Most Economical Used Cars Under £1000 – 10 of the Best

Of course, it’s important for everyone these days to ensure you are getting the best economy possible for your car buying money.

Although petrol is at a bit of a low at the moment, it’s probably a good idea to still bear economy in mind – the environment is on everyone’s minds and as well as affordable cars we have to start looking at cars that are going to cost the environment less too. So, here are 10 of the best cars you can buy for under £1000 that won’t necessarily last for long, but that will be cheap to run and put a smile on your face in the process.

Citroen AX Diesel

Only putting this here as really, I can’t think of another car you can easily find in today’s market that sips fuel as conservatively as the AX diesel. They’re great cars, but they’re getting rarer…but if you’re looking for a super cheap runabout that practically won’t cost you anything, here’s your answer.



Skoda Octavia

When it came out more than 15 years ago, the Octavia breathed new life into the Skoda brand. You can see why, too. It really is a fantastic car, and some of the earlier models now are going for silly money and will still return 50+ mpg on a fantastic 1.9 VW engine. Watch out for moon-and-back ex-taxis though, of course.

VW Polo

The little Polo is under looked in the classifieds – I think most people reckon that because there are so many of them, there must be something wrong with it. I think there are just loads on offer – having owned a Polo I can definitely recommend them – they cost nothing to run and most stuff can be maintained yourself. Watch out for damp carpets and sunroofs, though.

If you’re tempted by a new one, read my latest edition VW Polo review.

Peugeot 406

The Peugeot 406 feels like it has been around forever. Overtaking the 405, which sometimes feels like it was excactly the same car, the Peugeot 406 has almost become a byword for French comfort, reliability and cheap motoring. Along with its sister the Citroen Xantia, these cars are ridiculously comfortable, smooth to drive and pack quite a punch in later HDI models. Good spec and extras too.

Audi A4

The Audi A4 isn’t an obvious choice, but ones from around the early 2000’s are really very cheap now and you won’t find many cars of the same ilk that’ll return the same sort of MPG. Yes, it is a little bland, but to be honest if you can own a decent Audi for under £1000 you can’t sniff at that too much.

Ford Mondeo TDCI

The diesel Ford Mondeo’s that haven’t done millions of miles can still be a sensible and trouble free investment these days. Good, comfortable and high spec variants are available for pennies online, and the 6-speed TDCI’s keep their value well and will return 50+ MPG easily on longer runs. If you can, pick up a Titanium X version for around £1000 and you’ll be laughing – even if the mileage is probably on the high side.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus broke new ground when it was released in 1998, and even those first generation ones are today still fetching good money and are an absolute joy to drive. Engines, gearboxes and handing is all great…some cars under £1000 have been used as family run-arounds for far too long, so make sure you look for a good quality interior, but other than that you can’t really go wrong and there aren’t many other cars that are much more cheap to run in the UK.

Mercedes E270 CDI

An old E270 or 320 CDI – from about 10 to 15 years ago – is well built, bulletproof in terms of reliability and will offer comfort in spades. The luxurious feel of these types of Mercs don’t disappear quickly, and a quick look on eBay suggests many of them are going for around the £1000 mark. Granted, the 2.7 or 3.2 engines aren’t exactly the most frugal they could be, but the amount of miles you’ll be able to clock up on one without anything breaking more than makes up for this. Solid and dependable.

Skoda Fabia

Like the VW Polo, the Fabia can easily be overlooked. There are hundreds available online, and the excellent diesel engine are reliable, cheap and can go on forever. Look out for build quality around the car, water ingress can be an issue, but otherwise jump right in – cheap tax, insurance and pretty straightforward maintenance costs are major plus points.

Alfa Romeo 156 JTD

If you fancied something with a bit more flair, you can pick up an Alfa Romeo 156 for hardly any money these days. I run a 2.0 JTS petrol, and if driven sensibly I can get at least 38-40 MPG on longer runs. With a 1.9 JTD strapped to the car, you’re looking for at least 10% more than that, and although the cost of running an Alfa can rack up, at least you’ll have the biggest smile on your face while doing so.

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