There plenty of great new cars of all shapes and sizes on sale right now. But if your budget can’t quite stretch to a brand-new car, don’t worry, as there’s also a huge array of top-notch alternatives on the used market that you can buy right now on finance. Below, we’ve picked out some Auto Express award winning models available now on used car finance deals via our sister site BuyaCar.
With so many cars available to buy second-hand, picking the right one for you can be quite tricky. To help you whittle down your selection, we’ve scanned the used car listings on BuyaCar.co.uk, and picked out some examples of cars we rate highly that caught our eye. The line-up we’ve selected covers a broad selection of model types, too – ranging from superminis and city cars that are perfect for nipping around town, to large SUVs and MPVs that’ll suit the needs of buyers who are after something spacious, versatile and family friendly.
Being used cars, the options we’ve picked out will help net you a decent saving over buying the equivalent spec factory fresh from a dealership. Every car listed below also has the additional perk of being a winner in a recent Auto Express New Car Awards, some have taken the same prize home for multiple years in succession.
Because they’re all recent award winners, that means you won’t necessarily miss out on the latest features and tech by going used. Plus, depending on the car and how old it is when you bought it, it may also have some of its manufacturer warranty cover left, which could give you an extra bit of peace of mind if you’re concerned about repair costs.
Scroll down to see some of our used car deal picks, and make sure you check out our buying guides so you know what to look out for when you’re shopping around for a second hand car.
BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is an executive saloon we rate very highly. After all, we crowned it our Compact Executive Car of the Year in 2019 and, while it couldn’t retain that title in the 2020 Auto Express New Car Awards, it still managed to walk away with a ‘Commended’ accolade.
As that success suggests, the 3 Series is a great all-round executive car – it’s fun to drive yet also comfy on the motorway, the interior is well-equipped and spacious, and there’s a comprehensive range of engines to choose from. Thanks to depreciation, it’s also possible to pick up a well-equipped model in the range-topping M Sport spec for a fair bit less than a brand new 3 Series in the entry-level SE trim.
Used BMW 3 Series for £293 a month on BuyaCar…
MPVs may have fallen out of favour with new car buyers in recent years, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them if you’re after a practical and versatile used family car. There are a lot of worthwhile options out there, and one that’s definitely worth considering is our MPV of the Year from 2019: the Citroen Berlingo.
The Berlingo’s van-derived roots means it’s far from being fun to drive, but it is comfortable and those commercial vehicle origins mean the Citroen has loads of room for passengers and their luggage – especially if you go for the longer XL variant. Because of the decline in popularity of MPVs, you can also net yourself a decent saving by going used – the 19-plate example below will set you back just under £15,000, which is around £10,000 less than what this spec of Berlingo was worth brand new.
Used Citroen Berlingo for £231 a month on BuyaCar…
If you’re in the market for a used supermini, there are many worse options out there than the current generation Ford Fiesta. Thanks to features like its spacious cabin, the terrific handling and the range of punchy yet efficient engines, it’s a great all-rounder. It’s also performed very well in the Auto Express New Car Awards in recent years – we crowned it as our favourite supermini in 2018 and 2019 and, while the Ford couldn’t make it a hat-trick in 2020, the Fiesta still walked away with a ‘Commended’ gong.
The Ford Fiesta has also long been one of the best-selling cars in the UK, which means it shouldn’t be hard to find a Fiesta in your preferred spec. One that caught our eye on BuyaCar was a 19-plate example in Titanium trim with just over 12,000 miles on the clock that, despite being a well-equipped Titanium model, is a fair bit cheaper than a new Ford Fiesta in its entry-level Trend trim.
Used Ford Fiesta for £193 a month on BuyaCar…
Honda Civic Type R
There are plenty of excellent hot hatchbacks to choose from nowadays, so it’s testament to just how capable and well-rounded the Honda Civic Type R is that we named it the Best Hot Hatch in the 2020 Auto Express New Car Awards. More impressively still, this isn’t the first time the Honda’s picked up that title, as it’s now won the award for a mighty four years in a row.
It’s not hard to see why we rate it so highly – there’s good performance from its powerful turbocharged engine and, while the ride is quite firm, the trade-off is great body control and responsive handling. Because it has a strong fanbase, used Civic Type R values are quite strong – though we did find a few examples with decent mileages for around £25,000.
Used Honda Civic Type R for £396 a month on BuyaCar…
It may not be 100% identical to the facelifted E-Class that won our Large Executive Car of the Year award in 2020, but the used versions you can find on BuyaCar share enough qualities to make them very tempting used buys. Take this E220d estate in AMG Line trim we found as an example – despite being nearly four years old, it only has 22,771 miles on the clock, and the £20,292 asking price means it costs less than a new entry-level A-Class hatch.
Because it’s the pre-facelift version, it admittedly doesn’t have all the features and creature comforts you’ll get if you bought one brand new. That said, you still get a stylish, spacious and upmarket-feeling interior regardless of the E-Class you go for, and the combination of this spec’s diesel engine and the comfy ride makes it a great long-distance motorway cruiser.
Used Mercedes E-Class for £262 a month on BuyaCar…
MINI Cooper Convertible
Despite the inclement weather here in the UK, British drivers seem to love a car with a folding roof, and one of the best you can buy is the MINI Cooper Convertible. Not only did we crown it our top convertible in our 2020 New Car Awards, but it has also won the same prize home three times in the prior four years – meaning there’s no doubt that it’s a top-notch drop-top.
Because MINIs tend to have strong resale values, it’s likely you won’t be able to pick up a used Cooper Convertible – especially if you go for a lower mileage example, or one with a petrol engine instead of a diesel. That said, you should be able to save a bit of money buying used, and those good residuals mean you should be able to get a good amount of your money back come resale time.
Used MINI Convertible for £285 a month on BuyaCar…
Want a spacious seven-seater car, but aren’t sure if traditional MPVs like the aforementioned Citroen Berlingo are for you? Then you may want to consider one of the three-row SUV options you can find on the used market – including the SEAT Tarraco, which we crowned the Best Large SUV at the 2020 Auto Express New Car Awards.
Being a big SUV, the Tarraco has lots of space inside for passengers. Plus, if you’ll only need the two rearmost seats for occasional use, you can also fold them flat and make use of a huge boot. Buying a used example can net you a decent saving over a new one, too – for instance, we found a low mileage 19-plate SEAT Tarraco in the well-equipped XCellence trim for just over £24,000, which is about what you’d pay for a brand-new mid-range SEAT Leon hatch.
Used SEAT Tarraco for £322 a month on BuyaCar…
Because it has a huge boot and an even more spacious cabin, the Skoda Superb is a great choice if you’re after the most spacious possible new family car. It’s more affordable still if you go down the used route – we found a 69-plate example on BuyaCar in SE L spec with the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine that’s £10,000 cheaper than the equivalent brand-new example.
There’s more to the Skoda Superb than just its passenger and cargo carrying credentials, too. While it admittedly isn’t as engaging to drive as a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, the trade-off is a very comfy and cosseting ride, and the Superb is well equipped regardless of the version you go for.
Used Skoda Superb for £292 a month on BuyaCar…
The Volkswagen up! is a top choice if you’re shopping around for a city car – as well as the low running costs you’d expect from a small urban runabout, the up! has a spacious and well-built interior, and it’s also good fun to drive through town. No wonder, then, that the VW was crowned the Best City Car in the Auto Express New Car Awards for four years in a row.
Those plus points also make the VW a pretty good buy if you’re shopping around on the used market. It’s possible to pick up a sensibly-specified, 67-plate example with a fairly low mileage for a car of its age, that’s also quite a bit more affordable than the £13,105 starting price of a new entry-level five-door up!
Used VW up for £133 a month on BuyaCar…
It may be one of the older cars in its segment, but that doesn’t mean the Volvo XC40 is outclassed in this hotly-contested crowd. We named it our Small Premium SUV of the Year in 2018 and, while it hasn’t chalked up a win since, it has been commended in every Auto Express New Car Awards since.
Such success means the XC40 has many strings to its bow – ranging from its smart styling to the upmarket interior, comfy ride and decent equipment levels. Perhaps the Volvo’s biggest selling point is its strong residual values, which means you should get a decent amount of your money back if you decide to sell the car on. Do also note that, as the Volvo is now only available new with petrol and electric power, you can only get a diesel XC40 on the used market.
Used Volvo XC40 for £265 a month on BuyaCar…