Lifestyle Guides

Best cars to buy for £25,000

If you've got a big budget to spend on a new car, the forecourt is your oyster. Electric or open top, people carrier or premium, which car will you choose?


A budget of £20,000 - £25,000 will buy you some great brand new cars - everything from the exciting new Hyundai i30 N hot hatch and VW Polo GTI, to stylish SUVs such as the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq, VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca.

If you're looking for something a little different, then you can go electric with a brand new Hyundai Ioniq or Renault Zoe, enjoy the joy of open-top motoring with a Mazda MX-5 or go for spacious people carriers like the Renault Scenic and Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.

However, if you're prepared to buy used or nearly-new, you can move up into the premium sector, or start to consider some great drivers' cars, plus critically-acclaimed vehicles usually way out of budget.

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

We've scanned the second-hand market to find 10 of the best cars for between £20,000 - £25,000. We looked at used vehicles with a low mileage (less than 10,000 miles per year), aged up to three years and available at main dealers and independent garages.


Priced £34,805 - £46,055 new, the game-changing Outlander PHEV would normally be out of range with a £25,000 budget. A spacious SUV that can run on electric only for up to 30 miles, it also has a petrol engine for that extra peace of mind. In other words, it’s a great halfway house between conventional cars and electric vehicles (EVs).

Look hard enough and it's possible to buy a face-lifted 2015/2016 model for under £25,000 with low mileage.

2. Volkswagen Golf R


Arguably the best hot hatch on the road, £21,000 - £25,000 should buy you a low mileage 2015/2016 example. With all-wheel drive, top build quality, stunning driving dynamics and blistering performance, you won't be disappointed.

Of course, it's also an everyday, practical hatchback. Also available as an estate, a new Golf R will set you back at least £32,850.

3. Audi TT


The TT is quite simply one of the best coupes on the market, boasting serious badge appeal, a superb interior and it’s beautifully built. A new one would set you back £28,850 - £44,270, but low mileage examples are available from 2015 for around £20,000, while £25,000 will bag you one from as recent as 2017.

There's a great set of petrol and diesel engines available, plus convertible and quattro 4x4 versions.

4. Range Rover Evoque


Stylish and blessed with Land Rover's legendary off-road capability, the Evoque is a premium SUV choice that costs £30,760 - £55,585 new. Buy used, and low mileage examples from 2015/2016 can be found from £20,000. If possible, go for the 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

5. BMW i3


Probably the coolest-looking electric car on the market, the i3 is available as a pure EV or as a petrol-electric hybrid range-extender. Fun to drive with premium badge appeal, a new one will cost £34,070 - £40,125, but if you're prepared to buy used, they can be bought for as little as £20,000.

6. Lexus IS 300h


Smooth, quiet, classy and comfortable, the Lexus IS 300h has a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, boosted by an electric motor, giving it a total output of 220bhp.

A class act, it costs from £32,895 new, but it's possible to buy a pre-owned car from as recent as 2016 for £20,000, while £5,000 more will buy you a 17-reg.

7. Mercedes-Benz C-Class


Need a big estate, but want a premium driving experience? Also available as a saloon and coupe, the C-Class might be just the ticket. There's 485 litres of luggage capacity (1,500 with the back seats down) and it's beautifully built.

A new one costs £30,235 - £47,030, but pre-owned 2017 cars can be bought for £25,000, while low mileage examples from 2015 are available from £20,000.

8. Volvo S90


One of the most stylish, comfortable and classy executive saloons on the market, the S90 was launched in 2016 and is priced at £35,620 - £58,055 new. But here's the thing - nearly-new examples from 2017 with very low mileage are now appearing for as little as £23,500.

That's a lot of car for the money - and it's one of the safest vehicles you can buy.

9. Mazda CX-5


With head-turning looks and a classy, comfortable interior, the updated Mazda CX-5 gets top marks for refinement and driving engagement, making it one of the best SUV packages on the market. Priced £23,995 - £33,395 new, £25,000 will buy you the pick of the range - an AWD version with a 2.2-litre diesel from as recent as 2017.

10. Jaguar XF


The XF is one of the best sporting saloons on the market, offering real competition to the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. Launched in 2015, it's handsome, spacious and is engaging to drive, but it's £32,490 - £51,100 new. Consider buying a pre-owned XF, and £20,000 gets a 2015 car, while £25,000 could net a 17-reg.

Admiral Car Finance

If you've fallen in love with one of these cars you might want to learn more about car finance, too. Take a look at Admiral's Car Finance and find a plan to suit you.