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Used Car of the Year Awards contenders
From 2pm today, we'll be announcing the winners of the 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards, but you can get a sneak preview of the top contenders here...
The cars in contention for the overall 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year Award, held in association with heycar, have been revealed. The winners will be announced online on 30 September via our What Car? Twitter page.
In addition to the overall Used Car of the Year, we'll name the winners over 19 categories, ranging from tiny city cars to large luxury SUVs, and we've even covered those who are eco-conscious with our hybrid and electric categories. There will also be an award for the best used car scheme that we feel offers the most reassuring package to buyers.
What Car? is renowned for its thoroughness when assessing new cars, and the same applies when choosing the best used cars. The process began with a list of all models the available models in each individual class and price point category. Then a panel of experts deliberated on the cars in question, drawing from What Car?’s extensive road testing experience. The expert panel debated the relative merits of hundreds of different models in order to work out which was the best in each class. A heavy emphasis was placed on a car’s reliability in the judging process when deciding the overall winners, using our own 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey data.
Read on for more information about each car, along with links to our full written reviews of each model, and to What Car? Used Car Buying, where you can search amongst thousands of cars for sale on that have been quality checked, are less than eight years old, have covered less than 100,000 miles and come with a warranty.
Less than £4000
Despite its diminutive exterior dimensions, the Suzuki Celerio is surprisingly spacious inside. Couple that with a featherweight kerb weight and an efficient choice of engines and you have a compelling city car choice that doesn't cost much to buy or run.
The first generation i10 was a very popular city car choice and so you can find lots for sale today. Most of the ones we found were a couple of years older than the equivalent Celerio, but the majority of i10s had the more powerful 1.2-litre petrol fitted that would be better for motorway driving.
Our reliability data has found that the Skoda Citigo (along with the Toyota Aygo) to be the most reliable small car you can get, which helps alleviate some of the concerns of going for a seven-year-old car.
Less than £6000
With the increase in budget, we were able to find 2016 examples of the Kia Picanto which means that there will still be three years of manufacturer's warranty left. Most had the least powerful 1.0-litre engine, though.
The second-generation i10 is a much more practical car than the earlier one because it is bigger and can accommodate taller people in the back. The boot is pretty sizeable for a city car, too.
The Citigo still represents excellent value, although this time it faces stiff opposition from the more spacious i10 and the safety net of a manufacturer's warranty with the Picanto.
Less than £8000
The Toyota Aygo is fresh from a class win in the 2020 What Car? Reliability survey and is the only choice here that can be had with a touchscreen infotainment system that you can pair your smartphone with for the money.
Our budget allows us to find the very latest Kia Picanto that we like for its generous boot and tidy handling. Also, we're able to get a year-old example that still has the majority of its manufacturer's warranty left.
The i10 makes it into the top price point category and for this money, you can have a year old example in 1.0-litre SE form.
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