The top 10 used family cars for less than £10,000 (and the ones to avoid)

Have you got £10,000 to spend on a nearly new family car? You might be surprised to find out what you can afford.....

9 Jan 2020 18:49

Looking for a family car? Got £10,000 to spend?

Used car compilation image

You’re in luck – that budget is plenty enough to buy yourself a nearly new example of one of the best family cars out there, with all the mod cons you’ve always wanted.

What’s more, most modern family cars have plenty going for them – impressive safety, good looks, lots of technology on board, and for the most part a choice of efficient and punchy petrol and diesel engines. And at this price, you’re spoiled for choice; whether you want a family hatchback that’s smart and sophisticated, practical and functional, or simply great value for money, there’s something here for you.

But which used family car do we rate as the best you can buy for this budget? In such a competitive market, it’ll have to offer something truly special to stand out from the crowd, and blend everything that makes modern family cars great into one fine package. Read on to find out more about the best used family car for £10,000.

Slideshow story - please click right-hand arrow above to continue

10: Honda Civic

Honda Civic front three quarters

The ninth-generation Honda Civic is a solid used car choice that's also rather reliable, and extremely practical. This is due in no small part to the big boot, and the versatility of the 'magic' seats that can be made to fold up like cinema chairs to allow you to transport a bike across the back of the car.

10: Honda Civic - interior

Honda Civic interior

It may not be the best to drive on this list, but it is safe and has plenty of grip, plus post 2014 cars got automatic emergency braking technology as standard.

We found: 2016 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC SE Plus, 25,240 miles, £9410

9: Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra front three quarters

The latest Vauxhall Astra's best facet as a used buy is its value; that you can buy such a new Astra for this sort of money makes it hard to resist. The Astra isn't just cheap, though; it's a great car, with neat, involving handling, a comfortable ride and some great engines in the range.

9: Vauxhall Astra - interior

Vauxhall Astra - interior

True, it doesn't quite have the high-quality feel of some of its best rivals, but it still feels more solid than most - and when you consider how cheap it is, its minor flaws are very forgivable.

We found: 2018 Vauxhall Astra 1.0 Turbo ecoTEC SRi, 6000 miles, £8990

8: Kia Cee’d

Kia Cee’d front three quarters

The Kia Cee’d's trump card is its enormous warranty– you get seven years’ worth, although it’s limited to 100,000 miles in the last four of those.

Granted, it's blighted by a range of slightly underwhelming engines and it's not that much fun to drive. But if you're not that fussed about those flaws, the Cee’d is a comfortable, spacious and well-built family car that offers you plenty of peace of mind.

8: Kia Cee’d - interior

Kia Cee’d - interior

A new Cee'd, called the Ceed, was introduced in 2018, and we don't think it'll be long before the prices of these drop into this price bracket, which will make this Kia even more desirable.

We found: 2016 Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi 3, 15,609 miles, £9946

7: Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30 front three quarters

The Hyundai i30's five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty isn't quite as lengthy as the Kia's, but it's slightly cheaper to buy, making it terrific value. With an example this new, you’ll still have the majority of that left, giving you peace of mind for longer than you’ll find with most rivals.

7: Hyundai i30 - interior

Hyundai i30 - interior

The i30’s a good family car, too, with a spacious, robustly built interior, a comfortable ride and plenty of standard equipment.

We found: 2018 Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDi SE Nav, 29,906 miles, £9890

6: BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series front three quarters

Low, sleek, and blessed with an upmarket interior, the BMW 1 Series has been the hatchback of choice for aspiring family buyers for years now.

They don’t mind the fact that it isn’t quite as spacious as its more functional rivals; instead, they appreciate the car's entertaining handling, punchy engines and fantastic infotainment system.

6: BMW 1 Series - interior

BMW 1 Series - interior

And despite its sporty looks, the 1 Series is actually surprisingly comfortable – as long as you avoid models in the stiffly sprung M Sport specification. Our money buys an older 2016 car, which is why you don't see the 1 Series finishing higher up this chart.

We found: 2016 BMW 1 Series 118i Sport, 46,289 miles, £10,000

5: Ford Focus

Ford Focus side profile

The Ford Focus is the most popular family car in the UK, and with good reason. It’s scintillating to drive, decent value to buy and cheap to maintain and repair when things go wrong.

What’s more, with so many around, you’ll have your pick of engines and specifications when the time comes to buy.

5: Ford Focus - interior

Ford Focus - interior

Downsides? Well, its interior design is a bit fussy and features some cheap plastics, and the boot’s on the small side. But if you can live with those flaws, you’ll have one of the most entertaining family hatchbacks going.

We found: 2018 Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Zetec Edition, 28,000 miles, £9950

4: Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf front three quarters

We’re huge fans of the Golf, but it is expensive, and as a result, for this price, you’ll probably have to put up with a slightly older car than some of its best rivals here.

4: Volkswagen Golf - interior

Volkswagen Golf - interior

Nevertheless, if you can live with that age, you do get some great benefits: a classy interior, a comfortable ride, involving handling, a spacious interior and impressive safety standards. It's a great car.

We found: 2017 Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 125 5dr Match Edition, 49,500 miles, £9980

3: Seat Leon

Seat Leon front three quarters

The Leon is a little way off the Golf in terms of the quality of its interior, but that still puts it ahead of most other rivals on this list. You still get the same great choice of engines as the Golf and even the more premium Audi A3, too.

3: Seat Leon - interior

Seat Leon interior

Plus, the Leon is great fun to drive, all of which makes it look like a better value alternative to the Golf – not to mention, one wearing an arguably slightly sharper suit.

We found: 2017 Seat Leon 1.2 TSI 110 SE Dynamic Technology, 4800 miles, £10,000

2: Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia front three quarters

Better value than the Golf, and more spacious than the Leon, the Skoda Octavia is the most practical car here. Its interior isn’t as classy as the Volkswagen’s, and its a car a little less involving to drive than the Seat, but you’ll soon forget about those downsides when you realise how much more space you’ve got to play with.

2: Skoda Octavia - interior

Skoda Octavia - interior

Also helping make the Octavia’s case is the fact that it gets plenty of standard equipment, and that it’s delightfully smooth at high speeds, making it a splendid long-distance cruiser. It's one of our favourite family cars.

We found: 2017 Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI SE Technology, 21,000 miles, £9679

1: Audi A3

Audi A3 front three quarters

The Audi A3 is one of the finest family cars around. For starters, it's the classiest car in the class (even more so than a similarly aged Mercedes A-Class), with a beautifully designed and built interior, decent amounts of equipment and smart styling. But it's also comfortable, practical, great to drive, and every engine in the range is impressively efficient.

1: Audi A3 - interior

Audi A3 - interior

It compares well for interior room with immediate rivals, even though it may not be quite as spacious inside as a Skoda Octavia, but then few others are.

All-in-all, you don't feel like you're making a compromise when going for a used A3, which is why we think it is the best family car you can buy for less than £10,000.

We found: 2016 2.0 TDI SE Technik, 34,900 miles, £10,000

So what about the used family cars to avoid...?

Lexus CT

Lexus CT front three quarters

The CT's hybrid drivetrain makes it cheap to run, but it’s very expensive to buy used, and has terrible ride quality and loads of engine noise.

Lexus CT - interior

Lexus CT - interior

You can get a decent example for £10k, but we wouldn't bother with it.

MG 6

MG 6 front three quarters

It might be surprisingly good fun to drive, but that isn’t enough to save the MG 6.

MG 6 - interior

MG 6 - interior

Woeful build quality, noisy, inefficient engines and oddball looks make it one to avoid.

We hope you enjoyed this story. To easily access more like it, why not sign up to receive our email newsletter? What Car? is the UK’s biggest car-buying brand and has been helping Britain’s car buyers make purchasing decisions for over 40 years, and the newsletter will keep you up to date with all our latest stories. And signing up takes less than 30 seconds. Click here to sign up