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Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for cornersStraight-line speed is all very well, but it’s handling that really defines how a car drives. The interaction between steering, shock absorbers and suspension is a dark art that carmakers spend millions trying to master. However, when they get it right, the result can be unalloyed driving joy. That said, this article isn’t only about cars that handle like go-karts, corner like they’re on rails and (insert other journalistic cliché here). We’ve also included a few that like to go sideways – or suppress cornering forces altogether. Let us know if you agree with our choices.

Lotus EliseHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The sheer longevity of the Lotus Elise is testament to its brilliance. Launched in 1996, it has evolved steadily over the past 20 years, growing ever faster and more powerful without losing its purity of purpose. The Elise shows up just how large, heavy and over-complicated most modern cars have become. It’s a no-frills driving machine that will get under your skin faster than a ravenous mosquito.

Porsche Cayman GT4Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The hardcore Cayman GT4 saw Porsche’s mid-engined coupe emerging from the shadow of its big brother, the 911. For us, it’s the best driver’s Porsche in recent memory, changing direction with an immediacy that’s just the right side of hyperactive. Its compact footprint makes it perfectly-proportioned for UK roads, too. No wonder used GT4s are selling for more than they cost new.

Ferrari 430 ScuderiaHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

We could have nominated many Ferraris for this list, but the 430 Scuderia – ‘Scud’ to its friends – still stands out. With a stripped-out interior, carbon-ceramic brakes and sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, the Scuderia can lap Ferrari’s Fiorano test track as quickly as the Enzo hypercar. It’s a 510hp double espresso on wheels. Bellissma!

BMW M3 (E30)Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The BMW M3 is now into its fifth generation, so why do enthusiasts still hanker after the 1985-1992 original? The E30 M3 was a homologation special, a car born from BMW’s desire to go racing. That competition pedigree translates into a wonderfully responsive road car, with a dynamic finesse that later M3s lacked. Proof that more power doesn’t necessarily equal more fun.  

Ford Escort RS2000Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

There’s a reason many rally schools still use Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escorts to teach the basics of rear-wheel-drive handling. Yes, these sporty saloons can often be seen going sideways – be it in McDonalds car park or a Welsh forest at night with Cibiés blazing – but they’re also reassuringly easy to control. With modest power and equally modest grip, you can have fun at any speed.

Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The GT86 and BRZ twins are perhaps the spiritual successors to the classic Escort, although they also hark back to Toyota’s rear-driven Corolla AE86. Again, these are cars you can enjoy at sensible speeds, helped by low-grip ‘eco’ tyres similar to those used on the Prius. Superb steering and brilliantly-balanced handling are the highlights here.

Mazda MX-5Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

If you’re in the market for a GT86 or BRZ, it seems rude not to consider the MX-5. This latest, fourth-generation take on the world’s best-selling sports car is the best yet. Indeed, smaller dimensions and reduced weight remind us what made the original MX-5 so great: the simple joy of driving one. A car you experience through your fingertips and the seat of your pants, the MX-5 is a feast for the senses.

Subaru Impreza P1Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Let’s shift our focus from tail-wagging rear-drivers for a while. Developed by motorsport maestros, Prodrive, the Subaru Impreza P1 is perhaps the finest road-going version of the car Colin McRae used to win the World Rally Championship. With 280hp channelled to all four wheels, it catapults out of corners with a ferocity that makes even a trip to the shops feel like a Kielder special stage.

Ford Focus RSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Bringing the Impreza P1 formula bang-up-to-date is the latest Focus RS. Ford’s hottest hatch has trick front suspension to quell torque steer, plus a chassis with the uncanny ability to make the  four-wheel-drive RS feel like a rear-wheel-drive sports car. It also has something called Drift Mode, which is essentially a button that makes the car go sideways. What’s not to like about that?

Nissan GT-RHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The daddy of 4WD performance cars is, of course, the Nissan GT-R. Revamped for 2017 with 570hp, this is the original supercar-slayer – the beast the Japanese call ‘Godzilla’. Unlike many rivals, however, the GT-R is also very easy to drive. Its seating position is upright, ride comfort is better than you might expect and the control weights won’t scare somebody more used to a Micra. For average drivers (and we’re including ourselves here), nothing is faster.

Ford Fiesta STHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Power to the people! Driving fun doesn’t come much more affordable than the brilliant Fiesta ST. If any car currently on sale lives up to that ‘go-kart handling’ cliché, this is it. The ST changes direction like an overexcited puppy, and you’ll do well to suppress your inner boy/girl racer behind the wheel. Mark our words, this car will soon be ranked alongside the Peugeot 205 GTI in the hot hatch hall of fame.

Renaultsport Clio 200 CupHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Did somebody mention the 205 GTI? We’ll have a Clio Cup instead, thanks. The Renault is vastly cheaper to buy than the fast-appreciating Pug, which means you won’t have any qualms about thrashing it on your favourite B-road. Choose the stiffer Cup chassis for the ultimate hardcore hatch experience – just don’t expect many creature comforts.

Honda Integra Type RHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The Integra Type R is another to file under ‘front-wheel-drive legends’. Like the E30 M3 mentioned earlier, it’s a car designed for the racetrack first and the road second. Extreme weight-saving measures include thinner glass and the removal of the spare wheel cover, while a limited-slip diff ensures excellent traction. Prices for the Type R are now rising fast – a sign of the high esteem in which this homologation hero is held.

Caterham SevenHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

A rollerskate with an engine, the Caterham Seven makes a Fiesta feel like an articulated lorry. This is driving distilled: a steering wheel the size of a Playstation controller, a manual gearbox… and not much else. Higher-spec Sevens are ferociously fast, but the entry-level, three-cylinder 160 is still fabulous fun. Sevens are great track-day cars, too.

Honda NSXHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The adjective ‘game-changing’ is over-used, but applies 100% to the Honda NSX. The New Sportscar eXperimental proved supercars don’t need to be unreliable or difficult to drive. Yet it’s just as thrilling as any Ferrari or Lamborghini when its mid-mounted VTEC V6 screams to a heady 8,000rpm. Ayrton Senna helped develop the NSX’s chassis and his racing nous really shows on the road. It’s immediate, intuitive and, above all, wonderfully analogue.

Porsche 964 Carrera RSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

You can be sure of three things when it comes to Rennsport Porsches. Firstly, they will be very expensive – even second-hand. Secondly, they will have silly fabric door handles that are supposed to save weight. And thirdly, they will be sensationally good to drive. The 1992 964 RS is our pick of the bunch. It’s a barely-disguised Carrera Cup racing car that needs to be handled with care, especially in the wet. But boy, is it exciting.

Ford Mustang V8Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Ford has made Mustangs since 1965, yet they’ve always been better suited to boulevards than B-roads. That changed with the latest (2015-) ’Stang – a pony car with independent rear suspension to take on its European rivals. Granted, the Mustang is still no Lotus Elise, but if a tyre-smokin’ surfeit of grunt over grip is your thing, walk this way.

TVR Tuscan Speed SixHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

If you’ve taken up smoking (of rubber, not tobacco) few products will satisfy your cravings better than the TVR Tuscan Speed Six. Built from 2000-2006, this British brute had a lightweight glassfibre body and a muscular straight-six driving the rear wheels. However, the Tuscan isn’t all power and no poise; it’s an exciting and rewarding drive for those brave enough to take the plunge.

Mercedes-AMG C63 Black SeriesHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

There are few glorious ways to use up our planet’s precious resources than a C63 Black Series. With motorsport-inspired suspension and a 517hp 6.2-litre V8 that sounds like God gargling, this factory-built hot rod will make you giggle like a seven-year-old on a bouncy castle. Actually, the bouncy castle is a bad analogy because the ‘Black’ feels utterly glued to the road. Unless you unstick it with the throttle, of course…

Honda Prelude 4WSHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

One of the giants of motoring journalism, LJK Setright, was a big fan of the Honda Prelude. Asked what he’d include in his dream garage, Setright said: “I would select the four-wheel steer Prelude, simply because no other car is as nice to drive. Wanting nothing but the very best, one would have to import the Japanese version of the VTEC, equipped with automatic transmission and limited-slip differential.”

Citroen Xantia ActivaHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

An old Citroen with complex, computer-controlled suspension? What could possibly go wrong? But find an Activa in good working order and it remains a thing of wonder. Hydraulic rams eliminate body-roll altogether, while also reducing squat/dive when accelerating/braking. The result is slightly unnerving at first, but your passengers will love the smooth-riding serenity of it all.

Audi SQ7Handle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

The SQ7 is a modern take on the Xantia Activa, made all the more remarkable because it weighs 2.3 tonnes (nearly twice as much as the Citroen). Powered by a supplementary 48-volt electrical system, an electric motor deploys up to 885lb ft of torque to stiffen the anti-roll bars, making make this seven-seat SUV feel like a hot hatch. Talk about having your Black Forest gateau and eating it.

MiniHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Scroll through the drive modes in a modern MINI and you’ll find one labelled ‘Sport: for maximum go-kart feel’ (yep, there’s that cliché again). Brilliant handling was one reason for the original Mini’s incredible success, too – both on road and rally stage. It’s impossible to drive one without grinning ear-to-ear. A 1960s Cooper would be our dream-garage choice, but even a basic 848cc Mini is fabulous fun.

McLaren 675LTHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

Former Top Gear host Chris Evans was so impressed by McLaren’s 675hp supercar, he spent his own money on one. That’s strong praise from a man with a serious Ferrari fetish. Those who’ve driven both cars say the 675LT shades even the mighty McLaren P1 for driver excitement. It’s monstrously powerful, yet confidence-inspiringly capable. To quote our own Richard Aucock, the big Mac is “two or three levels above most supercars”.

Lotus ElanHandle with car: the 25 greatest cars for corners

We started with the Elise, so it seems fitting to end with the Elan. The car that inspired the Mazda MX-5 is oh-so-pretty, yet absolutely tiny in the metal. Unassisted steering, independent suspension and super-skinny tyres telegraph every detail of the road surface, allowing you to exploit its modest limits with joyous abandon. More than 50 years on, has anyone made a better sports car than the Lotus Elan?

Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearboxSome say an automatic transmission will never offer quite the same level of interaction as a manual gearbox, but that all depends on the transmission in question. In short: not all transmissions are created equal. But with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren turning their back on manual ‘boxes, you’re not exactly spoilt for choice. We’ve rounded-up the sports cars that are sticking with the stick-shift.

Porsche 911 RStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

The door to the world of Porsche 911 ownership opens with the 911 Carrera, which is available with a manual gearbox. But flick through to the more powerful models and you’ll find an absence of stick shifts, until, that is, your head is turned by the 911 R. The delightfully old-school 911 is ‘available’ for £136,901 – well over £5,000 more than the 911 GT3 RS. But you’re able to – quite literally – get your hands on a six-speed manual ‘box. Sadly, unless you’re already in the queue, your chances of securing a 911 R are next to zero. Our advice: keep an eye on the classifieds and be prepared to pay a premium.

Dodge ViperStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

The Dodge Viper: delivering no-nonsense, old-school, all-American thrills since 1992. Emerging from Detroit in a cloud of tyre smoke and with the soundtrack of an all-aluminium 8.4-litre V10 engine, today’s Viper is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Viper no longer sells in big numbers and the word on the street is that Fiat Chrysler will call time on the sports car in 2017, signalling the end for another manual gearbox stalwart.

Noble M600Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

We sense that the good people at Noble Automotive are fans of the manual gearbox. When describing the M600 on its website, the company says “Our personal preference is indeed a manual system, however we do understand that many supercar buyers prefer, for many reasons, a paddle shift system.” It’s a hunch, but we reckon the auto option will be more popular in foreign markets, while we Brits stick with the stick. As it were.

Chevrolet CorvetteStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Looking for evidence that drivers actually prefer a slush ‘box to a stick shift? Figures released by the National Corvette Museum show that, of the 40,689 model-year 2016 Corvettes sold, a mere 9,249 were fitted with a manual gearbox. Which means Vette owners are voting with their redundant left foot, with three-quarters of drivers opting for the eight-speed paddle shift automatic.

Jaguar F-TypeStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

If you fancy a manual gearbox in your new Jaguar F-Type, you’ll have to ‘make do’ with the V6 versions. Not that this should be too much of a hardship, because even the entry-level 3.0-litre V6 340 supercharged version offers a top speed of 161 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds. Yours for a touch under £52,000. Upgrade to the S and the 0-60 time drops to 5.3 seconds, while the top speed increases to 171 mph. You’ll need to find an extra £9,000, mind.

Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It’s probably quite telling that we’ve used the ‘old-school’ tag rather a lot in this gallery. But the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ are simply dripping in retro charm. Front-engined, rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual gearbox, superb driving position and perfect balance – everything you need for a B-road blast. You can opt for a six-speed automatic transmission, but you shouldn’t.

Chevrolet CamaroStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

How do you celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of America’s favourite cars? Chevrolet has big plans for #CamaroFifty, but we’re more excited about the prospect of the all-new Camaro ZL1. With 650 hp and 650 lb ft of torque on tap, it’s the most powerful Camaro ever produced and it’s available with either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.

Lotus ExigeStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

There are a number of Lotus Exige models to choose from, including the Sport 350, 360 Cup and the track-only V6 Cup R. All are available with a six-speed manual gearbox, although a sequential transmission is offered on the Cup R and Sport 350. In the case of the latter, the automatic shaves 0.1 seconds off the 0-62 mph time, but loses 8 mph at the top end – 162 mph automatic versus 170 mph manual.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage SStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

The automotive world did a merry dance of delight when Aston Martin announced it was adding a seven-speed manual gearbox option to the V12 Vantage S and yes, it is good news. Sadly, although the manual ‘box does deliver more engagement and interactivity, the dog-leg shift pattern takes a while to get used to. Furthermore, it’s not blessed with the most satisfying shift action. But are we pleased this car exists? Absolutely.

Porsche 718 CaymanStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

After the furore surrounding the move to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, could you imagine the reaction if Porsche dropped the option of a manual gearbox in the 718 Cayman? Thankfully, the stick shift it here to stay, although the case for ticking the box marked ‘PDK’ is rather compelling. Not only is a PDK-equipped Cayman quicker to 62 mph, it’s also more efficient. That said, you will pay £2,000 more for the privilege.

Porsche 718 BoxsterStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It’s a similar story for the Porsche 718 Boxster. In standard form, a 718 Boxster will hit 62 mph in 5.1 seconds and deliver a claimed 38.2 mpg on a combined cycle. With a PDK transmission, these figures are 4.9 seconds and 40.9 respectively. The PDK also offers the benefit of launch control, which sees the 0-62 mph time drop to 4.7 seconds.

Lotus EliseStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

For 20 years, the Lotus Elise has been the default choice for those in search of pure driving thrills on a British B-road. Sadly, with prices starting from £29,900 for the Elise Sport, rising to £45,600 for the Cup 250 and £53,500 for the Race 250, the little Lotus is less ‘everyman’ than it used to be. Mind you, the Elise Sport does boast one of the best gearknobs since the Ford Puma and the Honda Civic Type R FD2.

Mazda MX-5Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

If you’re after an affordable sports car with a six-speed manual gearbox, the Mazda MX-5 is your best option, at least until the Fiat 124 Spider arrives. The MX-5 is every bit as good as you may have read, with the best news being the entry-level 1.5-litre is arguably just as great, if not better than the 2.0-litre version.

BMW Z4Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It’s fair to say the BMW Z4 isn’t the sharpest tool in the sports car box, but the six-cylinder engines remain terrific units, especially with the roof down. Our pick would be the sDrive35i Roadster M Sport, although at a price just shy of £45,000, it isn’t exactly cheap. You can buy a pair of ‘his and hers’ MX-5s for that, and still drive home with some change.

Ford MustangStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

If you’re going to do the whole Ford Mustang thing, you really ought to opt for the full-fat 5.0-litre V8. Oh, sure, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost is more efficient and will be cheaper to run, but to enjoy the authentic Mustang experience, vee-eight is where it’s at. Beyond that, it’s up to you – the automatic transmission is marginally more economical, but the six-speed manual allows you to take the ‘Stang by the scruff of the neck and give it a damn good thrashing.

Lotus EvoraStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Lotus has chosen to celebrate 50 years of life in Norfolk with the aptly-named Hethel Edition Evora 400. It’s based on the standard Evora 400, which means a 400 hp 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine capable of 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, although a six-speed automatic is available as an option.

Dodge ChallengerStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

All but the entry-level Challenger models are fitted with a six-speed Tremec manual gearbox as standard, right through to the SRT Hellcat. The flagship Dodge Challenger is powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8 engine and offers 707 hp and 650 lb ft of torque – all for a bargain price of $64,195 (£49,000). Other, even cheaper models are available.

Nissan 370ZStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It’s been a while since we put a pound in the ‘mention of old-school’ jar, but the Nissan 370Z takes us back to Datsun Z cars of old. A hairy-chested brute of a sports car powered by a 3.7-litre V8 engine and offering classic rear-wheel drive dynamics. Prices start from £27,860 for the basic Z, rising to £38,050 for the Nismo.

Lotus 3-ElevenStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Opt for the road-going Lotus 3-Eleven and you’re treated to a six-speed manual gearbox, rather than the six-speed sequential transmission fitted to the race version. The 925 kg road version is powered by a supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine developing 410 hp – enough for a top speed of 174 mph.

Caterham SevenStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

You want back-to-basics, seat-of-your-pants thrills – this is as good as it gets. The gearstick in a Caterham Seven is a short and stubby affair, perfectly positioned alongside the tiny steering wheel. Prices start from £15,995 for the bargain-basement Seven 160, through to £46,495 for the blistering CSR. Shifting through a six-speed gearbox has never been more exhilarating.

Mercedes-Benz SLC 200Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It might not be a sports car in the purest sense, but the Mercedes-Benz SLC is a classic boulevard cruiser. The only model fitted with a manual gearbox is the entry-level SLC 200, with a stick shift not even an option on the other models.

Volkswagen Scirocco RStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Although the Volkswagen Scirocco is more coupe than outright sports car, the flagship Scirocco R does at least offer a tempting alternative to the Golf R. The 2.0-litre TSI engine delivers 280 hp and is available from £32,865.

Audi TTStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Sadly, the all-new Audi TT RS won’t offer the option of a manual gearbox, so you’re stuck with the common or garden TT. Might we suggest the 2.0-litre TFSI in S line trim?

Morgan 3 WheelerStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

The Morgan 3 Wheeler weighs just 525kg, but manages to punch above its weight in more ways than one. The 2.0-litre V-twin engine is mated to a Mazda-sourced five-speed manual gearbox to offer a unique take on the drivers’ car formula. Brilliant.

Fiat/Abarth 124 SpiderStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

It might be based on the Mazda MX-5, but the Fiat 124 Spider offers a different take on the affordable sports car recipe. To us, the Fiat is more soft-focus than the Mazda, although it looks great and is still fun to drive. The most authentic sports car is the Abarth version, which costs just shy of £30,000.

Zenos E10Stick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

You’ll remember Chris Evans driving the Zenos E10 S during the last series of Top Gear – a lightweight, stripped-back sports car powered by a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. The E10 R is even more hardcore, with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine borrowed from the Ford Mustang and Focus RS. Yours for a little under £40,000.

British-built, track specialsStick it! The sports cars you can still buy with a manual gearbox

Of course, you’ll still find a number of low-volume, track-focused manufacturers willing to fly the flag for the manual gearbox. Select from the likes of Ariel, Radical, Ginetta, Ultima and Westfield for maximum thrills.

The classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

The classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

The classic cars you should have bought 21 years agoHindsight is a wonderful thing. A little like Cher but without the makeup, we wish we could turn back time to snap up and store away the future classics of yesterday. This thought was triggered by the discovery of a newspaper cutting from August 1995, which listed the values of old cars then and a prediction for the turn of the millennium. It makes for strangely compelling reading.

Raising expectationsThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

The feature, which appeared in the Daily Mail, was based on data from Birmingham’s Aston University and looked at how depreciation, design and charisma could combine to “lift future value above expectations”. You’ll be amazed at how little some cars were worth in 1995 and how much they could be worth today. We’ve used the Hagerty classic car valuation tool for today’s valuations, with values based on excellent examples.

1982 Alfa Romeo Alfasud SprintThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £2,213. 2000 forecast: £4,052. 2016 value: £8,800

Take the Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint. Back in 1995, you’d have paid around £2,213 for a good, clean 1982 example, but Dr. Robert Tinsley of Aston University predicted an increase of around £1,800 by the year 2000.

1981 Alfa Romeo AlfettaThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £1,110. 2000 forecast: £1,247. 2016 value: £5,900

The forecast for the Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000 may have been a touch pessimistic. You could buy a 14-year-old Alfetta for little more than a ‘bag of sand’ in 1995, but today you’d need to part with around £6,000.

1981 Aston Martin LagondaThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £17,609. 2000 forecast: £35,528. 2016 value: £41,200

You don’t need the appliance of science to predict an increase in the value of an Aston Martin, but oh – for the chance to buy a wedge-tastic Lagonda for £17k! In 1995, you could have snapped up a Lagonda for the price of an entry-level Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but today, you’d need to fork out £40,000.

1983 Aston Martin V8The classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £27,855. 2000 forecast: £41,522. 2016 value: £80,600

It’s a similar story for the Aston Martin V8. In 1995 you could choose to spend circa £28,000 on a brand new TVR Chimaera or a 12-year-old AM V8. Fast forward 21 years and if you opted for the latter, you could be sat on an £80,000 fortune. As for a 1995 TVR, around £12,000 would be closer to the mark.

1981 Audi QuattroThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £5,960. 2000 forecast: £10,468. 2016 value: £18,600

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you’ll know that 1980s cars – and in particular, performance models – are hot property right now. We think Aston University got its forecast spot-on, because an Audi Quattro worth £5,960 in 1995 would be worth around £18,600 in 2016. Note, this figure is based on an early left-hand-drive model. You’ll pay considerably more for a late 20-valve car.

1981 BMW 635 CSIThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £7,236. 2000 forecast: £14,636. 2016 value: £8,300

Dr. Tinsley, who originally prepared the data for Maxim magazine, had high hopes for the BMW 635 CSI, predicting it would be worth twice as much by the year 2000. The fact that it’s priced around £8,300 in 2016 suggests that, while the car has risen in value, it’s not the gold mine predicted.

1979 Citroen CX PallasThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £1,500. 2000 forecast: £1,662. 2016 value: £4,500 (estimated)

In truth, you might be able to buy a Citroen CX Pallas for £1,500 in 2016, but it’ll need a considerable amount of work to bring it up to concours standard. The article was predicting a tiny increase in value, perhaps noting the fact that big French cars are a hard-sell in the UK. With DS and SM values heading north, the CX could be the next big thing.

1981 De Tomaso DeauvilleThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £5,476. 2000 forecast: £8,462. 2016 value: £24,300

In 2016, your biggest challenge might be finding a De Tomaso Deauville, rather than the £24,300 you’ll need to secure a mint example. To think you could buy one for less than the price of a Fiat Panda in 1995.

1982 Ferrari 400iThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £20,109. 2000 forecast: £34,535. 2016 value: £41,500

The 400i isn’t the most desirable car Ferrari has ever built, which might help to explain why the price you’ll pay today is just £7,000 more than the forecast for the year 2000. Should have bought that De Tomaso.

1984 Ferrari Mondial QVThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £19,495. 2000 forecast: £42,136. 2016 value: £29,300

No, sorry Dr. Tinsley, you got this one wrong. Even in an age when the values of 70s and 80s classics are going through the roof, a Ferrari Mondial QV is still worth less than £30,000. You’d have been better off buying a mint Peugeot 205 GTi and dragging that out of storage.

1987 Ferrari TestarossaThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £43,818. 2000 forecast: £45,977.  2016 value: £133,800

We suspect the boffins at Aston University never watched an episode of Miami Vice or had a poster of a Testarossa on their bedroom wall. The days of an affordable Ferrari Testarossa are long gone. To provide some context, the 1995 value is roughly half the price you’d have paid for a brand new Ferrari F355 Berlinetta with a couple of options.

1983 Fiat X1/9The classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £4,104. 2000 forecast: £8,406. 2016 value: £6,300

It’s fair to say the X1/9 hasn’t appreciated at quite the same rate as a Ferrari, but if you’re after a pocket-size Ferrari on the cheap, the little Fiat is a good start. Amazing to think that production of the Marcello Gandini-designed sports car began in 1972 and very nearly made it into the 90s.

1977 Ford Capri 1600 GLThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £1,155. 2000 forecast: £1,309. 2016 value: £6,000 (estimate)

In 1995, it was a real struggle to sell a four-cylinder Capri, with even the six-cylinder versions unlikely to attract much attention beyond enthusiast circles. This explains the modest forecast for the 1600 GL. You’ll pay a fair amount more for a Mk2 today, although Hagerty’s £30,000 valuation for a 280 Brooklands makes for grim reading for anyone who sold one before they became hot property.

1981 Ford Escort XR3iThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £1,534. 2000 forecast: £2,112. 2016 value: £5,000 (estimate)

The Ford Escort XR3i isn’t listed on the Hagerty valuation tool, but £5,000 is a rough estimate for a good example. Like the Capri, the XR3i wasn’t blessed with the best image in the mid 90s, which explains the low cost and pessimistic forecast. Storing one away in 1995 won’t have generated a fortune, but now could be the time to think about selling.

1987 Lamborghini CountachThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £66,036. 2000 forecast: £120,000. 2016 value: £255,000

In 1995, a Lamborghini Diablo would have set you back around £144,000 – a price that could get you not one but two Countach LP500S QVs. Right now, that Countach is probably worth a cool quarter of a million.

1984 Lamborghini JalpaThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £25,001. 2000 forecast: £69,967. 2016 value: £69,400

The Jalpa isn’t as iconic as the Countach, and values reflect this, but it’s rather uncanny that Aston University’s forecast for 2000 is almost exactly the same as today’s Hagerty valuation. The Jalpa was the Countach’s more affordable sibling and only 410 were built.

1981 Lotus EclatThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £6,715. 2000 forecast: £10,748. 2016 value: £6,500

Well would you look at that: today’s valuation for the Lotus Eclat is actually less than the price you’d have paid in 1995, proving that not all future classics are a sound investment.

1984 Lotus EspritThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £10,643. 2000 forecast: £20,300. 2016 value: £20,000

There’s slightly better news for Lotus Esprit owners, although the ‘double your money’ forecast was well wide of the mark. In fact, the 2016 valuation is less than the 2000 forecast.

1982 Maserati KhamsinThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £16,255. 2000 forecast: £29,226. 2016 value: £98,200

Another Marcello Gandini masterpiece and another Italian gem that has rocketed in value. The 4.9-litre V8 Maserati Khamsin was launched at the 1973 Paris Motor Show, with 435 units built before production ceased in 1982. In 1995 it could have been yours for little more than the price of a Fiat Tipo 16v. Today, it’s nudging £100,000.

1981 Porsche 911 TurboThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £20,536. 2000 forecast: £33,062. 2016 value: £45,400

Looking back, the £20,536 being asked for a 1981 Porsche 911 Turbo in 1995 was an absolute steal, not least because a new one would have cost in excess of £91,000. That same car today is worth more than double. Dare we suggest that price is likely to continue heading north?

1982 Porsche 924 TurboThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £7,214. 2000 forecast: £12,092. 2016 value: £10,500

Finally, Porsche 924 prices are on the up, but not at the brisk rate predicted in 1995. An excellent 924 Turbo will set you back around £10,000, which is £2,000 more than the 2000 forecast. Of course, the one you really want is the 924 Carrera GT – a snip at around £47,000 – £60,500.

1975 Range RoverThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £2,891. 2000 forecast: £3,836. 2016 value: £34,800

Not even the brains at Aston University would have predicted the demand for the Range Rover Classic. Back in 1995, the Classic was being sold alongside its replacement – the P38A, but early models weren’t exactly in demand. Little surprise then that the 2000 forecast was so low. Oh to be able to find a 1975 Classic for £2,891…

1975 Triumph Dolomite SprintThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1975 value: £2,837. 2000 forecast: £5,388. 2016 value: £6,000

Based on these figures, the Triumph Dolomite Sprint hasn’t exactly rocked the classic car world. But it’s rather refreshing to find such a credible and desirable classic available for such a relatively low price. Will the same be true in another 21 years?

1984 TVR 350iThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £9,906. 2000 forecast: £19,009. 2016 value: £8,000 (estimate)

The TVR 350i was essentially a Tasmin powered by a 3.5-litre Rover V8 engine, although it doesn’t appear to be as desirable as Aston University predicted. Indeed, though a £19,009 valuation was forecast for 2000, you can now pick up a 350i for less than the 1995 value.

1979 Volkswagen Golf GTIThe classic cars you should have bought 21 years ago

1995 value: £2,500. 2000 forecast: £4,165. 2016 value: £13,300

In 1995, the memory of the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTi was still fresh in the mind, not least because the then-current Golf GTI was a more lacklustre affair. If you bought a Golf GTI on the strength of the Daily Mail article, we applaud you, especially if you still own the same car.

Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales chartsComparing half-year sales with the same period in the previous year is a good measure of a car’s increasing appeal. Using data sourced from the Focus2Move Global Mobility Database, we can reveal the cars that have recorded the biggest increase in sales over the past six months, compared with the same period in 2015. We’ll present the list in reverse order.

20. Opel/Vauxhall Astra: sales up 20.1%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Opel unveiled the current Astra at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and it went on to scoop the 2016 European Car of the Year award, beating the Volvo XC90 and Mazda MX-5 into second and third place respectively. For the first time in a while, this is an Astra that shouldn’t lead to a sigh of disappointment if you’re handed a set of Vauxhall keys at the rental desk. Sales up from 109,588 in the first half of 2015 to 131,657 in the same period this year.

19. Fiat Panda: sales up 20.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

This time last year, the Fiat Panda was languishing in 119th position with 92,212 sales. Fast forward 12 months and the uniquely Italian city car has hauled itself up to 90th place with 110,998 sales. It’s the only city car to offer Squircles. Many, many Squircles.

=17. Nissan Qashqai: sales up 20.5%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Not only is the Nissan Qashqai the most popular crossover in the UK, it’s doing a mighty fine job of conquering the world. Sales are up from 182,509 in the first half of 2015 to 219,950 in the first six months of 2016. Last year, Renault launched the Kadjar, which shares the same Qashqai platform.

=17. Kia Sportage: sales up 20.5%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

What a difference a new model makes. The fourth generation Kia Sportage was launched at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and you just knew it would sell like very hot cakes. Sales are up from 220,441 in the first half of 2015 to 265,663 in 2016. Looks like the model is simply carrying on where the old model left off.

16. Toyota Highlander: sales up 20.7%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The third generation Toyota Highlander offers enough space to seat eight people and is built in the United States and China. At the 2016 New York Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the new 2017 Highlander (pictured), which offers a new eight-speed transmission, a subtle new look and a host of safety features. Christopher Lambert is said to be a fan. Probably.

15. Volkswagen Lavida: sales up 23.2%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The Chinese market Volkswagen Lavida is one of the most popular cars in China, where some 287,354 units were sold in the first half of 2016. That, in itself, shows the size of the Chinese market. The Lavida is the 15th most popular car in the world and is so good, Ricky Martin wrote a song about it. Almost.

14. Honda Vezel: sales up 25.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

You’ll know the Honda Vezel as the HR-V, but the sales figures are split, putting the Vezel 14th on our list of rising stars. A jump from 93,571 in the first half of 2015 to 117,381 in 2016 equates to a 25.4% increase in sales

13. Volkswagen Sagitar: sales up 26.7%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Yes, what you’re looking at is a Chinese market Volkswagen Jetta, known as the Sagitar. The compact saloon is another popular car in China, with half-year sales totalling 170,426, an increase of 26.7% compared with the same period last year.

12. Jeep Cherokee: sales up 30.2%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Some felt the the styling of the Jeep Cherokee KL would be too ‘adventurous’ for some, but half-year sales of 182,866 suggests it’s finding its feet. Sales have been rising, year-on-year, since it was launched in 2013. The way things are going, the Cherokee will blitz the 220,260 units sold in 2015.

11. Dongfeng Fengguang 330/370: sales up 30.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

This isn’t a big seller, with half-year sales of 99,443, but it does represent a 30.4% increase compared with the same period last year. The Dongfeng rockets from 162nd to 99th place overall. Not ‘arf, pop-pickers.

10. Toyota Prius: sales up 36.6%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The arrival of the all-new, fourth generation Toyota Prius is having a positive impact on sales, which are up 36.6% compared with the same period last year. The new car arrived at the end of 2015, which suggests buyers were waiting for the new and improved version. Total half-year sales: 208,477.

9. Haval H6: sales up 39.7%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Haval claims to be the number one SUV brand in China, so it’s arguably the biggest name you’ve never heard of. It’s part of Great Wall Motors and the H6 is a compact SUV introduced in 2011. With half-year sales totalling 240,253, this is the best-selling SUV in China.

8. Ford Edge: sales up 56.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

There are a number of reasons why the Ford Edge could continue to rise up the charts. Firstly, there’s the growth of the crossover-SUV market to consider. Secondly, the Edge is now available in Europe for the first time. Total sales of 144,150 might seem relatively modest, but the second half of 2016 could prove to be quite lucrative for the Edge.

7. Buick Excelle GT: sales up 60.2%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

This is Shanghai GM’s entry for the compact saloon segment. The Buick Excelle GT was introduced in 2015 and it offers a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.8-litre and a 1.5-litre. Buick just happens to be Shanghai GM’s most popular brand.

6. Dodge Grand Caravan: sales up 69.6%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The Dodge Grand Caravan is billed as “Canada’s best-selling minivan”, while it’s also pretty popular in the United States. Like for like sales are up from 58,449 to 99,151 – an increase of 69.6%.

5. Buick Envision: sales up 76.1%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The Buick Envision is the first Chinese-made car to be sold in the US, so it’s quite a big deal. North American sales should add to the 115,937 units sold in the first half of 2016.

4. Honda HR-V: sales up 88.9%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Here’s that Honda again, this time with its more familiar name. This is proof that statistics will only tell you half the story, because the HR-V only went on sale in the US in May 2015, although it was already on sale in Thailand. It arrived in the UK in the summer of 2015.

3. Jeep Renegade: sales up 154.1%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

Like the Cherokee, the Jeep Renegade appears to be finding its feet. Half-year sales are up 154.1%, meaning the Fiat 500X-based SUV has moved from 267th place to 77th overall. Total sales for the first half of 2016: 127,211.

2. Hyundai Tucson: sales up 202.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

The Tucson has benefited from a name change, which accounts for the dramatic 202.4% increase in sales. The second generation Hyundai ix35 was known as the Tucson in South Korea and Columbia, before the ix35 name was ditched for the arrival of the third generation car. It deserves its 285,060 sales, but don’t read too much into that percentage increase.

1. GAC Trumpchi GS4: sales up 809.4%Rising stars: cars that have stormed the sales charts

It’s a similar story for the GAC Trumpchi GS4, which was unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2015. Second half-year sales will be more telling for the Chinese-built SUV.

Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in valueLow interest rates have encouraged many to invest their savings in a classic car. However, old-fashioned rules of supply-and-demand mean prices have risen fast – particularly for sought-after cars, such as classic Porsche 911s and 1980s hot hatchbacks. Research by Footman James insurance reveals some of the fastest-appreciating models over the past 12 months. It’s official: these cars really are better than money in the bank.

Triumph StagShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 8%

The Stag has gained a new lease of life from its starring role in C4’s restoration show, For the Love of Cars. As presenter Ant Antstead explained, the car’s well-documented problems (overheating, timing chains, cylinder heads, rust… we could go on) have largely been solved by enthusiastic owners. So there’s no reason for a modern Stag to be unreliable. Besides, look at the positives: gorgeous Italian styling and a brawny British V8. Oh, and an 8% increase in value over the past year. Expect to pay upwards of £10,000 for a tidy Stag.

Volvo P1800Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 11%

The Volvo P1800 is also a TV star of sorts; it was driven by Roger Moore in 1960s spy drama, The Saint. And a 1966 P1800s holds the Guinness World Record for ‘Highest Mileage on a Vehicle’, having clocked up more than three million miles. Safe to assume these Swedish coupes are tough, then – but they’re subtly stylish, too. The P1800 ES estate is even cooler, if you can find one.

Austin HealeyShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 14%

The various evolutions of the Austin Healey roadster – 100, 100-6 and 3000 – have witnessed a 14% rise in value over the past year. Best served with a warm shandy outside a country pub, these handsome drop-tops epitomise the British sports car – albeit at a price much higher than that other iconic Brit: the MGB. Healeys also had considerable success in motorsport, and remain in demand for classic racing and rallying.

Porsche 911Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 15%

Motoring Research looks back wistfully on the days when a tidy Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera could be yours for £10,000. Now you’ll fork out three or four times that much. And don’t get us started on rare-groove RS models, which have rocketed into the stratosphere. Reckon on £1 million for a 911 2.7 RS in concours condition. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a 911, though. Prices of other Porsches, such as the 944 and 914, are also creeping upwards. Indeed, any classic Porsche seems a solid investment.

Aston Martin DB4Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 19%

The DB5 was glamorised by James Bond, but its DB4 predecessor is prettier. Designed by Touring of Milan, the DB4’s elegant, understated lines become the template for Aston Martins for several decades to come. It wasn’t until the DB7 of 1994 that the British company finally pursued a new direction. A good DB4 could cost upwards of £350,000, with Vantage and Zagato versions considerably more. No wonder most are squirrelled away in air-conditioned garages.

AC CobraShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 28%

Take a Sunday drive in the country and the chances are you’ll see an AC Cobra. Only you probably won’t, because the vast majority of these charismatic cars are replicas. Real Cobras – either the 4.7-litre 289 or the mighty 7.0-litre 427 – are extremely rare and prices can reach seven figures. For a blue-chip investment opportunity, how about the very first Cobra, hand-built by Carroll Shelby? It’s up for auction at Monterey in August.

Ferrari 275 GTBShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 28%

You’ll need a few million in the bank for a Ferrari 275 GTB. But what price beauty? This two-seat grand tourer was built from 1964-1968 and ranks as one of the best looking Ferraris ever. Which makes it one of the best looking cars ever, obvs. A 3.3-litre V12 produces up to 300 hp in four-cam 275 GTB/4 versions. Classic Ferraris have always been a safe bet, but the 275 is exceptionally tempting – values have soared 28% in just 12 months.

Jaguar E-TypeShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 29%

Speaking of beauty, feast your eyes upon the Jaguar E-Type. This British icon is regularly cited – along with a certain Lamborghini further up our list – as the most stylish car of all time. Even Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”. E-Type prices vary widely depending on spec, with early Series 1 cars more desirable than later V12s. The low-mileage S1 Coupe pictured here is currently for sale at £249,995.

Morris Minor TravellerShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 35%

Now for something more ‘real-world’. Although with prices up by 35% in a year, the days of the affordable Moggy Minor are numbered. Launched in 1952, the Traveller estate has an external ash frame with a vertically-split tailgate, à la Mini Clubman. It stayed in production until 1972 – two years longer than the Minor saloon. Prices range from £2,500 for a rusty-but-usable project to around £15,000 for a Minor minter.

Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk1)Show some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 43%

Another to file under ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’. Many moons ago, Motoring Research bought a tidy Mars Red Mk1 Golf GTI for £450. We still wake with cold sweats wondering what that same car would be worth now. There’s some argument about whether the 1976 Golf really was the first hot hatch (the Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini beat it to market by several months). But its place in hot hatch history is assured, with the best examples now selling for £20,000+.

Land Rover DefenderShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 43%

Nothing boosts classic values quite like rarity (so how does that theory work for the Proton Persona? – Ed.) and the end of Defender production earlier this year means numbers are starting to dwindle. A direct descendant of the 1948 Series I, the Defender is slow, noisy, uncomfortable, hopelessly outdated and – by all accounts – not particularly reliable. Yet it’s brilliant fun to drive, and unstoppable off-road. Best of all, you needn’t be too precious about it – old Land Rovers wear their knocks and scratches well.

Peugeot 205 GTIShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 44%

Silverstone Auctions has just sold this car for £30,938. That’s £12,000 more than estimate and a world record for a 205 GTI. So what makes this French hot hatch so valuable? Partly, it’s rarity again. Many 205s were crashed – the car’s appetite for lift-off oversteer catching out unwary owners. Others fell victim to the Max Power modifying boom. Yet more have simply rusted into oblivion. If you can find a good one, keep it garaged and save it for sunny days. Driving experiences don’t come much better.

Lamborghini MiuraShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 62%

We’re back in the realm of ‘cars as art’ – but who wouldn’t want a Miura on display in their front room? Along with one in the garage, of course. The 1966 Miura invented the recipe for the modern supercar, with jaw-dropping looks and ferocious performance. A glorious 3.9-litre V12 is wedged beneath its slatted rear window, giving a top speed in excess of 170mph. Prices have leapt by 62% in the car’s 40th anniversary year. You’ll struggle to find one for less than £1 million now.

Fiat DinoShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 113%

The clue is in the name: the Fiat Dino has the same 2.0-litre (later 2.4-litre) V6 engine as the Ferrari Dino. However, even with prices up a huge 113% in a year, it’s still vastly cheaper to buy than its more glamorous cousin: upwards of £30,000 for the Fiat versus at least £200,000 for the Ferrari. The Dino Spider convertible is much rarer (around 25% of sales) and considerably pricier – reckon on £100,000 or more. If only you had bought one a year ago…

Top brand: Aston MartinShow some appreciation: classics that have soared in value

Rise in value: 80%

Footman James also tracked price rises by car brand in the four years since 2012. Aston Martin saw the biggest increase, was average values up by an impressive 80%. Jaguar was in second place, up by 68%, with Austin Healey third (52%) and Bentley fourth (39%).

 

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertiblesLooking to buy a convertible to enjoy the hot weather this summer? While you might associate roof-down motoring with an old Italian sports car stranded on the side of the M25, topless cars don’t have to be a liability. Warranty company Warranty Direct has analysed its 50,000 policies to reveal which convertibles are least likely to leave you stranded this summer.

The study concentrates on cars aged between three and eight years old. Warranty Direct gives each car a Reliability Index: a figure based on a number of factors, from the amount of times a certain model breaks down to the average cost of repair. The lower the figure, the better it is.

10: BMW 3 SeriesTop 10 used convertibles

So, onto the most reliable convertibles. In 10th place is the BMW 3 Series. While the soft-top BMW is fairly reliable, its heavy repair prices knock its Reliability Index – with the maximum repair cost paid out by the warranty company nudging £6,000.

The survey picks out the E93 3 Series Cabriolet, produced from 2007 to 2013. When new, it was quite advanced, thanks to its retractable hardtop. You can pick up a leggy example from around £6,000 in the classifieds.

9: Audi A3 CabrioletTop 10 used convertibles

The Audi A3 Cabriolet makes for an affordable and practical soft-top on the used market. Its Reliability Index is a relatively low 145 – although the maximum paid out by Warranty Direct was an eye-watering £4,373.

 

Launched in 2008, the earliest A3 Cabriolets are now eight years old – meaning you should buy carefully if reliability is a concern. If you buy wisely, there’s no reason why a tidy example from a private seller for around £7,000 shouldn’t provide lots of pain-free miles.

8: BMW Z4Top 10 used convertibles

A two-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a BMW badge… what’s not to like, as long as you’re not wanting to transport the family? The maximum Warranty Direct’s paid out for a 2009-16 Z4 is a relatively reassuring £2,152.40. It scores 136 on the Reliability Index.

A budget of £10,000 will get you a 2009 model Z4. Hunt out a 3.0-litre if you want the poke to go with the sporty appearance.

7: Audi TTTop 10 used convertibles

The 2006-14 Audi TT Roadster isn’t the most entertaining car to drive, but it looks good and has a pleasant interior. It scores 132 on Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.

The TT’s desirable image means they hold their money well. You’ll be looking at £7,000 for a high-mileage example from 2007.

6: Volkswagen EosTop 10 used convertibles

VW insisted the Eos was more than just a Golf cabriolet with a fancy folding hard-top when it was launched in 2006. It’s bigger than a Golf, but much of its extra space is taken up by the roof.

 

The Eos scores 126 in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. Alarmingly, the firm paid out £5864.46 for repairs to one example.

5: Volvo C70Top 10 used convertibles

The Volvo C70 isn’t a car for enthusiastic drivers. But for sunny days out with friends and family, it could make for an excellent used buy. Warranty Direct names it the fifth most reliable used convertible.

The second-generation Volvo C70 was launched in 2006, and you can pick one up for less than £3,000. Now that strikes us as an excellent summer choice.

4: Mercedes-Benz SLKTop 10 used convertibles

Stick a private plate on a second-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK, launched in 2004, and no one would believe it’s a 12-year-old design. It’s not often buying a flashy sports car like this can be done with the head as well as the heart.

Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index gives the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK a score of 92. You can pick one up for less than £5,000 in the classifieds.

3: Peugeot 206 CCTop 10 used convertibles

The Peugeot 206 CC isn’t as desirable as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but that means it’s ideal for those wanting to enjoy the sun on a budget. You can buy one for less than £500 – and even the tidiest examples are only around £3,000.

We’re a little surprised to see the Peugeot 206 CC ranked so highly by Warranty Direct. It doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations for reliability, and the retractable roof in particular is known for being problematic.

 

2: Vauxhall TigraTop 10 used convertibles

The stylish Vauxhall Tigra proves you don’t need deep pockets to run a convertible. The Corsa-esque interior is a bit disappointing, and the image won’t suit everyone – but the 1.8-litre petrol will be cheap to run.

With an impressive Reliability Index score of 36 and a maximum repair cost of less than £700, the Vauxhall Tigra is a car that should be easy to justify – especially with examples available for less than £1,000.

1: Mazda MX-5Top 10 used convertibles

So we’re onto the car with the title of being the UK’s most reliable convertible – and it’s the ever-popular Mazda MX-5. Yes, people rave about this little car, and they’re everywhere, but for good reason.

Featured here is the third-generation model, launched in 2005, but any MX-5 should prove to be reliable. It scores just 16 in the Reliability Index (remember, the lower the better) and the most Warranty Direct has ever shelled out for repairs is a fraction over £500. Not only are MX-5s reliable, but they’re also brilliant to drive.

Least reliable convertible: Porsche BoxsterTop 10 used convertibles

As a bonus, we thought we’d chuck in the least reliable convertible, according to Warranty Direct. And that’s the 2004 Porsche Boxster – with 42 in 100 suffering problems, costing an average of £731.01 to repair. It scores 310 on the Reliability Index. That Porsche badge comes at a price.

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy nowIf you fancy owning a British classic, what are your options? We’ve assembled a list of homegrown classics that are relatively affordable and in good supply. So while you won’t find a Jaguar E-Type or McLaren F1 on our list, you will find some classic gems. We’ve also included a price guide, with values ranging from a restoration job to a concours winner.

Range RoverBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

It might not have been the original luxury SUV — that honour belongs to the Jeep Wagoneer — but the Range Rover is arguably the most iconic. Launched in 1970, the Range Rover ‘Classic’ was more ‘hose-down and wipe-clean’ than today’s super-posh versions, but it was one of the first vehicles to combine off-road ability with on-road poise.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,000 – £20,000

MiniBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

One of Britain’s finest exports and the car that defined the Swinging Sixties. The original Mini conjures up images of Twiggy, The Beatles, Carnaby Street and The Italian Job – a vision of Britain’s yesteryear. Production started in 1959, before the Mini bowed out in 2000.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £30,000

Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

To many, this is the archetypal Rolls-Royce. Launched in 1965, the Silver Shadow’s stock rose like a Spirit of Ecstasy from the bonnet of a new Phantom, before plummeting as oversupply and depressed values led to Rolls-Royce’s most successful model falling into the hands of unsavoury characters and end-of-the-pier entertainers.  Today, the Silver Shadow is acceptable once again and could be yours for the price of a Ford Focus diesel. Just don’t expect diesel running costs…

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £18,000

TVR TasminBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Tasmin presents the most affordable entry into the world of TVR. Its wedge-like styling defined the Blackpool company throughout the 1980s, with the ultimate incarnation being the Tasmin SE, powered by a Rover V8 engine. The rarest of all is the SEAC – a composite-bodied version complete with huge rear wing.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,100 – £5,250

Lotus Elan M100Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

A front-wheel-drive Lotus is a rare thing, so at least you’ll have exclusivity on your side. At the time, the Elan M100 represented the biggest investment in Lotus history, with £35 million spent on buildings, tooling, equipment and engineering facilities. It’s for this reason that Lotus reportedly lost money on every Elan it sold. The turbocharged SE is the most desirable of the breed.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £9,000

Bond BugBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

If you enjoy the feeling of stability as you make your way along a British B-road, the Bond Bug might not be for you. But if you fancy a three-wheeler with a tilting cabin roof and a bright orange paint job, you’ll love it. If it was any more 1970s it would be wearing a vinyl jumpsuit and dancing to Stayin’ Alive.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,500 – £7,950

MGBBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Predictable? Absolutely, but this was once the world’s most popular sports car. In its day, the MGB was the sports car to own – fuelled by memorable ad lines, such as ‘your mother wouldn’t like it.’ A love of warm beer and beards is optional.

Practical Classics price guide: £450 – £15,000

Rover SD1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

‘Tomorrow. Today’ proclaimed the press adverts of the day. The Rover SD1 promised so much and in another world it could have delivered. Stunning Ferrari Daytona-esque styling and a European Car of the Year award delivered the best of starts, but quality control problems and the standard BL struggles ensured it could never fulfil its potential.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £6,500

Austin SevenBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Austin Seven was one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, earning it a place in the Design Museum’s book Fifty Cars That Changed The World. Herbert Austin said: “the Seven has done more than anything previously to bring about my ambition to motorise the masses’. This was Britain’s Ford Model T.

Practical Classics price guide: £2,000 – £30,000

Lotus Elise S1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Twenty years ago, a classic was born. A modern interpretation of Colin Chapman’s “Simplify, then add lightness” approach, the Lotus Elise was little short of a revelation. Initial plans to limit production were soon thrown out of the window, as Lotus set about meeting demand for the car that delivered a purity of drive lost in the majority of new cars.

Practical Classics price guide: £6,000 – £12,000

The 25 slowest depreciating cars

The 25 slowest depreciating cars

The 25 slowest depreciating carsDepreciation, or loss in value over time, is usually the single biggest running cost when you buy a new car. Even on a family hatchback, it can add up to many thousands of pounds over a typical three-year/30,000-mile ownership period.

We’ve teamed up with the experts at CAP HPI to reveal the 25 cars that shed the smallest percentage of their value. Prepare to be surprised…

Vauxhall VivaThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Vauxhall’s back-to-basics Viva is cheap to buy and run. The sub-Corsa city car retains 73.5% of its value, according to CAP HPI. That means it will lose £2,258 over three years and 30,000 miles.

Mazda CX-3The 25 slowest depreciating cars

Smart styling, agile handling and a practical cabin have won the CX-3 plaudits from UK motoring media. And buyers seem to agree; Mazda’s crossover retains 73.7% of its initial purchase price, costing £5,170 in depreciation.

Subaru OutbackThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Choice is limited for buyers who want the all-weather capability of four-wheel drive without opting for the default SUV. Subaru’s rugged 4WD estate fills that void, and holds onto an impressive 73.8% of its value in the process. An Outback will cost £7,810 in depreciation over three years and 30,000 miles.

Mercedes-Benz V-ClassThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

The V-Class is a people carrier based on the Vito van, and a firm favourite with the private hire trade. Over three years, a diesel version will lose around £11,561 – retaining 74% of its showroom price. An uber-good result for Mercedes-Benz (see what we did there?).

Ford S-MaxThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

The Ford S-Max is another people carrier in high demand with used-car buyers. It trumps the V-Class on styling, driving dynamics and price – if not outright space. Expect an S-Max to retain 74.1% of its value and lose £7,380 over a three-year period.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45The 25 slowest depreciating cars

With sleek ‘four-door coupe’ styling and a rumbling, deep-chested soundtrack, the hottest CLS certainly ticks our boxes. It’s more sought-after than the equivalent A45 AMG hatchback, holding onto 74.1% of its price. That equates to £11,174 in depreciation.

Lamborghini HuracanThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Speaking of soundtracks, nothing prepares you for the feral scream of the Huracan’s 610 hp V10. Of course, a Lamborghini is hardly a car to save you money; you will lose a not-insignificant £46,570 over three years and 30,000 miles. Nonetheless, it’s a slow depreciator, retaining 74.2% of its initial cost.

Jaguar XFThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Now for something a little more sensible. The Jaguar XF is an accomplished executive saloon, with strong engines and best-in-class handling. Diesel versions retain 75.3% after three years, costing £9,091 in depreciation. Petrol models do even better, says CAP HPI: 77.3% and £11,200.

Mercedes-AMG GTThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

The bombastic Mercedes-AMG GT left an indelible impression after we drove it last year. It also left some tyre tracks in the MR office car park, but that’s another story… This 911 Turbo-rivalling supercar keeps 75.7% of its value, costing the first owner £28,087.

Lamborghini AventadorThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

OK, consumer advice time. If you’re interested in saving money, don’t buy a Lamborghini Aventador. This V12-engined monster will cost £65,535 in depreciation over three years and 30,000 miles. But you can justify it to your husband/wife/bank manager by pointing out a strong retained value of 76.3%.

Range Rover SportThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

The Range Rover Sport seemingly never goes out of fashion. Indeed, its sales success threatens to usurp the full-sized Range Rover altogether. A diesel-engined Sport will hold 77.3% of its value and cost £15,519 over our typical three-year ownership cycle. The hybrid version is slightly more prized, retaining 77.8% and losing £18,825.

Lexus NXThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Clearly, being endorsed by Will.I.Am has done this sharply-styled SUV no harm. The petrol-powered NX 200t is unloved, but the hybrid petrol/electric NX 300h is a noted depreciation-buster. You can expect to lose a modest £8,436 over three years, thanks to a retained value of 77.3%.

Jaguar XEThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Jaguar’s critically-acclaimed answer to the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series slightly outperforms its big brother, the XF, when it comes to depreciation. A typical XE is worth 77.8% of its purchase price after three years/30,000 miles. That equates to a bill of £7,320.

Alfa Romeo 4CThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Reviews have been more mixed when it comes to the Alfa Romeo 4C – a compact sports car that rivals the Porsche Cayman. Still, many great Alfas have been flawed gems, and the 4C’s relative rarity keeps values high. Its retained value is 78.8%, with depreciation of £10,515.

BMW Alpina D4The 25 slowest depreciating cars

Alpina is the semi-official tuning arm of BMW. Unlike many modification specialists, however, its cars major on comfort rather than Nurburgring-bashing performance. The highly-desirable D4 is based on the BMW 4 Series and holds 79.3% of its value, losing £10,510 in depreciation. Figures for the convertible version are 79.0% and £11,515 respectively.

Honda HR-VThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Honda’s reputation for reliability means its cars are usually highly valued by second-hand buyers – and none more so than the HR-V. This family-sized crossover holds onto 79.5% of its showroom price, costing just £4,284 in depreciation. The diesel version tops even that, with 80.6% and £4,261.

Volvo XC90The 25 slowest depreciating cars

The seven-seat SUV that spearheaded Volvo’s renaissance is already a star of the used-car market. Buyers can expect a retained value of 79.6% for petrol models, 80.9% for the T8 ‘twin-engine’ hybrid and a whopping 82.9% for the 2.0 D5 diesel. The diesel loses around £8,250 over three years and 30,000 miles – not bad for a £50k car.

Land Rover Discovery SportThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Another 4×4 that’s selling as fast as they can build them, the Land Rover Discovery Sport combines the low-slung looks of the Evoque with a cabin that seats seven. What’s not to like? Diesel versions are best when it comes to depreciation, retaining 80.3% and setting you back £7,255 over three years.

Lotus ExigeThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

It’s no spring chicken, but there’s still lots of love for the Lotus Exige. Spend five minutes behind the wheel of one and you’ll discover why – it’s an absolute joy to drive. Take the plunge and you can expect to see an 81.1% retained value, along with depreciation of £8,320.

Audi RS3The 25 slowest depreciating cars

The latest RS3 is one very hot hatchback. It boasts 367hp and will hit 62mph in 4.3 seconds. That’s quicker than a Porsche 911 GTS. Depreciation, however, is a much slower affair. It retains a whopping 83.1% of its value, losing just £6,650 after three years and 30,000 miles.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

The 25 slowest depreciating carsWhat a way to make an entrance. The gullwing-doored SLS AMG is a most-wanted car, outperforming even the newer AMG GT when it comes to residual values. If you’d bought one three years ago, it would still be worth 85.2% of what you’d paid. You’d have lost £25,490, but that’s pocket change when it comes to supercars, right?

Porsche MacanThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

The Macan is the first of three Porsches in the top four of CAP HPI’s slowest depreciating cars – no mean feat for the German brand. The petrol-engined version keeps 87.9% of its value and loses £5,875 over three years. The Macan diesel manages 88.5% and £5,043. It’s practically a free car.

Ferrari 488 GTBThe 25 slowest depreciating cars

Talking of free cars, the top three aren’t actually depreciators at all. These sports cars (and they are all sports cars) should actually go UP in value over three years and 30,000 miles of ownership. First up is the Ferrari 488 GTB. A 101.7% retained value means you could sell for £3,091 more than you bought it for – so keen are buyers to jump the lengthy waiting list.

Porsche 911 GT3 (997)The 25 slowest depreciating cars

The previous (997) generation of Porsche’s hardcore 911 GT3 was the last to boast a manual gearbox and hydraulic power steering. That makes it lusted-after by enthusiasts, with a corresponding premium for buyers. A residual value of 102.8% means lucky 997 GT3 owners could make a £2,515 profit.

Porsche Cayman GT4The 25 slowest depreciating cars

Here we have it: Britain’s slowest depreciating car. The limited-run Porsche Cayman GT4 turns conventional car market economics on its head, holding onto to a crazy 121.6% of its list price. In other words, you could drive this for three years and 30,000 miles, then make £13,949 for your trouble. If only we could afford one in the first place…

 

More weird things car brands also make

More weird things car brands also make

More weird things car brands also makeFrom Christmas baubles to polo saddles, carmakers will do anything to lighten your wallet. Check out our handpicked range of exclusive items you can buy if you want to show the world what fine taste you have. Here are some of the weird and wonderful things can brands also make.

Toyota Energy Observer

A fresh update to this list comes with Toyota’s sponsorship entanglement with the Energy Observer hydrogen research vessel. A curiously amusing means to a noble end. Toyota is known for its endeavours in alternative energies with the Toyboata being the latest.

Lamborghini Tauri 88 SmartphoneMore weird things car brands also make

At around £4,000, the Lamborghini Tauri 88 smartphone it’s a bit pricey, but it does have a 5-inch HD touchscreen, more memory than most laptops and a 20-megapixel camera. You can choose from four colours, too, but only 1,947 will be made. So you’ll have to act fast.

Bristol Cars merchandiseMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers like to cash in on their brand’s heritage by making weird and wacky items designed to appeal to the discerning enthusiast. Take British luxury car manufacturer Bristol, which launched a range of luxury merchandise. You’ll be able to buy branded clothing, scale models and even leather bags and wallets designed by Paul Smith.

Alfa MiTo by Marshall concept carMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers will do anything to breathe new life into a car nearing the end of its product lifecycle – and Alfa Romeo turned the MiTo into a four-wheeled amplifier. It’s called the Alfa MiTo by Marshall concept car and it “draws inspiration from the look and feel of Marshall’s iconic amplifier equipment”, featuring a 50w amp head and two 12-inch 75w speakers in the boot. It’s even powered by its own battery system.

Maserati and La Martina luxury polo saddleMore weird things car brands also make

We’re tempted to ask the horse, why the long face? It’s clearly not impressed with the one-off La Martina and Maserati polo saddle on its back. In a statement, the horse, which received only a couple of sugar lumps and a polo mint for its troubles, said, “Happy 100th birthday, Maserati, but I still can’t forgive you for putting a diesel engine in the Ghibli”.

Maserati aluminium diceMore weird things car brands also make

Now we don’t know about you, but after a hard day in the office, we like nothing more than getting dressed up and heading to our local multi-storey car park. Whilst some may be tempted to take advantage of the empty car park in their expensive Italian four-door saloon, we like to chuck dice about for a few hours. Maserati aluminium ones, obviously. The fun never stops.

Lamborghini ceramic baublesMore weird things car brands also make

These aren’t just Christmas baubles… These are Lamborghini ceramic Christmas baubles, finished in a special orange glaze and available as a set of three. Proof that you can take the bull out of the Lamborghini logo…

Peugeot pepper millMore weird things car brands also make

The Peugeot brand dates back to 1810, when it made its first tool: a saw blade, using high quality laminated steel. The brand also developed a reputation for delivering the very best salt and pepper mills, something it continues to this very day. Peugeot estimates that it has made tens of millions of mills for grinding salt, pepper and coffee, which includes over 900 different variants. Next time you’re in a restaurant, turn the salt and pepper mills upside down to see if they’re Peugeot-branded.

Porsche ice cube trayMore weird things car brands also make

It’s impossible not to love this Porsche ice cube tray. We’re tempted to say it’s the coolest piece of car-branded nonsense we’ve ever seen…

Ferrari golf collectionMore weird things car brands also make

The Ferrari Golf Collection could be the name given to Ian Poulter’s own private collection of Ferrari cars. But no, the Ferrari Golf Collection is a range of official licensed products, from clubs, to footwear and from clothing to accessories. You can even buy a Ferrari-branded driver with improved aerodynamics and a reduced drag coefficient.

Lotus 108 bicycleMore weird things car brands also make

The Lotus Type 108 bicycle could never fall into the nonsense category. In fact, the Lotus 108 was a trailblazer – the bike that helped Chris Boardman achieve greatness and lay the foundations for years of British cycling success. And to this day, it’s arguably the best looking bicycle ever created.

Bentley Home CollectionMore weird things car brands also make

The press release for Bentley’s Home Collection at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano includes terms such as “rigorous aesthetic sensibility”, “sophisticated velvets”, “pastel nuances” and “exquisite taste”. Which all sounds rather lovely. Yes. It is basically a range of Bentley furniture.

Bugatti hookahMore weird things car brands also make

Well if you were going to drop another million pounds on yet another “final edition” Bugatti Veyron, you were probably smoking something. Allegedly. Which may go some way to explaining the $100,000 (£76,000) Bugatti by Desvali luxury shisha pipe. Personally, we’d rather spend the money on a Porsche 911 Carrera and use the leftover cash for a second set of tyres. Smoking!

Porsche bobsleighMore weird things car brands also make

And speaking of Porsche, how about this – a Porsche bobsleigh. Apparently its designed for children. Which can be used as justification for buying one next Christmas.

Jeep strollersMore weird things car brands also make

Carmakers will often speak about customer lifetime value. In short, a 20-year-old has the potential to buy more cars in their lifetime than a 70-year-old. But surely the Jeep stroller is taking things too far? What next, Audi-branded four-wheel drive cots? Quick, get the head of product planning on the phone – untapped niche alert.

Peugeot Design Lab pianoMore weird things car brands also make

If we were to review this Peugeot and Pleyel piano, we’d probably complain about the pedal arrangement, the lack of seat support and the limited amount of boot space. On the plus side, the soundtrack is pretty spectacular.

Audi R18 Ultra ChairMore weird things car brands also make

This is the Audi R18 Ultra Chair. For best results at dinner parties, position it really close the person sat next to you and shine a torch into their eyes until they move aside. Works every time.

Bentley aftershaveMore weird things car brands also make

In fairness to Bentley, we could have picked on any number of car manufacturers for this one, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar or even Hummer. The question is, why would you want to smell like a car? Most interiors smell like Magic Tree air fresheners and old socks.

Audi Q3 camping tentMore weird things car brands also make

The Audi Q3 Camping Tent has a wind load rating of 43 mph. But even so, we’d recommend dismantling it before you make your way out of the camp site.

Bentley barbers’ chairs for PankhurstMore weird things car brands also make

The Pankhurst men’s grooming store is apparently the finest barbershop in London. Which is why Bentley was keen to supply six barbers’ chairs.

Jaguar Concept SpeedboatMore weird things car brands also make

The Concept Speedboat was designed to demonstrate the diverse and active lifestyle enjoyed by owners of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Check out the fin on the teak decking. It’s offset in a nod to the Jaguar D-Type. Something that will impress your boating chums down at the marina.

The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The cheapest new cars on sale: July 2016

The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016Looking to spend as little money as possible on a new car? We’ve assembled a list of new cars you can buy for less than £10,000, including a host of city cars, a quadricycle, a compact crossover and a selection of superminis. Fill your boots.

Dacia Sandero 1.2 75 Access 5dr: £5,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

What can you get for £6,000 in 2016? Four steel wheels, a 1.2-litre petrol engine, five seats, a pair of black bumpers, Glacier White paint and little else. If you want air conditioning and a radio, the Dacia Sandero Access isn’t for you, but it’s in this basic form that the Sandero is the most appealing. You’ll even walk out of the Dacia showroom with a fiver in change.

Renault Twizy: £6,895The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Technically, the Renault Twizy is a quadricycle, so it shouldn’t appear in our list of cheapest cars. But hey, if you don’t intend to leave the city limits and are never likely to carry more than one passenger, the Twizy holds strong appeal. The price excludes mandatory battery hire, which starts at £45 per month. You might also appreciate the optional scissor doors.

Dacia Logan 1.2 75 Access estate: £6,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

In so many ways, the Dacia Logan is more appealing than the Sandero upon which it is based. Sure, you’ll spend an extra £1,000 on the basic model, but it offers a huge 573 litres of luggage space, increasing to 1,518 with the rear seats folded. Perfect for tip runs and carrying wet dogs.

Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ2: £6,999The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

We love the Suzuki Celerio. It’s surprisingly good fun to chuck about and offers seriously good value for money. In basic SZ2 trim you’ll be forced to live without air conditioning, remote central locking and Bluetooth, so we’d recommend upgrading to the SZ3. An additional £1,000 is a small price to pay for the improved specification.

Nissan Micra 1.2 80 Visia LE 5dr: £7,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Once upon a time, the Nissan Micra was one of the most popular superminis in Britain, but it has been overtaken by newer and more appealing models. On the one hand the Micra is well equipped and spacious, but it’s uninspiring to look at and to drive.

Skoda Citigo 1.0 60 S 3dr: £8,275The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The Skoda Citigo is one of our favourite cars at any price. The Citigo, Up and Mii trio provide the benchmark for what a city car should be like in 2016, offering superb packaging and fun-to-drive dynamics. The Monte Carlo might nudge the price over £10,670, but it looks and behaves like a pocket-size racecar.

MG3 1.5 3Time 5dr: £8,399The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The 2016 MG3 has been updated to provide better economy and lower emissions. That’s not to say the 1.5-litre engine is the most efficient unit in its class, because 124g/km CO2 puts the MG3 behind many of its rivals. On the plus side, the MG3 offers excellent value for money, especially if you upgrade to 3Form spec, or better still, 3Style.

SEAT Mii 1.0 60 S 3dr: £8,440The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The entry level SEAT Mii costs an extra £165 compared to the Citigo, but you’ll be rewarded with some exclusivity. Of the three, the Mii is the rarest of the bunch. At the opposite end of the scale, the bizarrely named Mii by Mango LE is limited to 125 units and boasts 15-inch machined alloy wheels, exclusive Oryx pearlescent paint and velvet upholstery. The price: £11,995.

Citroen C1 1.0 VTi Touch 3dr: £8,495The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

In truth, the C1 Touch is a rather basic affair which is best avoided. We’d suggest upgrading to Feel trim which offers a choice of engines, air conditioning, DAB digital radio and a seven-inch touchscreen. Also available as an Airscape soft-top version, which could be just the thing if we get a good summer. And that’s a big if.

Dacia Sandero Stepway 0.9 TCe Ambiance 5dr: £8,495The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Don’t be fooled by the raised ride height, roof rails and plastic body cladding, the Sandero Stepway won’t take you too far off the beaten track. It’s like a modern-day Rover Streetwise – more of an urban on-roader than a credible off-roader. There’s no Access trim level, so choose between the Ambiance and semi-luxurious Laureate.

Peugeot 108 1.0 68 Access 3dr: £8,495The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Mechanically, the Peugeot 108 is identical to its French cousin, but one reason for choosing the Pug over the Citroen is the availability of Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel offer. For a single monthly payment, the scheme covers insurance, warranty, servicing, road tax and roadside assistance. It’s even available to drivers age 18 with the addition of a telematics device.

Kia Picanto 1 Air 1.0 65 3dr: £8,545The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Or, for the same price, you could opt for the entry-level Picanto, complete with Kia’s famed seven-year warranty. The 1 Air is pretty basic, but at least you know you’ll be covered until the year 2023, by which time you may have grown out of the Picanto…

Vauxhall Viva 1.0 75 SE 5dr: £8,745The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

No, not that Vauxhall Viva, the new Vauxhall Viva. In launching the Viva, Vauxhall has dusted off a much-loved name from the 60s and 70s. The new car is a cheap and cheerful rival to the Suzuki Celerio and, in common with many of the cars listed here, we’d recommend spending an extra £500 for the SE A/C which offers, as you may have guessed from the name, air conditioning.

Volkswagen Up 1.0 60 Take Up: £8,975The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

It’ll come as no surprise to discover the Volkswagen Up is the most expensive of the ‘UpMiiCitigo’ trio. Choosing between the three will come down to personal preference, badge loyalty and what you want from your city car, but some buyers prefer the trim levels and options offered by the Up.

Ford Ka 1.2 69 Studio 3dr: £8,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The Ford Ka is on borrowed time, because it’s about to be replaced by the Ka+. Unlike the passing of the original Ka, few will shed a tear when the last car rolls out of the showroom, but news of the new car should at least mean discounts are available on the outgoing model.

Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 70 Studio: £8,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Do not adjust your set, this is indeed the new Ford Ka+. This all seems a world away from the cheeky and dynamically sharp Ka of 1996, with the Ka+ designed for world car duties. It’s shorter and taller than the Ford Fiesta, but its 270-litre boot means it’s only marginally less practical than Britain’s best-selling car.

Hyundai i10 1.0 66 S 5dr: £8,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

In this company, the Hyundai i10 seems rather expensive, but it remains a supremely competent city car. Not only is it far better to drive than i10s of old, it’s also well-equipped and is covered by a five-year warranty. Right now, Hyundai is offering a £1,000 discount on the i10 S, bringing the price down to £7,995. There’s also a discount on the SE, which sees the price drop to £8,995.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ2 3dr: £8,999The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Suzuki performed very well in the recent J.D. Power UK Dependability Study, which is another good reason to buy the excellent Swift. Not only does it look good, it’s also terrific fun to drive, thanks to a willing 1.2-litre petrol engine and a decent chassis. Only the spartan SZ2 trim level manages to creep below the £10,000 mark.

Toyota Aygo 1.0 x 3dr: £9,095The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

If you don’t fancy the French options, the Toyota Aygo offers a more Japanese take on the 108/C1/Aygo partnership. Not only is the Aygo the most striking of the three, it’s also the most expensive. That said, Toyota is offering a £600 saving on the Aygo X, which takes the price down to £8,495. Offer valid until 30 September 2016.

Dacia Duster 1.6 Access 5dr: £9,495The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

This really is exceptional value for money. In its most basic form, the Dacia Duster Access comes finished in authentic UN-spec white paint, with steel wheels and black bumpers, but you simply won’t find a larger and more appealing car for less than £10,000. Four-wheel drive versions start at £11,495, with the range culminating with the flagship Prestige 4×4 at £15,795.

Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop 5dr: £9,510The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The quintessential Italian city car comes complete with ‘squircles’ and could be yours for just £9,510. The Fiat Panda Pop is rather basic, so we’d recommend upgrading to the Easy or Lounge spec. Better still, blow the budget and opt for the Panda 4×4. It might cost upwards of £14,710, but it’s the best small 4×4 in the world. Probably.

Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 75 Sting 3dr: £9,745The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

Remember the days when the Vauxhall Corsa was the automotive equivalent of sloppy seconds? Things have changed and the new Corsa is a credible and worthy alternative to the all-conquering Ford Fiesta. The Sting features a heated windscreen, alloy wheels, hill start assist and twin white stripes, but you will pay extra for air conditioning.

SEAT Ibiza SC 1.0 E 3dr: £9,995The Cheapest New Cars in Britain July 2016

The SEAT Ibiza is another supermini that just manages to creep below the £10,000 mark. At this price, the Ibiza is rather basic and there’s very little to get excited about. But if you fancy a supermini for city car money, your choices are pretty limited.