Best Used Cars for Road Trips Under £10,000

14th May 2021

By Paige Hodgkinson

Always take the scenic route

Road trips are a fun and exciting way to explore different parts of a country or even entire continents and if you're planning to take your own car on a long journey it's important you have the right set of wheels for the job.

It's always nice to be able to lower the roof on a road trip, so convertibles are often a good option. We have a couple of blogs listing the best used convertibles under £15,000 as well as the best used 4-seater convertibles, if you need those extra seats.

However, a convertible isn't for everyone as you may prefer to have more space for occupants or luggage and comfort may be a necessity when spending plenty of hours behind the wheel.

We've capped our budget at £10,000 and looked through our stock of used cars to bring you the best used cars to take on road trips.

MINI Convertible

MINI COnvertible

Wind-in-hair thrills and four seats, the MINI Convertible is very deserving of its inclusion in the list of recommended cars for road trips. Being a convertible, you don't get tonnes of boot space for luggage, but if there are only two occupants the rear seats can easily be used for storing the journey's essentials.

The fun-to-drive nature and go-kart handling of the MINI Convertible will be super enjoyable on a road trip, especially if it involves twisty, winding roads where the sharp steering and handling characteristics will really come alive.

For under £10,000 you'll be looking at the second generation, which just like the latest version, gets unique styling and various petrol or diesel-powered models. The great thing about these soft-top cars is that you're unlikely to find two that look the same, because there's so many different colours, accessories and MINI Packs to choose from.

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Ford Focus Estate

Ford Focus Estate

Estates have never been described as the epitome of style, however, they do make a great choice if you're wanting to head out on a road trip with the whole family. The Ford Focus, commonly known in its hatchback bodystyle, is also available as a practical estate.

The good thing with estates is that not only do they comfortably fit in a family of five, offering ample head and legroom, they also have a decent-sized boot for all the luggage required for a family road trip.

Performance enthusiasts will be pleased to hear there are sporty ST models on offer too, although you'll likely struggle to find one with a budget of £10,000.

Awarded the top 5-star Euro NCAP rating, adults will be reassured knowing they can safely transport their children.

Running costs are also relatively low with the Focus Estate as you can expect an impressive fuel consumption of over 80mpg in the Econetic version of the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine.

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Audi A1

Audi A1

You may have noticed when browsing for cars with a £10,000 budget that you struggle to find many luxury brands unless you don't mind an older model. However, with Audi's smallest offering, the A1, you get access to a premium car without the premium price tag.

It may not be a convertible and it may not be the largest, most practical car in this list but with the Audi A1 you will have plenty of examples to choose from that just so happen to be within the £10k budget.

You'll be looking at the first generation model, which is classy and sophisticated, compared to its fun rival the MINI Hatchback. Although, some 2015 onwards facelift models may fall under the £10,000 bracket but will likely have higher mileage.

There's a range of efficient and powerful petrol and diesel engines on offer and once you step inside the A1, you're reminded of its premium class. Meticulous attention to detail has been paid when designing the high-quality interior, which is a pleasure to be in for long trips on the road.

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Citroën C3 Aircross

Citroen C3 Aircross

Space and comfort your key priorities? The Citroën C3 Aircross is a serious contender thanks to its increased ride height, raised driving position and Advanced Comfort technology.

Head and legroom are fantastic for the drivers and all passengers, whilst the boot's load capacity can reach up to 1,289 litres with the seats folded or you still have a huge 520 litres at your disposal with the rear seats in place.

It may not be a convertible but in some models you do get the panoramic opening glass roof which provides a bright and airy experience for all on-board.

Another plus with the C3 Aircross is that you get your hands on a newer, more modern car with more technology and safety features than some of the other models mentioned in this list, still for under £10,000.

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Fiat 500C

Fiat 500C

Heading across continents for your road trip? Plenty of fun can be had in the stylish and cute Fiat 500C.

Just imagine the full-length canvas roof retracting to reveal endless blue skies, whilst you relax in the comfortable and retro interior of this quirky city car.

You won't struggle to pick up a used example for less than £10,000 and there's likely to be plenty of colours to choose from to suit your individual style, plus, the interior dashboard's colour matches the exterior.

Don't panic about where you're planning on parking the open-top car either as its super small proportions make it really easy to park, even in busy cities with tight spots.

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Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF

Drop-top convertible cars aren't the only way to do a road trip. Perhaps you'd prefer to waft to your destination in complete comfort?

Enter the first generation Jaguar XF, of which you can find plenty of decent examples for under a £10,000 budget. It offers a level of comfort that the convertibles we've mentioned could only dream of, with plush leather seats and lovely soft suspension.

Other advantages when driving across the country (or through many countries) is that the boot is huge and there's more than enough space for four or even five people.

The vast majority of XFs were sold with a 3.0-litre diesel engine mated to an automatic gearbox, which makes mile-munching almost completely effortless without using too much fuel. All things considered, the XF makes a lot of sense as a road trip-mobile, especially at this price.

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Ford B-Max

Ford B-Max

Now, the Ford B-Max may not be the first car that springs to mind when you're looking for the perfect car for a road trip. However, it's worthy of a spot in this article as it boasts sliding rear doors.

Not many 5-seater cars feature sliding doors but a large number of motorists will be extremely grateful for this handy addition.

Access to the rear seats is nice and simple if you're stopping off at lots of destinations on your trip and need to unload all occupants frequently.

Parents will especially appreciate these doors when it comes to securing children into child seats, whilst elderly passengers or people with mobility issues will also find it much easier getting in and out of the car so they can enjoy a pleasant road trip with the rest of the group, too.

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Mazda MX-5

Mazda Mx-5

The Mazda MX-5 has proven itself as the king of the 2-seater roadsters over the years and is officially recognised as the world's best-selling sportscar.

Available as either the Soft-top or Roadster Coupe, the traits that make it so popular are also what make it a great car for road trips. Mechanicals that are simple and reliable, a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and of course the ability to lower the roof will all contribute to an enjoyable road trip.

Fuel economy isn't too bad at all, so your road trip in a sporty 2-seater needn't cost the earth. Whether you opt for the 2.0 or 1.8-litre, you can expect just under 40mpg.

You may be surprised to learn that the boot is of a reasonable size too, more than enough room for a weekend away and possibly even longer, depending on how lightly you travel.

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BMW 1 Series Convertible

BMW 1 Series Convertible

Another impressive convertible in this list is the super-stylish BMW 1 Series, of which you can pick up for a very reasonable price.

It has a couple of obvious advantages over the Mazda MX-5, besides the desirable BMW badge.

Firstly, the rear seats give you the chance to bring two extra people along with you, and while rear leg room is tight, it's fine for children. If there's just two of you, the rear seats can double up as extra storage space.

Another advantage is the choice of engines. There are both sporty petrol and economical diesels available on the used market, and choosing a diesel will mean fewer trips to the pumps. You'll find plenty of manual and automatic versions, too.

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Nissan Juke

Nissan Juke

Again, the Nissan Juke may not be a car you'd initially consider as the perfect road trip car but bear with us as we can easily justify its position on this list, the fact it's placed at number 10 is also just purely coincidence.

Already featuring in our top 10 most comfortable used cars blog, the first generation Juke offers desirable attributes such as a high seating position, decent head and legroom and a unique exterior styling.

Enhanced visibility ensures all occupants can enjoy the scenic views during the road trip or spot the points of interest, whilst the easy access and supportive seats make sure passengers of any age can enjoy a comfortable journey.

Sharp and agile to drive, the small crossover also offers an entertaining driving experience for those longer journeys. With the Juke, you're getting a car that is up to all the duties expected of a car intended for daily use, when you're not out road tripping.

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The road is calling

A budget doesn't mean you can't buy the perfect car to take on a road trip, the 10 cars listed above prove that.

If none of these cars are quite what you're looking for we have plenty of alternatives available in our extensive used car collection.