Coffee Break

The best 3 starter cars under £3,000

£3,000 is an interesting budget to set for one’s first ever car; while no one would pretend it is a king’s ransom, it’s still easily enough to avoid many of the cheapest and ropiest cars on the used market. In fact, at this price tag, you could easily end up with a pleasant-to-drive and dependable motor that’s even a little trendy.

Here are just three of the finest candidates you might consider for a starter car that could give you change from three grand, depending on your individual preferences and needs.

Citroen C1

For ‘Citroen C1’, one could just as easily read ‘Peugeot 107’, given that these city cars are more-or-less identical, having been built as part of the same PSA Peugeot Citroen project. The Toyota Aygo is another product of this collaboration between marques, but is a bit more differentiated from its French cousins.

Regardless, you can’t go far wrong with these very likeable little cars. The C1-slash-107-slash-Aygo really is an ‘everyman’s’ car, with a reputation for agility in tight urban spaces and low running costs.

While this line of vehicles is still being built to this day, at this price point, you’ll likely be looking at models from around 2009 to 2011.

Ford Focus

On the subject of ‘everyman’ cars, the Ford Focus really has been basically everywhere in its various iterations since the original model’s release to replace the venerable Escort in the summer of 1998.

£3,000 to play with means you’ll have the luxury of looking at vehicles from around the 2006 to 2008 period, when Ford was winning World Rally Championship constructors’ titles with the Focus, which adds a little street cred.

Sure enough, the Focus lives up to its rallying pedigree even if you’re simply buying a 1.6-litre model with in excess of 100,000 miles on the clock, its high level of driveability making it a bit of an enthusiast’s choice compared to some of its duller hatchback rivals.

There’s also plenty of space for transporting friends to nightclubs or doing the weekly shop, and the level of equipment – including air conditioning – is fairly good at this budget, too.

Vauxhall Zafira

While it’s hard to argue that Vauxhall is quite as ‘fashionable’ a manufacturer as Ford is among prospective buyers with this kind of money to spend, one thing you can say about the Bedfordshire marque is that it has a great reputation of giving buyers a lot of car for their money.

It’s the second-generation Zafira that you can expect to be looking at for three grand or so, and it represents great value just like these examples did when new in the mid-to-late-2000s.

Sure, as Auto Express has made clear, the Zafira wasn’t an absolute class leader even back then. However, you’ll be getting a literal MPV for potentially just a couple of thousand of your hard-earned pounds, and when it comes to lugging things around with relatively little fuss, there are arguably few superior options.

With used vehicle sellers like Cars Under £3,000 offering an extensive range of tempting cars for sale in Essex and elsewhere at this very price point, you won’t be struggling for choice – whether you opt for one of these three renowned models, or something different altogether.