The 10 best bargain used cars to buy now

·8-min read
Porsche 911 (2015)
Porsche 911 (2015)

If you’ve been browsing the used car classified adverts recently, it might feel as though every second-hand car is now preposterously expensive. You’d be right – over the last year, we’ve seen values of used cars rise steadily, in a quite unprecedented way. And nobody can be certain as to how long prices will continue to rise, where they will stop, or whether they’ll come crashing back down.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the used car buyer. In fact, while most cars’ prices have been going up, some have actually been dropping. Market demand is a funny thing, and certain models simply haven’t captured buyers’ imaginations in the post-pandemic rush to buy a used car.

And that means canny buyers can take advantage by seeking out these cars, which now look like terrific value relative to similar models whose prices have soared. The trouble, of course, is knowing where to look.

Happily, for the first time, we’ve got the answer. We’re able to reveal which cars have fallen in value the most over the course of the last year thanks to data from the used car classified advertising website CarGurus.

Using data from the hundreds of thousands of adverts placed on its website in the last year, CarGurus has been able to work out which cars’ prices have risen the least – and which have actually become cheaper.

We’ve been given an exclusive first look at those data, and can therefore tell you which cars that have bucked the market trend – and, consequently, which now look like brilliant bargains. Here they are, in time-honoured reverse order:

10. Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen Arteon (2020)
Volkswagen Arteon (2020)

This smooth, suave four-door coupé isn’t as much loved by used car buyers as rivals like the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback. But don’t let that put you off; it’s a great all-rounder, and while it perhaps isn’t quite as sporty to drive as its rivals, the flip-side is a more spacious interior with a bigger boot (and a wide-opening hatchback for easy loading). And as long as you steer clear of large diameter wheels with narrow-sidewalled tyres, the Arteon rides smoothly, making it a very comfortable – as well as practical – executive express.

  • Average price in May 2021: £25,303

  • Average price in May 2022: £23,934

  • Percentage drop in value: 5

8=. Volvo XC60

Volvo XC60 (2020)
Volvo XC60 (2020)

Big on comfort, and big on luxury feel, the XC60 is one of our favourite mid-size premium SUVs. Diesel-engined models are punchy, efficient and capable, and make great tow cars, while the mild hybrid petrols are smooth and responsive. The boot is huge and there’s plenty of space in the back seats, too. And like all modern Volvos, the XC60 is the epitome of Scandinavian-style luxury inside, with tasteful materials and smart design.

  • Average price in May 2021: £26,466

  • Average price in May 2022: £24,824

  • Percentage drop in value: 6

8=. BMW X2

BMW X2 (2020)
BMW X2 (2020)

Most BMWs hold their value very well, but it seems the X2 is the exception to this rule. Based on the X1, this SUV coupé sacrifices interior space in favour of a lower roofline and, as a result, more sporting looks. It’s good to drive, too, with sharp handling, though that’s partly achieved at the cost of a fairly firm ride, and together with that inhibited practicality, that means the X2 isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That might be why CarGurus’ data say that X2 prices have dropped by six per cent in the last year.

  • Average price in May 2021: £25,878

  • Average price in May 2022: £24,231

  • Percentage drop in value: 6

7. Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar F-Type (2021)
Jaguar F-Type (2021)

While its fabulous looks haven’t really dated, elsewhere the F-Type is starting to feel its age. Even so, it’s still a brilliant sports car, especially in supercharged V6 form, where it offers the best balance of power, performance and handling. Inside, the smart interior feels upmarket enough, and while it lacks the practicality of a Porsche 911, it’s also much more affordable to buy – and more of an event to drive.

  • Average price in May 2021: £46,536

  • Average price in May 2022: £43,063

  • Percentage drop in value: 7

5=. Volvo V90

Volvo V90 (2020)
Volvo V90 (2020)

Families in need of a palatial estate car need look no further. Quite apart from being distractingly handsome to look at, the Volvo V90 offers plenty of space for almost anything you can throw at it. What’s more, its interior is beautifully finished, especially in posh Inscription form, when the optional open-pore wood is specified. It isn’t quite as sharp to drive as a BMW 5-Series Touring, and nor is it quite as spacious as a Mercedes E-Class Estate – but the V90 is better value than either of those rivals, according to CarGurus and, arguably, it feels just as special, if not more so.

  • Average price in May 2021: £27,922

  • Average price in May 2022: £25,817

  • Percentage drop in value: 8

5=. Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Targa 4 (2020)
Porsche 911 Targa 4 (2020)

The perennial Porsche 911 is a surprise entrant to this list, as it’s long been thought of as one of the safest bets in the sports car world. But used buyers seemingly aren’t as willing to pay the high prices that new 911 buyers are stumping up these days, and consequently, Porsche’s mainstay has fallen in value by eight per cent, according to CarGurus’ data, while the rest of the market has gone up. Don’t let that put you off, though: the 911 still offers one of the finest driving experiences, it’s immensely usable and easy to drive and, with space for kids in the back seats, it’s even (vaguely) family-friendly.

  • Average price in May 2021: £112,755

  • Average price in May 2022: £103,937

  • Percentage drop in value: 8

4. Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV (2020)
Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV (2020)

It’s the third of four Volvos in this list and, it could also be argued, the XC40 is the biggest bargain here. It’s been on the receiving end of a cavalcade of awards from the motoring press thanks to its excellent combination of practicality, comfort, crisp road manners and smart interior finish, and can be had with either petrol, plug-in hybrid or even electric power. That you can pick one up for so much less – relatively speaking – than its rivals is the cherry on the cake.

  • Average price in May 2021: £33,826

  • Average price in May 2022: £30,805

  • Percentage drop in value: 9

3. SsangYong Korando

SsangYong Korando (2019)
SsangYong Korando (2019)

It’s fair to say that the Korando isn’t the most upmarket SUV – in fact, its cheap interior fittings, noisy engines and humdrum driving experience mean it’s far from the best. However, it is extraordinarily cheap – just look at those average used prices. What’s more, it’s very generously equipped and it’s even pretty spacious, while if you’ve a caravan to tow its rugged construction means the Korando will be very capable. All of which makes it a very family-friendly SUV that can be had for an outrageously low price.

  • Average price in May 2021: £14,688

  • Average price in May 2022: £12,744

  • Percentage drop in value: 13

2. Volvo S60

Volvo S60 (2019)
Volvo S60 (2019)

It’s fair to say that saloons are no longer as fashionable as they used to be, what with the SUV taking centre stage – but even among its saloon competitors, the Volvo S60’s values have fallen sharply, by contrast with the rest of the market. If you’re buying one used, that makes it a terrific bargain – and like the other Volvo models here, the S60’s smart, roomy interior and comfortable road manners make it a very pleasurable way of getting around. Be warned, though: with only petrol engines on offer in this latest model, it can be quite thirsty, which might go some way toward explaining used buyers’ lukewarm attitude towards it.

  • Average price in May 2021: £18,422

  • Average price in May 2022: £15,914

  • Percentage drop in value: 14

1. Kia Soul

 Kia Soul 3 1.6 diesel (2019)
Kia Soul 3 1.6 diesel (2019)

On the face of it, the Soul has everything you’d expect to make it a hit with buyers: a de rigeur SUV stance, funky styling, a spacious interior, generous equipment levels and a long warranty. But most second-hand Souls are diesel – which, despite its fuel economy and punch, is an engine buyers of this sort of car no longer really want – and the petrol alternative feels rather flat and lethargic. But if you can live with that compromise, the Soul really is a smart buy – and one that’s now astonishingly good value, too.

  • Average price in May 2021: £13,913

  • Average price in May 2022: £11,704

  • Percentage drop in value: 16

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