Driving Test Success

Best Used Cars Under £3000

Below we review the three best used cars for new and young drivers you can buy for under £3000.

Ford Fiesta 2002 - 2005

This is a great car. Fun to drive, cheap to run and reliable the only negative is that the cabin trim is a little dull.

Around town the Fiesta has a responsive engine and direct, precise steering. The controls are all easy to use and all feel solid. It is spacious and comfortable inside for both the driver and passengers.

On rural roads the Fiesta's handling and grip continues to make for an excellent drive, although on motorways the 1.2L and 1.4L versions may prove a touch sluggish.

The running costs are low, probably the best in class. Servicing a Fiesta is cheap and there are plenty of spare parts on the market.

Insurance costs are also low with most models coming in

Fiestas vary between group 3 and group 6 depending on engine and trim, though the 2.0 ST falls into a wallet-troubling group 14.

Best Models

1.3 Finesse - This is the entry level model so has a basic trim level. However, a 2003 model with around 35,000 miles on the clock will offer excellent value.

Trim and kit includes:

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1.4 Zetec - If you regularly drive on motorways then choose the 1.4 Zetec, as the extra power will prove useful. A 2003 model with around 70,000 miles on the clock should cost no more than £3000.

The trim and standard kit is the same as the 1.3 Finesse except that the 1.4 Zetec comes with alloy wheels. Models with the 'Climate' badge come with air conditioning.

The Fiesta of this period has an Euro NCAP rating of 4/5. For more details read the full report

Honda Jazz

An excellent small car to drive around town. The Jazz regularly tops the JD power customer satisfaction survey for best supermini.

They have responsive engines, precise handling and easy-to-use controls. Some claim the ride is a little to firm but on urban roads this isn't really the case. Inside there is plenty of space and inventive storage ideas. The split rear seats fold flat and the bases can tip up for another self-contained storage area. The back of the front passenger seat folds flat, too.

The cost of servicing and repairing the Jazz can be expensive compared to other small cars, however, with its excellent reliability these costs even themselves out.

Best Models

Entry-level S trim is modest (CD player, electric front windows, central locking), so buy an SE model for its air-con and, on later cars, alloy wheels. Top trim SE Sport (later just 'Sport') has climate control.

1.4i DSI SE (actually 1.3L) Hatch back, 5 door. A 2002 to 2005 model with between 50000 and 70000 miles on the clock should be yours for £3000 or slightly under.

Trim and kit includes:

A Jazz from this period has an Euro NCAP rating of 4/5. For more details read the full report.

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Nissan Micra

For such a well-built car the Micra offers excellent value for money. They are fun to drive with nippy engines and lots of safety kit. They have excellent all round viability, easy steering and light easy to use controls.

Around town this car is great to drive, however the Micra is only average when driving on rural roads and motorways where the handling is average at best and the engines can seem noisy. Other negatives are the lack of boot space and rear headroom.

All Micras are kitted out with comfort and safety in mind. Twin front airbags, anti-lock brakes, power steering, electric front windows, a single-slot CD player and remote locking are standard on all. The SE spec comes with air conditioning.

Best Model

1.2 SE - hatchback, 5 door. A 2005 with 60,000 miles on the clock should come in a shade under £3000.

Trim and kit includes:

A Micra from this period has an Euro NCAP rating of 4/5. For more details read the full report.

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Author Richard Jenkins

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