Cheap and cheerful small cars are the lifeblood of British motoring. Cars like the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo are inexpensive to run, use very little fuel, and are perfectly sized for nipping to the shops, picking up the kids or running around town.
The great news for used buyers is that the surge in popularity of small cars means there are loads for sale on the used market. What’s more, with so many great models now available, £5000 should be plenty to bag you a great example of a modern small hatchback, and in some cases even less cash will be enough.
To prove it, we’ve surfed the What Car? Approved Used Classifieds, and found ten prime examples of brilliant small cars that are cheap to buy and run but cheery to own.
Best used small cars for less than £5000
10. Suzuki Swift
The Suzuki Swift is one of the more obscure small cars now available on the British market, but don’t think any the less of it for that reason. It looks the part, it’s great to drive, it doesn’t cost a lot to run, and it comes fitted with more equipment than you might expect. Granted, it’s a little noisy at higher speeds, and you’ll also find it less spacious inside than some other cars on this list. However, you can’t fault the value for money the Swift offers. You can also go for the Swift Sport hot hatch model if you want a small car that’s seriously good fun.
We found: 2011 1.2 SZ3, 37,000 miles, £4614
The Dacia Sandero is best known as the cheapest new car in the UK, but that low new price also makes it a seriously low-priced used buy. True, you have to live with a cheap, plasticky interior, that isn’t endowed with a whole heap of equipment. Yet its incredible value can’t be denied, and it offers a decent amount of space, too, making it a great small car for those who simply want the most car for the least cash.
We found: 2014 1.2 Ambiance, 17,000 miles, £5000
8. Audi A2
The Audi A2 is certainly one of the more unconventional-looking small cars around, but there’s a reason for that: its tall roofline means loads of space inside, while an aluminium body makes it light and therefore very fuel-efficient. The ride is a little firm, and the engines a little noisy, but live with its flaws and the A2 provides family-car space in a car no longer than a Fiesta. Petrol-engined versions are the ones to go for, because they’re quieter and mechanically simpler, which should make them cheaper to repair if they go wrong.
We found: 2002 1.4 SE, 58,000 miles, full service history, recent cambelt change, £2400
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