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Cheap Modern Classics

By raccars Published

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You may not have much to spend on a new car, but don't feel you have to get stuck with an old banger. There is an excellent category of used cars that are an absolute bargain and can be considered modern classics. They can be high quality and far more interesting than the obvious, mainstream choices, and all can be found for very reasonable prices.

Alfa Romeo 156

In reliability terms, there is some risk inherent in investing in an Alfa Romeo of this age and you are likely to face regular repair bills, but the 156 is still an incredibly good looking car and, in traditional Alfa style, offers an entertaining drive. However, it does also make a cheap and relatively exotic family car, if you're short on budget and long on imagination.

Audi 80

This was one of the cars that made Audi the premium brand it has become, marking a distinct elevation in build quality compared to the competition at the time. The 80 is fast developing a reputation as a modern classic, so you'll have to study the market carefully. Mid 90s 1.9 TDI diesels are the best choice, both for budget and running costs.

Toyota Celica

The Celica offers excellent retro styling and traditional Japanese reliability. Even high mileage examples are a good buy, but it's only really practical as a two seater, as rear space is uncomfortably tight for human adults.

Skoda Fabia

Less glamorous than the other options on the list, the Fabia was one of VW's first attempts to transform the Skoda image. Build quality is brilliant, they are cheap and easy to repair from the VWG parts roster and still look pretty good. For under £1,000, you're looking at a tidy 2001-2003 petrol model and a great budget runaround.

Fiat Coupe

BMW's Chris Bangle launched his career with the sexy little Fiat Coupe, which still looks good now. There's always that reliability issue with older Italian cars but a well chosen Fiat Coupe, particularly the 20x Turbo, shouldn't give too much trouble. Look out for rust and dodgy electric and you'll be rewarded with a seriously sporty drive, thanks to a limited slip diff.

Ford Focus

Another practical rather than sexy option, the original Focus remains a sharp drive. Its release in 1998 revolutionised the way we see family hatchbacks and it makes a sensible buy now, with a cheap and plentiful parts supply. Make sure you get a full service history.

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