RAC Cars News


Cars for sale under £3,000

By raccars Published

A budget of £3,000 goes a long way towards buying a good used car these days and you won’t be restricted to a particular style either. Whereas a lower budget may limit choice to good city runarounds, £3,000 holds no such restraints.

In fact, you can pick up a very reasonable mid-sized family car, some rather stylish sports cars and even dabble in the world of serious off-roaders for this budget. It would seem no marque (apart from the supercar league) is out of reach, so here is our guide to some used cars that fit the bill.

The four cars featured below all have their individual appeal. Some buyers may want a big, beefy off-roader while another may be looking to whizz around town in a city car. It really is a case of listing the ‘must haves’ and ‘must dodge’ when deciding what car you want. For under £3,000 our guess is you just might land on one of these.

Nissan X-Trail

[caption id="attachment_19153" align="alignleft" width="750"]Nissan x-trail Nissan x-trail[/caption]

This beefy all-terrain model still looks up for any challenge no matter how old it gets. In fact, the constant demand for X-Trail models has kept prices quite high.

Admittedly, it isn’t exactly the eco-warrior of our top cars, with high fuel and running costs, but it is a vehicle that offers bags of space for the whole family and is very capable off-road in all terrains.

Nissan X-Trail - What Do You Need to Know?

● Spacious for the whole family

● Not the best MPG

● Large boot for just about anything

● Quite heavy steering

● Robust, childproof interior


The second generation Nissan X-Trail was introduced in 2007 and there are a number of these models on sale for under £3,000. Most X-Trails have 4x4 although two-wheel drive versions were also sold.

The two 2.0-litre diesel engines were the most efficient with the 170 bhp delivering an average MPG in the mid-40s. If you want an automatic the 2.0-litre 147 bhp diesel is the car to choose. Petrol-driven models are very thirsty but provide saloon like performance. The car also has a good reliability record with occasional engine faults being the biggest concern. As with all used cars, check the vehicle’s history thoroughly before buying, which can be done with our RAC Vehicle Check.

View used Nissan X-Trail models costing less than £3,000 on RAC Cars.

Renault Megane

[caption id="attachment_19154" align="alignleft" width="750"]Renault Megane Renault Megane[/caption]

The Renault Megane ticks a lot of boxes if you are searching for a practical car that’s economical, fun to drive and safe. The newer Megane’s are brilliantly spacious, have an awful lot of character and can be found for very reasonable prices. The other great benefit of this ever-evolving series is the variety in models. You really can get a Megane suited to just about anyone.

Renault Megane - What Do You Need to Know?

● Large range of styles, from racy hatchback to solid estate

● Good amount of plastic in the interior

● Well balanced drive

● Slightly cramped cabin

● Economical engines, and a lot of them


The Renault Megane is an economical car to run with diesel engines returning between 50 and 60MPG. The petrol engines are more sprightly and energised when it comes to performance, but less frugal with average MPG figures in the low 40s.

If anything, the older Megane models are let down by some reliability issues regarding the electrics – particularly the electric windows along with the indicators and wiper stalks.

Service costs may prove pricier than a Ford or Vauxhall too, so check the car’s service history whenever possible.

View used Renault Megane models costing less than £3,000 on RAC Cars today.

Kia Picanto

[caption id="attachment_19155" align="alignleft" width="750"]Kia Picanto Kia Picanto[/caption]

The Kia Picanto offers excellent value for money. Why? Because it has so many added extras that just came as standard. This is because Kia wanted to make an impression when they first released this city car onto the market, so they packed it with a CD player, MP3 player, air conditioning and electric mirrors.

This technologically-savvy car is a brilliant city runaround and makes for an ideal city car. There’s also just something inherently fun about the Kia Picanto, with the bright colours available and it’s diminutive size.

Kia Picanto - What Do You Need to Know?

● Stacked with reliable electrics

● Small storage space

● The most economic car on this list

● Not a powerful engine

● Cheap to insure and run


Kia is a company that offers excellent value for money and the Picanto is a fine example of this. It’s a great city car packed with technology, with the small engines delivering average fuel economy around the 55MPG mark.

Insurance premiums will also be very low with ratings of 2 for the 1.0-litre and 3 for the 1.1-litre models. Although no major issues are on record, owner forums highlight some problems with the clutch needing replacing and also higher fuel consumption than advertised.

View the large number of used Kia Picanto models costing less than £3,000 on RAC Cars.

Mazda 6

[caption id="attachment_19156" align="alignleft" width="750"]Mazda 6 Mazda 6[/caption]

The Mazda 6 has always been a vehicle to look out for on the used car market because it seems to do everything rather well.

Of course, the newest models have the ultra-efficient engines and loads of the latest on-board technology, but even the older Mazda 6 cars have plenty to offer. It’s long been recognised as a leader in terms of design, so you will find the older models with the feel of newer versions of their competitors.

Another unmistakable feature of this Japanese saloon is just how practical it is. You really aren’t supposed to do your shopping with the whole family while looking so pleased about it all.

Mazda 6 - What Do You Need to Know?

● Elegant, sporty aesthetics

● Not the most comfortable ride

● Large storage and back seat space

● A lot of hard plastic in the interior

● Brilliant and dynamic to drive

● Known for its reliability


The Mazda 6 is a stylish family car that boasts low CO2 figures and decent running costs.

Used Mazda 6 models will be on offer with a range of powertrains – 1.8, 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol engines that deliver average fuel stats ranging from 35 MPG to 43 MPG. In addition, there are three 2.2-litre diesel engines delivering 127 BHP, 161 BHP and 177 BHP, and these can deliver combined fuel economy of up to 54 MPG.

The only issues with the Mazda 6 is that some older models suffer from fuel entering the oil system and in some cases the gearboxes become stiff.

View all our used Mazda 6 models costing less than £3,000 on RAC Cars today.

What Other Options Are There?

There are so many other options available with a £5,000 budget. You can find a used Jaguar S-Type, MINI Hatch, BMW 3 Series, Jeep Patriot, VW Golf, Vauxhall Insignia and even a Land Rover Discovery among the thousands of used cars for sale costing less than £3,000 on RAC Cars.

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