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How to buy our Used Car of the Year winners
Planning to buy a used car in 2022? Don't do anything until you've read our recommended list of Used Car of the Year winners...
If buying a used car is on your New Year's resolutions list for 2022, we can help you find the best model for your needs. So don’t take the plunge until you’ve read our list of Used Car of the Year winners.
Many find buying a used car a hugely daunting experience. We don’t blame you if you’re feeling a modicum of trepidation – especially if, like most people, you want to make sure you get the best deal out there.
Fortunately, we have our own Used Cars pages that you can search for used and nearly-new cars, with all vehicles listed guaranteed to be less than eight years old, have covered less than 100,000 miles and have the added peace of mind of a warranty. But which cars should you search for in each class? Here are our recommendations.
Best used city car
Kia Picanto 2017-present
They say good things come in small packages, and the Picanto is proof of that. Despite being the ideal size for urban use and relatively cheap to buy, Kia’s baby won’t leave you yearning for the creature comforts of something larger. The smart-looking interior is well equipped in mid-range 2 trim up, although you’ll need to seek out higher-spec 3 trim for the best infotainment system.
We found: 2018 Kia Picanto 1.25 3, 29,800 miles, £9495
Find a used Kia Picanto for sale here
Best used small car
Skoda Fabia 2015-present
You can't go wrong with the excellent Skoda Fabia. For three years it has won our small car category because it's a great all-rounder. It has a spacious interior and practical boot, a well-made dashboard and a big-car feeling to how it drives. If you seek out an SE model you'll get all the equipment you'll need.
We found: 2018 Skoda Fabia 1.0 MPI SE, 14,236 miles, £9595
Find a used Skoda Fabia for sale here
Best used family car
Audi A3 2013-2020
For starters, the previous-generation A3's interior has a plethora of upmarket materials and a top-notch infotainment system (which we actually prefer to the one in the current Audi A3). On the road, it strikes the perfect balance between a supple ride and tidy handling. You get loads of choice when it comes to engines and trim levels, too. Our favourite variant is the petrol 1.5 TFSI Sport – a 2018 example can be yours for around £14,000, while earlier versions start at £10,000.
We found: 2018 Audi A3 1.0 TFSI SE Technik, 28,040 miles, £15,440
Find a used Audi A3 for sale here
Best used MPV
Volkswagen Touran 2015-present
The Touran offers the box-on-wheels practicality you’d expect from a people carrier, but what sets it apart here is that it has the kind of premium feel and car-like handling that will please drivers and passengers alike. Take the way the Touran drives, for example. It’s quiet and comfortable, while the 1.4-litre petrol engine we recommend has plenty of pulling power – even when all seven seats are filled.
We found: 2017 Volkswagen Touran 1.4 TFSI SEL, 24,350 miles, £22,100
Find a used Volkswagen Touran for sale here
Best used small SUV
Seat Arona 2018-present
Unlike many of its rivals, the Arona manages to both ride well and handle tidily – almost as well as the Seat Ibiza. The boot is big for this class of car, too, so it's especially useful for families. Go for a 1.0-litre SE Technology car for decent performance and economy, along with a larger infotainment screen. There was an issue with the central rear seatbelt, but a recall has been issued for that.
We found: 2018 Seat Arona 1.0 TSI SE Technology, 19,365 miles, £12,995
Find a used Seat Arona for sale here
Best used family SUV
Skoda Karoq 2017-present
If it’s true that success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally but what you do consistently, the sky's the limit for the Karoq. Rather than trying to be too specialised in any one area, it's strong across the board. Practicality heads the long list of attributes. The Karoq’s robust, spacious and user-friendly interior features flexible sliding and removable rear seats (on some models), and the boot is one of the biggest in this class.
We found: 2018 Skoda Karoq 1.0 TSI SE Nav, 23,459 miles, £18,690
Find a used Skoda Karoq for sale here
Best used large SUV
Peugeot 5008 2017-present
The 5008 was reinvented when the second-generation version was introduced in 2017. Out went the functional but frumpy MPV styling of the original 5008 and in its place we got a far more desirable SUV body. Crucially, while the model became a hell of a lot more stylish, practicality wasn’t sacrificed, and it can seat up to seven.
We found: 2018 Peugeot 5008 1.6 BlueHDI Allure, 25,621 miles, £23,895
Find a used Peugeot 5008 for sale here
Best used luxury SUV
Audi Q7 2015-present
The Q7 has been around since 2015 but continues to be one of the finest luxury SUVs around. In fact, we still rate pre-facelift versions because of their easier-to-use infotainment system (newer cars gets a twin-touchscreen set-up). Despite its complexity, the Q7 came second in the luxury SUV category of our latest What Car? Reliability Survey so it's more dependable than most.
We found: 2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI 218 Quattro S Line, 26,267 miles, £38,000
Find a used Audi Q7 for sale here
Best used estate car
Skoda Octavia Estate 2013-2020
Its looks might not set your heart on fire, but the previous-generation Octavia Estate is one of the best all-round cars you can buy in the real world. You see, it takes all that we like about the Skoda Octavia hatchback – including its relaxed ride – and adds an even more practical boot. Prices are reasonable and SE Technology trim gets you lots of kit.
We found: 2018 Skoda Octavia Estate 1.0 TSI SE Technology, 20,573 miles, £16,798
Find a used Skoda Octavia Estate for sale here
Best used hot hatch
Ford Fiesta ST 2013-2017
Here’s the rub: we actually prefer this earlier generation version to the current Fiesta ST. Both versions are lively and good fun, but this one just has the edge for excitement, and that’s what hot hatches are all about. With a gutsy turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, a slick manual gearbox and agile, grippy handling, the ST is a joy on a twisty road. It’s also relatively affordable to run, with better fuel economy than most similarly speedy rivals.
We found: 2017 Ford Fiesta ST-3, 27,200 miles, £13,749
Find a used Ford Fiesta ST for sale here
Best used sports car
BMW i8 2014-2020
The i8 boldly rewrote the traditional sports car formula. Its Blade Runner looks are backed up by a novel plug-in hybrid set-up that combines a 228bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine with a 129bhp electric motor. That gives it enough punch for a 0-60mph time of 4.4sec, and also enables near-silent electric cruising for up to 34 miles, leading to low CO2 emissions and impressive fuel economy. You can expect to beat 40mpg – remarkable for a sports car. Used prices start at around £40,000.
We found: 2016 BMW i8, 30,000 miles, £48,950
Find a used BMW i8 for sale here
Best used coupé/convertible
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé 2014-present
Is the 4 Series Gran Coupé cheating to win in this category? We don’t think so. A coupé should offer a touch more glamour than a saloon, and its rear doors add a handy dose of practicality to the mix. It’s better to drive than the Audi A5 Sportback and Volkswagen Arteon and the range of petrol and diesel engines is excellent too. A 2019 420i Gran Coupé in M Sport trim costs around £21,000 – a huge saving on what it cost new.
We found: 2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé 420i M Sport, 13,500 miles, £23,421
Find a used BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé for sale here
Best used performance car
Mercedes-AMG E63 2016-present
If you’re after one last fossil fuel hurrah before we all switch to electric vehicles, look no further than the E63. In 603bhp S guise, its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine makes the most exhilarating noise while pumping out mind-blowing performance like that of many supercars. As with its BMW M5 rival, it has a clever four-wheel-drive system to deploy all that power cleanly, yet it can be decoupled to make the car rear-wheel drive for a sportier feel. For such a hot rod, it’s surprisingly agile and involving.
We found: 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 S, 24,877 miles, £61,000
Find a used Mercedes-AMG E63 for sale here
Best used hybrid
BMW 5 Series 530e 2017-present
We love the BMW 5 Series – especially the plug-in hybrid version – so it’s no surprise to find the latter grabbing the honours here. Like the rest of the range, the 530e is great to drive and wonderfully refined. With an electric motor to assist the smooth petrol engine, it’s also able to see off the 0-62mph dash in less than six seconds and polish off motorway cruises in spectacular style.
We found: 2018 BMW 5 Series 530e SE, 22,631 miles, £24,949
Find a used BMW 5 Series 530e for sale here
Best used electric car
Renault Zoe 2013-present
To those who like the idea of an electric car but are put off by the high prices, the Zoe has always been a godsend. It costs only a moderate amount to buy new, and as a used car it’s unbeatable. The Zoe has been around for nearly a decade, so there are plenty on the used forecourts at attractively low prices. In fact, you can pick up an early example for as little as £6000. You’ll find any Zoe easy to drive, surprisingly refined and decently practical.
We found: 2019 Renault Zoe 80kW Dynamic Nav R110 40kWh, 10,204 miles, £14,490
Find a used Renault Zoe for sale here
Best used executive car
Audi A4 2015-present
We already knew the A4 was an excellent car thanks to its 2016 Car of the Year Award so when we saw what good value used ones offer, there was no question about awarding it our used executive class win. If you don't do many miles, a 148bhp 1.4 petrol model offers plenty of performance for a spectacularly low price. Note that buyers of 'S Tronic' automatic models should make sure the recommended gearbox fluid changes have been carried out every 38,000 miles.
We found: 2018 Audi A4 1.4 TFSI S line, 27,806 miles, £18,100
Find a used Audi A4 for sale here
Best used luxury car
BMW 5 Series 2017-present
Here is a luxury car that’s comfortable and refined, with plenty of space for your family and anything they might want to bring with them. You get all that for relatively little cash – in fact prices for this generation of 5 Series start at £16,000. Our favourite 520d diesel has a smooth engine that’s powerful enough for any situation yet won’t cost a lot to run, and entry-level SE trim has all of the kit you could want. Better still, the 17in alloy wheels on SE cars are better at soaking up road bumps than the larger wheels you’ll find on more expensive M Sport examples.
We found: 2018 BMW 5 Series 520d SE, 28,500 miles, £22,500
Find a used BMW 5 Series for sale here
Best 7-seat SUVs and 4x4s 2022
Whether you're planning to carry seven people on a regular basis or just need an occasional third row of seats, there’s plenty of choice. But which SUVs are best - and which are best avoided?
2021 Peugeot 5008 long term test review
The stylish Peugeot 5008 seven-seat SUV has just been updated so we're finding out what it's like to live with