WE PICK OUR top 10 cheap RWD alternatives to the bargain new £10k rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive 2014 Renault Twingo.
The 2014 Renault Twingo is launching right now, and starting at under £10,000 the rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive city car makes for a fun alternative to the front-wheel-drive norm.
But what if you you want a cheaper RWD car? Or you’d prefer to spend your £10k on something a little more powerful and sideways-ey? Well, we’ve got you covered:
10. TVR Chimaera – From £7000
We’ll start this top 10 with some British muscle. Blackpool’s finest. Wind in the hair motoring with a thumping great Rover V8 under the bonnet. Although, for this price you’ll be looking at the 4.0l rather than the 4.5 or 5.0 litres, but that still gets you 275bhp. TVR’s have a reputation for poor reliability, but buy with this in mind and you’ll do just fine. Things to look for include oil and hydraulic leaks, worn suspension and accident damage.
9. Ford Escort MK1 – From £8000
For many people of a certain age, the MK1 Escort was their introduction to the world of motoring; either learning to drive in one, borrowing their parents’, or having one as their first car. It is a bona fide classic and the prices reflect this. You won’t get anything special like a Mexico or RS, but you can pick up a decent MK1 for under £10k. Rust is the most serious problem, so check thoroughly. Other than that it’s basically reliable, but very old.
8. Toyota MR2 – From £1500
A mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, convertible sports car for £1500? Yep. And with a little bit of luck it should be as reliable as the day is long. You won’t get huge amounts of space, luxury or comfort, and the 1.8 litre engine doesn’t have massive power, but the MR2 is enormous fun. As long as it’s been looked after properly, hasn’t been crashed and has a fabric roof in good condition, the only issues you’ll face should just be usual wear and tear.
7. Chrysler 300C Touring – From £5000
The ultimate 21st century gangster-mobile, and it’s yours today for just five grand. At this price, you’ll mostly be looking at the 3.0 litre V6 diesel, which given how thirsty 300Cs are is probably a good thing, but there is a 5.7 litre V8 available! Good news is most of the mechanicals are tried and tested Mercedes bits, but this is still an expensive car so if things go wrong, they’ll be pricey. We’d go for the estate, but the saloon could save you £500.
6. Vauxhall Monaro – From £8000
The Monaro takes the Chrysler’s recipe of enormous engine and plenty of comfort and gives it an Anglo-Australian twist. It originated as a Holden in Australia, but fellow GM company Vauxhall brought it to Blighty and rebadged it; complete with bonnet nostrils. Reliability is good and build quality is solid if unspectacular, but a 350bhp 5.7 litre V8 means that most journeys will be completed sideways so budget for rear tyres.
5. Mercedes CLS – From £6500
Coupe looks, saloon practicality, three-pointed quality. The CLS caused a mini storm when it was launched in 2005 and has spawned multiple copycats since, but we reckon the original is still the best looking of the genre. The only trouble is that it’s based on an E-Class that suffered from electrical problems, but buy with that in mind and you should be OK, and if you plump for a diesel the running costs should be fairly respectable.
4. Mazda RX-8 – From £1500
Powered by a 1.3 litre rotary engine and with four seats and suicide doors, the RX-8 is something of an oddball. As such, used prices are usefully low. The RX-8 is stylish, great fun, well kitted out, surprisingly practical and reasonably reliable and well built. The only issues are with that characterful rotary engine which has a tendency to drink oil and petrol, but when the car itself is so cheap, you can afford to fuel it.
3. BMW Z4 – From £3500
When it was launched in 2003, Chris Bangle’s ‘flame surfaced’ BMW Z4 was a touch controversial, but the two-seat sports car has aged incredibly well and is probably BMW’s best looking car of the last 15 years. Engines available are 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre petrol, with manual and automatic gearboxes for each, meaning nearly all needs and budgets are met. Make sure the roof is in good condition and works and there should be no major issues.
2. Mazda MX-5 – From £1000
How could the MX-5 not be on the list of best rear-wheel-drive cars? It is an icon, and with nearly a million units sold over the years, there are plenty to chose from. Starting at just a grand there is no car you can buy with a greater smiles to pounds ratio. They are getting on now, but as long as the roof doesn’t leak and the body isn’t rusty, there really shouldn’t be much to go wrong and there are companies like BBR who can turbocharge and modernise.
1. BMW 3-Series Touring – From £4000
No prizes for guessing that a BMW tops this list, but maybe for guessing which one. It’s an unlikely RWD hero, but the reasons are valid. It is a very handsome car, in this estate form it’s practical, it’s fantastic to drive, there is plenty of equipment as standard and with so many sold there will be plenty to choose from. Engines range from a frugal if somewhat slow 1.8 litre petrol, up to 3.5 litre petrol and diesels but we’d plump for a 330d M Sport.