Best used cars for under £5,000

  • The Parkers pick of the best used cars for £5,000
  • A great range – from city cars to briliant SUVs
  • Find them all on Parkers Cars for Sale

If you're after a used car for less than £5,000 the choice can seem limitless – but that's a very positive thing because no matter what your need is, there's a car that's ready for you. We've picked out our favourite cars in a number of categories that you'll be able to bag for five grand.

And you'll get a good example for that money. So if you're after a family car, something that's perfect for your first car or need a little more luxury, we have you covered. As always, the advice is shop around, do your research, get a car history check and dig into the car's history – make sure it's been looked after properly to take out the unknowns in choosing your next used car. We’ve ordered these cars from smallest to largest, and all can be found on the Parkers Cars for Sale section.

Best used cars for less than £5,000:

1. Skoda Citigo

Skoda Citigo: best used cars for £5,000

The Skoda Citigo and its SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up! sister cars really are the perfect motors for city dwellers, or those who need a cheap-to-run first car. Fuel economy is excellent – you're doing something wrong if you're getting less than 50mpg, while the running costs are low thanks to there being plenty of independent specialists who support Volkswagen Group cars like this one.

Reliability is so far proving excellent, and a quick look at our owners reviews will reveal that drivers really rate these cars. It's been off-sale since 2019 in the UK, but thanks to pleasing styling, it's a timeless choice that should serve you well. With used examples available for less than £1,500, your £5,000 budget will get you a well-trimmed SE L version from around 2017. We'd recommend the 75hp version over the 60hp model – it's faster but no less ecnomical.

2. Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift: best used cars for £5,000

Any regular Parkers reader will know how much we rate the Suzuki Swift. It's well-built, super-reliable and good fun to drive, and although it's not the roomiest small car out there, it's perfectly suited to small families who travel light. Performance is excellent in all the petrol versions, and 45mpg is possible without trying too hard. The diesel will make closer to 65mpg, if you're after the best possible economy.

Swifts are extremely highly rated by their owners, and most end up plumping for another when moving on. Your £5,000 budget should stretch to a 1.2-litre 2017 SZ3 with sat-nav with its best years ahead of it. We'd always prefer the petrol version, as the diesel is noisy, unrefined and not that great to drive – buy only if economy is your number priority.

3. Ford Focus

Ford Focus: best used cars for £5,000

We like the Ford Focus, and so do you – it was consistently Britain's bestselling family car throughout its life. There are lots of versions to choose from and you can't go wrong whether you go petrol or diesel. Like all Fords from this era, the Focus is good to drive with sharp steering and tight handling, and great economy, espcially in the 1.6-litre diesel and 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol versions.

Your £5,000 budget should buy you a nice low-mileage 1.0-litre 2015 EcoBoost version in the most desirable Zetec trim level. By that point, the early reliability issues with the EcoBoost engine were sorted, but do make sure you go for the best example you can find. The 1.6-litre diesel version is well worth considering too, especially if you drive longer distances on a regular basis.

4. Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf: best used cars for £5,000

If you don't want a Ford Focus and would prefer a VW roundel on the nose of your next car, you're not alone. Despite stronger prices, the Golf is consistently one of the most popular used cars on the market. There are lots of models to choose from – from low-powered petrols, via super-economical Blue Motion models, to the eternally popular GTI hot hatch, there's one for you.

Despite a reputation for quality and reliability, the Golf has been plagued with issues, especially as they enter middle age. With that in mind, check service history closely, and try to plump for a manual model over a DSG automatic. Our pick of the range would be a 2.0 TDI in GT form, as it's likely to be the most reliable choice, and still good to drive. £5,000 will get you a very nice 2013 example.

5. Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster: best used cars for £5,000

Bargain prices when new really set the Dacia brand apart from all of the competition – and when it comes to used, canny buyers are switching on to the Duster as a low-cost, nearly new SUV that fits most situations. We rate the Duster, and would recommend one to anyone looking for a rugged car that will shrug off all that family life throws at it.

For your £5,000, you should find a 2016 Ambiance model powered by Renault's excellent 1.5-litre dCi engine. This will deliver good economy, reliabilty and pulling power – you could get an even new Access model, but that car's lack of basic equipment makes it best left to those who aren't too bothered about basic creature comforts. Overall, an excellent, honest vahicle for your money.

6. Honda Accord

Honda Accord: best used cars for £5,000

If you're in the market for a large family car and don't fancy making a statement with one of the premium manufacturer's models, the Accord is definitely your next best bet. It's a good-looking thing that's available in saloon or estate form, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines – with the punchy 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel and the 201hp 2.4-litre i-VTEC petrol being the particular highlights.

Reliability and equipment are a given, and owners generally rate it highy. For a car that's been off-sale since 2015, not replaced, and seemingly an unfashionable saloon bodystye, the Accord's resale values aren't bad – reflecting  its quality and reliability. Your £5,000 will get you into a 2013 2.2 i-DTEC in entry-level ES trim. Not that it's particularly base level in terms of equipment.

7. Skoda Yeti

Skoda Yeti: best used cars for £5,000

The Skoda Yeti was the perfect family SUV long before they became as popular as they are today, and that might explain why they are so popular now. It's been off-sale now for some time, which means that getting a good example for not much money is possible – with the cheapest examples now dipping well below £3,000.

Based on simple Volkswagen technology, they're proving cheap and reliable to run and finding their way into lots of families – which is why we're big fans of Skoda's first SUV. Your £5,000 will buy you a 2014 Elegance powered by the excellent 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine, which is reasonably punchy and capable of returning near-diesel fuel economy.

8. Vauxhall Insignia

Vauxhall Insignia: best used cars for £5,000

The Vauxhall Insignia was designed first and foremost as a business tool – which means that when you're looking to buy one, you can be sure it's been honed to work well on motorways and provide reliable service. These work better as diesels  than petrols, which means you should take a look the 2.0 SRI in 163hp form for the best all round mix of performance and economy.

Insignias are great value secondhand, and your £5,000 will easily get you into a 2015 2.0 CDTi EcoFlex SRI in VX-Line form, which gives you a great suite of equipment for your money. Owners report good fuel consumption and motorway performance, but there are one or two reliability niggles that spoil an otherwise good record – so make sure you get one that's fully documented all the way from new.

9. Jaguar XF 

Jaguar XF: best used cars for £5,000

There's a reputation for unreliability attached to the Jaguar name these days, which could be eroding confidence in cars such as the 2008 XF. But just to put your mind at rest, the first-generation XF is a solid, reliable and well-sorted car powered by a range of strong and reliable petrol engines. That's why petrol XFs cost more than diesel, why they're more sought after, and why we'd recommend one.

If you're looking for an XF, the 3.0-litre V6 petrol is a great all-rounder and surprisingly economical when driven sensibly. That might be difficult, though, as it's so good to drive with a well-damped ride quality and fantastic (for such a large car) handling and steering. A great alternative to a BMW that's generally cheaper – your £5,000 gets you a 2011 XF V6 in Luxury form...

10. Porsche Cayenne 

Porsche Cayenne: best used cars for £5,000

You might think that buying a Porsche Cayenne that's pushing 15-years old might be a risk, but as long as you're careful in your car selection, then it's a trustworthy choice. Avoid cars with patchy or no service history and try to buy from an enthusiast owner, and you'll be in a decent position.

You get a lot of car for your money – £5,000 gets you a 2007-2008 3.2-liitre V6, and for that you get a full-sized SUV, strong performance, reliable running gear, and the in-built kudos of owning a Porsche. There is good specialist support out there, too, so running one shouldn't throw any insurmountable problems for you. So, it's a relatively safe place to put your money.

* Prices based on examples found on Parkers Cars for Sale and limited to availability. Similar examples may be on offer.

Parkers Top Buying Tips

Don't forget you can use our valuation tool to get an idea of how much you should be paying for a car. You can also check our reviews section for more information about the cars you are interested in.

Read more

>> Need lower running costs? Here's a range of economical used cars for under £2,000
>> If you want something even cheaper, check out our cars for less than £1,000 article
>> Have a bit more to spend? Here's our best hatchbacks for less than £5,000
>> Scrappage scheme guide