The 10 best used cars you can buy (2022)

By Lee Boyce
Created: 15:02, 15 October 2010

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The 10 best used cars you can buy (1)

The best used cars you can buy have been revealed by specialist motoring magazine Auto Express.

For those hunting for a used car bargain, as opposed to buying a brand new car (which may depreciate in value much quicker) we have rounded up a top ten from the categories on the Auto Express list, ranging from the best family car to the best hot hatch.

›› See the full list of Auto Express' cars of the year

Best used car: BMW 3-Series

The 10 best used cars you can buy (2)

The BMW 3-Series line up is top of the charts according to Auto Express, and with lots of them hitting second-hand forecourts, prices are now more attractive than ever. The whole range has been given a spruce-up lately, but even purchasing one of the earliest 2005 variants won't look out of date.

Lesser models in the range are actually more appealing - the 320d for example is smooth and powerful, but offers incredible fuel economy. And post-2007 versions are seriously clean, with CO2 emissions as low as 128g/km. BMWs tend to have good service histories, giving extra confidence. The 3-Series finished in a steady 26th place in the Top 100 of our Driver Power satisfaction survey, so the ownership experience won't hold any nasty surprises.

(Video) 5 Used Cars You Should Buy

Best used city car: Hyundai i10

The 10 best used cars you can buy (3)

The Hyundai i10 is a small city car that has made a big impact with Auto Express. The car is relatively cheap (between £5,000 - £8,000) for a solid build quality and it has a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which can be transferred from owner to owner - making it a great town car.

As the i10 is still fairly new, most second-hand models are found on Hyundai's forecourts. But that's not a bad thing, Auto Express state, as the dealer network has a reputation for top-notch customer service.

Best used family car: Ford Mondeo

The 10 best used cars you can buy (4)

Last year, the latest Mondeo model knocked its predecessor off the top spot. That doesn't mean the old Mondeo is a bad second-hand buy, as it is incredibly cheap and widely available. Prices are now as low as £7,000, although that will for a car that has had a higher average mileage.

As the new style Mondeo is only three years old, many good cars can still be found within Ford's dealer network. These will be covered by the company's used approved scheme, which offers a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty and two years of pan-European breakdown cover - both a year longer than is the norm with rival used schemes.

Best used small family car: Ford Focus

The 10 best used cars you can buy (5)


Auto Express has consistently praised the Focus for its excellent handling and great dynamics, while the wide range of engines means there is something for everyone. Used Focus values have been falling steadily and with a new Focus on the horizon, prices can only get lower. Early 2004-2005 examples have now slipped below the £4,000 mark.

Auto Express believes the pick of the engine line-up is the 89bhp 1.6-litre TDCi diesel. It provides plenty of punch, promises fuel economy of 62.7mpg and emits 118g/km of CO2, so road tax costs only £30 per year.

Best used MPV: Ford S-MAX

The 10 best used cars you can buy (6)

The Ford S-MAX has always been slightly too expensive to make it on the Auto Express shortlist for their best used MPV award. But after four years in new showrooms, and the arrival of a facelifted model, the people carrier's prices have finally tumbled .

Early 1.8-litre oil-burners are the best budget buys - they promise 45.6mpg fuel economy and emissions of 164g/km. But the 2.0-litre TDCi engine is very common, and achieves similar returns. Only the earliest cars with big mileages will be outside their manufacturer warranty.

Best used coupe car: Audi TT

The 10 best used cars you can buy (7)

The Audi TT has topped the list for the best used coupe for the second year in a row. The first generation models now offer serious value for money (starting at £14,500) and the TT offers a wide of engine choices.

The TT is popular meaning they are making their way on to the second-hand market in increasing numbers. Main dealers are the obvious place to look for newer models, but it's worth shopping around online for an earlier version. A water-tight service history is essential, although private buyers will sell their cars for less than dealers.

(Video) 6 used cars you SHOULD BUY according to the 20+ years of CAR WIZARD mechanic experience!

Best used luxury car: Mercedes S-Class

The 10 best used cars you can buy (8)

A top-end Mercedes S-Class is the best used luxury model to buy according to Auto Express, and top-end saloons shed their value fast – an early this era S-Class can now be purchased for less than £25,000. Build quality is exceptional and the mechanicals are robust.

Most of these luxury cars would have been well maintained and high mileages are nothing to worry about. Ex-professional limos or hire cars are worth seeking out - they will have been looked after and are fantastic value.

Best used estate car: Skoda Octavia Estate

The 10 best used cars you can buy (9)

The Octavia is a top all-rounder and it's even more practical as an estate. Skoda's family model is a consistently strong performer in our Driver Power reliability surveys. It has a large 580-litre boot which expands to a vast 1,620 litres with the seats folded flat.

The launch of a revised model last year has hit prices, so good, early examples with a few miles on the clock can now be yours for less than £5,000. As the Octavia is a popular buy, you can find one just about anywhere. Excellent customer service and Skoda's superb approved scheme mean dealers are worth a look for a nearly new model.

Best used hot hatch car: VW Golf GTI MkV

The 10 best used cars you can buy (10)

(Video) Top 10 best second-hand and used cars - Carbuyer

Practicality, reliability and performance are hallmarks of the latest Golf GTI and early examples are now available for less than £8,000. Auto Express say the build and interior quality are first rate and the 197bhp 2.0 TFSI engine powers the Golf from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds.

Marque specialists are good places to shop for second-hand GTIs. These enthusiasts tend to cherry pick the cars they sell and make sure they're in good condition beforehand. They're usually small outfits, too, so they rely on recommendation for repeat business and good service is a generally a given - just don't expect too much flexibility on price.

Best used supermini car: Renault Clio

The 10 best used cars you can buy (11)

Auto Express has chosen the Renault Clio as the top supermini for the third year in a row. They credit it as having great handling and safety, whilst having a practical interior, whilst offering affordability (prices range from £4,000 to £12,000).

It is also cheap to run with a 1.5-litre diesel engine, meaning it is punchy enough to provide a brisk pace. Reliability hasn't always been a strong point for Renault, Auto Express claim, but the Clio finished in a mid-ranking 54th place in their Driver Power 2010 reliability survey.

How to cut the cost of your car:

  • Calculator: True cost of your car
  • How to cut your petrol costs
  • Find the cheapest car loan
  • Find the cheapest car insurance quotes
  • Find the cheapest breakdown cover
  • Top 10: Best value new cars

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What's the most reliable used car to buy? ›

Most Reliable Used Cars
  • Toyota Camry (2015) The Toyota Camry continues to be the best-selling passenger vehicle in the U.S., and the main reason for its appeal is its reliability. ...
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata (2019 and 2020) ...
  • 2012 Honda Civic. ...
  • 2013 Honda Accord. ...
  • 2018 Mazda3. ...
  • 2011 Toyota Prius. ...
  • 2010 Toyota Avalon. ...
  • 2011 Buick LaCrosse.
May 25, 2022

What is the most reliable brand of used cars? ›

Sports Cars Often Are the Most Reliable Cars

The Toyota Camry has long been hailed as reliability incarnate, along with the Honda Accord, the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic.

Which used car is best to buy? ›

The car is compact, spacious and is an easy to drive hatchback that gives a good fuel economy at a competitive price.
  • Honda City. Price: Rs 2,25,000. ...
  • Maruti Suzuki Alto. Price: Rs 80,500. ...
  • Hyundai i10. Price: Rs 1,40,000. ...
  • Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. ...
  • Hyundai Santro Xing. ...
  • Hyundai i20. ...
  • Maruti Suzuki WagonR. ...
  • Hyundai Verna.
Mar 18, 2015

What are the top 10 cars not to buy? ›

There are more than 100 models listed, all built in the last decade. Use the pull-down menu to view car models by brand.
Used Cars to Avoid Buying.
ModelYear(s) to Avoid
FordMustang2015-2016, 2018
GMCAcadia2011-2013, 2016-2017, 2020
101 more rows
Jan 4, 2021

What brand car lasts the longest? ›

Toyota earns the top spot as the best automaker for dependability. Toyota vehicles are known for their longevity, and they are proven to last longer than any other brand. Toyotas are built so well they have below-average maintenance and repair costs, which helps contribute to why they remain on the road for so long.

Which older cars are most reliable? ›

Ranked: the most and least reliable older cars
  • Ranked: the most and least reliable older cars. ...
  • 1: Lexus – 94.9% reliability score. ...
  • 2: Dacia – 93.1% reliability score. ...
  • 3: Honda – 90.0% reliability score. ...
  • 4: Toyota – 89.7% reliability score. ...
  • 5: Suzuki – 88.4% reliability score. ...
  • 6: Kia – 87.8% reliability score.
Sep 6, 2018

Which used cars last the longest? ›

Longest-Lasting Cars: Toyota's Land Cruiser Easily Wins the Top Spot
Longest-Lasting Vehicles to Reach 200k Miles – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicle% of Cars Over 200k Miles
1Toyota Land Cruiser16.3%
2Toyota Sequoia11.2%
3Chevrolet Suburban5.1%
14 more rows
Feb 28, 2022

Which car brand has least problems? ›

CR's most and least reliable car brands
RankMost ReliableLeast Reliable
2 more rows
Mar 22, 2021

What are the top 10 reliable cars? ›

According to Consumer Report rankings, below are the top 15 most reliable car brands for 2022 and their predicted reliability scores:
  • Lexus: 76.
  • Mazda: 75.
  • Toyota: 71.
  • Infiniti: 69.
  • Buick: 66.
  • Honda: 66.
  • Subaru: 66.
  • Acura: 64.
Feb 9, 2022

What is the most in demand used car? ›

Top 10 Cars With the Fastest-Growing Resale Value
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime: 12%; $47,494.
  • Tesla Model Y: 9%; $64,767.
  • Toyota Corolla: 9%; $22,745.
  • Ford Transit: 8%; $45,992.
  • Kia Sportage: 8%; $25,827.
  • Honda Civic: 8%; $25,369.
  • Toyota Camry: 8%; $28,373.
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV: 8%; $25,447.
May 3, 2022

What's the best time to buy a used car? ›

January is the best month to buy a used car, according to a study from car search engine and automotive research firm iSeeCars. For those hunting for a good deal, late fall and early winter are the best times to buy a used car, while late spring and early summer are the worst times.

Which car is best used or new? ›

Used car vs new car: Which is a better option?
ParameterNew carUsed car
Buying cost (Price)HighLow
Maintenance costLower than a used carHigher than a new car
Features and technologyYou get the latest features and technologyIt misses out on the new technology and features
3 more rows
Jun 6, 2022

What is good mileage for a used car? ›

To determine whether a car has reasonable mileage, you can simply multiply 12,000 by its age. That means good mileage for a car that's 5 years old is 60,000. Significantly more or fewer miles could indicate a problem or trouble in the future. That said, mileage can be misleading.

What are the top 5 most unreliable cars? ›

  1. Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Users found this car takes the cake when it comes to unreliable vehicles.
  2. Subaru Ascent. ...
  3. Volkswagen Atlas. ...
  4. Jeep Compass. ...
  5. Volvo XC90. ...
  6. Chevrolet Colorado. ...
  7. Tesla Model S. ...
  8. Jeep Wrangler. ...
Jun 17, 2022

What is the most problematic car? ›

  • Vauxhall Mokka X (2016-2019) Reliability rating: 87.3% ...
  • Jaguar I-Pace (2018-present) Reliability rating: 86.3% ...
  • Audi A6 (2018-present) ...
  • Peugeot 3008 diesel (2017-present) ...
  • Mercedes A-Class (2018-present) ...
  • Fiat Abarth 124 Spider (2016-2019) ...
  • Nissan Juke petrol (2010-2019) ...
  • Range Rover Sport diesel (2013-present)
Apr 18, 2022

How many miles is too many on a car? ›

As a general rule, most vehicles begin to seriously degrade at around 150,000 miles. It is considered rare, and therefore outstanding longevity, if a car reaches 200,000 miles on the road. That said, there's more to identifying good versus bad mileage on a used car than just the odometer reading.

What is the most reliable car on the market? ›

What Are the Most Reliable Cars?
  • Toyota Prius. Toyota. Toyota's long-running hybrid car tops the Consumer Reports list for reliability. ...
  • Lexus NX. Lexus. ...
  • Buick Encore. Buick. ...
  • Lexus GX. Lexus. ...
  • Honda HR-V. Honda. ...
  • Toyota Prius Prime. Toyota. ...
  • Hyundai Kona. Hyundai. ...
  • Audi A5. Audi.
Oct 18, 2021

What's a better car Nissan or Toyota? ›

Winner: Toyota

It's no secret that Toyota makes some of the most reliable cars on the road. Consumer Reports ranked the company the second most reliable out of all brands for 2021. Nissan came in much further down the list in sixteenth place.

What cars last the longest and are cheap? ›

  • Ford Taurus.
  • Nissan Maxima. ...
  • Toyota Camry. ...
  • Honda Accord. ...
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500. ...
  • Ford F-150. ...
  • Honda Civic. ...
  • Honda Odyssey. Kicking things off, iSeeCars sees Honda's Odyssey minivan as one of its top ten best deals on a used vehicle. ...
Sep 27, 2014

What used car is the cheapest to maintain? ›

Most Affordable Used Cars to Maintain
  • Toyota Corolla. The Toyota Corolla is a compact sedan with a reliable track record. ...
  • Honda CR-V. The Honda CR-V is one of the most popular SUVs on the road, and for good reason. ...
  • Subaru Outback. ...
  • Honda Accord. ...
  • Lexus NX. ...
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class. ...
  • Ford Mustang. ...
  • Honda Odyssey.
Feb 21, 2020

What is the most reliable car from the past 20 years? ›

Toyota Corolla

If you wonder why Toyota scores close to the top in auto brand reliability every year, just check some of its top models. Corolla, which has been the definition of a vanilla compact car for decades, came close to perfect in its ratings every year since 2010.

How much is too much mileage for a used car? ›

Often, 100,000 miles is considered a cut-off point for used cars because older vehicles often start requiring more expensive and frequent maintenance when mileage exceeds 100,000.

How many miles is good 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.

Is buying used cars a good idea? ›

Buying a used vehicle is a great way to get behind the wheel without shelling out as much as you would for a new vehicle. You will be met with less vehicle depreciation and spend less on insurance and registration while still having peace of mind that your vehicle is in good condition.


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