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Sunday 5th February
Top Gear Advice

10 used cars for £3,000 we’ve found this week

This week’s instalment is a bona fide Top Gear greatest hits album. With the attendant ‘Why did they include that one?’ ready and waiting

Fiat Barchetta
  • Range Rover Sport

    Range Rover Sport

    Another day, another recommendation for a Range Rover, right? Yeah, have to hand it to you there. Please head to the next paragraph for the inevitable ‘but’ that somehow justifies this decision.

    But (see, didn’t have to wait long) the Range Rover Sport is a perfect nexus of all the luxury you could possibly need, all the all-terrain prowess 99.9 per cent of us could ever want, and – crucially – all of the depreciation.

    So, look hard, find one that has most of its bits working, and remember the old axiom: whatever a car cost new dictates its running costs, not what it costs now.

    Go on, live a little

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  • Fiat Barchetta

    Fiat Barchetta

    Rare, forgotten, gorgeous and Italian. That’s really as much as you should need to want a Barchetta. Add in the fact that it’s a small roadster that’s way more fun than its front-drive architecture would lead you to believe, and that it’s actually suspiciously reliable – remember Hammond’s fuss-free run in the Middle East special? – and you’ve got about as much as £3,000 can get you.

    Of course, we do recommend spending a bit more on your Barchetta for the whole ‘lovingly cared for’ bit, but that sounds suspiciously like consumer advice and we’ll have none of that here.

    Go on, live a little

  • Volvo V70

    Volvo V70

    Oh, good. The Top Gear writers are becoming parents and have taken the most obvious, least creative path imaginable towards sensibility. Pfft. Hardly.

    This is about maximum space for minimum cash, with minimal drawbacks. So you can easily haul your 50-watt head and 4x12 – or your SVT and 6x10, if six strings are just too many – to jam night with the boys. And if your significant other sees the sense in a Volvo estate, all the better.

    Way back in the carefree days of 2006 (well, unless you lived in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chad, Chechnya, Darfur...), the V70 was Britain’s best-selling estate. And that’s back when estates actually sold in decent numbers. So there’s a lot to choose from. Although, it must be said, not many 2.5T AWD models with a manual gearbox.

    For our money, we’d be searching for the unique and characterful 2.5-litre turbo five-cylinder, because of all the inherent reasons we just mentioned. But for the actual money – i.e. the £3,000 budget – you’re more likely to find a good 2.0T or 2.4 diesel.

    Go on, live a little

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  • Porsche Cayenne V8

    Porsche Cayenne V8

    OK, we don’t really like SUVs. This much has been established.

    You might imagine, then, that we hold SUVs from sports car manufacturers in particular disdain, but the fact is that we don’t. This is Porsche’s money tree, after all, and we can’t begrudge them that. And, from a more selfish perspective, we’d prefer a bunch of people got an SUV with a Porsche badge than watch the company fade away like Lancia.

    But it’s also worth remembering that this is Porsche, a company that seems incapable of releasing a car without overengineering it first. So even if Cayennes get used off-road about as often as a pair of stilettos, Porsche still made sure it was entirely capable of doing it. And also holding its own on the road. Also, since when is a Porsche V8 a bad idea?

    Go on, live a little

  • Volkswagen Golf GTI

    Volkswagen Golf GTI

    Yes, it’s your weekly reminder to just go out and buy a Golf GTI already. The Mk5 was, to be honest, one of only a few iterations of GTI that qualified for the ‘all the car roughly anyone could ever need’ – as much as Golfists would love you to believe the Mk8 still makes the grade, or that the Mk1 or Mk2 can hack it as a modern daily driver. As for the Mk3 and Mk4... well. You can probably guess, but anything that loses to a stock Corolla from the same year isn’t really worthy, is it?

    Go on, live a little

  • Renault Clio Sport 182

    Renault Clio Sport 182

    Speaking of cars we can’t stop recommending...

    Thing is, we’ve learned from a very esteemed source that repetition is the best way to get someone to remember something. This town is a part of us all... a part of us all... a part of us all!

    Anywho, the Clio really needs no introduction now, so we’ll change it up a bit and offer up an epitaph instead: the Renault Clio Sport 182 is our generation’s Peugeot 205 GTI. So get one before the market goes the same way.

    Go on, live a little

  • Saab 9-3

    Saab 9-3

    If you’ve hung around these parts for a while, you know we tend to champion the underdog a bit. Saab, Holden, Lancia... we really do seem to rally behind lost causes – although not that one, so go ahead and whistle Dixie in your own time.

    But what we respect with Lancia, Holden and Saab is that they either forged or found a path that defined what they produced. For Lancia, it was luxury tech-fests that just happened to be beyond gorgeous. For Holden, it was accessible muscle with more brains than you’d ever give it credit for. And for Saab, it was safety to the nth degree, with as much hygge as they could smuggle into a GM platform.

    And we can’t help but respect that, even if the £3,000 asking price for a late-model 9-3 (manual, turbo engine and all) would suggest we’re in the minority. But who knows? Maybe the Saab will rise again...

    Go on, live a little

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  • Seat Leon FR

    Seat Leon FR

    Back in the Nineties, Bojack Horseman was in a very famous TV show. Sorry, we can’t start a sentence with ‘back in the Nineties’ without immediately feeling compelled to keep going.

    Anywho, in those same Nineties, Seat tried its hand in Australia with the second-gen Ibiza and Cordoba and first-gen Toledo. It... uh, didn’t go so well. To the point that Seat never returned.

    Why do we mention this in a UK-based ‘here’s some cars we found on the cheap’ article? Well, because Seat’s the perennial underdog. And head back to the Saab 9-3 for a bit of a primer on why that is. Seriously, ask one of your car mates to name 20 great hot hatches and – unless their last name is Garcia – you probably won’t even find a Seat on that list.

    And because of that, you’ll get what’s basically a Mk5 Golf GTI for the exact same money – just one with fewer miles and in better nick. Hang on... that bloody consumer advice sounds like it’s trying to make its way in. Who forgot to shut the gate?

    Go on, live a little

  • Toyota MR2

    Toyota MR2

    Good grief, it’s like a greatest hits compilation around here.

    Yes, we’ve recommended the Mr Two, Esquire enough to surely qualify as a shill by this point. But we need you to take a moment to appreciate the gift we have here in the UK. You absolutely cannot buy an MR2 in the United States or Australia for anything approaching the money we can pick them up for here.

    This state of affairs almost definitely extends to many more countries besides, so feel free to tell us how much MR2s are going for in your neck of the woods in the comments.

    But come on, Brits – a reliable, cheap to run Toyota that just happens to be a mid-engined, rear-drive roadster, available in good condition for £3,000? What, precisely, is the holdup?

    Go on, live a little

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  • BMW 330Ci

    BMW 330Ci

    If you remember last week, when we delivered a whole spiel about how the second-best Beemer is generally the best day-to-day Beemer, you’ll understand exactly what we’re doing here.

    Yes, it’s the last stop on the E46 coupe train before you arrive in the land of M3 – and the attendant torn rear subframes you get when one of M Division’s greatest engines meets BMW’s least-thought-through mounting points.

    And yes, of course you want an E46 M3. We want an E46 M3. And we should have bought one when decent ones were going for £5,000, instead of three or four times. But we had 3,000 hypothetical pounds to work with here, so maybe work with us. After all, you’re still getting an E46 coupe – with a 231bhp, three-litre straight-six and a manual gearbox – for £3,000. Feels like a decent deal to us.

    Go on, live a little

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