Best cars for under £3,000

If you’re looking for a new car, chances are you are looking to spend £10,000-plus on finding the correct model for you.

However, sometimes a car is needed for a fraction of the price – customers need some money left over for the out of control fuel prices in the UK!

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of superb used cars all available for under £3,000.

Remember, these cars may be slightly older, but we’ve focused on the widely available models which will be as reliable and frugal as possible, covering your motoring needs at the fraction of the price of a new car.

For the savvy buyer, a used car bargain can be the best idea. As we all know, a new car loses value as soon as it is driven away, but with a used car in good condition, resale values can remain close to the price you pay for the car.

There are certain things you will need to look out for when buying a car under £3,000. Bear in mind the price will reflect mileage and the condition of the car.

This does not mean a sub-£3,000 car will be covered in rust and extremely unreliable – there are still plenty of bargains out there.

However, with the scrappage scheme accounting for plenty of used cars last year, bargains are getting harder to come by. In that case, our used car guide and guide to avoiding car scams should come in handy.

Luckily, there are still good used cars out there, and we have decided to hand pick five of the best to start you on your way to finding the ideal car for under £3,000.

As expected all of our cars are small cars, but we’ve tried to pick those that are practical, reliable and won’t break the bank in terms of running costs.

Below is a guide to cars for under £3,000 – we’ve picked out the models based on Perrys used car offers, but remember these are time sensitive, so you may need to look around to find the price you need.

Ford Ka

It’s no surprise to see the Ford Ka pop up on these lists. A three-year old Ka will only set you back £3,000 and its CO2 emissions of 147g/km for a petrol engine and impressive economy of 45.6mpg are class-leasing.

The first generation arguably looks better than the newer models, with chunky bumpers and a rounded shape giving it a cute feel.

Meanwhile, those dimensions mean it is nippy, versatile and easy to drive in city areas. One of the newest cars on the list, the interior and equipment levels will have much more in common with newer cars as well.

For example, for under £3,000, an example we found had a cloth trim, metallic blue paint, power steering and anti-lock brakes.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa’s third generation ran from 2003 to 2006 and was one of the most popular models on the road today.

It was a popular choice with driving schools because it was so easy to drive and comfortable on all but the most potholed roads.

It’s got a good size boot and although the rear seats can be cramped for adults, front passengers will have plenty of space.

For a new driver, it is the ideal car, and prices running from £1,500 to the magic £3,000, coupled with the wide availability of the Vauxhall Corsa make it a real bargain on the used car market.

Vauxhall Astra

After something a little bigger? The Vauxhall Astra is a family-size car, and models from 2004 to 2009 can be snapped up from under £3,000 if you’re quick.

This means you’re paying just £3,000 for a practical, reliable hatchback with a strong set of engines, good level of equipment as standard and looks that won’t embarrass on the road.

It also offers five doors for easier access to the back seats and once you’re in there, more space than the smaller models such as the Corsa and Ford Fiesta.

While the Vauxhall Astra is a popular car in the UK and is a regular in the top five best-sellers, it may take some patience to find one under £3,000. However, if you do, it is well worth it.

Fiat Panda

The Fiat Panda is the often overlooked star of the Fiat small car range for those looking to save some money on their next car purchase.

Starting from the top, the Fiat Panda looks good. It is taller than the average city car and this gives it a more imposing stance compared to the ‘cute’ look of other cars in its class.

As expected from a small car from engine specialists Fiat, it is also very cheap to run, with a range of small petrol engines from a 1.1-litre entry level unit to a 1.4-litre at the top of the range.

An older version (circa 2005) should easily come under the budget, and provide a fun and responsive drive. It also offers a four wheel drive version for those who want a little more grip during winter or on off-road terrain.

Peugeot 206

Possibly the best-looking small car you can buy for less than £3,000 – and the huge range of engine choices and trim levels means you can choose one to suit your needs exactly.

As with all small Peugeot cars, the Peugeot 207 looks stylish and upmarket, with modern lines throughout.

Choose the petrol engines and you will enjoy lower costs when driving. The 1.1-litre in particular gives enough power to for the small hatchback while delivering lower running costs. However, there are also diesel options available with the 206.