This week, we set ourselves a challenge to select 20 used cars for £5,000. Having an open brief is a bit of a mixed blessing, as without a specific theme we’re left with an eclectic mix of cars. On the plus side, there should be something for everyone. We’ve only been window shopping, so inclusion does not represent an endorsement.
It would be too simplistic to suggest that if you have £5,000 to spend on a used car you should start with the Honda Accord and go from there. But the fact remains: the Accord is one of the most reliable cars on the planet. What’s more, they tend to be owned by caring owners who stick to the service schedules.
This 2007 Accord appeals for a number of reasons. It’s got a petrol engine, it’s a decent spec, it’s only done 52,772 miles and it’s available through a Honda main dealer.
If the Honda Accord doesn’t light your fire, an Audi TT might provide a little more spark. A budget of £5,000 will secure a thoroughly decent early TT, with the 1.8-litre turbocharged engine the most common unit.
But we rather like this 3.2-litre V6 TT built in 2004. The 3.2-litre unit was added to the range in 2003 and gave the TT the pace to match its good looks. The DSG transmission was an option and is found on this car, along with an enviable list of equipment.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
In 2005, the Volkswagen Golf GTI rediscovered its mojo with the launch of the Mk5. Gone was the lardy Mk4, replaced by something with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and a completely new chassis. Quite simply: this was one of the best all-rounders you could buy.
To our eyes, a white three-door Mk5 Golf GTI is a thing of beauty, which is why we love the look of this 2005 car. The DSG gearbox won’t appeal to all, but it’ll reach 62mph 0.3 seconds quicker than the manual version.
Subaru Legacy 3.0R Spec B
Sleeper or Q-car – whatever you call it, the Subaru Legacy 3.0R Spec B is a car for those who prefer to go unnoticed. Available in wagon or even more discreet saloon guise, this Legacy packs the kind of punch that could leave a BMW or Audi driver weeping at the traffic lights.
Its 3.0-litre ‘boxer’ six-cylinder engine develops a meaty 245hp, yet it looks – to the untrained eye – like a regular Subaru wagon. All this for less than £4,500. You just need to factor in the cost of fuel and road tax, the latter of which being £500 a year. Ouch.
The Skoda Octavia has always been a more practical and better value alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and they make terrific used buys. Opt for a decent trim level – like the lavish Laurin & Klement version – and a car that’s been well cared for and it could be the best used car you’ve ever bought.
The want is strong for this one: a 2010 car in Laurin & Klement trim and with a 1.8-litre petrol engine that gives it junior vRS credentials. What’s more – aside from a faulty brake light – the MOT history is completely unblemished.
Be still our beating hearts. If the styling of the Volvo C30 doesn’t tempt you, take a moment to consider that T5 badge. It means this design-led coupe is powered by the same 2.5-litre petrol engine you’ll find in the Ford Focus ST. A thinking man’s Focus ST, if you like.
Being picky, we’d prefer the R-Design spec to the SE, but with just 60,000 miles on the clock and what appears to be an immaculate bodywork, we’re finding it hard to resist this sexy Swede.
Don’t knock it: the Honda Jazz is popular for a reason. Not only is it one of the most practical superminis on the planet, it’s also brilliantly reliable.
This 2010 Jazz has covered a mere 13,000 miles in six years, so there’s plenty of life left in its 1.2-litre petrol engine. You just know it has been driven slowly and has never missed a service.
There are many sports cars available for £5,000: pick and choose from the likes of the Mazda MX-5, Toyota MR2 and MGF. But time and time again, the idea of a £5,000 Porsche Boxster rears its head.
We like the look of this 986 as it’s powered by the more desirable 3.2-litre engine, while we suspect any issues might have been ironed out by the time it has passed 147,000 miles. If you’re looking to buy a £5k Boxster, take a specialist with you.