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Six of the best used cars for £100 a month in 2019

Written by James Mills

Six of the best used cars for £100 a month in 2019

It won’t come as any surprise that a used car can be yours for less than £100 a month. But with just a little bit of homework, you could be choosing from some excellent cars that make your money go the extra mile.

For most people spending around £100 a month, they want a car that is comfortable, has the latest gadgets and gizmos, is safe in an accident and won’t let them down. That means choosing a car that’s as young as possible, with a complete service history – including having any associated manufacturer recalls performed.

It’s important to consider what you need your car for and how you will use it, to ensure it meets your practical needs just as well as it satisfies subjective requirements, such as style. And remember to take any used car on a test drive;  after all, at the most simplistic level, you want to be certain you’re comfortable at the wheel.

And whenever considering financing your next car, shop around, compare quotes and consider taking out a GAP insurance policy. The latter is to cover any shortfall between what an insurer might pay out for a car if it’s declared a write-off, and how much finance is still to be paid.

To help drivers find the best car for around £100 a month, over a representative 36-month term and with a £1000 deposit on a Personal Contract Purchase, here are six seriously good used cars to suit a variety of needs.


The brilliant runaround: Volkswagen up!

Whether you’re looking for a brilliant runaround as a second car or an everyday set of wheels, the place to start your search is with the Volkswagen up!

Blue VW Up

That’s because it is arguably the best city car there is, even if the term doesn’t do justice to this small car’s wide range of abilities. As well as being happy to mix it in the cut and thrust of towns and suburbs, it’s equally comfortable venturing out onto the main road and covering big distances.

You’ll get features such as air conditioning, a digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone and plenty of safety equipment, from stability control to front and side-impact airbags.

For around £100 a month, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of 2015 models, some with as few as 10,000 miles on the clock.


The small car with a long warranty: Kia Picanto

If you want a compact car that’s easy to get along with – especially when parking – and would prefer the peace of mind of a long warranty, try the Kia Picanto.

Yellow Kia Picanto

The Korean car company offers a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty with all new cars. When you look at what you can get for about £100 a month, that means a typical 2015 registered Picanto would have warranty remaining until 2022.

But what of the car itself? With models from around 2015, you have the choice of three- or five-door body styles, and 1- or 1.2-litre engines returning more than 60mpg. It’s pretty roomy for this type of car, the dashboard has a clear, easy-to-use layout and the mid-range ‘2’ trim level includes air conditioning, Bluetooth streaming with voice control and a handy trip computer.


A supermini: Ford Fiesta

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s a reason the Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best selling car – it’s a brilliant package. For the money you get one of the most accomplished small cars on the road, and with that popularity comes a wealth of choice, meaning used prices are pleasingly affordable.

For a budget of around £100 a month, the previous generation model is available as 2015 or 2014 model year cars. If you can, shortlist the petrol-powered 1-litre EcoBoost model, as it’s nippy yet frugal and its peppy nature suits the satisfying way the rest of the car behaves. Other than a Mini, nothing else in this class is as accomplished on the road.

In Zetec trim, one of the most popular, you’ll get air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity and the brilliant, electrically heated windscreen – which comes into its own in winter.


Something fun: Mini Cooper

If you like to party, you’ll love the Mini Cooper. This is a car with fun running through its petrol pipes. From the way it hugs the road to the spirit of its eager little engine, it feels alive at any speed.

That fun feeling continues with the way it’s designed. It has a cute face you’ll fill your Instagram feed with, and the wide range of colour combinations makes browsing used examples more interesting than most cars. Inside, the cabin of the second-generation model in this price range has a chic, boutique style. Just be warned: the back seats and boot are on the snug side, so it’s not the most practical of hatchbacks.

The downside to buying a used Mini Cooper is that they tend to hold their value well. It means that for around £100 a month, 2010 models will be probably the youngest you’ll get. So aim for cars with the lowest mileage and the best evidence of a comprehensive service history.


Fancy a Mini Cooper S? See our useful buying guide


A soft-top for sun seekers: Citroen DS3 Cabrio

When searching for a soft-top, we were tempted to suggest the impossibly cute Fiat 500C, which could put a smile on the face of any driver. But because they are so desirable they are comparatively expensive when secondhand; compare the age of the 500Cs available for around £100 a month – mostly 2011 models - with its rival the DS3 Cabrio, and you could be driving a car that’s three years younger. That’s a big difference.


And in a way, they’re very similar. Both use a similar type of fabric roof arrangement, which rolls back at the touch of a button and can be used as a sunroof or dropped right down for the full sun-worshipping experience.

However, the DS3 Cabrio has a more potent 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s capable of nearly 50mpg, and the performance is just right for cruising, roof down, without a care in the world. And as a plus point, the DS3 Cabrio models come generously equipped, with cruise control, automatic wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer and even climate control.


Family-size hatchback: Vauxhall Astra

There’s no shortage of family-friendly hatchbacks on the used car market, but try finding a relatively young car on a budget of about £100 a month and the Vauxhall Astra stands out from its peers.

Red Vauxhall Astra

We spied a good selection of 2014 registered models, which is a good three years younger than an equivalent VW Golf in this price range. But is the Astra actually any good? Yes, actually. It’s an underrated car that has a spacious cabin, goes about its business in a quiet and refined manner and the driving experience is solid, if not class-leading.

Look out for 1.6-litre SRi models, as these petrol-powered cars haul the Astra along comfortably when it’s loaded with all the family and luggage, while the SRi trim level includes a generous level of standard equipment.


Need a family car with plenty of Isofix car seat points? See our useful buying guide



Written by James Mills

Read more from James Mills

James Mills is a former editor of BBC Top Gear and Auto Express magazines. He now contributes to The Sunday Times Driving. His favourite car is the Caterham Seven.

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Borrowing £7,500 over 4 years with a representative APR of 25.4%, an annual interest rate of 25.4% (Fixed) and a deposit of £0.00, the amount payable would be £239.77 per month, with a total cost of credit of £4,008.96 and a total amount payable of £11,508.96.

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