Just because you need to replace your car doesn’t mean that you have to go down the brand new, showroom-fresh route. You can buy almost any car imaginable in the used car market and – depending on the condition of the car – it can last you for several years to come. Although car ownership might sound expensive, there are plenty of affordable options. If you’re on a shoestring budget looking for a reliable vehicle, take a look at some of the best cars for £3000.
Top cars for £3000
1. Suzuki Celerio
The Suzuki Celerio is one of the cheapest cars on the market that you can purchase new from around £5,000. If you have a strict £3,000 budget, look for older models that feature the compact 1.0-litre engine. Not only does this make the car cheap to insure and tax, but you can enjoy a basic budget car that is ideal for town or city driving.
2. Dacia Duster
The budget Dacia Duster has always been a bargain. Costing a mere £10,000 new for a family-sized SUV, older versions (pre-2015) can be had for under £3,000. However, make sure you find one with a decent spec as the basic models don’t even have a stereo or speakers.
Dusters are known for their rough-and-ready build quality. The interior is built to last, and there are roof walls which are ideal for when you need to lug around extra kit. There doesn’t tend to be many reliability problems with the Duster and it’s a great choice for travelling long distances. Most Dusters are 2WD, but there are 4WD options if needed, naturally costing a little extra.
If you want to stick to your budget without compromising on family road trips, the Duster is a great way to go.
3. Peugeot 407 SW
Need a bit more space than what a Duster can offer? It may be an older model, but the Peugeot 407 SW estate is a vehicle large enough to haul all the kids and their luggage – and then some more! It’s a proper and practical family car with a no-nonsense approach.
To keep to your £3,000 budget, you may need to look for 2.0-litre models with over 50,000 miles on the clock. But fear not, these tend to be great wearing cars that are built to last. When test driving the car, listen for rough sounds coming from the engine. As always, check the paperwork thoroughly before committing to the purchase.
4. Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 is arguably one of the top affordable sports cars on the market. It certainly tops the best-selling charts, with around one million bought in the past 30 years. It’s also incredibly affordable on the used market. The open-top fun, exciting handling and jazzy colours offer plenty of style without having to part with too much cash.
Look out for a 2005/06 registration with a 1.8-litre to give you the best used vehicle for your money. When testing out the used vehicle, make sure to check that the soft-top operates smoothly as the plastic gears can wear unevenly.
5. Ford Fiesta
Known as one of Britain’s best-selling cars, the Ford Fiesta makes for an affordable vehicle to buy, run, tax and insure. If you don’t mind a higher-mileage vehicle, then you can get a sixth-generation Fiesta for your budget.
Ford redefined the supermini segment when it released the sixth generation of Fiesta (2008 onwards), and you can find a range of economical engines on the second-hand market. The award-winning vehicle also features low running costs, a fun driving experience and excellent practicality.
If you’re looking for a familiar vehicle that fits within your budget, keep an eye out for older models of the Ford Fiesta.
6. Volkswagen Polo
Logic dictates that if a Ford Fiesta is included in this list, then the VW Polo must also be considered. Another one of the nation’s best-selling cars can be found within your budget. Your £3,000 will get you a decent fourth generation (2002-2009) VW Polo, and you’ll most likely be looking at a well-maintained 1.2 or 1.4-litre engine.
The Polo’s reasonable running costs, easy handling and excellent German build quality make for a genuine bargain on the used car market.
7. BMW 3 Series
Believe it or not, but £3,000 can land you one of the finest all-round driving machines – the BMW 3 Series. Your budget will limit you to around the fourth generation, which was built between 1998 and 2006. Whichever trim and engine you go for, you’ll get to enjoy a great ride and lots of style.
Finding a used vehicle
It goes without saying that an inspection and test drive is a must, especially for cars that are older and have significant mileage. Keep in mind that the average Brit drives 10-12,000 miles per year, so look for a used car that has done less than that compared to their age.
With used vehicles, it’s essential to find one that has a full service history, complete MOT certificates, maintenance receipts and the correct V5C paperwork. A car without these documents could indicate that the owner/s did not take proper care of the vehicle. Generally, the cleaner the service history, the better shape the vehicle will be in.
Make sure you assess the number of car owners as more than two previous owners can sometimes be problematic. It can suggest that there is an ongoing issue with the car that the driver does not want to address or is financially unable to do so.
Finance your next vehicle
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For an instant quote, and to see what car finance plan you can be eligible for, take a look at our simple car finance calculator. Our friendly agents walk you through the car financing process so that your car-buying experience is hassle-free and easy.
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