What Car? Personal Shopper: small car for £16,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top new and used car choices, and even tell you how much we can save you...

Used Volkswagen Polo 18-present

Buying used

  • Our recommended choice: 2018 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE 5dr
  • Price: £12,638
  • Mileage: 2155
Volkswagen Polo

It’s very difficult to spend £16,000 on our preferred Volkswagen Polo, as it turns out.

Presently, the Target Price should net you just over £1000 off the list price, but if you go for this year-old, 2155-mile example, you’ll save £3672. That’s nearly 25% off a nearly new car before you start haggling. 

And when you consider you’re getting a car with a smart interior, a height-adjustable boot floor, cruise control, air conditioning and an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone mirroring, you have to wonder if there’s anything that can beat it for the money.

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Read our used Volkswagen Polo review

  • Also consider: 2017 Mini hatchback 1.5 Cooper 5dr
  • Price: £14,995
  • Mileage: 100
Used Mini hatchback

If the Polo isn’t premium enough for you, take a look at this Mini. We’ve found a minimal-mileage Cooper example with the desirable Chili Pack and excellent 136bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine for well below £16,000.

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Read our used Mini hatchback review

  • Also consider: 2017 Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI SE L 5dr
  • Price: £10,500
  • Mileage: 2500
Used Skoda Fabia

The Fabia may be getting on a bit, but this year-old, 2500 mile 1.0-litre SE L example is still well equipped and ludicrously cheap. Expect to see around 60mpg in town.

View this car in the What Car? classifieds

Read our used Skoda Fabia review

Next: our verdict >