long manufacturer warranty with the car, plus the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. Read on to find the best petrol and diesel used cars you can buy right now.
If you're looking for something practical, why not take a look at our guides to the best large crossovers for £10,000, our best estates for £10,000 and our pick of the best MPVs for £10,000? We also have suggestions for the best family cars for £10,000.
Year launched: 2017
Cheap to run, easy to drive and capable of carrying four adults in snug comfort, the Ford Fiesta is one of the UK’s most-popular budget used cars. All versions are smartly styled and generously equipped. If you need a cheap and comfortable small hatch, the Fiesta will not disappoint you.
A budget of around £10,000 will get you a nearly new Fiesta with Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. It comes in 100PS, 125PS and 140PS outputs and all are good on fuel and rewarding to drive. In fact, when it comes to road handling, we rate the Fiesta as one of the best in the small hatch class. Its sharp steering and zesty turbocharged engine is a lot of fun, especially if you buy the punchy 140PS version.
Both the three- and five-door Fiesta models provide the same level of passenger space. This means you get lots of head and legroom in the front, and enough space in the rear for two adults to fit in comfort. You also get a generous level of standard equipment, with mid-spec models getting air conditioning, touchscreen infotainment and alloy wheels.
Year launched: 2013
Proof that you can have a premium small family car for under £10,000, the Volkswagen Golf offers excellent value for money as a second-hand buy. You also get a good choice of petrol and diesel engines, with a manual or fully automatic gearbox.
The Golf is offered with Volkswagen’s family 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines, which officially return 60+mpg. There is a good choice of efficient petrols, too, with the 1.0 and 1.5-litre TSIs blending low running costs with good performance.
It may be more expensive than rivals like the Ford Focus or Skoda Octavia, but most people buy a Golf because they want a comfortable family car with a nice premium feel. We think this Volkswagen delivers on all three fronts, with its high-quality interior and supportive seats making it relaxing on a long journey.
Year launched: 2017
We would encourage you to find a city car that can match the Picanto for value. Similar to the Hyundai i10, the little Picanto is easy to drive, smartly styled, fun to drive and backed by Kia’s comprehensive seven-year warranty. The Picanto has everything and it does it all for under £10,000.
Mid-spec ‘2’ versions of the Picanto are extremely well-equipped, with air conditioning, electric windows and a leather multi-function steering wheel fitted as standard. However, we’d recommend finding a Picanto in ‘3’ trim, which adds climate control and a swish 7.0-inch touchscreen and reversing camera.
The three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine is perfect for drivers who rarely venture out of the town or city. If you want a Picanto with longer legs, we’d recommend the four-cylinder 1.25-litre petrol - it feels much more assured at cruising speeds and is quieter than the three-cylinder unit. Both engines are frugal, however, with an advertised 50mpg.
Year launched: 2012
Looking for a city car with a dash of class? The SEAT Mii is one of the best in the market and you can have the pick of the crop with a budget of around £10,000. Indeed, we think you’ll comfortably get a nearly new petrol model with all of the latest in-car tech.
The sister car to the Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo, the Mii's engine choices are simple - you get the choice of a petrol 1.0-litre engine with 60PS or 75PS. We rate the higher-powered engine as the best, thanks to its peppy acceleration and better refinement at motorway speeds. You also get the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox.
The Mii measures just 3.6 metres in length, but SEAT has packed a lot of usable space inside this likeable little city car. The driving position is excellent and even tall adults will find a comfortable fit, thanks to the good range of adjustment in the seat position. Admittedly, the rear seats are a little cramped for adults, but they are perfect for children and this makes the Mii a good choice for families who want a small car for urban journeys.
Year launched: 2016
If comfort, practicality and value for money are your key car buying considerations then you will not be disappointed with the Suzuki Baleno. Pound for pound, the Baleno is one of the best-equipped cars in this list, while its Punchy and efficient petrol engines also make it one of the most affordable to run on a daily basis.
A budget of £10,000 will comfortably get you a 12-month-old Baleno in a mid-spec SZT trim. Standard equipment is very high on these models, with HID projector headlights, touchscreen infotainment system, navigation, a reversing camera, front fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. You’ll also get the Baleno with Suzuki’s excellent 1.2-litre petrol engine, which returns 65+mpg.
The interior of the Baleno isn’t as plush or as colourful as its rivals, but the build quality is first class. The layout is also simple to use and fuss-free. Plus, the seats are excellent with firm padding that provides excellent support for your lower back. On top of that, get a 320-litre boot, which is more than the 311-litre boot you’ll find in the Ford Fiesta.
Year launched: 2017
The Hyundai i30 is one of the unsung heroes of the family car market, with its long warranty and comfortable ride quality making it an excellent choice for car buyers who are operating on a budget.
If you have less than £10,000 to spend then you should have little trouble getting a two or three-year-old i30 with modest mileage and a big chunk of its five-year manufacturer warranty still left on its books. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is also a good choice for drivers who want a punchy but efficient family car, with the three-cylinder engine returning around 50mpg.
The i30 offers a similar level of space to the Ford Focus, while its smooth ride quality and comfortable seats make it good for long journeys. Mid-spec models are generously equipped, too, with alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a reverse parking camera with rear parking sensors all included. You also get an eight-inch touchscreen media display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which makes the i30 something of a bargain for under £10,000.
Year launched: 2011
Few hatchbacks are as tough or as dependable as the Toyota Yaris. Over the years it has earned itself a reputation as being one of the most reliable small cars money can buy, which means a budget of around £10,000 will get you a nearly new car with tank-like toughness.
True, the likes of the Volkswagen Polo feel more modern, but the Yaris is a very difficult car to pick faults with. But, if pressed to identify one, we’d say it’s not the most exciting of small cars to drive. However, when it comes to the build quality, fuel economy and comfort, the Yaris is a class leader.
The 1.5-litre petrol engine is excellent and will return 50+mpg, while returning meaningful performance in and out of town. The interior is also comfortable and spacious, which means tall drivers will find the Yaris a comfortable car to drive on a long journey.
Year launched: 2015
The Mazda 2’s sporty styling and sharp handling make it a popular car with new and young drivers. We actually rate it as one of the smartest cars in the small hatch class, while its range of efficient petrol and diesel engines also make it a frugal option for older drivers who want something that’s comfortable and good on fuel economy.
Mazda knows a thing or two about cars that are rewarding to drive - just ask any Mazda MX-5 owner. It may a little long in the tooth compared to the Hyundai i20, but Mazda's car building know-how shines through in the ‘2’, with its nicely weighted steering and grippy mechanical set-up making this little Mazda terrific fun to drive.
Most cars for sale under £10,000 are powered by Mazda’s impressive 1.5-litre petrol engine. We’d recommend finding a car with the 90PS version of the 1.5 petrol, as this gives the ‘2’ some added zip through the gears. All versions of this car have a high quality and sporty themed interior, while the driving position is very good, thanks to the fact the pedals line-up perfectly with the seats.
Year launched: 2018
The Dacia Duster is a cheap and cheerful crossover that wears its budget price tag with pride. The Duster might not win any prizes for refinement or style, but it’s easy to drive and hugely practical. Compared to other small crossovers like the Renault Captur, we rate it as a steal for under £10,000.
Duster buyers tell us they love Dacia’s no-nonsense approach to car building. This means the interior has some hard and harsh materials, which are designed to be easy to clean and last a long time. However, if you can find a mid-spec version of the Duster, you can get some upmarket luxuries like touchscreen navigation and a rear-view camera with parking sensors.
For the money, the Dacia Duster is very practical. In fact, we think it’s almost as spacious as pricer cars, like the Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq. What’s more, the Duster is available with a good range of Renault-sourced petrol and diesel engines with two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Year launched: 2015
The Vauxhall Astra is a compact but capable small family hatchback that punches above its weight when it comes to practicality and space. If you want a cheap car with a good-sized boot, the Astra will be right up your street.
Few cars in this list get anywhere near the Astra for all-round useability. The boot provides 370 litres, which is more than you’ll find in the Ford Focus. The loadspace is also easy to use, thanks to its wide opening and flat vertical sides.
Over the years the Astra has been famed for its excellent engines. Both the 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre petrol are impressive. The 1.6 diesel is smooth and efficient - it should be your default choice if you plan to use the Astra for high mileage motorway use.
The best family car for £10,000 is the Volkswagen Golf. The Golf was replaced in 2020 with an all-new model, but we think the previous generation of the Golf (built from 2013 to 2020) offers excellent value for money. Other used family cars we rate highly include the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the Ford Focus.
The Ford Fiesta is the best used small car for under £10,00. The Fiesta is available with efficient petrol and diesel engines, with good fuel economy and good levels of comfort and refinement. Mid-spec models offer the best value for under £10,000, with air conditioning and Quickclear heated front windscreen fitted as standard. What’s more, because the Fiesta has been on sale for a number of years, there is a lot of choice on the second-hand market.
If you want reliability, the answer is to always choose a Japanese brand. The Toyota Yaris and Auris have proved exceptionally reliable and for £10,000 will give you years of trouble free motoring.