In today’s used car market, it may feel like £5,000 isn’t much to spend. But the truth of it is, there’s likely to be a £5,000 car that’s just right for you. No matter if you’re looking for your first wheels, a family wagon or something with a bit of class, £5,000 is still a fair price to pay.

Of course, you should still shop around. Do your homework and check the car’s history when you find one you like. A low price doesn’t always equal a bargain. It’s important to learn as much as you can about a car before you part with any cash. That way you know exactly what you’re getting whether it’s a £5,000 car or any other priced motor.

What to expect with a £5,000 car

When you’re shopping for a car on a budget of £5,000 the options can seem vast. That’s not a bad thing though. It means there is bound to be a car that’s right for you. Not just in price either, but also in terms of fuel economy, reliability and style.

A £5,000 car can still be a good example of the make and model you’d like. It will be a little older, have a few more miles on the clock and possibly be showing a little more wear and tear inside and out too. That doesn’t mean the motor won’t be sound or the wheels are likely to fall off as you drive away.

It’s best to manage your expectations from the outset. That way, you’re less likely to get caught by a car with great looks and no substance. Even a well looked after £5,000 car will look a little older. This is because it’s going to have been superseded by an updated model. For £5,000 or less, you’re looking at last season’s wheels.

We always recommend taking a car for a test drive and checking her history before you give her your heart.

A £5,000 car for your first wheels

Smaller cars as your first car are a great choice. They’re not bad for families either. They’re kinder on your pocket when it comes to fuel and they’re easier to park. It shouldn’t be hard to find a £5,000 car that’s reliable and fun with these makes and models

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki’s Swift is a reliable and well-made motor. They’re fun to drive and equally suited to small families as first-time drivers. If you’re concerned about fuel economy, look for diesel engines as they’ll go further for the gallon. If you search for a Suzuki Swift with a £5,000 budget, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Swifts are well regarded by their owners and most sellers tend to upgrade to a newer Swift. This shows their popularity with drivers. £5,000 should get you a tidy manual 1.2 petrol engine with around 100,000 on the clock. The petrol-powered swifts are quieter and have a little more get up and go.

Hyundai i10

A perfect little first car that’s cheap to run and a doddle to park. The Hyundai i10 has a good reputation for reliability and the styling isn’t too dated either. Euro NCAP gave the older i10 a four-star safety rating while the newer 2020 supermini only got three stars.

The i10 is as comfortable around town as she is cruising on the motorway. The petrol engine has more power and you can expect £5,000 to get you the ‘last season model’. You’ll find an i10 with under 50,000 in mileage and few or no scuffs and scrapes fairly easily. As far as small £5,000 cars go, the Hyundai i10 is a good bet.

The £5,000 family wagon

Not all family cars need to be SUV’s but there is something to be said for the higher driving position and roomier cabin space. These £5,000 cars are perfect for families.

Dacia Duster

The Duster is an economical choice for families with good reliability ratings. It’s a great choice for drivers who want something a little more rugged and capable for family life. £5,000 will land you the Ambiance model, most likely a 2013 registration, although you could get lucky and find one as recent as 2016.

The Duster is reliable, has great economy for an SUV and delivers honest value as a used car too. Make sure you carry out the usual checks and inspections before you finalise your purchase.

Ford Focus

Ubiquitous on UK roads, the Ford Focus is easy to maintain and has reasonable reliability ratings too. The Focus has been one of the best-selling Fords in the UK for a number of years, so there are plenty to be found when looking for a £5,000 car.

In fact, £5,000 should find you a low-mileage 1.0-litre 2015 EcoBoost version in the best trim level, Zetec. If you look hard enough, you may even find the Focus ST-3. This is the hot hatch model with a 2.5 petrol engine. The diesel engine is also worth a look, particularly if you do a lot of miles.

A £5,000 car with style and substance

It’s not just first cars and family cars that can be found for £5,000. A £5,000 car can also have a bit of style and a LOT of prestige. These two cars will turn heads and no one would think for a second that you only paid £5,000.

Jaguar XF

Jaguar’s come with a well-known reputation for style. The first generation XF, released back in 2008 has beautiful lines and is known for its reliability and power. The petrol engines are the better buy. If you’re looking at Jaguars, a £5,000 car will generally come as a 3-litre V6 petrol XF which is more economical than you might think.

The XF has great handling and luxurious interior styling. Think heated leather seats, a rear-view camera and a great stereo. It is generally cheaper than the other sought-after premium car in this price range, the BMW 3 Series.

Porsche Boxter

No matter how old, a Porsche is a beautiful car with some top-notch engineering under the hood. £5,000 could land you a 2002 Boxter model, which was the first generation for that series.  Expect excellent handling, as you would with any Porsche, and stylish looks guaranteed to make you feel like the queen of the road.

The Boxster is the more practical of Porsche’s sportscars. You’ll get a good-sized boot and additional luggage space in the nose too. The ergonomics ensure a comfortable ride and she’s a fairly economic option in terms of fuel as well. Being a Porsche sportscar, services and insurance could be the biggest expense.

Buying a £5,000 car means there are plenty of options to choose from. As with any other price or type of used car, it’s worth doing a little homework before you go hunting. Learn the general quirks of the vehicles you’re interested in and always check the individual history of cars you’re thinking about buying.

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