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Home > used car buying guide > How to get good value for money

How to get good value for money

Tracking down a bargain
Knowing what you should be looking for and understanding exactly what makes a second-hand vehicle good value for money is very important. Give yourself a reasonable budget of between £2,000 and £4,000 and it should be easy to sourcing a car that will meet your needs. Within this price range there is a diverse range of cars to choose from which makes the buying process both interesting and great fun and clearance cars are definitely the best option available.

Personal Requirements
Of course, value for money means different things to different people and it all comes down to what you want from a vehicle. There's no point getting a great deal on a small city runabout when you need enough space to comfortably seat seven people. Likewise, you're unlikely to get as much fun out of driving a large MPV as you will with a sporty hot hatch. 

Before you start shopping around for vehicles, take time to carefully consider why you want a car, the type of journeys it's going to be used for and any personal must-have requirements. Do you need more than five seats? Do you require a vehicle with a large boot and a highly flexible seating arrangement that makes it fast and simple to carry bulky loads? All of these things will have a bearing on the type of car that will suit your needs and, most importantly, will be available within the £2,000 to £4,000 price bracket.

So what's out there in your price range? 

Eco Friendly Cars


Buying a vehicle that offers low CO2 emissions and is light on fuel is not only preferable for the environment, but also your wallet. The Honda Jazz with a 1.4-litre petrol engine will return 49.6mpg, while a Peugeot 206 with the same size diesel powertrain will offer up to 64.2mpg. With the ever-popular Ford Fiesta fitted with a 1.4 engine you're looking at enjoying up to 62.8mpg combined. Consider a five-door Audi A3 if you're interested in a more powerful diesel engine that will still offer in the region of 60mpg.

Family cars


If you want a vehicle that's versatile enough to do the school run and the weekly shop, will get you to work and is suitable to take on holiday, a family vehicle is going to be the right choice for you. With a Peugeot 307 1.6 diesel you'll get a five-door hatchback capable of achieving 57.6mpg and a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds. Choose a Volkswagen Golf with a petrol engine of the same size and you'll enjoy better acceleration but will have to compromise slightly on fuel efficiency.

Additional space is available with models such as the Mercedes-Benz C Class, the Vauxhall Astra, the extremely popular Ford Focus estate and the go-anywhere Mitsubishi Outlander. If you're sticking rigidly to your £2,000 to £4,000 budget and require the kind of flexibility that these vehicles provide, expect to be looking at slightly older models with higher mileage figures on the clock. The reliability of modern cars is such that an increasing number of buyers are now happy to purchase a car with mileage that is well in excess of the 100,000 mark. 

People carriers


If you need the ability to move a large number of people at one time then a people carrier could well be the right category of vehicle for you. Models such as the Volkswagen Touran, Ford C-Max, Peugeot 807 and Vauxhall Zafira are all worth taking for a test drive. Again, within this price range you'll most likely be looking at vehicles with medium to high mileage on the clock, but the trade off in terms of comfort, flexibility and safety features could make a deal well worth it.

Of course the selection of used cars on the market is changing constantly, but it's simple enough to run a search here on the Carbase website to check out the range of makes and models that are currently in stock. Whether you're searching for a family hatchback that's suitable for the school run and will return an impressive mpg figure, or are perhaps after something a little sporty for fun weekends away or to liven up your daily commute, we'll be able to help.