Why buy a new car when £5,000 will bag you a used car bargain? Using Auto Trader, our brief was to find two cars per category, ranging from humble superminis to luxury saloons. We’ve only been window shopping, so inclusion does not represent an endorsement.
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Small car: Skoda Citigo (£5,000)
Right now, the Volkswagen Up and the two cars based on it are probably the best small cars on the planet. But don’t worry if you can’t stretch to a new one, because they’re also brilliant secondhand buys. This one-owner Citigo looks terrific in Sport trim and has covered a mere 26,609 miles.
Family hatchback: Kia Cee’d (£5,000)
Go easy on the right pedal and you might see economy figures in the low 70s in this 2012 Kia Cee’d EcoDynamics. It’s hardly the last word in excitement, but air conditioning, a six-speed gearbox, cruise control and steering wheel controls should make this an excellent commuter vehicle. Just check the rear tyres, because the last MOT listed them as an advisory.
Crossover: Nissan Qashqai (£4,995)
The Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s most popular crossover, which means there are hundreds to choose from on the used car market. This 2008 example appeals because it’s a one-owner car with 47,876 miles on the clock and not a single MOT advisory to its name. The Visia trim is a bit spartan, but if practicality is your thing, it’s hard to ignore this one.
Estate car: Dacia Logan MCV (£4,895)
The Dacia Logan MCV is Britain’s cheapest new estate car and offers a massive 573 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded up. New, you’ll pay £7,295 for the entry-level version, but why buy new when this ‘plush’ Logan MCV Laureate is available for £4,895? Just one owner and 42,000 miles on the clock.
Coupe: Audi TT (£5,000)
It’s possible to spend much less on a first generation Audi TT, but we believe it’s worth spending a little extra to secure a good example of what is a guaranteed future classic. This 2004 example is powered by the 3.2-litre V6 engine and is being sold by somebody who has clearly looked after it.
Sports car: Fiat Barchetta (£4,950)
It’s hard to look beyond the Mazda MX-5 in the affordable junior roadster segment, but the Fiat Barchetta remains a hidden gem. It might be front-wheel drive – it’s based on the Punto – but the Barchetta is terrific fun to drive. All cars were left-hookers.
Premium car: Volvo S80 (£4,995)
It’s all too easy to opt for something German in the premium car segment and Auto Trader is littered with £5,000 examples of varying degrees of quality. But we’re turned on by this low mileage Volvo S80, not least because it’s powered by the sublime 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine. In the real world it will feel almost as quick as the heavier V8 version, while the high level of standard spec will help to while away the hours on a long motorway drive.
Luxury car: Audi A8 (£5,000)
The DVLA lists this 2005 Audi A8 as ‘beige’, but we suspect the new owner might prefer it to be classed as ‘gold’. Whatever, £5,000 seems a stupidly low price for this huge chunk of Ingolstadt, which is barely run-in at 59,000 miles. Probably a good idea to avoid looking at the fuel economy figures…
MPV: SsangYong Rodius (£4,991)
Look, stop smirking at the back. We accept that the SsangYong Rodius isn’t going to win any awards for its beauty, but it’s hard to find a more practical and spacious seven-seater at this price. Besides, as Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid demonstrated on Top Gear, the Rodius does a passable impression of a boat. SsangYacht, anyone?
SUV: Suzuki Jimny (£4,995)
The Suzuki Jimny continues to fly the flag for the old-school SUV and is available to buy new from £12,999. They tend to be owned by loyal and enthusiastic people, as appears to be the case with this 2006 example. The condition and mileage suggest that it hasn’t seen much in the way of off-road action.
Convertible: Renault Wind (£4,995)
If you want to stand out from the crowd you could do a lot worse than breaking out the Renault Wind. It’s based on the Renault Twingo and features a solid roof that folds away in just 12 seconds. Sadly, it was a slow-seller and was quickly pulled from sale. You could say that it was gone with the Wind…
Saloon: Mazda6 MPS (£5,000)
It might not look it, but the Mazda6 MPS is one of the greatest sleepers of the past decade. Beneath that unassuming body lies the beating heart of a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine producing 260hp, enough to propel this four-wheel drive saloon to 150mph. Nobody will ever know, until the point at which you zoom-zoom past a sports car in a blaze of anonymity.
Classic: Mercedes-Benz 500 SE (£4,900)
A 30-year-old Mercedes-Benz for £4,900 might not seem like excellent value for money in light of some of the aforementioned examples, but this 500 SE oozes presence and charisma. The seller claims it has full service history, which should confirm the relatively low mileage.
Hot hatch: Suzuki Swift Sport (£4,989)
The Suzuki Swift Sport remains our favourite junior hot hatch of recent years and we especially like the first generation model. The current (and outgoing) version might be the better all-rounder, but the original feels more old-school and is all the better for it. This 2011 car has covered just 37,000 miles.