Today we're looking at 5 of the best selling cars of the year (and the decade) so far and their used alternatives at 15, 5 and 2 thousand pounds. Used cars are a great way to save yourself thousands on dealer prices and get yourself an awesome new car with the extras already paid for.
The Ford Fiesta.
When it comes to small cars with a solid reputation, the Ford Fiesta has been leading the market for almost 45 years. Its small, easy to handle proportions mixed with its reliable underpinnings and fantastic fuel economy make it the ideal car for most of Britain's drivers.
New OTR prices on fords website range from an affordable £16,000 all the way up to £24,000 for the ST3 model, though we managed to spec the ST3 up to £32,000 by going ballistic with the optional extras (shout out to the £250 CD Player). Nobody is going to do that in real life though, are they?
If you don't fancy splashing out for a new car, we have a few alternatives that could save you thousands.
With a base level Fiesta starting at £16,000, this sort of money will secure you a nearly new example with very low mileage and lots of optional extras. The higher end of the budget will see a solid selection of the previous generation ST3s from the mid 2010s and even a few ST200s with slightly higher mileage.
If you don't want a Ford, the New Renault Clio starts at just under £15,000 and the New Vauxhall Corsa starts at just under £16,000 for basic entry level versions so a higher trim, nearly new version of either with a great selection of extras is a sure thing. The VW Polo also fits nicely into this bracket so keep an eye out for a good deal on those too.
This is a great example of why buying used is better value for money. Simply because the cars aren't new new the list price comes crashing down, for the sake of an older Reg and a few miles on the clock you can pick up SO much more for your money that it makes you wonder why people ever buy new at all.
Further down the ladder you're looking at a clean model from the first half of the 2010's, We've recently sold two such examples ourselves with full service history and fairly low mileage. If you're looking for something other than a Fiesta there will be a great selection of other small cars around for this price including the Clio, Corsa and VW polo.
For this sort of money we would recommend sticking with the Fiesta over a Corsa or Clio, thanks to their robust and reliable reputation. There are many great examples around from the late 2000's - We currently have a tidy 2008 Fiesta with a full service history and a bunch of features including air conditioning and CD player.
We also suggest: Seat Ibiza, Mazda 2, VW Polo, Skoda Fabia.
The Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai has been a very popular car in recent years thanks to its usability and practicality. Our practical buyers guide is a great read if you're undecided on just what you need from your car but if you're firm on a crossover the Qashqai is a good a bet as any.
From new these cars are £20,000 increasing to near £36,000 for a top of the line 4x4 Tekna+ model. But we don't want to pay that, let us suggest a few alternatives that offer more bang for your buck.
As with the Fiesta, you'll be looking at a great selection of late 2010s cars with low mileage and a few optional extras. Low to mid range cars will be available from as recently as 2019 with very low mileage and a few optional extras thrown in.
Finding a top of the range, nearly new model won't be as easy as it is with the Fiesta but that's not to say there aren't some great deals out there. If you're prepared to look at cars that are a few years old and don't mind a few more miles, you'll be able to pick up a top of the range Tekna+ from 2018 with 30-40k on the clock.
Alternatively the Kia Sportage is an excellent car to consider if you want a more powerful and sporty feel from your new car at the cost of a bit of comfort, it comes with a few more features as standard too.
For around five grand you're going to be sifting through a sea of higher mileage, late 2000's early 2010's cars. There will be a few good deals on first generation Qashqais with the likes of the Kia Sportage, Toyota Rav 4 and Honda CRV being dependable options at this price point too. If you want to venture beyond the Japanese cars a Ford Kuga or VW Tiguan isn't a bad idea, if they're in good condition.
Stick with Japanese reliability for this age of vehicle as you'll be hard pressed to find anything sub 100k miles that isn't a cat C. Now, if you're not dead set on a crossover you may want to look at an older estate car that can offer better practicality and much more value for money at this level.
we also recommend: Toyota Rav 4,Honda CRV, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan
The VW golf
It's no surprise to see the Golf on this list. The king of the hot hatch, in GTI form, has been a long standing favourite when it comes to car sales both new and used alike. The latest model is the 8th generation Golf and is offered exclusively as a 5 door vehicle, specs range from the most basic of machines all the way up to the performance focused Golf R. Prices range from just over £20,000 to £36,000 for the R.
The Golf has for many years shared its key components with other cars in the Volkswagen Audi group which means similar cars can be found in all sorts of combinations.
If you don't have to have a Golf, the Seat Leon is an excellent choice as an alternative. Built on the same platform, the Leon shares many components with the Golf including the engine. For £15,000 you're looking at a mid 2010's high spec, top of the range Cupra (the quick one) or a low mileage, well kept example of a more tame version. You can also pick up similarly equip Audi A3s around this mark too. If you do want a Golf you can pick a nearly new entry level model or an early 2010s GTI with a great selection of extras.
Dropping the price to £5,000 you'll be able to pick up a tidy performance model from the mid 2000's which are holding their value at around 4-5k at the moment if they're in good shape. Drop the GTI badge and an early to mid 2010's model with fairly low mileage is on the cards.
At this price point you can't go wrong with a late 2000's/ early 2010s ford focus. There are a few around and they're likely to be lower mileage and slightly better condition than comparable German models that often command a higher price tag, there's also the option to move over to a Honda civic of similar age.
If you want to stick with the Golf a fourth generation variant from the early to mid 2000s with either the 1.6 petrol or 1.9 diesel engine will be a reliable little run around if it's been well maintained. This also goes for the first generation Seat Leon and Audi A3.
We also recommend: Seat Leon, Audi A3, Ford Focus.
The BMW 3 series
The German executive saloon has been a best seller for many years and is known for its premium quality and class leading reputation. There is currently a saloon and estate available but we're looking at the saloon model in this instance. prices start from around £32,000 and climb north of £50,000 for the M sport models before optional extras are added.
There's no shortage of competition when it comes to saloons. From Ford to Volvo, everyone wants a piece of the action. This is a great thing for you as a consumer as it means you'll have lots of cars to choose from.
With this budget there's going to be a world of choice on mid 2010s models with various engine sizes, the bigger & faster cars will attract more of a premium which means most of them will be pre 2015. Either way you're looking at a decent car with a good selection of optional extras. Moving away from BMW, the Audi A4 of similar age should be a strong consideration.
Another option to consider in place of a 3 series is the Volvo S60. These are often underrated compared to the German cars but offer a whole world of features with an executive feel. Nearly new, low mileage examples are easily accessible in this price range.
For this sort of price, most of the modern 3 series post 2010 are going to be clocking in at over at 80,000 miles creeping up to well over 150k as we move deeper into 2010s. If you're dead set on a 3 series, make sure to check the service history and signs that anything higher mileage has been used for motorway driving rather than around the town and that it has been looked after.
A better option at this price point would be to move away from the German stuff which can get expensive at high mileage and look at mid 2010s Ford Mondeos/ Vauxhall Insignias - The reason for this is that the maintenance costs less than on the premium cars and will be more manageable in line with this budget.
As above, move away from the premium models and look for something with easier to manage servicing costs. Of course, if you REALLY want a 3 series for less than £2,000 its likely going to be very high mileage past the mid 2000's in general. A good condition Volvo s40 could be a good alternative - offering a premium feel with less of a drain on the wallet or an older Ford, Vauxhall or even a Honda.
We also recommend: Audi A4, Mercedes C class, Volvo S60, Ford Mondeo.
The Mercedes A-Class.
The rebirth of the Mercedes A-class has been a huge success from a marketing point of view. The goofy looks of its predecessor have been replaced with a sleek new design that people actively want to be seen driving. who would of thought that 20 years ago?
The modern A-class is every bit as good looking as its bigger brothers and in AMG form is an absolute weapon. Most people of course will opt for the middle of the range A200s (petrol or diesel) which offer a good mix of economy, performance and standard features.
The Mercedes A class starts at around £24,000 rising to well over £50,000 for a kitted out A45 AMG.
The A classes biggest rivals are without are without a doubt the BMW 1 series and the Audi A3. The 1 series was, until last year, the only rear wheel drive vehicle in its class which made it a tonne of fun to drive. For 15k you'll be able to pick up a late 2010s 116/118 but if you're prepared to roll back the years you're able to pick up an early - mid 2010s 135i well in budget.
Those of you considering an Audi will be pleased to see just what £15,000 can get you. Low mileage, mid 2010s models are plenty when it comes to the 1.8 to 2.0 litre models and if you opt for a smaller capacity motor you'll find a few late 2010s models are an option. If you want something with a bit more power, the near 300hp S3 from the mid 2010s also pops up but with comparatively higher mileage than the A3s on offer.
The same can be said for the A class with lots of A180/200s available in nearly new condition for this price. If you're prepared to up your budget by another £2,000 some decent A250s are available with higher mileage, older A45s begin to show their face too.
As the current A class is a fairly new and in demand model, finding a decent one for below £10,000 will be a mountain of a task and anything less than £5,000 will be stolen or written off. Time to look at a few other options.
An older Audi A3 would be your best bet, keeping the premium German feel whilst offering great reliability too. A facelifted second generation model from the late 2000's will see you get plenty of car for your money with modern styling. First and second gen S3s with over 100k pop up too but may prove costly to run compared to the more reserved models.
The BMW 1 series is again another consideration with plenty of mid to late 2000s models on offer. Though you will get more for your money with the Audi, the 130i may be a good enough reason to opt for the 1 series if you're after a bit of rear wheel drive fun.
Again we're going to have to recommend the Audi, you can pick up a decent first generation A3 for sub £2000 fairly easily. It will be an early (pre 2004) model for this price realistically but the 1.6 mid range engine of that time was a great lump and will hold its own beyond 100,000 miles. Alternatively, if German engineering isn't a deal breaker here - a mid to late 2000's Ford Focus will be all the family car you need.
We also recommend: BMW 1 series, Audi A3, Audi S3, Ford Focus.
There you have it, 5 of the best selling cars this year and their used alternatives. Don't forget that we are able to source the perfect car for you using our car finder service so if you're looking to upgrade, get in touch.