Used cars for less than the price of the train

Millions of UK workers commute by train, but could it be cheaper to buy a car instead?...

Seat Leon 1.5 TSI Evo SE

Used cars can net you a bargain because they've already suffered the worst of their depreciation. That means you can get a more luxurious car that would have been out of your budget when it was new. Remember, our budget here is the £12,568 you would otherwise have spent on a train season ticket.

Here are three of our used favourites along with links to our used reviews of them, giving you all the information you'll need to save you the bother of any potentially tedious research.


Seat Leon (2013-present)

The Seat Leon is a long-standing favourite of ours, especially because it was our overall What Car? Used Car of the Year back in 2017. The 1.4-litre petrol engine we recommend is really strong because of its flexible power and remarkable economy figures in the real world, thanks to clever,  fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology. The Leon is often better value than its Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 counterparts, too, and if you look at the high-end FR Technology model, you'll have plenty of kit to play with. It's also rather good fun to drive, with quick and well-weighted steering, pleasing handling with limited body lean and a ride that's firm yet always supple enough over the bigger bumps.

What we found 2017 Seat Leon 1.4 EcoTSI 150 FR Technology, 19,097 miles, £12,497

Read our full Seat Leon used car review


Kia Sportage (2016-present) 

Kia Sportage

If you've got a growing family, it's likely you'll be looking at an SUV, and the good news is that you can afford a well-specced example of the current Kia Sportage for our season ticket budget. The Sportage is a spacious five-seater with a decent-sized boot, and there are plenty of examples out there with the economical 1.7-litre diesel engine.

It's comfortable, too, and even though 2 trim is a mid-range one in the Sportage, you still get dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and smartphone integration, as well as rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Best of all is the fact that even if you go for an early 2016 car, it'll still have four years of manufacturer's warranty left. 

What we found 2016 Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDI , 29,505 miles, £12,495

Read our full Kia Sportage used review


BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

If you want something luxurious to commute in, few cars will suit you better than BMW's 5 Series saloon. The economical 2.0-litre diesel engine is pretty smooth, and as long as you go for a 2014 onwards example (as we've done), you won't suffer the timing chain issues of earlier cars. The big BMW is fantastic for chewing up motorway miles, but it'll be highly rewarding to drive on twisty B-road.

What we found 2015 BMW 5 Series 520d SE, 34,176 miles, £12,600

Read our full BMW 5 Series used review


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