Spend your money wisely when you're looking for a great value-for-money car
A budget of £7,500-£10,000 will buy you a basic brand new car, such as a Dacia Sandero, Suzuki Celerio or MG 3.
However, if you're prepared to buy used or nearly-new, you can move up a bracket and consider a Ford Focus, for instance, or you can opt for one of the best city cars or superminis on the market with the best trim and engine options.
We've scanned the second-hand market to find 10 of the best cars for less than £10,000. 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
Funky, fun to drive and built in Britain, the latest MINI costs from £15,900 new, but you can drive a pre-owned example for below £10,000. Low-mileage hatchbacks from 2015, even 2016, are available if you look hard enough. The 1.5-litre turbo petrol and diesel engines are both lively - the latter offering economy as high as 74mpg.
The seventh generation Fiesta was launched in 2017, so now is an excellent time to buy late used examples of the outgoing model, which was still a cracking car and the UK's best-seller right up until it was replaced. Go for the 1.0 EcoBoost (100 or 125PS) petrol engine if possible. Avoid the entry-level Studio trim and stretch to Style, Zetec or Titanium – all well within the £10,000 budget.
Priced from just £8,995 new, the Hyundai i10 is a great little city car or just right for a new driver. Cheap to run, easy to drive and blessed with an excellent five-year warranty, it also makes sense as a second-hand buy. Low mileage 2017 examples are available for as little as £7,500 with more warranty left than your average new car.
The best-value SUV on sale in the UK starts at just £9,495 new, but you'll have to shell out at least £11,495 for the four-wheel drive version. If you want the extra grip of a 4x4 and you're prepared to buy used, low mileage examples from 2015 are available for below £10,000. You won't be disappointed - the Duster isn't plush, but it's rugged, looks good and is pleasant to drive.
Citroen C4 Cactus
Cars don't come much quirkier than the Cactus with its Airbumps and distinctive design features inside. Due for a slight facelift in 2018, it's a great time to pick up a 2016/2017 pre-owned model. Practical and comfortable, the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel and 1.2 PureTech petrol engines are punchy and economical. Low-milers are well within budget.
The stylish and surprisingly spacious Baleno is something of a hidden gem. Priced new from £12,999 - £15,999, the eager 1.0 Boosterjet turbo petrol is the pick of the engine options in well-equipped SZ-T trim. Buy pre-owned and you could buy a low mileage 2016/2017 example for closer to £9,000.
Oozing retro chic, the iconic and quirky 500 is just as much fun to drive as it looks, especially when opting for the thrummy 0.9 TwinAir engine which is capable of up to 74.3mpg and has low CO2 emissions of just 90g/km. Great used 500s from 2016/2017 are available for £8,000-£9,000.
With the latest sixth-generation cars hitting showrooms, now is a great time to pick up used Mark 5 examples of this classy hatchback. Boasting a great range of petrol and diesel engines, it's still one of the best superminis available. Easy to drive, economical and well packaged, good ones from as late as 2017 are well within budget. The 85PS 1.4-litre petrol unit is a great all-rounder.
Consistently one of the UK best-selling cars, this family hatchback makes absolute sense as a second-hand buy. Priced new from £20,135, low-mileage examples are available for below £10,000. Go for a punchy 1.0 EcoBoost turbo petrol which is capable of up to 60mpg. It will also handle well - always one of the great strengths of the Focus.
Skoda's acclaimed city car is fun to drive, surprisingly spacious and looks cute. Priced from just £8,780 new, the pick of the range (SE L 1.0 MPI 75PS GreenTech) will set you back £11,060. However, nearly-new examples can be bought for closer to £9,000 if you look hard enough.