Green car

The most popular used cars in 2017

Ford FiestaUsed car sales in Britain slowed over the last three months, reports the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), reflecting the big slowdown in the new car market. 13.5 percent fewer used cars were sold in April, May and June – that’s almost 285,000 fewer secondhand car transactions.

Analysts say the slowdown reflects a lack of consumer confidence in the marketplace, and Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, admitted it came as no surprise.


More used cars on MR: 


The cause? Overall market turbulence set off by the introduction of April’s controversial VED rate changes on new cars – which has had an inevitable knock-on effect on the used car market as well. Add in general consumer uncertainty and it’s no wonder used car sales fell so significantly: they’re now down 5.1 percent overall in 2017. 

“Although the market remains at an exceptionally high level, given the softening we’ve seen in registrations of new cars in more recent months,” said Hawes, “looking ahead it is vital that government secures the conditions that will maintain consumer and business confidence if we are to see both markets prosper.”

It’s not all bad news, though. “With demand easing over recent months, this could offer motorists the opportunity to get some great deals.”

Best-selling used cars 2017

SUVs are where it’s at with the new car market… and they, along with city cars, were the only type of model whose used car transactions went up in the last quarter. Diesel, too, is holding up: sales fell just 0.1 percent, compared to a surprise 8.9 percent fall in petrol car sales. 

1.62 million secondhand diesel cars have been sold in 2017, compared to 2.29 million petrol cars. As for alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids and EVs, sales rose 24.2 percent overall, with electric cars up 79.3 percent – but they still only account for 1.2 percent of the secondhand market overall.

Although the used car market has slowed overall, Britain’s love for the supermini shows no signs of declining, either. Of the almost 4 million used cars sold thus far in 2017, almost a third of them were superminis – and Britain’s favourite new supermini, the Ford Fiesta, is also its top secondhand car overall.

The rest of the top 10 best-selling used cars throws up a few surprises though, with Brits’ love of premium cars elbowing some former secondhand favourites down the rankings. As proven by the car in 10th place…

10: Audi A3

Audi A3

Over 56,000 secondhand Audi A3s have been sold so far in 2017. Audi’s premium compact car is thus more popular than once-perennial top 10 used cars such as the Peugeot 208 and Ford Mondeo. But it’s still some way behind…

9: Mini

Mini

… The British-built Mini. We Brits love the reborn classic, with sales of over 71,500 secondhand Minis so far in 2017 taking it…

8: Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

… Within spitting distance of the Volkswagen Polo, on 72,500. How long before the Polo is overtaken by the Mini?

7: Renault Clio

Renault Clio

The Renault Clio remains a more popular secondhand supermini than the Volkswagen Polo, with around 76,000 being sold so far in 2017.

6: BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

Another premium brand in the top 10, over 98,000 used BMW 3 Series have been sold so far in 2017. It’s an enormously in-demand model, although it still has a little way to go before it breaks into the top five.

5: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

More than 122,000 used Volkswagen Golfs have been sold in the UK so far in 2017. How many of these have TDI engines, the figures don’t disclose…

4: Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra is a more popular used car than the Volkswagen Golf: this will please Vauxhall, as the tables are reversed on the new car market.

3: Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall follows it up with the Corsa sitting third in the used car popularity stakes. Indeed, the little Vauxhall is far closer here to its arch-rival from Ford than it is in the new car tables – although this does perhaps suggest the Corsa can only fall down the secondhand car popularity stakes from here…

2: Ford Focus

Ford Focus

In July, the Ford Focus was Britain’s most popular new car. It can’t quite manage to repeat this in the used car stakes, but sales of almost 170,000 thus far in 2017 mean it’s still finding plenty of fans. And it’s a family sibling that of course sits ahead of it in top spot…

1: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

Yes, the Fiesta is Britain’s most popular used car, with 185,062 finding new homes thus far in 2017. Given the continued strength of its new car sales over the years, we can’t see this changing any time soon.

Best-selling used car colours 2017

As for top secondhand colours, as we’ll see, there’s a battle at the top of the charts between black and silver, with what was once Britain’s favourite used car colour, blue, relegated to third place. Silver has topped the charts for the past seven years, but is it holding onto this in 2017? Click on to find out…

10: Yellow

Yellow car

Yellow is a bold choice of colour but it seems Brits aren’t in the mood for being bold right now: used car transactions of yellow cars are dropping, with fewer than 24,000 sold thus far in 2017.

9: Brown

Brown car

In contrast, sales of brown cars have remained consistent this year: they have pulled ahead of yellow in the popularity stakes and are just behind another retro hue making a comeback…

8: Beige

Beige car

Yes, beige is the seventh most popular used car colour in Britain right now. Fashions really do always come around.

7: Green

Green car

Green is next up, selling four times as strongly as beige on the secondhand market. But the next-best colour is four times more popular again…

6: Red

Red car

Red was once a hit colour of the 1980s and, while its popularity has faded (rather like a once-red car that’s turned pink in the sun), it’s still found more than 418,000 secondhand buyers thus far in 2017.

5: White

White car

White didn’t used to feature all that highly on the used car colour popularity chart, but the recent resurgence in white new car sales is now powering it up the rankings on the secondhand market. It’s closing in on another popular colour…

4: Grey

Grey car

Almost half a million grey cars have been sold so far in 2017. White is catching it up but, for now, this sensible-shoes hue remains the fourth most popular used car colour in Britain.

3: Blue

Blue car

Blue cars come in all shades, from doom blue to Hawaii blue. There are currently some beautiful blue colours on the market, which are finding favour with new car buyers, so we expect its rise up the used popularity rankings – and the clear advantage it has over grey – to only increase further.

2: Silver

Silver car

Brits have loved silver cars more than any other for years. But not any more. While still far more popular than blue, around 14,000 fewer silver cars have been sold so far this year than the colour at the top of the charts. Which is…

1: Black

Black car

The biggest shock in the used car market has been the usurping of silver from the ranks of Britain’s favourite used car colour. Black is the new black, it seems: surely not reflecting the mood of the industry in general?

Used car dealer

Used car dealers ‘less trustworthy than bankers and estate agents’

Used car dealerUsed car dealers are considered the least trusted major industry in Britain with just 7% of consumers claiming to trust them.

The eye-watering statistic has been revealed in the latest Auto Trader Market Report, which shows that car dealers are ranked lowest for trust – behind banks, estate agents and insurance companies.

Indeed, the finance industry alone is considered 11% more trustworthy than a used car dealer, despite a decade of scandals such as rates rigging and the global financial crisis.

And although overall trust in UK businesses has been rising recently, trust in the automotive industry has fallen 6% in the last year and 10% since 2014 – “no doubt partly attributable to the emissions crisis of 2015,” says Auto Trader.

However, in more positive news, the trust issue is reversed when those who have bought a used car in the past six months are questioned: just 7% said they did NOT trust the used car dealer they bought their motor from – showing, says Auto Trader operations director Nathan Coe, that it’s an issue of perception rather than reality.

“Despite most consumers having positive experiences at the dealership when purchasing a car, the industry still suffers with a lack of trustworthiness which resonates strongly with consumers.

“Changing these perceptions will be a challenge but the reward could be substantial for the industry.”

It could even, he said, lead to people changing their car more often.

Used car dealer

Used car dealers 'less trustworthy than bankers and estate agents'

Used car dealerUsed car dealers are considered the least trusted major industry in Britain with just 7% of consumers claiming to trust them.

The eye-watering statistic has been revealed in the latest Auto Trader Market Report, which shows that car dealers are ranked lowest for trust – behind banks, estate agents and insurance companies.

Indeed, the finance industry alone is considered 11% more trustworthy than a used car dealer, despite a decade of scandals such as rates rigging and the global financial crisis.

And although overall trust in UK businesses has been rising recently, trust in the automotive industry has fallen 6% in the last year and 10% since 2014 – “no doubt partly attributable to the emissions crisis of 2015,” says Auto Trader.

However, in more positive news, the trust issue is reversed when those who have bought a used car in the past six months are questioned: just 7% said they did NOT trust the used car dealer they bought their motor from – showing, says Auto Trader operations director Nathan Coe, that it’s an issue of perception rather than reality.

“Despite most consumers having positive experiences at the dealership when purchasing a car, the industry still suffers with a lack of trustworthiness which resonates strongly with consumers.

“Changing these perceptions will be a challenge but the reward could be substantial for the industry.”

It could even, he said, lead to people changing their car more often.

Britain's choice used cars 2016

Revealed: Britain’s favourite used cars and colours in 2016

Britain's choice used cars 2016Four times as many used cars as new are sold in Britain each year: it’s the most active sector in Britain, particularly that for nearly new cars aged between one and three years.

But at the half way point in 2016, which are the used cars Brits are buying most of – and which are our favourite colours in such a tumultuous 2016? Read on to find out…

10: Peugeot 208 (16,561 sales)

02_Peugeot_208

The Peugeot 208 replaced the dreary 207 in 2012 and has been something of a hit. It’s selling well new, and these models are now filtering through to the secondhand market. Expect it to rise up the ranks as more cars come back from Peugeot’s increasingly popular ‘Just Add Fuel’ private rental initiative.

9: Nissan Juke (17,572 sales)

03_Nissan_Juke

Time was that the only Nissan you’d find on a favourite best-sellers list was the Micra. How times change: today, the Juke is Nissan’s hot small car. The British-built crossover isn’t the most practical of machines but used car buyers don’t seem to care: proof that great styling sells.

8: Volkswagen Polo (18,663 sales)

04_Volkswagen_Polo

In contrast to the Juke, Volkswagen’s Polo is the more sedate and stately small car choice; it seems over 1,000 used car buyers prefer this approach to the far-out Juke in 2016.

7: Fiat 500 (18,757 sales)

05_Fiat_500

The Fiat 500 continues to be a best-seller for the Italian brand and all these new cars are now freely available in the secondhand market. Proof that used car buyers love retro looks and are not put off by the custom creations Fiat’s huge choice of 500 options allows…

6: Nissan Qashqai (23,286 sales)

06_Nissan_Qashqai

The Qashqai is a classic modern Nissan, a genuine turnaround car that helped make the company cool again in Europe. On the secondhand market, it commands strong prices and is much in demand, success that’s only set to continue as more examples of the excellent current-shape second generation car hit the used market.

5: Volkswagen Golf (25,339 sales)

07_Volkswagen_Golf

The ever-dependable Volkswagen Golf has been under the cosh slightly because of fallout from the dieselgate emissions scandal: this may have cost it a few secondhand sales from buyers unwilling to buy something that may need to go back to the dealer, but VW probably isn’t too worried: over 25,000 people still have secondhand faith.

4: Vauxhall Astra (27,162 sales)

08_Vauxhall_Astra

The Astra was, years ago, a best-seller in the UK. Those days are long behind it but it’s still a popular new car which means there’s lots of choice on the secondhand car market.

3: Vauxhall Corsa (37,724 sales)

09_Vauxhall_Corsa

Saying that, more than 10,500 used car buyers would rather have a Vauxhall Corsa than an Astra. Such is Britain’s love of the supermini, something ably demonstrated by Ford, too…

2: Ford Focus (40,871 sales)

10_Ford_Focus

The Ford Focus has been around since 1998 and is a staple in the best-sellers chart. As such, nearly 41,000 examples changed hands during the first half of 2016. Good, but still well behind another car from the blue oval…

1: Ford Fiesta (58,967 sales)

11_Ford_Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best-selling new car by an enormous margin: it follows that it is our favourite secondhand car too – by an even more enormous margin. Ford’s dominance of the new car market with the Fiesta means we’ve many more years of it leading the used market. Which, given how well it drives, is no bad thing…

Britain’s favourite used car colours

Car makers will sell vehicles in a broad range of colours that becomes ever more infinite the more you spend. The days of just offering a handful of colours are gone, with brands making dozens of colours available even on mainstream cars.

But despite such choice, we still have our favourites: here’s how the used car market, ahem, ‘shades’ up.

10: Gold

13_Golf

Fresh from triumphant Rio Olympics success, Britain is on a gold medal high. Is that what’s encouraged so many to choose a gold car in 2016?

9: Yellow

14_Yellow

Yellow is a wonderfully divisive colour: some love it, others hate it but no one can miss it. Custard-coloured cars make 9th in the UK’s favourite used car colour ranks.

8: Beige

15_Beige

Now this is a surprise: beige? The colour of your grandpa’s Morris Ital? Ah, but beige is actually back in fashion, made freshly chic by models such as the Fiat 500. The Morris Ital could yet become cool. Maybe.

7: Green

16_Green

If you’re a British motor racing fan, green will have a place in your heart – and, with the rise of storied sporting brands such as Bentley and Jaguar, it seems it now actually is a lucky colour for some.

6: White

17_White

White is in vogue for those who are green: if you’re the maker of something purportedly pure and earthly, you’ll paint it in white. Seems many in the showrooms are keen to bask in the green glow of white.

5: Red

18_Red

Red was big in the 80s but has tumbled down the used car charts since then. Today, it’s only the fifth most favoured colour of secondhand buyers. Car colours are all about fashion and fashions certainly change.

4: Grey

19_Grey

Grey doesn’t sound the most exciting of colours but when it’s given some fancy metallic flecks and applied to an Audi or a BMW, suddenly it becomes a bit of a must-have. The choice of sensible, besuited company corporate ladder-climbers everywhere.

3: Blue

20_Blue

Another one-time favourite of British buyers that’s falling down the ranks, blue cars are still a podium-placed favourite of secondhand car customers. The fact it covers such a huge spectrum, from baby blue to blazer blue, undoubtedly helps.

2: Black

21_Black

Black goes with everything: what’s true for clothes is also true for cars. People used to shy away from picking black because it was a pain to clean. Surely the rise in popularity of hand car washes hasn’t encouraged more to tick the option box?

1: Silver

22_Silver

No prizes for guessing which is Britain’s favourite used car colour. Silver looks decent on almost any car, so it’s a safe choice that brings about the best in most designs. Is it any wonder most forward-looking car concepts are finished in silver, the car designers’ choice hue?

Honda Civic Type R – 2009

Honda Civic Type R is this summer’s hottest used car

Honda Civic Type R – 2009The most heroic used car you should be looking at this Bank Holiday weekend is the Honda Civic Type R, says Glass’s – and it’s probably better secondhand than it ever was when new, adds the automotive data provider.

The second generation Civic Type R, sold between 2006-2011, “was never quite in the front rank of hot hatches (when new) but it makes a really strong buy used”, said Glass’s used car editor Rob Donaldson.

“The dramatic looks have aged well, performance is on a par with rivals and Honda build quality means that it should rack up high mileages with few difficulties.”

In naming the Honda Civic Type R its used car hero for August, Glass’s reckons the Brit-built Japanese car’s outstanding value, quality and ability help nudge it ahead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI on the used market.

It’s also cheaper than the Golf GTI secondhand: Glass’s says the best buy, a 2009 car in Championship White, can be bought with 75,000 miles on the clock for £6,000 – that’s £1,000 less than a comparable Golf GTI.

All Civic Type R are well equipped, adds Donaldson, “but if you can find one, the GT model adds a few worthwhile extras like climate and cruise control, and folding mirrors.”

The only downside to its hot hatch hot weather hero choice for August is an unyielding ride, but the otherwise excellent driving experience, purposeful styling and a good looking Recaro interior all make up for it.

Glass’s Honda Civic Type R hero worship comes as Honda of America confirms there’ll be an all-new Civic Type R in 2017 – just two years after the current champ went on sale.

Honda Civic Type R – 2009

Honda Civic Type R is this summer's hottest used car

Honda Civic Type R – 2009The most heroic used car you should be looking at this Bank Holiday weekend is the Honda Civic Type R, says Glass’s – and it’s probably better secondhand than it ever was when new, adds the automotive data provider.

The second generation Civic Type R, sold between 2006-2011, “was never quite in the front rank of hot hatches (when new) but it makes a really strong buy used”, said Glass’s used car editor Rob Donaldson.

“The dramatic looks have aged well, performance is on a par with rivals and Honda build quality means that it should rack up high mileages with few difficulties.”

In naming the Honda Civic Type R its used car hero for August, Glass’s reckons the Brit-built Japanese car’s outstanding value, quality and ability help nudge it ahead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI on the used market.

It’s also cheaper than the Golf GTI secondhand: Glass’s says the best buy, a 2009 car in Championship White, can be bought with 75,000 miles on the clock for £6,000 – that’s £1,000 less than a comparable Golf GTI.

All Civic Type R are well equipped, adds Donaldson, “but if you can find one, the GT model adds a few worthwhile extras like climate and cruise control, and folding mirrors.”

The only downside to its hot hatch hot weather hero choice for August is an unyielding ride, but the otherwise excellent driving experience, purposeful styling and a good looking Recaro interior all make up for it.

Glass’s Honda Civic Type R hero worship comes as Honda of America confirms there’ll be an all-new Civic Type R in 2017 – just two years after the current champ went on sale.

SMMT used car sales 2016

2016 used car sales hit record high

SMMT used car sales 2016Britain’s used car sector grew 7.9% in the first half of 2016 as a record-breaking 4.18 million secondhand motors were bought and sold.

This was the first time the used car market broke the four million barrier.

And the most bought and sold used car? It’s probably going to be a silver Ford Fiesta supermini aged between one and three years old, located in Greater London.

“The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

However, he did warn that future growth “will depend on stable consumer and business confidence”.

12-year record broken

A total of 4,181,042 used car transactions beat the previous high back in 2004. April was the biggest single month for used car sales, buoyed by the March registration plate change: more than three quarters of a million secondhand cars were sold in this month alone.

The most-sold secondhand motor was a supermini: 1 in 3 used cars is one, with the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa topping the popularity list. Small family cars such as the Ford Focus were next up: together, these two sectors account for over 6 in 10 used car transactions.

Silver was Britain’s favourite secondhand colour, followed by black and blue.

But although cars are lasting longer than ever, with the average age of a British motor rising all the time, the most popular used car remains one aged between one and three years old. All hail the nearly new bargain-hunting British used car buyer!

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

Revealed: the fastest-selling used cars in June 2016

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016Thinking about selling your car? Car classifieds site AutoTrader.co.uk has revealed the fastest selling used cars in June 2016.

Read on to find out the hottest used motors on the market.

1: 2015 Hyundai ix35 petrol – 19 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

The Hyundai ix35 represents excellent value for money on the used market – helped, no doubt, by its transferable five-year unlimited mileage warranty. That means, in petrol form, one-year-old Hyundai ix35s were the quickest cars to sell on Auto Trader last month.

2: 2015 Vauxhall Mokka petrol automatic – 21 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

Vauxhall’s popular crossover isn’t exactly class-leading, but with prices on Auto Trader starting at £10,000 for year-old examples, we understand why they’re flying out of showrooms.

3: 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLK diesel – 22 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

It’s that time of year – everyone wants a convertible. The Mercedes-Benz SLK combines low running costs (if you choose the popular diesel) with flashy looks… what’s not to like?

4: 2009 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso diesel automatic – 22 days to sell

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is one of our favourite family-movers, so it’s no surprise to see it’s popular with used car buyers.

5: 2015 Ford B-Max petrol automatic – 23 days to sell

With its quirky sliding doors, the Ford B-Max is a practical mini MPV that’s also great to drive. Used car buyers are particularly keen on the petrol versions with the automatic gearbox.

6: 2010 Peugeot 3008 diesel automatic – 23 days to sell

It seems that family cars are in – with Peugeot’s 3008 crossover taking 23 days to sell on average. It’s not as good as a Nissan Qashqai, but you can probably pick one up for less…

7: 2015 Toyota Aygo petrol semi-automatic – 23 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

Selling just as quickly as the Peugeot 3008, the automatic Toyota Aygo is sure to be popular with those who want an urban runabout or new drivers who don’t want the hassle of a manual gearbox.

8: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class diesel – 24 days to sell

Three-year-old Mercedes-Benz A-Class diesels are likely to be ex company cars, but don’t be put off. They’ve probably covered most of their miles on the motorway and have been maintained well.

9: 2015 Ford C-Max petrol – 24 days to sell

Another popular family car, the majority of Ford C-Max people carriers are diesel – perhaps explaining why petrols sell so quickly. Don’t dismiss the 1.0-litre Ecoboost for being too small, it punches above its weight.

10: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet diesel – 25 days to sell

Just like the Mercedes-Benz SLK, people are no doubt tempted by the E-Class Cabriolet diesel for combining practicality and low running costs with a flashy appearance and retractable roof this summer.

Region-by-region: Britain’s fastest-selling used cars

Scotland: 2014 Fiat 500 petrol – 17 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

It’s also interesting to see which cars sell the quickest in each region. Buyers in different areas have very different tastes, it seems – with a Fiat 500 petrol from 2014 the quickest to sell in Scotland, for example.

North East: 2015 Nissan Juke diesel – 20 days to sell

With Nissan being such a huge employer in the area, it’s no surprise to see Nissan Jukes flying out of dealerships in the North East.

Northern Ireland: 2012 Vauxhall Corsa petrol – 35 days to sell

Four-year-old Vauxhall Corsas are popular in Northern Ireland. Has no one told them the Ford Fiesta is better..?

Yorkshire: 2009 Vauxhall Astra petrol – 23 days to sell

While in Yorkshire, used car buyers are particularly keen on the Vauxhall Astra from 2009. No, we’re not sure why either.

North West: 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class diesel – 22 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

Buyers in the North West like a bit more flash for their cash, with diesel Mercedes-Benz E-Classes selling the quickest.

East Midlands: 2008 Vauxhall Astra petrol – 24 days to sell

What has the East Midlands got in common with Yorkshire? They both like Vauxhall Astras, apparently.

West Midlands: 2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class diesel – 17 days to sell

While those in the West Midlands like a Mercedes-Benz A-Class diesel.

East England: 2015 Nissan Qashqai diesel – 15 days to sell

Perhaps influenced by their neighbours in the North East, the fastest selling used car in the East of England is the Nissan Qashqai diesel. It takes just 15 days to sell a used one on average.

Wales: 2015 Nissan Juke diesel – 34 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

Wales loves a crossover, although it does take longer to sell a used car there. A Nissan Juke diesel takes 34 days to sell on average.

London: 2013 Nissan Qashqai petrol – 5 days to sell

Although used cars don’t hang around as long in London. There, a Nissan Qashqai petrol from 2013 is snapped up in just five days on average.

South East: 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class diesel – 23 days to sell

Apparently those in the South East have similar tastes to those in the North West. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class diesel is the fastest to sell on Auto Trader.

South: 2013 Audi A3 diesel – 21 days to sell

Fastest selling used cars in June 2016

While Audi A3 diesels are hot property in the South.

South West: 2015 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer diesel – 31 days to sell

Finally, those in the South West prefer something a bit more practical – in the form of a one-year-old Vauxhall Zafira Tourer diesel. They take 31 days to sell on average. Looking to sell your car quickly? You might want to take it to London.

Summer's coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Summer’s coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Summer's coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Britain is set to sizzle this week, with forecasts predicting temperatures higher than Barcelona and Ibiza by the weekend. If you want to make the most of the sunshine, now is the time to trade in your winter wheels for a drop-top.

Prices will rise as the weather improves – so act quickly, and you could get a bargain. We’ve found some of the most tempting deals for those on a budget, starting with the cheapest way into soft-top ownership…

Peugeot 206 CC

Peugeot 206 CC

If your budget is this tight, you might want to consider cutting the roof off your current car. But it is possible to buy a Peugeot 206 CC for as little as £300. OK, admittedly, the folding hard-top might not actually work for that price. Indeed, the car might not work at all. But it’d look good on your driveway. Sort of.

Ford StreetKa

Ford StreetKa

Not worried about what you look like in a bargain convertible? Pick up a used Ford StreetKa for as little as £500. They’re only two-seaters and have a tendency to rust – buy one with a long enough MoT and be prepared to scrap it after summer.

Fiat Punto cabriolet

Fiat Punto cabriolet

Don’t fancy a Peugeot 206 CC or Ford StreetKa? If you can stretch your budget to £850, there’s currently a Fiat Punto cabriolet on Auto Trader (yes, just the one – it’s that exclusive). And it’s yellow. It’s basically a Fiat 500C for a tenth of the price.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

The roads will soon be awash with middle-aged MX-5 drivers looking smug with their tops off. You can pick up a useable first-generation model (with pop-up headlights) for around £1,000. Watch out for rust, and service history is important – buy well and it’s guaranteed to be a good investment.

MG F

MG F

An old MG F could be a summer bargain. A reputation for head-gasket failure means many swerve the mid-engined MG in favour of the MX-5, but that means you could grab a bargain, if you’re careful. There are tidy examples about for less than £1,000 – that’s a good price for a soft-top sports car that’s great to drive.

Saab 9-3 convertible

Saab 9-3 convertible

Since the company’s demise in 2011, you could argue the 9-3 convertible is already a classic. For the budget-conscious, you can find a late 90s example for less than £1,000. Watch out for dodgy hood mechanisms as these can be costly to replace, but you could buy an interesting, practical convertible for not much more than a new iPad.

Volkswagen Golf cabriolet

Volkswagen Golf cabriolet

If driver-enjoyment isn’t high on your soft-top agenda, there are a number of third- and fourth-generation Golf cabriolets available for less than a grand. They won’t be the most rewarding drive, but it should be a fairly reliable way of enjoying the sun this summer.

Volvo C70

Volvo C70

£1,000 will buy you a boulevard cruiser of a Volvo C70, and we can’t think of much else for the money we’d rather own. Swedish build quality, four seats and luxurious leather… what’s not to like?

Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider

Is there a better looking car for the money? An Alfa Romeo Spider from 1995 can be picked up for as little as £1,000. The 2.0-litre Twin Spark is likely to be more reliable than the 3.0-litre V6 – find a cared-for example with full service history. Stretch your budget to around £3,000 for a fairly tidy one.

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara

Looking for a convertible you can drive all year round? You can pick up a Suzuki Vitara soft-top for less than a grand. They’re great off road and ought to be fairly reliable, but be cautious of any that show signs of abuse.

BMW 3 Series convertible

BMW 3 Series convertible

If you’re on a budget and need more than two seats, older 3 Series convertibles can be a great buy on the used market. A budget of £2,000 will buy you a tidy E36 version from the 90s, while slightly rougher examples of its E46 successor are also dropping below £2,000.

Summer's coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Summer's coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Summer's coming: buy these bargain convertibles now

Britain is set to sizzle this week, with forecasts predicting temperatures higher than Barcelona and Ibiza by the weekend. If you want to make the most of the sunshine, now is the time to trade in your winter wheels for a drop-top.

Prices will rise as the weather improves – so act quickly, and you could get a bargain. We’ve found some of the most tempting deals for those on a budget, starting with the cheapest way into soft-top ownership…

Peugeot 206 CC

Peugeot 206 CC

If your budget is this tight, you might want to consider cutting the roof off your current car. But it is possible to buy a Peugeot 206 CC for as little as £300. OK, admittedly, the folding hard-top might not actually work for that price. Indeed, the car might not work at all. But it’d look good on your driveway. Sort of.

Ford StreetKa

Ford StreetKa

Not worried about what you look like in a bargain convertible? Pick up a used Ford StreetKa for as little as £500. They’re only two-seaters and have a tendency to rust – buy one with a long enough MoT and be prepared to scrap it after summer.

Fiat Punto cabriolet

Fiat Punto cabriolet

Don’t fancy a Peugeot 206 CC or Ford StreetKa? If you can stretch your budget to £850, there’s currently a Fiat Punto cabriolet on Auto Trader (yes, just the one – it’s that exclusive). And it’s yellow. It’s basically a Fiat 500C for a tenth of the price.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

The roads will soon be awash with middle-aged MX-5 drivers looking smug with their tops off. You can pick up a useable first-generation model (with pop-up headlights) for around £1,000. Watch out for rust, and service history is important – buy well and it’s guaranteed to be a good investment.

MG F

MG F

An old MG F could be a summer bargain. A reputation for head-gasket failure means many swerve the mid-engined MG in favour of the MX-5, but that means you could grab a bargain, if you’re careful. There are tidy examples about for less than £1,000 – that’s a good price for a soft-top sports car that’s great to drive.

Saab 9-3 convertible

Saab 9-3 convertible

Since the company’s demise in 2011, you could argue the 9-3 convertible is already a classic. For the budget-conscious, you can find a late 90s example for less than £1,000. Watch out for dodgy hood mechanisms as these can be costly to replace, but you could buy an interesting, practical convertible for not much more than a new iPad.

Volkswagen Golf cabriolet

Volkswagen Golf cabriolet

If driver-enjoyment isn’t high on your soft-top agenda, there are a number of third- and fourth-generation Golf cabriolets available for less than a grand. They won’t be the most rewarding drive, but it should be a fairly reliable way of enjoying the sun this summer.

Volvo C70

Volvo C70

£1,000 will buy you a boulevard cruiser of a Volvo C70, and we can’t think of much else for the money we’d rather own. Swedish build quality, four seats and luxurious leather… what’s not to like?

Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider

Is there a better looking car for the money? An Alfa Romeo Spider from 1995 can be picked up for as little as £1,000. The 2.0-litre Twin Spark is likely to be more reliable than the 3.0-litre V6 – find a cared-for example with full service history. Stretch your budget to around £3,000 for a fairly tidy one.

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara

Looking for a convertible you can drive all year round? You can pick up a Suzuki Vitara soft-top for less than a grand. They’re great off road and ought to be fairly reliable, but be cautious of any that show signs of abuse.

BMW 3 Series convertible

BMW 3 Series convertible

If you’re on a budget and need more than two seats, older 3 Series convertibles can be a great buy on the used market. A budget of £2,000 will buy you a tidy E36 version from the 90s, while slightly rougher examples of its E46 successor are also dropping below £2,000.