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£1,000 for a cheap car

By raccars Published

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At this time of year, few of us have any spare cash but cars will continue to be unreliable. What are your best options for a cheap car?

Does a cheap car have to be an old banger?

Not at all. With a maximum budget of £1,000 you might be surprised what you can buy. Of course if you are fussy about looks, badge prestige or modern technology you'll be disappointed, but if you are looking to get reliably from A to B with a reasonable level of safety and comfort then there are some pretty decent cheap cars out there. If your budget is tight, remember that private sellers are almost invariably cheaper but with a dealer you usually get the reassurance of a warranty. With older cars, a full service history can make all the difference, so be picky.

Ford Focus This small family car is always in the top ten best sellers list, which helps to keep used values affordable. It's spacious and probably the best handling car in its class. Should it go wrong, parts are cheap and plentiful. £1,000 will get you something clean with low mileage at least a decade old, or a newer but higher mileage model.

Ford Fiesta The same applies to the Ford Fiesta. There are so many of them out there that you shouldn't have any trouble finding a decent model at a good price. You'll pay about the same for a Fiesta as you will a Focus. With a budget of £1,000, anything you buy will be at least a decade old if it's in good condition and with low mileage.

Vauxhall Corsa Britain's second best-selling supermini ages very well, which makes it a great bargain buy. For £1,000 you can get a well-equipped, five door 2002 model. There's plenty of choice from the early Noughties, mostly 1.2 litre 16v models. Price seems to vary mostly according to mileage - lower mileage models should be tidier.

Nissan Micra The Micra suffers from an image problem, which means that it's a very cheap buy provided that you're not bothered about badge snobbery. 2003-2004 models in good condition and with low mileage should fall easily within your budget.

Skoda Superb For sheer reliability and longevity it's hard to beat a Skoda. A high spec, high mileage 2004 Superb can be found within budget. However, high mileage is really not a concern because these cars go on forever. The 1.9 TDI PD Elegance comes with all sorts of kit including heated seats, memory seats and mirrors, cruise control and much more, for example. It's also cossetingly comfortable and a very pleasant drive. Taxi drivers have apparently managed to get 500,000 miles out of these so your money could go far.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate Another car with legendary longevity, an old Mercedes is a very canny use of a tight budget. Petrol versions can be thirsty and so come cheap; not a problem if you don't do a lot of mileage. Solid build quality means a 2000 X-reg model should still feel very smart and there will of course be a generous level of standard kit included.

Mazda MX-5 If you're looking for something more entertaining, it's hard to beat the MX-5 for driving fun on a budget. It's also a very reliable and good looking car. Something tidy from the Nineties should be possible for £1,000. These are becoming popular classics and holding their value well so you will find a huge variation in prices. Avoid imports - they're cheaper but you can't be entirely sure what you're getting.

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