With universities gearing up for the start of the autumn semester over the next month, many students will be wondering whether their car will see them through another year. If you’re one of them, fear not, as a number of affordable, reliable and safe machines could be yours from less than £1,000.
A used car needn’t break the bank with crippling running costs either, if you choose carefully. We’ve rounded up five of the best small cars which you can pick up from £1,500 to £10,000.
Budget: £1,500 – Ford Fiesta
The Fiesta has long been the UK’s bestselling car. What this means is that there are a huge number of used models to choose from – and prices are low too.
For £1,500 or even under £1,000 if you shop around, you can find a low mileage 2000 Fiesta 1.25 with about 60,000 miles on the clock. Due to the car’s light weight and 75bhp motor, this Fiesta is nippy to drive with it reaching the 62mph mark in a reasonable 13.1 seconds.
Due to this car’s age, fuel economy could be a little better, at 40.9mpg, and it only has a three star crash test rating, though it is still a good option for the price. Road tax will set you back £145 per year.
Take a look at Ford Fiestas for sale here.
Budget: £2,500 – Skoda Fabia
If you have a little more to spend, the Skoda Fabia 1.2 64PS is a sensible option for young drivers, with a typical 50,000-mile 2006 model setting you back around £2,500. Boy racers may be frustrated by the tardy acceleration though, with the 0-62mph sprint requiring a lengthy 15.9 seconds.
On the flipside though, fuel economy is strong at 47.9mpg and road tax matches the Fiesta at £145. An estate version is also available if you need more boot space. The Fabia scored a strong four star crash test rating when tested back in 2000.
Find a Skoda Fabia to buy here.
Budget: £5,000 – Toyota Aygo
Bump up the budget to £5,000 and you can find a three-year-old Toyota Aygo with less than 15,000 miles under its tyres, though you can pick up a low mileage model from just £3,000.
The Aygo may cost more than the first two options, but you’ll save money at the pumps, with strong claimed fuel consumption of 62.8mpg. Road tax is also inexpensive at just £20 per year.
This funky little car is also reasonably nippy, taking just 14.2 seconds to scamper to 62mph. The boot is small however, so if you plan on carrying around double basses, large dogs or a full load of camping kit or even just a large suitcase, the Fabia estate will serve you better. The practically identical Citroen C1, scored a four-star crash test safety score in 2005.
Search for a Toyota Aygo here.
Budget: £7,500 – Ford Focus
£7,500 is more than enough to bag you a number of new cars, however, most at this price are pretty basic and you may prefer to go for a used model instead. If you regularly carry adult passengers, need more space, or simply want a larger car, the Ford Focus is a very good value option.
£7,500 will get you a three-year-old diesel model showing just 35,000 miles, which has a strong blend of economy and acceleration. The 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel accelerates from a standstill to 62mph in a speedy 10.9 seconds, though fuel bills should be low with a combined fuel economy figure of 64.3mpg. Road tax will set you back a mere £30 too. The Focus also received the full five-star rating when crash tested.
Find a Ford Focus to buy here.
Budget: £10,000 – VW Up
If style is top of your agenda, the VW Up puts forward a strong case. This chic machine may be small in size, but it isn’t small on style, with attractive looks and an upmarket – and roomy interior.
£10,000 can buy you a brand new 1.0-litre 60PS Move Up model. Thanks to its small engine this Up matches the Aygo for fuel economy with 62.8mpg possible and accelerates to 62mph in 14.4 seconds.
The Up also boasts impressive safety for its size with a five-star crash test rating and is cheap to tax with road tax weighing in at £20 per year.
Take a look at VW Ups for sale here.