10 best used cars for under £10,000

March 20, 2023 by

What does £10,000 buy you these days? Quite a lot, if you’re shopping for a used car. With £10k burning a hole in your pocket there’s a wide choice of capable and reliable buys, whether you are searching for a family runabout, a rugged SUV, or something sporty.
Shop carefully, and £10,000 is enough to buy a used car with many more miles of life left, offering plenty of safety features and affordable running costs.
You’ve come to the right place to find your used car – carwow offers some great used car deals on high-quality cars, sold by dealers you can trust.

The 10 best used cars for £10k are:

1. Ford Focus

  • 2011-17
  • Petrol and diesel
  • Best for: combining practicality and fun

There’s no better budget buy than the Ford Focus, especially the previous-generation model sold from 2011 until 2017. You can easily pick one up for less than £10,000, and having been one of Britain’s best-selling car for many years you should have plenty to choose from.
For generation after generation, the Focus has been the finest-driving family hatchback. With precise steering and well-judged suspension, it’s a lot more fun than your average runabout. It’s also reliable, cheap to fix if it does go wrong, and comes with a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

Compare Ford Focus used deals.

2. Skoda Octavia

  • 2013-17
  • Petrol and diesel
  • Best for: space for people and luggage

It’s hard to think of a more sensible used buy than the Skoda Octavia. The car is affordable to run, with the diesels in particular delivering excellent economy for high-mileage drivers. But it’s the cabin that really sets the Octavia apart from other family cars, with plenty of head and legroom for adults, even in the back. The boot is huge, too.
Okay, it’s not exactly stylish and a Ford Focus is a lot more fun to drive. But you’ll find the Octavia a satisfying and capable car that suits head-over-heart buyers.

Compare Skoda Octavia deals.

3. Hyundai i20

      • 2014-17
      • Petrol and diesel
      • Best for: reliability

The Hyundai i20 flies under the radar of many used car buyers. It tends to be overlooked in favour of better-known superminis like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. The Hyundai really deserves greater recognition.
Beneath the neat but bland styling is a very fine small car. There’s enough space inside for adults to be comfortable, even in the back, which isn’t the case with all superminis. If you’re carrying kids rather than grown-ups the boot is large for a car of this kind and should easily swallow a large pushchair. The i20 rarely goes wrong, so you’ll be unlucky to face any unexpected bills.

Compare Hyundai i20 deals.

4. Mazda MX-5 Mk3

      • 2005-14
      • Petrol
      • Best for: top-down fun

You can have fun on a budget. In fact, if you choose the Mazda MX-5 Mk3, fun is guaranteed. Choose between 1.8- and 2.0-litre engines, which both deliver zesty performance. Either way, the MX-5 is a hoot to drive on a twisty country road.
These are exceptionally reliable cars, but do check the bodywork and MOT history for any sign of rust. Otherwise very little goes wrong with these superb two-seat roadsters. An MX-5 makes a great weekend toy but is comfortable enough to drive every day if you can get by with space for two and a small boot.

Compare Mazda MX-5 deals.

5. Kia Ceed

      • 2015-17
      • Petrol and diesel
      • Best for: a long warranty

Kia offers one of the longest new car warranties around, lasting for seven years and 100,000 miles. With a budget of £10,000 you have a fighting chance of finding a Kia Ceed that still has some of the original warranty remaining.
Even if the car has passed its seventh birthday, the Ceed is still a great used buy. It’s well equipped, cheap to run, and very rarely goes wrong. The diesel engines are very economical and there’s plenty of space for people and luggage.

Compare Kia Ceed deals.

6. Dacia Duster

      • 2014-17
      • Petrol and diesel
      • Best for: budget offroading

Cheap as a new car, the Dacia Duster is a bargain-basement used buy. It really is ridiculously cheap.
The Duster is a little rough around the edges, but you are getting a lot of car for your money. The entry-level model is sparsely equipped, but most of the original buyers will have gone for a mid-spec Ambiance or high-spec Laureate, which have more tech and luxury kit. With a £10k budget you should have a choice of two- and four-wheel-drive models – the 4×4 Duster can really handle itself off road.

Compare Dacia Duster deals.

7. Ford Fiesta

      • 2017-2023
      • Petrol and diesel
      • Best for: making other superminis seem boring

Just as the larger Focus runs rings around other family hatchbacks when it comes to driver appeal, so the Ford Fiesta makes most superminis seem bland to drive. It’s nimble and lively, but the controls are light and easy to use – so it’s a great choice whether you have been driving for years or you’re looking for your first car.
A Volkswagen Polo is roomier, and a Toyota Yaris is even more reliable. As an all-rounder, though, the Fiesta is hard to beat. It’s affordable to fuel and insure, and any problems are usually cheap to fix. There are loads around, so you can afford to be picky and track down exactly what you want.

Compare Ford Fiesta deals.

8. Toyota Yaris

      • 2015-2020
      • Petrol, diesel and hybrid
      • Best for: electrification on a budget

Nobody in their right mind would try to talk someone out of buying a Toyota. When it comes to reliability, Toyota lives up to its reputation. These cars hardly ever go wrong and if they do, dealers usually put them right quickly. The previous-generation Toyota Yaris is an excellent example of a durable, dependable Toyota. It’s one of the most reliable cars you can buy, and one of few models at this price point available with petrol, diesel, and petrol-electric power. The diesels have the edge for motorway economy, but the hybrids are really efficient if you do most of your miles around town. There’s decent space for passengers and their bags, but the Yaris isn’t as engaging to drive as a Fiesta.

Compare Toyota Yaris deals.

9. Nissan Leaf

      • 2011-17
      • Electric
      • Best for: zero exhaust emissions

Electric cars tend to be more expensive than petrols and diesels. So, if you want to make the switch to electric power you won’t find a huge choice of used electric cars for less than £10,000. The Nissan Leaf is an exception to this rule, with a reasonble number of secondhand examples sneaking under the £10k barrier.
The original Leaf was an electric car pioneer, mixing sci-fi shuttlecraft styling with family car practicality. It’s quiet and comfortable to drive and travel in, but the boot is on the small side and the range on a full charge isn’t brilliant. The 24kWh version will go up to 124 miles, while the later 30kWh model will last up to 155 miles. Given the short range, the Leaf suits someone who typically makes local journeys rather than regular motorway drives.

Compare Nissan Leaf deals.

10. Volkswagen Up

      • 2011-present
      • Petrol
      • Best for: city streets

For the past decade, the Volkswagen Up has been the city car to beat. It’s a brilliant way to get around town, and it doesn’t feel out of its depth on longer drives, either.
There’s a thrilling GTI version and a super-clean electric model, but with a £10k budget you’ll almost certainly be looking at one of the regular petrol cars. The three-cylinder engines aren’t very powerful, but their rev-happy enthusiasm makes the little VW feel quicker than it really is. You can easily nip in and out of gaps in traffic. There’s a choice of three- and five-door models, although even the five-door is quite small inside. The tiny size does make it a doddle to park, though.

Compare Volkswagen Up deals.

Change cars online with carwow

Looking to buy a car? Then carwow has you covered. You can browse the latest deals on new cars and check out the the cost of leasing. You can also browse an extensive list of used cars from a network of trusted dealers, and if you need to sell your current car, carwow can help with that too.