Best Used Cars For Under £8000
You don’t have to break the bank to buy a quality used car. There are lots of options on the market that offer great value, have relatively low running costs, enjoy good fuel economy and provide reliability. There’s incredible choice and you’ll be certain to pick out a vehicle that is affordable and suits your lifestyle and driving requirements.
There are a number of factors to consider when narrowing down your options including drive and handling, economy, style, practicality and running costs. We’ve picked out some of our favourites below to help you consider the options. Just because a car represents good value, it doesn’t have to be boring.
The relaunch of the Mini has been a tremendous success for BMW. Virtually everyone knows the brand and whilst the new generation vehicle is much bigger and heavier than the classic model, it has managed to retain much of the charm that made people love the original car. They’re fun, engaging and easy to drive with excellent dealer support. Reliability is good and with a large volume in circulation, there is some tremendous value on the used market.
Seven generations on from its debut, the iconic Volkswagen Golf remains the benchmark for family hatchbacks. The pillars of its appeal have been relatively constant over its lifespan thus far and remain true; an air of solidity and class coupled with understated looks, a high level of refinement and good performance. There is a huge choice of engines and trim levels akin to an executive saloon augmenting a sophisticated driving experience and upmarket feel. Rival models such as the SEAT Leon, SKODA Octavia, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra compete against the Golf and may have the edge on some elements of style, practicality or driving fun, but none are able to match the Golf’s blend of upmarket feel and all-round functionality.
3. Ford Focus
The first generation of the Ford Focus, released in 1998 was truly ground-breaking. The subsequent versions have refined many of the original’s qualities. It’s been the best-selling family hatch-back in the UK for many years. The 2014 update saw the introduction of new engines, a new front grille and an updated interior which undoubtedly upped its refinement and quality levels. But it has lost some of the handling sparkle that characterised the original. However, it still offers the best blend of ride and handling in its class. It’s comfortable but can be a little cramped with a smaller boot and less rear leg-room than its rivals. The estate is an excellent choice as it drives just as well as the hatchback but solves the issue of the relatively small boot. It offers a wide range of petrol and diesel engines with the majority offering refinement with good pace and low running costs. It’s a strong competitor to the VW Golf based on its excellent quality, comfort and handling.
From the same Volkswagen Group platform as the VW Golf and SEAT Leon, the SKODA Octavia is a brilliantly packaged variation that offers greater boot space and an incredibly practical interior with ample room for five passengers. It offers good drivability and is solid, reliable and practical. It's available as either a five door hatchback or more practical estate, though both offer plenty of space and identical levels of standard equipment. The estate version offers outstanding value, a spacious interior and understated looks. Overall, the SKODA Octavia is hard to beat for either families or business drivers.
5. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta remains the UK best-selling car since first arriving on the market in 2008. Just take a quick test drive in one to see the reason why. The Fiesta is probably the best all-round small hatchback available on the market. It boasts a blend of versatility, comfort and driving enjoyment that’s hard to match. It comes with a range of economical petrol and diesel engines and retains residual values well making it a cost-effective car to own.
6. SKODA Citigo
The SKODA Citigo shares a platform with its Volkswagen Group stable-mates; the VW Up! and SEAT Mii. These are solid performers boasting low running costs and surprisingly spacious interiors for a small car. The SKODA Citigo provides the best value of the three and has picked up numerous awards including 2016 Auto Express Best City Car, which it’s won for the past five years on the trot! It offers a blend of refinement, quality, practicality and low running costs setting the standard in the class. It’s available as three and five-door hatchback variants with a punchy 1.0 litre engine.
7. Citroen DS3
The DS3 has been a breakthrough car for Citroen, it’s been so popular that the firm has set up a premium DS division with this vehicle at its core. First launched in 2010 and facelifted in 2014, the DS3 looks fresh, elegant and classy. Its styling has not aged and engines and connectivity upgrades mean that it’s kept up with consumer trends over time. It offers extra space versus the MIINI and some might say that it has more charisma than the Audi A1. Citroen did a great job of spotting the trend for downsizing premium cars and so the DS3 offers upmarket trims, high equipment levels and customization options. It is offered in three-door hatchback or cabriolet – but with the latter compromising boot space. Engines offered include 1.4 and 1.6 with the new 2016 model year 1.2lL the pick of the bunch.
The Vauxhall Insignia is a big family car that’s now well established on the market. It’s very practical and offers great value for money. A 2013 facelift and new array of engines have kept the line-up relatively fresh. There is lots of room for the driver and passengers with tons of space for luggage making travelling longs distances a breeze. The standard equipment is very generous and the latest eco FLEX engines offer great efficiency and refinement. The 2013 update also tweaked the chassis, making steering more direct and improving ride comfort. The interior dash and centre console were also upgraded with most of the car’s functions now operable via the Infotainment system and touchpad. Overall, it’s a solid performer that competes well with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and SKODA Superb.
9. Nissan Juke
The Nissan Juke is now approaching five years old but due to its distinctive styling it remains a head-turner and extremely popular. Its success prompted an entire market segment – the compact crossover – and rival manufacturers have now created equivalent models that outperform the Juke in a number of areas. The Renault Capture and Mazda CX-3 both offer more interior space and greater fuel economy. The 2014 facelift saw the Juke improve with the addition of a bigger boot and implementation of new technology to enhance safety. Equipment levels are good, the entry level Visia has 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and electric windows as standard. It also boasts a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating across the range. The next level up Acenta adds 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and cruise control. Top of the range has a 1.6l 215bhp petrol turbo engine with the rest of range featuring a naturally aspirated 1.6l or 1.2l turbo. There is only one diesel model on offer- a 108 bhp 1.5l. The Juke continues to stand-out with its styling but beware of some of the limitations in the range.
10. SEAT Leon
The SEAT Leon has taken the family hatchback segment by storm. It shares a platform with the VW Golf and SKODA Octavia, and successfully blends the VW Golf’s sensibilities with the flair of Spanish design and superb handling. It’s stylish and great to drive. It boasts the latest VW Group technology and offers great value for money. It also performed excellently in the 2015 Driver Power owner’s survey. There are five-door hatchback, three-door sports coupe and five-door touring estate versions. The interiors are classy and engines comprehensively cover options across 1.2l, 1.4l, 1.8l and high performance 2.0l petrol versions and 1.6l and 2.0 l diesel versions.