New vs three-year-old cars for £10k

  • Should you buy new or used on a £10k budget?
  • Nearly new cars always look like great value
  • Check Parkers Cars for Sale section for latest deals

Cars are an expensive business and once you’ve set a budget for your next new set of wheels, then comes the equally tricky question: should you buy new or used?

If you haven't already, it’s worth considering whether car finance may work too. Over 75 percent of new retail cars are brought through finance these days, and £10,000 is a considerable deposit amount. That means depending on what car you want, you could drive your monthly payments down to a very low level indeed.

To help you make up your mind, here we take a closer look at the different options available and provide some case studies to illustrate the type of deals on offer.

Don’t forget to check out our Cars for Sale section for the latest deals on new and used cars. And when you come to sell your current car, make sure you get a free car valuation with us to ensure you get the right price.

Three-year-old used cars

When you buy a brand new car, it can be disheartening when you think of the value it's losing. It depreciates from the second you drive off the forecourt.

Unfortunately that's the nature of buying a new car, which is one of the big reasons buying used appeals to so many people - after three years it’s already taken the biggest hit in terms of depreciation. In some cases cars lose as much as two thirds of their value.

So three-year-old cars are much more affordable, but there are downsides: you don’t know how the car has been treated during its ownership elsewhere, and some longer manufacturer warranties are not transferable, which is something you’ll need to consider as if affects the resale value of the car.

Buy new?

Although £10,000 may not seem like a lot of money when it comes to buying a new car, you may be surprised at what your budget could stretch to.

Size is the big compromise here - most of the sub £10k choices (except Dacias) are city cars or superminis.

But if practicality is far down your list of priorities then you could find a great new runabout featuring the latest kit, modern designs, engine technology and advanced safety systems.

Let us also not forget about the warranties on offer with new cars and the fact that engine efficiency has greatly improved over recent years too so running costs will be better.

To find out what your budget could buy, take a look at our favourite new cars for under £10k here. 

Big deposit for finance?

This could be the best of both worlds. PCP has been growing considerably in popularity over recent years and is by far the most popular way to finance a new car today.

There are a number of different finance methods. Some involve you owning the car at the end like Hire Purchase (HP), while others you can hand the keys back or pay a final balloon payment at the end of the term (PCP).

With a healthy deposit of £10,000 you should be able to get a very good deal, likely including zero percent interest with low monthly repayments (provided you’re not looking to buy a Ferrari, of course) on a brand new car which features the latest design and kit available.

For more on the pros and cons of car finance, read our article here. 

Some examples

BMW 3 Series Saloon


You can pick up a used 12-plate 3 Series for your budget, or maybe a little less if you’re good at haggling. The BMW 3 Series is a popular company car choice so they'll be plenty of ex-fleet cars in the used car market so you'll know the car has been well maintainted through its previous ownership but make sure you compare mileage on used models to get the best deal. There’s a range of BMW 3 Series for sale in our section here.

To buy a 3 Series new, prices start from £24,975 for the 318i SE. Our pick of the range would be the 320D Efficient Dynamics diesel model which combines low running costs, good performance figures and plenty of kit as standard. Priced at £30,485, if you use your entire £10,000 budget for the deposit on a four-year PCP deal then monthly payments fall below £280* (there will also be an optional final payment at the end of the term to consider)  – plus BMW is offering deposit contribution deals at the moment, which could mean less deposit from you, freeing up several months' payments or more cash to spend on optional extras.

MINI Cooper S


One of the most fashionable and iconic cars of all time, the MINI hatchback is soaked in heritage and adored by an army of fans.

Topping the range is the Cooper S which offers extra sporty features and more power under the bonnet. If you’re hankering after that new car smell, prices for the three-door Cooper S start at £18,840 and using £8,000 of your budget could secure a 36-month PCP deal with monthly payments as low as £139* a month. Remember there will also be an optional final payment at the end of the term if you want to keep the car after that, though.

If you’re looking for a used car it's possible to pick up a 12/61 plate MINI Cooper S under the £10,000 budget in our Cars for Sale section, some models with mileage under 30,000 too. Have a look at our selection of MINI Cooper S models for sale here.

Nissan Qashqai


One of the biggest-selling cars here in the UK and almost solely responsible for the surge in SUV sales over recent years, it seems like you can’t drive down a road these days without spotting a Nissan Qashqai.

With prices starting from £18,845, there’s a wide variety of kit and engines on offer and a whole host of finance deals available too, some with zero percent APR and deposit contributions if you’re prepared to put a big chunk of your budget down in the first instance.

For example, we spotted a deal with monthly payments of just £149* a month based on a 36-month PCP plan with a £4,174.53 deposit for the VISIA DIG-T 115, you’ll also get £1,250 from Nissan to add onto your deposit.

There are plenty of used car bargains to be had on three-year-old Qashqais. Depending on how much mileage the car has covered, some are comfortably under budget too. It’s worth looking at ex-fleet cars for extra peace of mind that they have been well-maintained and looked after, but watch out for higher mileage cars which could be a little tired. To check out the latest used car deals on the Nissan Qashqai – click here.

Check out our latest deals at our weekly deal watch here

*Prices and deals are correct at time of publication

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