Top 10 used small cars for less than £2000

Whether you want something that's fun to drive, comfortable or frugal, a budget of £2000 can buy you any one of these great used small cars on our top 10 list...


Author Avatar
by
Max Adams

If you're trying to find a cheap small car then you're not alone. Most motorists have owned at least one in their lifetime – whether as a first car, an urban runaround or even a motorway commuter.

Picking the right small car gets you a vehicle that strikes the perfect balance between versatility and accessibility, so it's no wonder they've become a staple of British roads.  

As little as £2000 can get you an excellent used example, and the cherry on top is that they usually have low running costs as well. Our 10 favourite models certainly give you both. Read on to find out which cars make the list and why we recommend them.

10

Toyota Yaris

Despite its age, the Yaris still looks fresh today, inside and out. It’s a break from the norm, with a swooping dashboard and a central digital instrument binnacle. You get plenty of interior space and it’s fun to drive with sharp handling, although the payoff for that is a firm ride that can get uncomfortable. The engines are a bit gutless but the 1.3-litre version should have enough go for most people.

We found: 2007 Toyota Yaris 1.3 VVT-i Zinc, 59,000 miles, £1890

Find a used Toyota Yaris for sale here

Pros

  • Small yet practical supermini with character

Cons

  • Maybe too small for some
  • Some reliability issues, too
9

Honda Jazz

The Jazz is one of the most reliable small cars around, and with its boxy shape and flip-up rear seats, it’s more spacious and practical than most. It’s also easy to drive, and its raised driving position gives good visibility and makes it easy to strap children in the back. The downside is that the Jazz isn’t very comfortable once you’re on the move, with a firm ride and quite a lot of noise.

We found: 2008 Honda Jazz 1.2 i-DSI S, 51,422 miles, £1995

Find a used Honda Jazz for sale here

Pros

  • It's flexible, well equipped
  • easy to drive and reliable

Cons

  • It has a firm ride, and it's noisy
  • It's also expensive to buy and service
8

Nissan Micra

Zippy, eager engines make the Micra rewarding to drive in town, where its great visibility and light steering make it a real joy. It’s less convincing out of town, where its noisy nature comes to the fore. You’ll also find that there's not that much head room in the back. If you can live with that, you’ll find the Micra reliable and easy to drive – it should make a delightful budget small car choice.

We found: 2007 Nissan Micra 1.4 16v Tekna, 38,000 miles, £1999

Find a used Nissan Micra for sale here

Pros

  • The Micra has sweet engines and bags of safety kit

Cons

  • Rear headroom and boot space are poor
7

Volkswagen Polo

It’s hard to believe that you can get a car as desirable as the Polo for this budget, but you can. Its greatest trick is that at a glance, it has more than a hint of its bigger and more expensive sibling, the Golf. Granted, at this price you might have to accept a slightly higher mileage and an older car than with other models here, but the trade-off – a solidly built, refined and very classy package – might just be worth it.

We found: 2006 Volkswagen Polo 1.2 E, 57,000 miles, £1990

Find a used Volkswagen Polo for sale here

Pros

  • Style
  • Solid build quality
  • Resale values

Cons

  • Comparatively pricey to buy
  • Average to drive
6

Hyundai i20

While the i20 isn't all that fun to drive, it very much makes up for that negative with plenty of positives in terms of space, comfort and refinement. It'll serve you well day to day as well as being kind on your wallet. Engines are economical, making it an inexpensive car to run, and Hyundai ranked third out of 30 manufacturers in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey so it should be a dependable choice too.

We found: 2009 Hyundai i20 1.2 Classic, 61,000 miles, £2000

Find a used Hyundai i20 for sale here

Pros

  • Good value
  • Lots of equipment
  • Many examples still have warranty

Cons

  • Not much fun to drive
  • Dull interior
  • Over-light steering at speed
5

Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta isn't necessarily a car that stands out from the crowd, but it does offer plenty of space for its occupants and is very fun to drive, with responsive engines and a lively chassis. While the ride is a bit firm and the interior can feel cheap in places, it's inexpensive to buy and run, and with so many examples available, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

We found: 2008 Ford Fiesta 1.4 Style Climate, 54,000 miles, £1995

Find a used Ford Fiesta for sale here

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Affordable to buy and run
  • Space for four adults
  • Plenty to choose from in the classifieds

Cons

  • Forgettable looks
  • Firm suspension
  • The VW Polo feels classier inside
4

Seat Ibiza

Fancy a Volkswagen Polo with a sense of fun? Well, look no further. The Ibiza is based on the same underpinnings but is more exciting to drive, and also happens to look rather more stylish. It doesn’t give you as much space in the back as the Polo, and the firm ride at low speeds will put some people off, but there’s plenty of space up front and in the boot. Better still, prices look very reasonable today.

We found: 2007 Seat Ibiza 1.2 12v Reference Sport, 39,915 miles, £1998

Find a used Seat Ibiza for sale here

Pros

  • Smart-looking, fun to drive
  • sharp handling

Cons

  • Limited rear cabin space and firm low-speed ride
3

Skoda Fabia

The Fabia is the Seat Ibiza’s grown-up, more sensible cousin, based on the same underpinnings but with a greater emphasis on comfort and space. Its dashboard is a little drab, but other than that there’s little to fault it. It rides well, is agile and responsive, and because it’s slightly larger than most cars of this size – though still perfectly manageable in town and when parking – you get a heap more room inside.

We found: 2010 Skoda Fabia 1.2 S, 84,700 miles, £1995

Find a used Skoda Fabia for sale here

Pros

  • Practical interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Good petrol engines

Cons

  • Gruff diesel engines
  • Numb steering
  • Drab interior
2

Suzuki Swift

Value is the Swift’s primary selling point – it’s cheap as chips to buy, which means our £2,000 budget buys you a relatively low-mileage example. That’s not all, though: the Swift is great fun to drive, its zingy engines mean you never feel short of power and reliability is pretty strong too. The interior plastics aren’t the most high quality, and it feels a little firm and noisy on the motorway, but you’ll probably be having too much fun to care.

We found: 2009 Suzuki Swift 1.5 GLX, 53,076 miles, £2000

Find a used Suzuki Swift for sale here

Pros

  • Powerful and great fun to drive, especially considering how inexpensive it is

Cons

  • Luggage space is limited, and the ride is firm and noisy when you're on the motorway
1

Vauxhall Corsa

We named the Corsa our Car of the Year in 2007, yet now you can buy one for less than £2000. Sounds like a bargain to us. You still get the Corsa’s comfortable ride, classy interior and snappy looks, plus plenty of space, a well-sized boot and good build quality. What’s more, there are plenty around, so you can pick and choose the right example for you. Avoid the 1.0-litre engine, though – it’s a little gutless.

We found: 2009 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 i 16v SXi, 56,000 miles, £1995

Find a used Vauxhall Corsa for sale here

Pros

  • Classy and spacious interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Good build quality
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Smaller petrol engines feel underpowered
  • You won’t stand out from the crowd