What Car? reveals UK's best used cars

Our partners at What Car? have announced the winners of their 2013 Used Car of the Year awards, including the best used small family hatchbacks, estates, MPVs and SUVs.
The awards are for the used cars which provide the best balance of affordability, reliability and owner enjoyment. For each category there is a car for an upper and lower budget, with prices you can expect to pay at a dealer (where you'll get some sort of back-up) or for a private sale (where you can expect to pay less).
Before you read the reviews …

Registration plates

Figures given after a car model's name are the year (abbreviated) in which it was registered (eg. '10 for 2010) followed by the double figure which relates part of the registration year in which it was registered - that's the year itself for cars registered in March-August inclusive, with the value of five added to the first figure for cars registered in September-February inclusive. For example, a registered in January 2011 would be a '11/60 car ('11 for 2011, 60 for the registration period between September 2010 and February 2011 inclusive). For more information on number plates, click here
Insurance groups
Every passenger car sold in the UK falls into one of 50 insurance bands: the higher the band number, the higher the insurance premium. 
Euro NCAP conducts rigorous crash tests on every new car submitted to their facilities. Since 2009, cars have been awarded a maximum of five stars overall, with individual percentage scores given for adult safey, child safety, pedestrian safety and safety assist features. Tests made before 2009 were slightly less stringent and used a different scoring system.

Small cars

Vauxhall Corsa

The chance of a bargain is especially high with used small cars, as they're often the cheapest type of car when new, too. The best used models are good to drive, have an impressive safety rating and come with a desirable list of equipment.


Ford S-Max

Most MPVs offer plenty of space and practicality, so the big decider for families is cost. That's why our winners are reliable and cheap to fix in the event of a breakdown, and affordable to run while having the power to easily transport a full load.

Small family hatchbacks

Volkswagen Golf

A really good small family hatchback needs to have enough room for a family to travel in comfortably and fit their luggage in the boot. It also needs to be satisfying to drive while being as affordable to run as it is to buy. A top safety rating is important, too.

Estate cars

Mazda 6 estate

An estate car is a good choice if you have a huge amount of luggage to haul around, but you'll need one that's strong enough to cope with a full load without using loads of fuel. Our winners tick all these boxes and bring plenty of equipment for the money, too.


Nissan Qashqai

The most popular SUVs today are the smaller models, which have the chunky looks and high-up seating associated with large 4x4s but can be as cheap to run as a family hatchback. That's this year's winners are both compact SUVs, both sporting the latest safey kit and infotainment technology.

Fun cars

Renault Clio Renaultsport

The best fun cars will make you smile both when you're weaving them down a challenging B-road and when you're filling up at the pumps. Fun cars of all shapes and sizes were considered for this award, but the winners excelled for being as good to drive as they are to live with on a daily basis.

Executive/Luxury cars

Best used executive luxury cars

The winners of this joint category both provide a sharp drive and high levels of refinement and interior quality, as you'd expect with premium badges on the bonnets. Their running costs have been balanced with the sort of power and equipment you'd want, too.

Nearly new car

Nearly new cars

What Car?'s nearly new category considers any car up to 12 months old but the judges were looking for more than just steep first-year depreciation. They wanted the space, practicality and low running costs that turn a cheap car into a terrific-value one.

Manufacturer award

Manufacturer award

Buying a used car can be a daunting experience, with windswept forecourts containing a sea of cars, and question marks over finance and any warranty. So this manufacturer award recognises a car maker committed to making the buying process as easy, and affordable, as possible.   

Reader award

Reader Award

What Car? asked its readers to vote online for the used car brand they trusted the most. Voters were asked to consider the quality of service they had experienced, the quality of cars on offer, features included in approved-used packages, and overall value for money. 

Overall winner

Volkswagen Golf

The overall winner of What Car?'s Used Car of the Year awards has to demonstrate both breadth of ability and affordability. Choosing this year's winner was an easy, logical choice.