Best used cars for under £7,000

New Kia Picanto prices start from just £7,500. While this represents a bargain for one of the best small cars on the market today, it also got us thinking about used cars.

More specifically, it got us thinking about how some people may need a larger car for their needs than a Kia Picanto can offer.

So, armed with £7,500 we took a look at the used car market and found ten used car deals which we thought were well worth parting with the cash – and all are capable as a family transport.

Citroen Xsara Picasso

With £7,500, you could easily afford two used Citroen Xsara Picasso people carriers. For example, a £3,000 Xsara Picasso built in 2003 can be found on our used car offer pages.

The success of the Xsara Picasso lies in its size, safety and level of equipment. It can seat five in comfort and despite being an older car comes with a good safety rating and impressive levels of safety kit.

For just £3,000 you get air conditioning, a CD player and stereo with steering wheel controls and electric sunroof amongst other things.

The Citroen Xsara Picasso is a family car that simply does its job. There is enough space for children and luggage and the safety kit will give parents peace of mind on the road.

The car’s popularity down the years means there are plenty of bargains around and it is not difficult to find one in good condition.

Renault Megane

The new Renault Megane has been upgraded for 2011 but models less than five years old can be snapped up for under £4,000.

A three-door hatchback on Perrys used car deals is currently selling for £3,991 and comes in an impressive trim level – Extreme.

This means air con, CD player, alloy wheels, electric windows and a plethora of safety kit is included and of course, that eye-catching Renault styling will turn heads even five years on.

The Megane is one of the most impressive hatchbacks on the road and if you’re looking for a used car deal to put newer city cars to shame, this is an obvious choice.

Choose, for example, a 1.4-litre petrol engine and it won’t even break the bank in terms of running costs. Expect Tax Band G (this will be even lower on diesels) and decent fuel economy in the previous generation Megane.

Vauxhall Vectra

The new Vauxhall Insignia is the UK’s best-selling saloon in recent months but for a used car bargain, its predecessor is a clever choice.

A used Vauxhall Vectra saloon can be both a family and business car thanks to its good interior (and boot) space, high levels of equipment and superb diesel engines.

Perfect for those who spend a lot of time on motorways, a 2007 used Vauxhall Vectra can be bought for a little under £4,000.

It may cost a little more for diesel versions, but all come well equipped with a sound system, things like air con and some nice materials inside.

You can even go all-out and get a top-spec one for under £7,000 if you look around and for such an impressive car that is an incredible price.

Vauxhall Astra

We’ve written a huge amount about the superb new Vauxhall Astra hatchback and the all-new Vauxhall Astra ST (or estate) version.

However, older versions of the Vauxhall Astra estate can be a real bargain. For under £4,500 you can get a spacious family estate with plenty of kit.

This is an ideal family car and, alongside the low price, it also comes with respectable running costs for both petrol and diesel engines.

For example, Perrys used car deals has a 2008 used Vauxhall Astra estate in stock for less than £4,300 (as of 7 Feb 2012) and this particular model comes with chrome highlights outside, body colour bumpers and electric side windows.

Inside, it includes air conditioning and good quality materials for both the dash and seats which are both comfortable and hard-wearing.

The Vauxhall Astra, built in the UK, is one of the perennial favourites of the British buyer and with used car deals this good, it is easy to see why.

Used Vauxhall Astra deals

Ford Mondeo

The Ford Mondeo is one of the best large family saloons in the market and a good 2007 Zetec model can be found for £5,500.

For that price the usual suspects are included such as air con, electric mirrors and windows, a sound system and leather steering wheel and gear knob.

There’s plenty of safety kit so it is a clever choice as a family car but the Ford Mondeo also offers a superb, sub-£6,000 used option for somebody looking for more of an executive car.

Residual values are strong and running costs won’t break the bank. Used Ford Mondeo prices fall below £5,500 for a 2007 model.

Fiat Grande Punto

A used Fiat Grande Punto may be attractive and sporty but the real benefits of this used car bargain lie in Fiat’s award-winning engine.

For under £5,000, you can get a five-door spacious hatchback with desirable looks and efficiency so impressive it results in just £30 per year in road tax payments.

This is because of the low emissions from Fiat’s superb MultiJet engine, a former engine of the year winner. The diesel powerplant is a superb engine and should cut those driving costs drastically.

The Grande Punto is also relatively spacious with a good boot and room in the back for three. This makes it an ideal family car with a sporty twist – something Fiat does very well.

Used Fiat Grande Punto models can be found for much less than £5,000 but we’d recommend the MultiJet purely because of its low driving costs.

Ford C-Max

The new Ford C-Max is a superb car but the 2007 used Ford C-Max is not far behind and at under £5,000, it is one of the best used car deals to be had.

The Ford C-Max is based on the Ford Focus and as a result is one of the best-handling MPVs on the road despite its height and practicality.

It also comes packed with equipment ranging from safety gear such as ESP and emergency brake assist to heated door mirrors, remote audio steering wheel controls and front fog lamps.

A top safety rating, superb residual values and an excellent interior with plenty of equipment are all present and correct on the Ford C-Max.

A newer model is out, but older versions are still superb people carriers, particularly going back only five years.

Used Ford C-Max prices fall under £5,000 and it’s difficult to ignore a used car deal like that.

Vauxhall Zafira

For less than £5,000 you can get one of the biggest people carrier on the road. If you need to seat seven in comfort, the Vauxhall Zafira is the car for you.

Even better for used car buyers, the Zafira comes with diesel engines which offer low CO2 emissions compared to its rivals.

For around £4,000 you can get a 2004 model Zafira with plenty of equipment. On the outside, there are fog lights, tinted glass and alloy wheels.

Meanwhile, inside there is a clever seven-seat folding system, a sound system and leather highlights dotted around, including on the steering wheel.

Used Vauxhall Zafira prices can drop as low as £4,000 but for a couple of thousand pound more a range-topping – albeit older – model can be found.

Vauxhall Corsa

For less than £7,000, you can get behind the wheel of a 2010 Vauxhall Corsa. Not only does the Corsa boast more space than the average £7,000 city car, it also offers superior driving dynamics, particularly on the motorway.

As a 2010 model, the sub-£7,000 used Vauxhall Corsa comes with a modern, attractive design, excellent engines and more modern equipment than any other car on this list.

As a top-seller in 2010, it is an incredibly good car and for the sake of a couple of years, drops the price of a used Corsa below that of a brand new city car.

Jaguar X-Type

A used Jaguar X-Type comes in at under £7,000 (just) and represents a touch of luxury for the price of a new Kia Picanto.

A 2004, four-door Jaguar X-Type saloon comes with diesel engine which is surprisingly frugal. Road tax is just £130 a year and fuel economy is impressive for a car that is eight years old.

Jaguars are typically luxurious and the X-Type is no different. There are lashings of leather and chrome inside and plenty of equipment that was well ahead of its time.

Sportier models come with sports steering wheel and more tuned suspension aimed at performance and safety kit such as traction control and ABS boost safety.

Jaguars will typically offer excellent residual values so to find one below £7,000 is a bargain not to be missed.