There are nearly 10 million cars bought each year in the UK –roughly 2 million of those are brand new, while the other 8 million are used cars of some sort.
Those used cars might be anything from a near-new dealer demonstrator, only a couple of month sold, to a cheap used runabout that costs no more than a few hundred quid.
There are several big name companies pushing hard in the nearly-new market, for cars up to about three years old and with low mileage. But the biggest-selling used cars tend to be older, higher-mileage and cheaper.
An older car will be a lot cheaper than a nearly-new motor, if it has been cared for and properly serviced, it could still give you years of trouble-free motoring. So we have gathered together the best websites that can help you with buying a cheap used car.
For this exercise, we’re entering into the search boxes ‘any make and model’, with a maximum price of £10,000. We’re also only concentrating on sites with national coverage as, at this price level, most buyers are not likely to travel more than 50 miles of their home address to find a car. Of course, widening your search will bring more results but if you’re travelling halfway across the country to save £100 on a used car, you’re not likely to end up saving any money in the end.
Here at The Car Expert, we’re building and updating guides to the top sites to buy used vehicles of all categories. So here are our pick for the best ones for buying a cheap used car (it’s a round-up, rather than a ranking, so we think all of these sites are worth a look).
The best websites for buying a cheap used car in 2023
- Auto Trader
- Desperate Seller
- Facebook Marketplace
They say: “Find your perfect car”
We like: Easy to use site
We don’t like: Non-relevant adverts
Formerly a printed magazine it was the place to go to secure yourself a bargain. Today it is a website, but still a very popular destination for buyers.
It’s a good, straightforward website for finding a cheap used car. Using the search parameters described above we called up 26,000 cars. You can further sort out the results by ‘lowest price’, ‘highest price’, mileage, age or distance.
You get an initial photo and good basic information such as mileage, engine size, power, gearbox type and whether the price is close to market average. Some cars for sale offer lots of pictures, some offer very few. We even found some that had no pictures at all. You might also find video there too.
Both private and trade (dealer) sellers are listed together and these are clearly highlighted so you can see who you’re dealing with. Interspersed with the car listings are adverts trying to sell you vehicles that are way above your budget, but you can skip past these easily enough.
A recent addition to the Auto Trader site (and app, if you prefer) is that it clearly shows whether a dealer is adding admin charges onto the selling price. It’s something The Car Expert raised with the site a few years ago, so it’s great to see it finally appearing.
Auto Trader also publishes its own car reviews, and is one of the sites included in our new Expert Rating Index, which aggregates new car reviews from UK websites to create a definitive rating for every new car.
They say: “The best place to find a used car”
We like: Simplicity if you know the car you want
We don’t like: Not so easy if your search is wider
The landing page makes it easy if you already know wat you want – you can dive straight in and choose by body type or car brand name. But if you’re looking for a bargain with strict value constraints, you have to go in another way.
Carsnip claims to offer the widest choice of cars and the simplest way to find them. However, you can’t find a search engine and insert ‘£10,000’ like you might with other sites, because Carsnip is different in how cars are presented and sold online.
It is a used car version of Google. You search for a car according to brand or vehicle type and are presented with results, much like other classified sites. However, by clicking on the model you’re interested in, you are sent directly to the dealer’s website rather than a listing on Carsnip itself.
This can be good if you find the right car at the right price fairly quickly, but it can get tiresome going back and forth to look at multiple cars from different dealerships. The site is no-frills – there is a section on popular car brands but it’s mainly a big list of car makers.
Dealers don’t pay to advertise their cars on the site; instead, the finance company earns commission on car finance sold by the dealers. You’re not obliged to take out any finance agreement, so you can simply use it as a search engine and still pay cash for your next car.
They say: “Search Less. Live More”
We like: Busy, interesting website
We don’t like: Some pictures are low quality
Here is another huge business with a lot of used car deals on its books. Using our quite specific search parameter the website found more than 81,000 cars. Motors.co.uk doesn’t own them all; it acts as an agent for dealers across the UK, although there are some private sellers in there too.
It’s an easy site to navigate around and allows you to search by make and model, by area if you are only looking for cars closer to home, or cut down to popular body styles. There’s a section highlighting all the cars that have been reduced in price – you’ll find thousands here but some have only been cut by a few hundred pounds.
There’s news and feature articles plus car evaluations and also a section showing video reviews. The helpful advice section includes tips on electric vehicles, a driving theory test, an ‘ask the experts’ section and more. There’s also a fuel calculator, car finance guide and a ‘smart search’ to find the best car match for you.
There’s a car price guide showing what individual model types are selling for, enabling you to make a decision on whether you are getting value for money on the car you’re considering, which is useful when you’re budgeting. Car details are full enough but some of the pictures are a bit unpolished.
They say: “Make finding your car as simple as possible”
We like: Fun and easy to use site
We don’t like: Some cars show only a few pictures
From the landing page there are some nice touches straight away for buyers of cheap cars. There’s the usual Used Car search engine but additionally, a drop down section offers pointers such as ‘Cheap cars for sale’ ‘Desperate deals’, ‘Cars under £5,000’ and ‘’First cars’. It’s all very easy to use and intuitive.
The ‘Desperate Deals’ area is especially useful in this context as it contains cars that have been reduced in price by at least £2000. So if you are prepared to travel outside of your region you could find a very good bargain. On the other hand, there’s a drop-down tab which shows you the number of used cars available for sale in your county – great if you don’t want to go far to find one.
Choose a car to examine and the description comes in a big block of information. Some only have one picture available (some have none), but the details are quite comprehensive.
There’s a section called ‘Car photos’ which helps if you know the name of a car but can’t quite picture it. Listed are hundreds of shots of well-known brands and models. You’ll also find car reviews, news and interesting articles and a service that gives you a free car valuation if you’re thinking of selling – which Desperate Seller can help with, thanks to a link up with the car selling website Motorway.
This is a fun, easy to navigate site which is a must for potential customers of cheaper cars.
They say: “Buy used cars locally”
We like: Backed by the might of Facebook
We don’t like: It’s a no frills experience
Backed by the power of the world’s most/least favourite social media company, Facebook Marketplace puts local people together to buy and sell their cars. A simple search engine allows you to state how far you are prepared to travel, the minimum and maximum prices you will pay and whether you want new, used or ‘all’ cars – in this case it’s used.
It takes a while to enter your search requirements as each section (price, location, manual/auto gearbox etc.) loads up, but a good list of private sellers’ car, motorbikes and trailers appears in the order you specified, such as low to high price.
The pictures are a little hit and miss – front shot, rear shot, interior, rear seats – but, click on a chosen car and it opens up with a little more description and the option to send a message to the seller.
It’s quite a basic way to buy a used car, but there’s a wide choice offered for your local area if you are prepared to go through them.
They say: “The UK’s local motors marketplace”
We like: Simple and straightforward site
We don’t like: Not the most attractive design
Gumtree is one of the UK’s largest online classified adverts sites, designed for local communities across the country. Its mission is to help people find what they need most, affordably and locally. What started as a place to find cheap furniture and equipment now includes cars.
There’s a drop down section just for ‘cars and vehicles’ on the landing page. Simply add in your postcode, minimum and maximum price (and optional keywords such as left-hand drive or 4×4), and hit the search button for thousands of adverts.
You can refine the search to most recently listed, the nearest sellers, highest price first or lowest. The listings contain a mix of private sellers and dealerships. Each show a decent section of pictures, a brief description and a fairly comprehensive list of details including performance, running costs, safety, security and interior and exterior features.
You have to be registered first but after that, there’s the facility to send the seller an email with a pre-written message or you can go in to reveal the seller’s phone number.
It’s an advertising site so there’s not much in the way of news, features or handy tips, but it’s there to do a job – help people buy and sell cars – and it does that well.
They say: “The home of used cars online”
We like: Lots of helpful advice
We don’t like: Basic initial car details
There’s lots going on in the Autoweb sales pages. In addition to the easy-to-understand car photo and description, down the right-hand side are plenty of things to keep you occupied for a while: Cool stuff featuring ‘Top 5’ listings, Ladies Choice, Head-to-Head and other fun features.
Scroll down and you’ll find more advice, tips and fun videos and news. The site also offers a free car advert and free valuations. A good place to start is the Car Clinic section, where you’ll find useful advice to help guide you in the right direction.
Back to the car listings (it doesn’t say how many the search parameters have brought up) and they’re fairly basic to begin with. There’s only body, colour, mileage, fuel type, gearbox and engine size. It tells you whether the seller is a dealer or if it’s a ‘Public Sale’’.
Click on the car of your choice and you’ll find more pictures, and sections on vehicle specification, technical information and the seller’s contact details. Autoweb only works with trusted car dealers and promises only the highest quality stock.
They say: “Find a great deal… and so much more”
We like: Lots of helpful advice
We don’t like: Basic initial car details
Put in your search requirements and the easy to use, clear website defaults to ‘Best deals first’. Incredibly you can choose to look for ‘’Worst deals first’ showing over-priced cars – although we’re not sure who would want to do that. More sensibly there are useful choices by price, mileage, distance to seller, and age.
Private sellers and dealers are featured and CarGurus promises to show every car’s deal rating, from ‘great’ to ‘overpriced’, along with free hard-to-find information like number of owners and accident history.
Pictures are quite good, though some are missing. There are only basic details at first but, click on a chosen car, and the page opens to reveal more detailed specifications such as colour, number of doors, fuel economy, engine size, fuel type and registration date.
If you haven’t made you’re mind up you can ask for CarGurus to email you when there are price drops of new listings, tailored to your search parameters and results.
Also on the landing page is a free are valuation tool, latest car reviews and a tips and advice section, not just on buying and selling cars but also driving test, MOT, car maintenance and general motoring interest topics.
They say: “It’s about good cars and good carma”
We like: Attractively designed site
We don’t like: You can’t search for cars close to you
With 15 stores nationwide, and thousands of cars in stock, Carshop hopes to find you the motor you want. You can then collect it from your nearest store (they’ll transport the car) or even have it delivered to your home. Having the stores means you can go and see your chosen vehicle before you buy it, once you’ve paid a refundable £99 deposit.
Using the search engine brings up a good choice of cars, well pictured and with initial basic details. Click through and you’re taken to a much more detailed page giving useful information about your chosen car, including key facts such as CO2, annual tax amount, and fuel economy, plus all the usual details such as body style, colour, fuel type , transmission and MOT expiry.
The site is set up to show you monthly HP payments first and foremost, with an emphasis on finance. However you can just opt for the total amount to pay if you please. Indeed there’s a whole section on finance which gives you a free finance check and a budget calculator.
Carshop also offers MOT, service and repairs and they’ll discuss a service plan with you too, in keeping with the importance they give to finance.
They say: “Biggest collection of approved used cars in the UK”
We like: Simply designed site
We don’t like: Car description presented in one big block
CarSite claims to be the UK’s largest independent website for buyers looking for new or used cars, and has a large directory of used car dealers across the UK. Using their search engine, you can find chosen models near you and then click onward to contact the listed dealer.
As you browse by car body style or, using the search parameters, it will bring up an initial list of relevant cars. You can only view the listing by value of car or distance to seller.
Clicking through to the car of your choice gives you one picture, some basic details and then a long, difficult-to-follow block of copy explaining the car’s details. It’s not as attractively put together as some of the sites.
There is, however a contact section which gives you the dealer’s phone number or allows you to email them with ready-made questions such as ‘can you email more photos’ and ‘is the price negotiable’. You can have the latest adverts, as Carsite calls them, sent direct to your inbox with email alerts.
Carsite also offers a car parts search and locate service and the kit can be delivered to your door. There’s also a neat news section showing the latest automotive gossip.
They say: “Your one stop shop for used cars”
We like: Easy search set-up
We don’t like: Not as much detail offered as some
Owned by Heycar, one of the major players in the used car marketplace, AutoVillage offers a number of automotive related services: sourcing used cars, new cars, lease deals, and discounted car parts. They also provide a comparison service for MOT centres across the UK showing how much each charges for the annual test.
But it’s used cars, and bargain ones too, that we’re concentrating on here. AutoVillage does business by partnering with car dealerships to obtain good quotes, big discounts and savings on used vehicles in the UK.
Go on to the Used Cars section and you can narrow your search down immediately by clicking on ‘Popular Makes’, ‘Popular Models, ‘Popular Locations or by Body Style. It’s a good place to visit for a budget car – the site lists cars with a starting price of £500. Entering our parameters of £2,000 to £10,000 produced pages and pages of relevant cars (it doesn’t tell you how many) starting with the most expensive first. There was no way to change that to cheapest first (or closest seller to you).
It starts with the basic details in a clear manner along with a good quality picture. Click on your chosen model and the page loads with more pictures of the car, some further ‘at a glance’ features, and a block of text listing the vehicle’s attributes.
The selling dealership is listed and there’s a mechanism to send an email direct to them.
You may also like:
- The best sites for buying a new or used car
- The ten golden rules for buying a car
This article was originally published in November 2021 and is updated regularly. Last updated September 2022.
*The Car Expert has commercial partnerships with Auto Trader, Carsnip and Motors.co.uk. If you click through to their websites and view any of their vehicles, we may receive a small commission.
Will used car prices drop in 2023? ›
Cheaper prices compared to 2022
As demand for used cars wanes, prices should continue to drop. According to J.P. Morgan Research, prices for used cars could fall as much as 10% to 20% in 2023.
The good news for consumers is that used car prices are declining and experts expect the trend to continue in 2023. Unfortunately, the drop won't come close to wiping out the massive surge in values that stretched from the spring of 2020 to the beginning of last year.Can you buy a 2023 car right now? ›
If you're looking to buy a 2023-model-year vehicle, you may not have to wait around for long. That's because we're already seeing a handful of 2023 cars, trucks, and SUVs hit the market this spring.When should I buy a car in 2023? ›
The end of the year — October through December — can be a good time to do your car shopping, as well. October is when new vehicle models head to showroom floors and dealers want to unload existing inventory, while November latches on to Black Friday deals, including autos.Will used car prices ever go down again? ›
Car shoppers have faced sky-high prices for more than a year in part because of high demand and tight inventory. But 2023 may finally bring some relief. As demand stabilizes and inventory improves, prices are expected to ease.What is the cheapest way to buy a car? ›
Buy used. If you're just looking for the cheapest way to get a vehicle, buying used is the way to go. Many vehicles last longer these days, and used cars come with more standard equipment than just a few years ago, plus, used cars typically cost less than new ones.What mileage is good for a used car? ›
The average car gets in 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year, so used cars with an annual average lower than that can be considered as having good mileage. Simply divide the odometer number by the car's age in years to determine it's annual average.How many miles is too many for a used car? ›
There's no absolute number of miles that is too many for a used car. But consider 200,000 as an upper limit, a threshold where even modern cars begin to succumb to the years of wear and tear.What time of year is best to buy a car? ›
End of the year, month and model year
In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. All three goals begin to come together late in the year.
- Acura NSX. Acura ended production of its NSX with a bang. ...
- Buick Encore. After nearly a decade of sales, Buick is pulling the plug on its Encore subcompact SUV for 2023. ...
- Chevrolet Spark. ...
- Chevrolet Trax. ...
- Ford EcoSport. ...
- Ford GT. ...
- Honda Insight. ...
- Hyundai Accent.
How long will car prices stay up? ›
Used car prices have likely peaked, but new car prices are set to remain elevated through end-2022. In 2023, prices are expected to decline by 2.5% to 5% for new cars and by 10% to 20% for used cars.What month do 2023 cars come out? ›
Traditionally, new model year vehicles start to come out in the fall of the previous year. For example, a 2023 model will debut in the fall of 2022 — and dealerships usually want the old stock gone before the new model arrives.What will car prices do in 2023? ›
In 2023, analysts expect new- and used-vehicle prices to diverge. In a November report, J.P. Morgan researchers opined that new car prices were likely to fall no more than 5% in 2023 while used vehicle prices could contract by 10% to 20%. Pat Ryan, CEO of car shopping app Copilot, agrees with that analysis.Is it better to lease or buy a car in 2023? ›
Your rate may vary based on credit score, credit history, and loan term. Leasing is relatively similar to having a long-term car rental. If you've got the money on hand, buying a car is often the better option. Drivers can purchase a leased vehicle at the end of their term if they choose.Will vehicle prices go down? ›
Used vehicle prices are expected to come down further this year amid rising interest rates and improved availability of new cars and trucks, according to Cox Automotive. The firm expects wholesale used vehicle prices to end the year down 4.3% from December 2022.Which brand of vehicle is the most reliable? ›
According to Consumer Reports, Toyota, Lexus, and BMW are the most reliable car brands in the company's annual auto reliability brand rankings. And when it comes to sport utility vehicles, none of these car brands disappoints.Why are used car prices not dropping? ›
Demand in the used car market soared during the COVID-19 pandemic because supply chain issues slowed the production of new vehicles, CNBC reported. This forced many buyers to shop for used cars, driving prices higher.Will car prices drop in 2025? ›
“Over the course of the next two years, we're going to see used car prices retreat back to more normal levels. So by the time we get to 2025, that's really when used prices will bottom,” J.D. Power's Paris said. And even when prices do “bottom out,” they aren't likely to return to pre-pandemic levels.How can I get a car less than asking price? ›
More negotiating tips for buying a used car
- Keep it light. ...
- Avoid bare-knuckle negotiators. ...
- Negotiate slowly and repeat the numbers. ...
- Don't start until you're ready. ...
- Be ready to walk.
Most auto experts say the lowest price for a reliable used car is now about $5,000.
Is low mileage better than age? ›
Reliability fades with age
Even when mileage is low, the older a car gets, the less reliable it becomes. Modern cars are much more reliable, even as they age. Five-year-old cars record what is considered a major problem every three years, while 10-year-old cars are more likely to face a problem every 18 to 20 months.
In retaining “like new” quality and inheriting a slower depreciation rate, the best used car age for buying is 2-3 years. In fact, Americans are saving up to $14,000 on a 3-year-old vehicle. For example, a car that may have cost you $30,000 when new would cost around $16,000 after just 3 years.What should be checked before buying a used car? ›
The original purchase invoice, pollution certificate, maintenance records, and road tax receipt are other essential documents that must be checked while making a pre-owned car purchase. If the owner had bought the car on loan, form 35 and the financing company's no-objection certificate are crucial.Is a 10 year old car too old? ›
When buying a used car that's 10-years-old or older, your primary concerns are purchase price and reliability. Don't pay more than that 10-year-old car is worth. And, pick a car with a solid reputation for dependability. No car is really too old if you follow those rules.At what mileage should I get a new car? ›
Estimating an acceptable delivery mileage isn't an exact science, as the amount can vary by manufacturer and dealer. The general rule, though, is that anything under 200 miles is acceptable for a new car.How many miles should a 7 year old car have? ›
Seeing as the average driver covers about 12,000 miles a year, you'll want to see the following: About 60,000 miles on a 5-year-old car. About 84,000 miles on a 7-year-old car. About 108,000 miles on a 9-year-old car.What is the cheapest day to buy a car? ›
Head to the dealership between the 16th and 20th of the month. Don't lock in the deal just yet. Instead, wait until the last two or three days of the month to negotiate.What should you not say to a car salesman? ›
- “I'm ready to buy now.” ...
- “I can afford this much per month.” ...
- “Yes, I have a trade-in.” ...
- “I'm only buying the car with cash.” ...
- “I'm not sure…which model do you think I need?” ...
- “Oh, I've wanted one of these all my life.” ...
- “I'll take whatever the popular options are.”
Best day to buy a car
Conventional wisdom suggests that weekdays are the best time of the week to buy a new car, but new research has found otherwise. Car buyers might be better off going to the dealership on Sundays, when they can save an average of 10% off MSRP, according to a 2020 study by TrueCar.
The Hellcat Retires
Dodge will stop production for its Challenger Hellcat and Charger Hellcat models after 2023. With this, the brand's ultimate 6.2L V8 Supercharged Hemi engine will also exit production. It was announced at the LA Auto Show, by the CEO of Dodge.
What time of year are car prices lower? ›
Even if you're buying a car from a private party, shopping in the winter can benefit you. There are fewer people who want to travel around town doing test drives during cold weather. There is often less demand in the winter months as well, making negotiating a lower price easier.Do car dealers go down in price? ›
If a car is in high demand, a dealership can charge far more than the sticker price. When demand is lower, you can expect to pay less than the sticker price. A good negotiator can sometimes get the car at or below the dealer's invoice price.When can I get a 2023 Toyota? ›
The Next Big Thing: New 2023 Toyota Sequoia
The third-generation all-new 2023 Sequoia is projected to hit showrooms in the summer of 2022. All 2023 Sequoia's feature the powerful twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-Force Max powertrain which will produce 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque.
Most new models are introduced between July and October, so this is the time that you should try to lease to maximize your savings. 2) Holidays: Lease shoppers can find special dealership incentives during long holiday weekends, including President's Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.What are 5 disadvantages of leasing a car? ›
- You Don't Own the Car. The obvious downside to leasing a car is that you don't own the car at the end of the lease. ...
- It Might Not Save You Money. ...
- Leasing Can Be More Complicated than Buying. ...
- Leased Cars Are Restricted to a Limited Number of Miles. ...
- Increased Insurance Premiums.
On the negative side, you don't have any equity in the vehicle. You're free to drive as many miles as you want. But keep in mind that higher mileage lowers the vehicle's trade-in or resale value. Most leases limit the number of miles you may drive, often 10,000 to 12,000 per year.Will car prices go down in the near future? ›
However, prices are not likely to drop to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. The used car market had its largest drop in average price since 2009 in December 2022 — the average price of a used car dropped by 8.8%. In July of 2022, three-year-old used vehicles dropped in price by 4.6%.How much longer will used car prices stay high? ›
Used car prices have likely peaked, but new car prices are set to remain elevated through end-2022. In 2023, prices are expected to decline by 2.5% to 5% for new cars and by 10% to 20% for used cars.Will car leasing prices drop? ›
New data released in October 2022 shows that the car leasing market has seen a significant decline in the post-Covid period. In the short term, this may make leasing more expensive. In the long term, it might make buying a used car more expensive.What year will car prices go down? ›
Fortunately, 2023 is going to be the year that prices finally drop. Based on recent industry data, the prices that car dealers pay wholesale for used cars dropped 14.9% during 2022, which means consumers should also start seeing lower prices on the lot.
Will new car prices ever go back to normal? ›
Don't expect car prices to drop significantly anytime soon. Instead, new-vehicle prices — already at record highs — will remain elevated, automotive experts say. At the same time, used-vehicle pricing should moderate as the Federal Reserve continues raising interest rates to curb inflation.