11 November 2011 by Lewis Kingston, Consumer Journalist

  • Get yourself a practical used hatchback for under £5,000
  • Choose from cars such as Ford's Focus or Peugeot's 308
  • Use Parkers Cars for Sale to find a car for sale near you

If you're looking for a medium-sized used hatchback, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices.

You've got the usual options of cars such as Ford's Focus, Vauxhall's Astra and the Volkswagen Golf - but are there any others you should consider?

We've rounded up some of the best used hatchbacks that you can buy for less than £5,000, to help you make your decision.

1. Ford Focus (05-11)

What is it?   

Ford's Focus is one of the most popular hatchbacks on the market. It's well equipped, comfortable, capable and reliable. We found a 2006 2.0-litre TDCi Zetec, with 70,000 miles on the clock, on sale at a dealer for £5,000. It comes with air-con, a CD player, electric windows and alloy wheels. Fords are also relatively inexpensive to service and maintain, so it shouldn't break the bank. The boot isn't as big as a Honda Civic but it should prove practical enough for most.

Vital statistics

Rating: Four and a half stars

Price (used): £5,000

Power: 134bhp

0-60mph: 9.0s

Fuel economy: 50mpg

Road tax cost: £130

2. SEAT Leon (05 on)

What is it? 

The SEAT Leon is ideal for those looking for something a little more stylish and engaging. It's based on Volkswagen's Golf, so shouldn't give you many mechanical troubles. Some of the interior plastics can feel a little cheap, however, and the diesel engines can be a little agricultural. A dealer was selling a 2007 model, with 108,000 miles, for £4,811. It comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, air-con, alloys wheels and a CD player.

Vital statistics

Rating: Four stars

Price (used): £4,811

Power: 138bhp

0-60mph: 9.2s

Fuel economy: 58mpg

Road tax cost: £95

3. Honda Civic (06 on)

What is it? 

The Civic is certainly one of the more distinctive hatchbacks you can buy on a budget. It's practical, good to drive and comfortable. We spotted a dealer offering a 2006 model, with a 2.2-litre diesel engine, for £4,995. With 83,000 miles on the clock there's plenty of life left in it and, as you'd expect, it comes with air-con, electric windows and alloy wheels. It also has a huge boot - 100 litres larger than a Focus. Honda is renowned for reliability so problems should be few and far between.

Vital statistics

Rating: Four and a half stars

Price (used): £4,995

Power: 138bhp

0-60mph: 8.3s

Fuel economy: 55mpg

Road tax cost: £115

4. Mazda 3 (04-08)

What is it? 

If you're looking for something a little cheaper, then it's well worth considering the Mazda 3. It's a little bland but it comes with plenty of equipment, drives well and has a strong reputation for reliability. We found a dealer offering a 2005 car, with 77,000 miles on the clock, for £2,945. It comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, air-con, alloys and electric windows.

Vital statistics

Rating: Three and a half stars

Price (used): £2,945

Power: 103bhp

0-60mph: 11.3s

Fuel economy: 40mpg

Road tax cost: £190

5. Volkswagen Golf (04-08)

What is it? 

It's the standard choice for many a family or commuter. The Volkswagen Golf is an enjoyable car to own thanks to its blend of reliability, comfort and handling. They also hold their value very well, meaning you won't lose as much as others through depreciation. We found an independent dealer offering a 2004 1.6-litre FSI petrol S model, with a low 26,985 miles, for £4,650. It comes with electric windows, a CD player and air-con. Servicing costs can be higher than competitors but parts costs are reasonable.

Vital statistics

Rating: Four stars

Price (used): £4,650

Power: 113bhp

0-60mph: 10.5s

Fuel economy: 42mpg

Road tax cost: £165

6. Peugeot 308 (07 on)

What is it? 

The Peugeot 308's an economical, well-built and composed hatchback. Its manual gearbox isn't the best, and it's not as engaging to drive as a Focus, but it's safe and relatively well equipped. We found a dealer selling a 1.6-litre petrol VTi S model, with 60,000 miles on the clock, for £4,995. It comes with air-con and electric windows. Both insurance and servicing are inexpensive, so the Peugeot shouldn't cost you much to run. You might find yourself suffering the odd minor problem, however.

Vital statistics

Rating: Three and a half stars

Price (used): £4,995

Power: 120bhp

0-60mph: 10.5s

Fuel economy: 43mpg

Road tax cost: £165

* Prices based on examples found on Parkers Cars for Sale and limited to availability. Similar examples may be on offer. Prices correct at time of publication. Pictures not representative of specific examples.

Parker's Top Tip

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