What are the best family cars to flip under £5000?

What are the best family cars to flip under £5000? While SUVs and MPVs sales have boomed in recent years, a large number of families are still driving around in hatchbacks from such makes as the Ford, Volkswagen and Vauxhall. The used family hatchback market is still a busy one and shouldn’t be ignored.

Our advice would be to start small and focus on smaller more affordable cars with low running and insurance costs. These type of car is usually easier to appraise for a novice car flipper, and if you do miss some faults repair costs are normally low and problems easy to diagnose. These kind of cars are also fast sellers and easy to value.

Your ideal family car flip should look something like this…

  • ​​Golf sizes cars with low running and insurance costs – Small cars with low running costs are normally easier to sell and sell quickly. So they are a great place to start when you just getting into flipping cars.
  • Retailing under five thousand pounds, with a £1000 – £1500 margin – Losing money is understandably a concern when you are just starting out.
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver – We would always advice sticking to traditional colours whether you are an experienced trader or not, with darker colours and silver being among the obvious choices. Family cars are particularly suited to these colours.
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour – The same advice applies to the interior colour choice. Stick to dark colours and avoid cars with excessive ware and tear.
  • It should have a manual gearbox – Automatic gearboxes have never been so good and with electric cars being the future they will soon become the only option. But they are expensive to replace and repair, with faults not always being obvious on a short test drive. So we recommend sticking with manual gearboxes until you have more experience.
  • It should be Petrol powered – Generally petrol engines suit family cars better and are cheaper to fix and diagnose than a diesel engined car. The also have a better reputation given all the recent scandals. So stick to a petrol engined car and keep the capacity below 1.5. Families have been put off diesel cars in recent years due to the scandals with VAG car.
  • Having covered under 80,000 miles – Mileage is always important and in most cases the lower the mileage the better. So look for cars with a low average mileage and stick to car the are sub 80,000 miles.
  • Have full service history – Having a solid service history is important for a car. But at this price point recent history is much more import that a few dealer stamps from ten years ago. So make sure the recent history is good and look for recent expensive work and the all important cam belt changes has been carried out if required.
  • ​With no major bodywork or mechanical issues​​ – Bodywork is expensive to rectify and any large panel damage should be avoided. Plus it’s also time consuming and can add weeks to the flipping process. So only small work should be considered, such as a small bumper corner that needs painting or a scuff to an alloy.
  • and be HPI clear – Regardless of what someone may say and where you buy a car from it is important that you carry out a hire purchase check on the car you are buying. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!

So now you know what you should be buying check out our 9 ideal car flips below: 

1. Toyota Auris

The Toyota is dull as dishwater, but it’s also a great family car flip. It’s very reliable, well built and comfortable, even if it doesn’t handle as well as some of its competition. They are well loved under £5000 and sell well. Just make sure you stick to dark colours and avoid the flat red at all costs.

2. Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 isn’t the most spacious of cars, but it does drive really well and is rewarding to drive. It’s reliability record is good and it always sells well. The Diesels are to be avoided as they can suffer injector issues and are expensive to fix. Again stay away from light colours and make sure the car has full service history.

3. BMW 1 Series

Similarly to the Mazda above the BMW isn’t the biggest car inside and the boots not massive. But the badge sells very well under £5000. As you would imagine the car drives well so test drives normally go well. Leather isn’t necessary at this price point but it always helps. Black, blue and white cars seem to be the best sellers. Full service history however is a must and the smaller engines sell well. If you have read my foolproof guide to making money flipping cars you will know I advice sticking to Petrol cars, this is even more important with the 1 series.

4. Vauxhall Astra 

The Astra is comfortable, efficient and good value. But isn’t as good a drive as some rivals, and it lacks the premium feel as others, but is a great all-rounder. There are lots of them around so you will have some competition but they sell. Try to find cars with lower mileage or a high spec, to help your flip standout from the rest. The Astra isn’t always the most reliable car so check everything mechanical is working and make sure the history is good. But a great easy flip.

5. Honda Civic

The Civic’s reputation for reliability is the main reason most buyers choose one, it’s also why I recommend them to new car flippers. People also like the sci-fi looking dash and fun interior. Stick to dark colours and interiors. A full service history is essential with a Honda, if you’re flip hasn’t got it you will be in the minority and at a big disadvantage. But a great flip for the experienced or novice car flipper alike. Bit if a trend developing here, but the Diesel is to be avoided.

6. Audi A3

The A3 isn’t great to drive, but the premium badge makes them an easy and fast seller. The interior is a nice place to be and the reliability isn’t bad.  Check everything is working and you can’t really go wrong with the A3. 

7. Ford Focus

Firstly the Focus great to drive and the badge has some very loyal follower. They are comfortable, well made and reliable. With just the boot size letting it down. Engines and equipment levels are good, with most cars having good history. Just make sure your flip is priced competitively as you will have competition.

8. Volkswagen Golf

A great if an obvious choice, even after the recent scandals. The upmarket reputation and build help the cars sell, and the engines are strong. Just make sure any flip has been serviced and that everything is working, as they can be expensive to repair. The Golf is very easy to sell and I have never been stuck with one.

9. Skoda Octavia

The Skoda badge was always easy to flip at lower price points, and the Octavia is a great car. It shares the same engines as the Golf and has more space. Stick to the higher specs and price the car competitively and you cant go wrong. Not the most exciting of flips but a good bet. Personally I avoid the Diesels and the small petrol DSG cars are very very slow.


The cars listed are popular and fast moving. Some of them are obvious but it doesn’t make them a bad choice. Whichever car you buy to flip make sure you follow the normal car buying rules, and avoid cars with any mechanical problems.