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Best bargain cars in the UK

Although the UK is still in the grip of a recession, new car sales continue to climb so you might be forgiven for thinking that consumers aren’t interested in bargain car in the UK. But used cars will always have a massive market because new cars lose a chunk of their value the second their bought. Even the top cars for depreciation like the Audi Q5 SUV that’s worth 72% of its value after 3 years and 30,000 miles, and the Skoda Yeti that retains 64% of its value over the same period, are better bought after they’ve been through someone else’s hands.

Bargain cars

A bargain car doesn’t have to mean a low-end tin-can type car with no extras because some of the best bargain cars in the UK are desirable machines that haven’t retained their value very well.

Mazda MX-5

This is the bestselling sports car of all time and that’s simply because it’s a great car. It’s not the fastest machine on the road and there’s no ground-breaking engineering here, but this is a simple roadster with a front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. A good example of an early model can be picked up for £1,500.

BMW 5-Series

This isn’t everyone’s ideals BMW because for some it will be too big, but if you’re looking for a bargain, the fifth generation 5-Series that was produced between 2003 and 2010 is now a good price. You can expect to pick up a decent example for something between £5,000 and £10,000 depending on mileage and condition. Some of the cheaper models available second hand are diesel powered and you’ll get the best price if you’re willing to accept an estate version of the 5-Series.

Lotus Elise Series 2

At the moment you can pick up a Lotus Elise Series 2 for somewhere between £12,000 and £20,000. Although those figures are very appealing, be aware that the condition of Lotus Elises can vary dramatically as this small sportscar is easily ruined by poor driving or owners who haven’t had it serviced properly. You don’t get any refinement, but you won’t get the acceleration and motoring pleasure for this sort of money unless you’re willing to ride a Superbike.

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