A small second-hand car might be more affordable than a brand-new model, but it has to tick just as many crucial boxes. It’ll have to be practical, cheap to run, good looking and have the right kind of kerb appeal. We’ve rounded up the 10 best used small cars to help you pick the perfect model for you.
Here are the 10 best small used cars currently available:
- Skoda Fabia
- Suzuki Swift
- Honda Jazz
- Ford Fiesta
- VW Polo
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Peugeot 208
- Renault Clio
- Mini Hatchback
- SEAT Ibiza
1. Skoda Fabia
The Skoda Fabia not only looks smart, it boasts class-leading passenger space and a generous 330-litre boot. Its cabin feels well-built and comes with plenty of standard kit while a selection of smooth, yet frugal, engines should make it cheap to run and comfortable on the move. The current model’s been around a little while, so you can snap up a good used example for around £5,000.
2. Suzuki Swift
If you’re looking for a cute but sporty small car, the Suzuki Swift is one of the best in the business. It might not be the roomiest small car on sale – its 211-litre boot is smaller than most rivals and tall rear passengers may start to groan and gripe on longer journeys – but the Swift’s trump cards are its peppy engines and fantastic handling. Few rivals are as much fun to drive as this perky Japanese offering. An all-new Swift will go on sale in summer 2017 meaning used cars can currently be bought for less than £6,000.
3. Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz isn’t the most stylish or striking car in its class, but its boxy design makes it one of the most practical. Inside, you’ll find a 354-litre boot and a smart interior with clever cinema-style rear seats that swing upwards to allow you to carry tall or bulky items behind the driver. Its infotainment system isn’t the easiest to use but the Jazz is both comfortable and reliable. Second-hand models could cost you less than £5,000, too.
4. Ford Fiesta
A wonderful all-rounder, it’s easy to see why the Ford Fiesta is so popular. This stylish small car is reasonably spacious, feels well built and is surprisingly comfortable on the move, too. Its interior might be starting to feel fairly old-fashioned in the face of more modern rivals, but the sweet-handling Fiesta is one of the most entertaining small cars around. Second-hand models in well-equipped Titanium trim can cost less than £7,000.
5. Volkswagen Polo
Another car that covers all the important bases is the grown-up VW Polo. Its 280-litre boot is more modest than massive but its cabin feels plusher than many rivals and can seat four adults in relative comfort. It’s easy to drive and comes with a range of frugal engines, too. The Polo’s premium badge does mean it’s a little pricier than some rivals, however – expect to set aside around £7,000 for a second-hand model.
6. Vauxhall Corsa
The current Vauxhall Corsa model hasn’t been out for too long, but you can still buy a used example in mid-range trim for around £6,000. It’s a strong all-rounder thanks to its stylish exterior, roomy cabin – with more space in the back than a VW Polo – and fuel-sipping engines. Pick a 90hp 1.0-litre petrol model and it’ll return more than 65mpg or choose a sporty 1.4-litre version with 150hp to enjoy sprinting from 0-62mph in less than nine seconds.
7. Peugeot 208
The Peugeot 208 is a stylish small car with plenty of quirky charm and an upmarket interior. Peugeot’s signature small steering wheel and high-mounted instruments won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but they certainly help make it feel a little more special inside than some more mundane rivals. Its fairly refined ride easily soaks up the worst potholes and rutted roads can throw at it but it’s not quite as fun to drive as a Fiesta or Corsa. Used models are on the market from less than £5,500.
8. Renault Clio
Looking for a car with bold looks and a touch of French flair? The Renault Clio could be the small car for you. Its stylish exterior is matched by a smart interior that comes as standard with plenty of kit and a roomy 300-litre boot. Its cabin isn’t as spacious as the class leaders but there’s more than enough room for four adults – on short journeys at least. Avoid the cheapest petrol versions and the Clio’s both economical and enjoyable to drive. Set aside around £7,000 to park a second-hand model on your driveway.
9. Mini Hatchback
The Mini Hatchback is a stylish small car with retro looks and plenty of character, yet can cost as little as £6,500 on the second-hand market. Don’t think it’s all show and no go, however – all models feels agile and sporty thanks to their punchy engines and impressive ride quality. Unfortunately, the Mini Hatchback loses out to most rivals in both the cabin space and boot capacity stakes – its 211-litre loadbay lags some way behind key rivals and rear headroom is far from impressive.
10. SEAT Ibiza
The SEAT Ibiza shares many components with the VW Polo meaning it features a selection of frugal and peppy engines, a 292-litre boot and good levels of cabin space. The Ibiza is, however, more fun to drive than its sensible German sibling and sport more aggressive looks and a lower pricetag – used models can be bought for around £6,000. Its interior isn’t quite as well-built as the Polo’s cabin, but it feels solid and comes fitted with plenty of kit as standard.
Save money on your next car
Head over to our car deals page to see how much you could save on your next car or check out our car chooser tool if you’re not sure what to buy. Venturing out into the world of second-hand cars for the first time? Our handy guide shows you exactly what to look out for when buying a used car.