Car expert shares the top five cars students can get their hands on for less than £5k

April 19, 2024 by

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Students needing a cheap car for uni life can still get something decent with a budget of £5k or less. Read on…

  • With the final few months of the academic year stretched out in front of us, students looking for the best car to jump in to get to a seminar, or simply looking to take their washing home to Mum, need to look no further 
  • Fitting within the £5,000 budget, there are a range of cars available that are Clean Air Zone compliant for students living in or around cities with strict regulations
  • Carwow expert reveals the top five budget-friendly choices for students after their next car

London, UK:  Most students don’t have much spare cash to buy or run a car. Even if the Bank of Mum and Dad is happy to support a purchase, many will be looking at a lower budget of £5k or less. 

With Carwow’s platform recently reflecting a 60% increase in offers made on used cars year on year, the market’s up and it could be a good time for students to snap up a deal. 

John Rawlings, Consumer Expert at Carwow, said: “For many of those living away from home for the first time a car is a must have for getting around campus, to and from lectures. While students are more likely to be searching on a stricter budget, there’s a few other considerations too – being big enough to bring home a term’s worth of laundry being one! A city-based student will also need a car that complies with local Clean Air Zones or Low Emission Zones if they want to avoid incurring fees, and a lower insurance class is also an important criteria.”

Experts at Carwow reveal their picks for the best student cars on a budget of £5k and under:

  • Citroen C1
    John advised: “This city car could be perfect for a student. With CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km, euro-6 emissions and a 1.2-litre petrol engine, this 2015 example on Carwow is only £4,862 at an approved Stellantis dealer.”

  • Peugeot 208
    Another one within the £5K range, John said: “We were pleasantly surprised to see a Peugeot 208 available under our budget. With a 7E insurance group, Euro-6 emissions and 1.0-litre engine, a 2015 model with just under 70,000 miles was £4,619 on Carwow.”
  • Ford Ka
    For those looking for a small car to nip around in, John suggested: “An insurance group of 5E makes the Ford Ka a tempting option. It’s the smallest car on our list, but also the cheapest as when we searched on Carwow, we found a 2014 model with just over 95,000 miles for £3,499.”
  • Ford Fiesta
    If Fords are the favourite, John advised: “Another Ford that hits under our budget is the evergreen Fiesta. It’s a great car to drive and the 2015 model we saw on Carwow with a 1.25-litre engine, 5E insurance group and nearly 86,000 miles was only £4,478.”
  • Nissan Note
    Finally, John advised: “A higher mileage isn’t such a problem with today’s cars, so this 93,000 miles Nissan Note makes an affordable option at £4,399 on Carwow. It’s slightly bigger and roomier than some of the other options here, but still offers low emissions (109 g/km), Euro-6 CAZ-compliant emissions and 6E insurance group.”
  • To search for available used cars, visit:
  • To check if your vehicle is CAZ compliant and which cities operate CAZ, visit:


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