If you think £2,000 might not get you very far, we’ve got good news.
With this modest budget, you can get some fantastic vehicles ranging from city runabouts to sports cars – and there’s no shortage to choose from, either.
To help you decide, we’ve put together a list of 7 great used cars available for less than £2,000, along with some tips on what to be aware of when buying them.
Given a new entry-level Polo costs £17,000, it’s not surprising that used models remain such a great buy. This VW has a more upmarket image and sturdy interior compared to most superminis, so it’s held its value well, though versions are still available for less than £1,000.
A £2,000 budget will get you a fourth-generation model, which was on sale between 2002 and 2009, though we’d go for the facelift version, which arrived in 2005. Entry-level ‘E’ models are quite sparse, so we’d recommend an ‘S’ model, which offers alloy wheels and air-conditioning.
One we found: 2006 VW Polo 1.2 S 3dr, 85,000 miles, £1,950
Look out for: A drop off in power (may suggest ignition coil failure), flaking paint, any warning lights
Search for used Volkswagen Polos here.
Sticking with the supermini theme, the fifth-generation Suzuki Swift is a great choice for those on a £2,000 or less budget. It was a big step up from its predecessor – both in terms of style and the way it drives behind the wheel. Models are also still efficient and cheap to run, even by today’s standard.
You’ll get marginally more value for money with the Swift, which was on sale in this generation between 2005 and 2010. This budget can buy either a 1.3- or 1.5-litre engine, with the latter being the better of the pair. Entry-level GL models are worth avoiding, as they miss out on the air conditioning and alloy wheels that GLS and GLX versions get.
One we found: 2006 Suzuki Swift 1.5 GLX 5dr, 73,000 miles, £1,795
Look out for: Notchy and noisy gearboxes, dashboard rattles, uneven tyre wear
Search for used Suzuki Swifts here.
Crossovers and SUVs are all the rage on the new car market today, and are usually quite expensive. But even with a £2,000 budget, you can still get behind the wheel of a high-riding model – the Honda CR-V, for example.
You’ll be looking at a petrol example that’s nearly 20 years old and with high mileage to get within this budget, but the CR-V has a brilliant reliability record, so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. If you’re after practicality and spaciousness for a low price, the CR-V is an excellent choice.
One we found: 2003 Honda CR-V 2.0 i-VTEC SE Sport, 85,000 miles, £1,900
Look out for: Underbody damage (it’s not as rugged as it looks), rear differential issues, faulty air conditioning
Search for used Honda CR-Vs here.
If you’re lucky enough to consider getting a ‘weekend car’, you might be surprised by what a £2,000 budget will get you – as shown with the Mazda MX-5. If you’re looking for something fun and affordable, there are few better options than this.
With this budget, the best option is to go for a newer second-generation MX-5 (known as NB), which was on sale between 1998 and 2005. This budget will still buy a tidy drop-top, and with relatively low mileage as well.
One we found: 2003 Mazda MX-5 1.8 Nevada 2dr, 90,000 miles, £2,000
Look out for: Rust (affects later models more), oil leaks, uneven tyre wear
Search for used Mazda MX-5s here.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a £2,000 budget can go a long way if you’re looking for a used city car.. There’s no shortage of options, but one of the best is the Hyundai i10 – a low-cost model that was a big step up for the firm at the time in terms of driving dynamics and quality.
It should prove to be very cheap to run, and you’ll be surprised by just how roomy it is for a small car. Both 1.1- and 1.2-litre versions are available, but the latter has a bit more power (77bhp) and is a better choice if you need to leave the city every now and again.
One we found: 2010 Hyundai i10 1.2 Comfort, 82,000 miles, £1,999
Look out for: Parking scrapes and damage, clutch judder, rear brakes seizing from lack of use
Search for used Hyundai i10s here.
A car being popular with taxi drivers might not lend it much street cred, but it’s a good sign of reliability. That’s certainly true with the Skoda Octavia, which is a big hit thanks to its huge boot, spacious interior and great value for money.
You can choose either a large hatchback or estate, the latter being worth a bit more, though a £2,000 budget can secure both. A range of petrol and diesel models are available, and as long as it’s got a full servicing and maintenance record, there’s no need to be wary of a high mileage model. The 1.9-litre diesel is our preferred choice, as it’s known for its bulletproof reliability.
One we found: 2006 Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI PD Ambiente 5dr, 105,000 miles, £1,995
Look out for: Faulty climate control, ABS warning lights, damp interior carpets and seats
Search for used Skoda Octavias here.
Toyota Corolla Verso
If you need spaciousness from your car, you can’t go wrong with a multi-purpose vehicle. And if it’s reliability you’re after,, you should take a look at the Toyota Corolla Verso. With 7 seats, it’s a brilliant family car, and its flexible interior includes seats that can easily slide and fold.
It also drives well for an MPV and comes with a reassuringly sturdy interior – something that was a hallmark of Toyotas built in the 2000s. Petrol models are available, but if you do more than 10,000 miles per year, we recommend the ‘D-4D’ diesel versions. The third-generation Verso, which was sold between 2004 and 2009, is also a great version to go for.
One we found: 2005 Toyota Corolla Verso 2.0 D-4D T3, 105,000 miles, £1,495
Look out for: Ensure recalls have been carried out, gearchange and clutch issues
Search for used Toyota Corolla Versos here.