Best used family cars for less than £20,000

Whether it's something sensible, something smart, something practical or just a great all-rounder, our guide will help you work out which used family car is best for you...

Mazda 3

7. Mazda 3

If you want great fuel economy but also a car that’s fun to drive, you should have a look at the Mazda 3. Both diesel and petrol versions achieve impressive real-world efficiency, while an involving chassis means it’s a treat if you get a bit of twisty road to yourself. The downside is that it’s quite noisy on the move, so long motorway trips can be a chore. An all-new version has just been launched, so expect more of the older models on the forecourts, and watch out for the new car, which will soon fall into this price bracket. 

We found 2019 Mazda 3 2.0 Sport Black, 2286 miles, £16,500

Used BMW 1 Series 2011 - present

Fancy the quality, image and exciting driving style of a BMW but in a family hatchback package? That’s where the BMW 1 Series comes in. The sacrifice you make is that it isn’t as spacious as some rivals and standard kit is a bit stingy on some versions. But if driving involvement is paramount or you just want the quality and kudos of a BMW, the 1 Series will be hard to resist. And as an added bonus, it offers a range of very efficient engines.

We found 2019 BMW 1 Series 118d Sport, 1500 miles, £16,250

Read the used BMW 1 Series review here

5. Ford Focus

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is Britain’s most popular family hatchback, and it isn’t hard to see why. First up, it’s cheap both to buy and to run. It’s also great to drive, with a lively chassis and responsive steering. Ford's 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine is peppy enough for most people, too, and while the Focus isn’t quite as classy as the Volkswagen Golf inside, the ubiquitous Titanium variant does at least get plenty of equipment. What’s more, there are loads of examples out there to choose from, so finding a good one shouldn’t be hard.

We found: 2019 Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Titanium, 4695 miles, £15,800

Read the used Ford Focus review here

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