Britain’s best used cars have been revealed at the What Car? Used Car of the Year awards, with the Seat Leon beating the 14 other category winners to drive away with the top prize. Feeling inspired, we fired up Auto Trader and went in search of the category winners. Here’s what we found.
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Overall winner: Seat Leon (2013-present)
What Car? said: “It takes a special car to stand out in the hugely crowded used family car market. But the Leon does so while also offering the sort of value for money that causes you to do a double take. For that reason, it is our Used Car of the Year for 2018.”
You’ll have no trouble finding a good value, low-mileage Seat Leon on Auto Trader. At the time of writing there were around 2,500 for sale, with prices ranging from £4,500 to £30,000. This 2014 example has covered just 12,398 miles and is up for £8,980.
City car winner: Hyundai i10 (2014-present)
What Car? said: “The lively 1.2-litre petrol engine is our pick, because of the way it provides enough mid-range grunt for most situations yet can still average nearly 50mpg in the real world. Plus, its servicing and maintenance costs are among the lowest in this class.”
This looks like a terrific deal: a 2015 example in desirable Premium trim and with just 5,500 miles the clock. It also has the remainder of Hyundai’s excellent five-year warranty.
Small car winner: Ford Fiesta (2008-2017)
What Car? said: “Its comfort actually matches that of much larger cars, yet it handles more like a hot hatch than a humble shopping car. Overall, it’s a delight to drive, with a great driving position, well-weighted controls and a slick gearshift.”
This 2014 example has a lot going for it, including the peppy and economical 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, one owner from new, and 3,870 miles on the clock. Yours for £8,000.
Family car winner: Seat Leon (2013-present)
What Car? said: “There are few other rivals that can challenge the Leon in this age group. Yes, the Ford Focus is a little more enjoyable to drive, but its ride comfort, interior quality and space are off the pace, plus it isn’t noticeably cheaper. And while the Vauxhall Astra is, we’d happily pay the premium required for the Leon’s sharper handling and smarter interior.”
Right now, this is the cheapest post-2013 Seat Leon for sale on Auto Trader. It’s a one-owner wagon with 142,610 miles on the clock, and it could be yours for £4,500.
Small SUV winner: Nissan Qashqai (2006-2013)
What Car? said: “Even entry-level Qashqais come with a decent amount of standard equipment, but Tekna trim level is very impressive, providing you with heated front seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, dualzone climate control, sat-nav, an upgraded sound system and a panoramic glass roof.”
This is the cheapest first-generation Qashqai in Tekna trim that we could find. Excellent value at £4,331.
Large SUV winner: Mazda CX-5 (2012-2017)
What Car? said: “When it comes to speccing the CX-5, we’d go for a model with the 2.2-litre 150 diesel engine in SE-L Nav trim, blending economy with a good amount of standard kit. Prices for the CX-5 start at around £9000 for a 2013 car with 100,000 miles or more on the clock, but we think you’d be better off spending around £12,000 to get a car with an average mileage for the year.”
And this is what you get for £12,000. It’s a 2014 CX-5 2.2-litre diesel in SE-L Nav spec, with 68,901 miles on the clock.
Luxury SUV winner: Audi Q7 (2015-present)
What Car? said: “Its advances are just too great to ignore, its sense of quality too satisfying and its road manners too delightful. It is, without a doubt, the best used luxury SUV you can buy.”
Not everybody ordered their Q7 in S-line trim, as demonstrated by this SE. Yours for £42,000.
MPV winner: Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-2017)
What Car? said: “The interior is attractively styled, with quality improving from the 2013 facelift onwards. You sit quite high up, so the driving position gives you a great view. The car is also well equipped, with our recommended VTR+ specification getting air conditioning, cruise control, side airbags, 16in alloy wheels and front foglights.”
As recommended, this is a post-facelift VTR+ with just 48,321 miles on the clock. Yours for £6,000.
Estate car winner: Ford Mondeo (2007-2015)
What Car? said: “The starting price for a 2008 Mondeo Estate is around £3000, but up the money to £5000 and you should get a good, clean 2009 2.0 TDCi Zetec, which would be our pick.”
We searched for a Mondeo using the precise criteria laid out by What Car? and this was the only example we could find. You’ll have to haggle to achieve the £5,000 price tag.
Hot hatch winner: Ford Fiesta ST (2012-2017)
What Car? said: “It has only a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but the Fiesta ST can keep up with far more expensive performance cars. Coupled with a smooth six-speed manual gearbox, the car is a delight to drive at any speed.”
If you’re going to buy a Ford Fiesta ST – lucky you – why not opt for the limited edition ST200? A future classic in the making for £15,000.
Convertible winner: BMW Z4 (2009-2017)
What Car? said: “The Z4 wins this award overall because it fulfils the role of a classic convertible sports car better than any other in its class. Later versions succumbed to engine downsizing to please official fuel economy tests, to the detriment of character, which is why we chose the car in the 7-10-year category.”
A decent level of kit and a recent service at the BMW dealer in Sunningdale make this 2010 Z4 stand out amongst the hundreds of other Z4s on sale. It has only done 20,500 miles, but it could be yours for around £10,000.
Coupe winner: Audi TT (2006-2014)
What Car? said: “Residual values have always been strong, but the relatively modest prices for new cars means that used examples now look very attractive. Entry into the TT world in this age bracket starts at around £10,000 for a neat and tidy 2011 car.”
This 2011 car is a little over the £10,000 mark, but the S-line kit and Bose audio system should sweeten the deal. If the MOT history is anything to go by, it was recently treated to a new set of tyres.
Sports car winner: Audi R8 (2007-2015)
What Car? said: “Good, early R8s with the V8 engine are now available for less than £40,000, while a V10 model can be had for well below £60,000.”
There are so many delightful Audi R8s for sale on Auto Trader, it’s hard to know which one to choose. While our heart says go for the V10, it’s difficult to resist the charms of a V8 for £40,000.
Green car winner: Renault Zoe (2013-present)
What Car? said: “Pick a model built before June 2015 and you’ll be getting a Zoe with a 22kWh battery that delivers a real-world electric range of 60-90 miles and a charging time from empty to 80% in less than an hour from a fast charger – and priced from as little as £5000.”
Even taking into account the battery lease – which will cost a minimum of £49 per month – we think a £5k Renault Zoe represents exceptional value for money. If town driving and short trips are your things, the Zoe makes a lot of sense.
Executive car winner: BMW 3 Series (2012-present)
What Car? said: “It has the best combination of class, comfort, quality and driving involvement. And yet it doesn’t cost the earth, even compared with its less upmarket rivals.”
Look, there are thousands of current 3 Series models out there, so selecting one for this feature is difficult. If you don’t like this 318d Sport with 4,332 miles on the clock, there are plenty of other options out there.
Luxury car winner: BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)
What Car? said: “There are plenty of cars from 2014 and onwards for around £10,000, which seems like very respectable value, especially given the 5 Series’ premium feel. Up your budget to £20,000 and you can choose from lots of barely run-in examples.”
It might have been replaced by a newer version, but the old 5 Series still cuts a mean figure. This 520d M Sport is up for £19,995.