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What Used Car Should I Buy?

By Tim Barnes-Clay | July 19, 2023

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If you’ve got a budget of between £250 and £350 a month, here’s a look at what you could buy.

What Used Car Should I Buy?

We’re looking at cars with a list price of £10,000 to £15,000 and, where we can, we’re trying to find cars that aren’t that old – and preferably ones with low mileage where possible, too.

That means if you see something you like, you could do even better if you're willing to go for something slightly older or one that's been run in just that little bit more.

For the purposes of this exercise, we're looking at a 36-month deal on PCP at an APR of 12.5% and a deposit of around 15% upfront, followed by an optional final balloon payment at the end of the deal.

Of course, any number of factors will influence the actual price, so this should be taken as a guide only.

Nevertheless, here are ten examples to give you an idea of what’s out there if you’re after a decent used car.

Hyundai Bayon

This mild-hybrid small SUV crossover looks the part, with a chiselled back end and a funky front.

What’s more, it’s economical, comfortable, has plenty of room in the back seats and comes generously equipped.

The specific model we're looking at is entry-level SE Connect. Still, even that gets nice 16-inch alloys, roof rails, blue ambient lighting, cruise control and a rear-view camera, plus an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster instead of analogue dials.

The interior design isn’t amazingly plush, but it’s a great family car which comes with a five-year warranty from new.

What’s even better is that you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of the guarantee as, with just 8,500 miles on the clock, it’s barely two years old and, with a deposit of £2,400, can be yours for just £255 a month.

Hyundai i20

Offering a little bit of extra practicality over its little sibling, the i10, the larger-but-still-quite-small i20 is an excellent jack of all trades and arguably a master of some.

There's lots of space in the back for growing kids, and it blends a mixture of decent fuel economy with good performance.

The suspension is set up more firmly than some rivals. However, that makes it more engaging to drive, and it comes with a decent amount of standard equipment, including 15-inch alloys, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with DAB radio, voice control, cruise control and electric windows.

You have the same five-year warranty here, too – and this particular example in entry-level SE trim is just two years old with 15,000 miles on the clock.

Following a deposit of only £1,750, it’ll cost you £255 a month.

Kia Rio

Another mid-sized hatchback, the Kia Rio is an excellent all-rounder, which makes it all the more frustrating that Kia has decided to discontinue it.

It's spacious, has a big boot, and, while it's no hot hatch, it looks the part, its engine performs well, and it comes well-equipped as standard.

The car we're looking at comes with very sporty looks in '2' trim, offering 15-inch alloys, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, cruise control, driving mode selector and reversing camera, to name just a few.

This particular example is only two years old with just under 29,000 miles on the clock and, with a £2,250 deposit, could be yours for just £265 a month.

Ford Grand C-Max

If you require a seven-seater, the now-discontinued Ford Grand C-Max is well worth considering.

Boasting excellent practicality and reasonably frugal engines, this example comes with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125PS petrol engine.

16-inch alloys, DAB radio, electric front windows and lumbar adjustment for the driver, it has a classy interior with an infotainment screen.

With a deposit of £2,100, this five-year-old car can be yours for under £270 a month with less than 16,000 miles on the clock.

Audi A3

If you want an upmarket executive car, few will fit our pricing criteria, but we did find an Audi A3.

Although the hatchback version tends to be cheaper when new, it was the more expensive saloon version we came across.

Small saloons aren’t the most practical, but the A3 has tidy handling, a comfortable ride and a nice, well-equipped interior, with this Sport-trimmed model featuring a 1.5-litre petrol engine, DAB radio and Xenon headlights.

Naturally, with a premium brand, there’s bound to be some compromise to get it within budget, so this particular example has no infotainment screen; it's five years old and has nearly 63,000 miles on the clock.

Nevertheless, following an upfront deposit of £2,150, it’s yours for just under £270 a month.

Ford Fiesta

Get one before they’re gone! The Fiesta has finally gone out of production, which is a huge shame, as it’s a great little car that’s brilliant to drive.

This particular example we’re looking at has the 1.0-litre EcoBoost 95PS engine and comes in ST-Line X Edition trim, featuring 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, a Bang and Olufsen premium audio system with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, DAB radio and SatNav.

It's got automatic high beam and rain-sensing wipers, a sporty body kit, sports seats and pedals.

At three years old with 36,000 miles on the clock, a deposit of £2,250 is enough to secure this car for £275 a month.

Dacia Duster

Dacia makes cars which stretch the term 'value for money' to its limits, and the Duster 4x4 SUV is no exception.

It has practicality in spades, with this top-of-the-range (when new) edition coming with 17-inch wheels, DAB radio, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, SatNav, voice recognition, cruise control, multi-view camera and keyless entry.

Granted, there are some downsides, with the interior feeling a little low-rent and its poor Euro NCAP safety rating. But then, if you're mainly driving short, low-speed journeys, these drawbacks may not matter much to you.

We're looking at a two-year-old car here with almost 29,000 miles on the clock, and with a deposit of £2,250, it can be yours for just under £300 a month.

Nissan Juke

Nissan’s funky SUV crossover has proved to be extremely popular.

This particular example comes with 17-inch alloys, a DAB digital radio, a Bose premium sound system, and an automatic gearbox, along with its 1.6-litre petrol engine.

It’s comfortable, though it’s nothing special in terms of performance and handling – and it’s five years old, which means it pre-dates significant upgrades. Hence, the interior looks a little more dated than Nissan's more modern offerings.

Nevertheless, with a deposit of £2,200 upfront, it can be yours for £300 a month.

DS 3

DS is Citroen's spin-off premium brand – and its cars look the part, with the DS 3 featuring lots of chrome, wavy LED lights and a large, Audi-inspired hexagonal front grille.

It’s great to look at, and the interior is equally funky, with a diamond-shaped arrangement housing air vents and numerous buttons.

It includes a DAB radio, premium seats, cupholders and a wide infotainment screen which pops up from the middle of the dashboard, as well as a digital instrument display.

At four years old and with just over 38,000 miles on the clock, a £2,250 deposit is enough to secure this car for £335 a month.

Vauxhall Mokka X

Vauxhall's small SUV, the Mokka, provides excellent levels of practicality.

This older model features an infotainment touchscreen, DAB radio, leather seats with 18-way electric adjustment in the front, dual-zone climate control and a reasonably nice interior.

It's not incredibly athletic to drive, but its 1.4-litre petrol engine is reasonably economical, and the interior naturally provides more space than a conventional family hatchback.

A four-year-old example we've found has just under 42,000 miles on the clock, and with an upfront deposit of £2,250, you can drive it away for just under £320 a month.

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