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How to buy our Used Car of the Year winners

Planning to buy a used car in 2023? Don't do anything until you've read our recommended list of Used Car of the Year winners...

Used Car of the Year 2023 - BMW 530e

Are you yet to plan your 2023 New Year's resolutions? Well, perhaps buying a used car could make your list. And, to tempt you further, we can help you find the best model for your needs; just check out our Used Car of the Year 2022 winners.

Our list contains eight categories (as well as an overall winner) that point to the best used cars on sale today. There's a variety to choose from, with a car to suit every want and need. 

We also have our very own Used Cars pages that you can search for used and nearly-new cars, and there are more than 350,000 examples listed at any time. But exactly which cars should you search for in each class? Here are our recommendations.

Best used hatchback 

Audi A3 Sportback 2013-2020

Audi A3 30 TFSI S line S tronic [Tech Pack]

Even today, the previous-generation Audi A3 holds up as one of the most refined family cars in existence. Its premium image is justified, too; quality is present everywhere, from its classy interior to its supple ride comfort. We'd recommend its petrol engines over its diesel ones (unless you do plenty of motorway miles), notably the 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI if we were buying an older car, or the 1.5-litre engine if we were looking at a later one. We'd recommend Sport trim; this gets you a host of extra kit, including dual-zone climate control, sports seats and bigger 17in wheels.

We found: 2015 Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sport, 34,133 miles, £13,354

Find a used Audi A3 for sale here

Read our used Audi A3 review >>

Best used executive car

Audi A4 2015-present

Used Audi A4 front

We crowned the Audi A4 our Car of the Year back in 2016, and it remains a great buy to this day – particularly on the used market. Like its smaller A3 sibling, it's a very well executed model, and – if you don't do many miles – a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol model offers plenty of performance for a spectacularly low price. Note that buyers of models with the S Tronic automatic gearbox should make sure the recommended fluid changes have been carried out every 38,000 miles.

We found: 2016 Audi A4 1.4 TFSI Sport, 31,354 miles, £12,400

Find a used Audi A4 for sale here

Read our used Audi A4 review >>

Best used SUV

Mazda CX-5 2017-present

Used Mazda CX-5 front

The Mazda CX-5 has built up a reputation over the years as one of the better driver’s cars in the SUV sector, and it’s well deserved; there are echoes of the marvellous Mazda MX-5 sports car in the way it can attack roundabouts or dispatch a winding country road. Between petrol and diesel CX-5s, the former is much more common on the used market. What's more, the 2.0-litre engine offers enough punch to satisfy most. We’d keep things simple with the trim, too, by seeking out the older and cheaper SE-L Nav, unless you happen to come across a reasonably priced top-spec model on a used car forecourt. 

We found: 2017 Mazda CX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav, 29,000 miles, £15,995

Find a used Mazda CX-5 for sale here

Read our used Mazda CX-5 review >>

Best used estate car

Volkswagen Passat Estate 2015-2022

Used Volkswagen Passat Estate

The Volkswagen Passat Estate is good to drive, with a spot-on driving position. And, despite a firm ride, it’s a comfortable car to travel in. The interior’s classy and offer plenty of space for five, and then there’s its huge boot, too. We’d recommend the 148bhp 2.0 Diesel engine; it’s punchy enough to offer satisfying pace and easy overtaking when you want, and it pulls willingly from low revs. Entry-level S trim is a little sparse for our liking, so we’d go with SE trim for additional goodies. 

We found: 2015 Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI SE, 40,810 miles, £13,911

Find a used Volkswagen Passat Estate for sale here

Read our used Volkswagen Passat review >>

Best used electric car

Tesla Model 3 2019-present

Used Tesla Model 3 front

The popular Tesla Model 3 proved a real game-changer when it hit UK shores in 2019. It handles well and has an impressive range, not to mention it's a tech fan's dream. If you can afford the extra cash, we’d pick the Performance version; it’s ridiculously fast and has a great range. It’s well equipped, too, with such high-tech features as adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, electrically operated front seats and steering column, heated front and rear seats, and a 15in infotainment screen with Google Maps, Netflix and web browsing. 

We found: 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance, 11,186 miles, £40,000

Find a used Tesla Model 3 for sale here

Read our used Tesla Model 3 review >>

Best used hybrid car

BMW 530e 2017-present

BMW 530e front cornering

We love the BMW 5 Series, especially this 530e plug-in hybrid version. Like the rest of the range, the 530e is great to drive and wonderfully refined, polishing off motorway cruises in spectacular style, but this version also gives you the option of running on near-silent electric power on short journeys. Or, if you use the electric motor to assist the smooth petrol engine, it can able to see off the 0-62mph dash in less than six seconds.

We found: 2018 BMW 5 Series 530e SE, 25,969 miles, £23,016

Find a used BMW 5 Series 530e for sale here

Read our used BMW 5 Series review >>


Best used seven-seater

Peugeot 5008 2017-present

2019 Peugeot 5008 front left tracking RHD

The Peugeot 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, though, while the model became a lot more stylish, that wasn't at the expense of practicality. In 2021, it was dubbed our Used Car of the Year, and we recommend the smooth and punchy 1.2-litre petrol engine. We’d try to seek out a car in Allure trim, which adds a few extra niceties on top of the basic features you get with Active trim.

We found: 2018 Peugeot 5008 1.2 PureTech Allure, 39,452 miles, £20,870

Find a used Peugeot 5008 for sale here

Read our used Peugeot 5008 review >>

Best used sports car

Audi TT 2014-present

Used Audi TT Coupe

Although it’s not always true that things improve with age, the Audi TT proves that some cars actually do. It’s been consistently ahead of its rivals for many years now and it's a serial winner of many of our group tests and used car awards, including this one. Our favourite engine is the 2.0-litre TFSI with 227bhp; it offers a great blend of effortless performance, refinement and economy. Sport is our recommended trim, but we'd try to find a car that’s had climate control, front parking sensors or sat-nav added; these were optional when new.

We found: 2017 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI 230 Sport, 38,532 miles, £17,702

Find a used Audi TT for sale here

Read our used Audi TT review >>

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