IT’S SURPRISING WHAT bargains you can find on the used car market, even with as little as a grand in your pocket!
A thousand pounds is not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things (pun very much intended), but you can still pick up some serious metal for that kind of cash. Here’s our top ten picks.
10. Land Rover Discovery
If you need to go off-road for as little as possible, the Discovery is the way to go. It probably won’t be the most reliable, nor will it be the most comfortable, but it’ll go pretty much anywhere, it’s big and practical and you can hose-down the interior if you need to. There’s plenty of aftermarket mods too, if its off-road capabilities still aren’t enough.
9. MG ZT
The second of our probably unreliable British cars, the Rover 75-based MG ZT was a surprising capable performance car. Rear-wheel-drive, available with a range of engines including diesels, petrols and the 4.6-litre V8 from the Ford Mustang. The interior was dated even when it was new, but it’s a practical, comfortable, awesome British muscle car.
8. Ford Galaxy
Yes, its dowdy, but it’s got seven seats, it’s mechanically sound, and it’s a Ford, so although it won’t set any Nurburgring lap times, it won’t fall over in the corners either! There’s plenty about so you can afford to be picky and it’s also available as the basically-identical SEAT Alhambra and, for the badge snobs, the Volkswagen Sharan.
7. FIAT Panda
If it’s a city car you need, you can now p-p-p-pick up a Panda for under a grand. (and yes, I am far more please with that line than I should be) It’s not especially cool or stylish, but it had a certain simplistic and rugged charm that it’s designer label sibling, the 500, simply cannot match.
6. Jaguar S-Type
I know, I know, the Jaguar S-Type was not the most respected car in it’s class. Nor was it the best looking, most reliable, most practical, the best to drive or the most well-equipped. While you can just about get a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes E-Class for under £1000, they’re significantly leggier. Plus, there’s something special about a Jaaaag.
5. Ford Cougar
No, not the Ford Kuga, the Ford Cougar. Based on tried, tested and trusted Mondeo mechanicals and with a stylish if unspectacularly styled body and interior. It’s a recipe used many times, most notably by the Cavalier-based Vauxhall Calibra and the Pininfarina-styled Peugeot 406 Coupe, but the Cougar is arguably the best of the bunch.
4. Toyota RAV4
Almost as capable off-road as the Discovery but with added reliability, comfort and general refinement. The RAV4 started a trend for smaller, more stylish soft-roaders that has arguably got somewhat out of hand today. Available as a three-door of five-door, it offers genuine ability and reliability.
3. Volvo V70
The original box-on-wheels, the Volvo estate is a staple on British roads. It’s safe, well equipped, reliable, extremely practical and decent to drive as well. There’s a reason the police used these for years. Add the luxury and comfort that top-of-the-range model brings, as well as surprisingly handsome looks and the V70 is incredibly tempting.
2. Toyota MR2
The original MR2 is now disappointingly out of reach at this budget. But although not quite the same cult icon as it’s predecessor, this car is arguably better. Also, with MX-5 prices on the rise, the MR2 has now become the default bargain sports car. A mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, convertible sports car for under a grand. With added Toyota reliability!
1. Audi A4
Saloon, estate, convertible. The A4 was a car with many faces, all of them excellent. The MK2 A4 is a fantastic all-rounder, combining reliability, comfort, junior-level luxury and refinement with practicality and style. It’s actually astonishing that you can buy this car for under £1000. I want to buy one just for the hell of it!
Bear in mind that buying a car this cheap comes with risks, but it could well be worth it. And despite the recent government scrappage scheme, there’s still decent pickings.