If you need to replace your family car on a budget of £5,000 or less, take a look at our shortlist of 10 great value secondhand cars.
Times are tough for many families, so replacing a car can be a daunting prospect. If your budget for a medium-sized hatchback is £5,000 or less, you’ll have to buy second-hand.
The great news is there's plenty of choice, there are always bargains to be found and, if you look hard enough, most of the models available were – and still are – good cars.
We've scanned the used car websites and classifieds to give you an idea of what's available and come up with a list of 10 cars (in no particular order) which should be on your shortlist.
Unless it says otherwise, the values of the second-hand cars mentioned are based on average mileage (8,000 to 10,000 miles per year) and assume that the vehicles are in good condition.
If you're canny, you may even be able to haggle or sniff out a real bargain. If you buy from a dealer or car supermarket, you should also get some peace of mind with a warranty included.
Of course, buying a second-hand car is not without its risks, so make sure you follow our essential advice in our checklist for buying a used car.
And if you'd prefer to finance your next car, we also have some real examples of cars bought on finance using PCP (Personal Contract Purchase), unsecured loans and HP (Hire Purchase):
- 10 cars you could get on finance for £100-£150 per month
- 10 cars you could get on finance for £150-£250 per month
Skoda Octavia (2009-13)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £475.55
The Octavia is a great used car buy, especially if you opt for a post-2009 facelifted Mk2 version. Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, there's also some peace of mind thanks to Skoda’s reputation for dependability.
If you look hard enough, a low mileage example from as recently as 2010 is within budget. The diesels are really frugal, but the 1.4TSI petrol is a good compromise between petrol power and diesel economy.
If you want even more space, there's also a cavernous estate. Hatchback luggage capacity: 605 litres, or 1,655 litres with the rear seats folded.
Ford Focus (2011-14)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £515.79
Launched in 2011, the third generation Focus has only just been superseded by the all-new model. A solid second-hand choice that's refined and handles well, there are plenty out there to choose from and it's also available as an estate.
Low mileage examples from 2011-12 are within budget and there's a big variety of petrol and diesel engines. If you ply the motorways then maybe the 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesels would work best, otherwise a 1.6 petrol will do just fine. You may even be able to haggle down a punchy 1.0-litre petrol EcoBoost.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 396 litres, or 1,258 litres with the rear seats folded.
Volkswagen Golf (2009-13)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £575.87
A classy medium-sized hatchback with definite badge appeal, the VW Golf holds its value well, so your best option below £5,000 is probably the Mk6.
Refined, spacious and understated with good handling and impressive ride comfort, it's a sensible choice. There's a big range of efficient engines. Again, unless you do serious miles, we'd recommend a petrol unit – ideally the willing 123bhp 1.4TSI which can return as much as 45.6mpg.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 380 litres, or 1,270 litres with the rear seats folded.
BMW 1 Series (2004-11)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £706.16
If it's premium badge appeal and driving engagement you're after, the BMW 1 Series might be for you.
Well-equipped and sporting superb build quality, the first-generation car still looks good today. However, you'll have to look very hard to find a well-maintained low mileage example, while rear seat legroom is on the tight side.
We'd recommend opting for the 118i (1.6-litre petrol engine) or the frugal 116d (1.5-litre diesel). A late example from 2009-11 is within budget and it’s best to go for the five-door version.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 330 litres, or 1,150 litres with the rear seats folded.
Vauxhall Astra (2009-15)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £600.27
This is a patriotic hatchback choice because the Astra has been built at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire since 1979. A budget of £5,000 will buy you a Mk6 car with low mileage from 2010 onwards.
Again, there's a healthy selection of engines, but we reckon it's between the 1.6-litre diesel and 1.6 petrol. It may not be as enjoyable to drive as some rivals or have as much kerb appeal, but it's comfortable and refined, and maintaining it won't cost the earth.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 380 litres, or 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded.
Honda Civic (2011-17)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £508.39
The distinctive dart-shaped ninth generation Civic may have looked quirky, but it was a solid performer backed up with Honda's reputation for reliability.
We'd recommend the 1.8 i-VTEC petrol unit. However, if you're really lucky, a 2013+ car might be within range with the very frugal 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine.
Oh, and check out the 'magic seats', which can be folded up to allow a large storage area or down flat for extra convenience.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 485 litres, or 1,352 litres with the rear seats folded.
Kia Cee'd (2012-18)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £458.19
Launched in second-generation form in 2012 and facelifted in 2015, the Mk2 Cee'd marked a big step-up for Korean car maker Kia.
Attractive inside and out, well put together and surprisingly spacious, it compares well with its rivals and is a good all-rounder.
The later the year, the better, because you might benefit from the tail-end of Kia's unbeatable seven-year warranty.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 380 litres, or 1,318 litres with the rear seats folded.
Audi A3 (2003–12)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £672.14
Right up there with BMW when it comes to premium badge appeal, the current Mk3 arrived in 2013, but you'll have to go back a generation because this Audi holds its value so well.
That said, in terms of looks, it's an evolution of the previous model, so still looks good. We'd recommend choosing a late post-2008 facelift car (2011-12), but mileage is likely to be at average at best.
The diesels are popular, but the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol is a great little engine too. Well made and good to drive with a plush interior, the A3 is a class act.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 370 litres, or 1,100 litres with the rear seats folded.
Renault Megane (2008-16)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £555.35
Our budget will give you access to a third generation Megane (pictured). The range was facelifted in 2014, but you're only likely to find high-mileage examples available.
It obtained a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating at launch and is powered by a good range of petrol and diesel engines. We'd say it's between the 1.6-litre VVT petrol unit or 1.5 dCi diesel which is capable of more than 60mpg.
The Megane has a comfortable ride and handles well. However, rear seat space isn't best in class. Hatchback luggage capacity: 372 litres, or 1,129 litres with the rear seats folded.
MINI Countryman (2010-16)
Mean annual price for new policies in 2018: £438.15
This supersized MINI is a wildcard choice here. Some would argue that it's not a hatchback at all, but a crossover. The reality is that in terms of space and practicality it's somewhere between the two.
Launched in 2010 and revised in 2015, this is a premium product and holds its value well, so frankly few examples slip below our £5,000 budget and the ones that do are likely to be high-milers.
If you can live with that and its divisive looks, the Countryman is well built and quirky – and really enjoyable to drive. Visibility is good too thanks to its high ride height.
Hatchback luggage capacity: 350 litres, or 1,170 litres with the rear seats folded.