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Best budget family cars

Best budget family cars

Best budget family carsTransporting a family is hard work at the best of times, but trying to do it on a budget is even tougher. Fortuntely, trying to be fiscally responsible doesn’t mean you have to compromise on a new car – as these 12 choices demonstrate.


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Dacia Duster: from £9,495Best budget family cars

As one of the cheapest cars on sale in the UK, the Dacia Duster is perfect for embracing automotive austerity. There’s genuine off-road ability and its looks are pleasingly utilitarian, rather than needlessly overstyled. The interior is equally spartan, but it means you can let kids and dogs go wild, and fill the 451 litres of boot space without concern.

The Access model is priced from £9,495, and really is budget motoring: a radio is not even standard. You’ll have to adjust your wing mirrors manually, but at least the windows are operated electrically. Move further up the range and you’ll get sat nav and air conditioning included, but the Duster makes the most sense bought as cheaply as possible.

Dacia Logan MCV Stepway: from £11,495Best budget family cars

The regular Dacia Logan MCV is a cheap and cheerful compact estate, but moving up to the Stepway version adds extra glamour with off-road-ready bodywork. Think of this as a very cut-price alternative to the Audi A4 Allroad or Volvo V60 Cross Country. Although with 1,518 litres of boot space with the seats down, the MCV Stepway is actually more practical than those premium machines.

With a starting price of £11,495, the Logan MCV Stepway might seem pricey for a Dacia, but you do gain a more substantial level of specification. Parking sensors, air conditioning and even satellite navigation come as part of the deal in Laureate trim, while there is a choice of petrol or diesel engines.

Suzuki Baleno: from £11,999Best budget family cars

Created as a larger alternative for buyers who have outgrown the Swift supermini, the Baleno offers up a decent combination of price and practicality. It’s big on interior space, with plenty of room for those up-front and for rear passengers. The boot can also hold 320 litres of luggage: on par with the bigger Ford Focus.

Suzuki offers a comprehensive standard specification across the Baleno range, with even the £11,999 entry-level SZ3 packed full of features: DAB radio, air conditioning, automatic headlights and even a leather-covered steering wheel are all there. SZ3 trim means you only get the 1.2-litre petrol engine, though. You’ll need to spend an extra £2,000 to get your hands on the superb 1.0-litre turbocharged Boosterjet engine.

Nissan Pulsar: from £13,275Best budget family cars

While the Juke and Qashqai crossovers take all the Nissan limelight, the hatchback Pulsar is left in the shadows. This is a conventional family hatch in the truest sense of the word, bringing nothing revolutionary to the segment. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though – especially if you happen to have children with rather long legs.

Yes, the Pulsar has the largest amount of rear legroom in the entire C-segment hatchback class: enough to shame much bigger cars. It’s also competitive in terms of boot space, beating the omnipresent Volkswagen Golf with 385 litres. The cheapest 1.2-litre turbo Visia model includes air conditioning, cruise control, and Bluetooth connectivity, all for the bargain price of £13,275.

Citroën C4 Cactus: from £13,770Best budget family cars

Proof that family motoring on a shoestring doesn’t have to be dull, the styling of the C4 Cactus is divisive, but undoubtedly quirky. Yet it is also practical, with the trademark Airbumps helping protect the bodywork from errant car doors and shopping trolleys. Drivers benefit from the commanding view created by the raised ride height, although rear passengers have to contend with windows that only pop open.

Stylish utilitarianism is the name of the game with the C4 Cactus, with a standard touchscreen display controlling almost all functions and cutting the dashboard button count down to virtually zero. Entry-level Touch models are rather sparse on kit, but do at least gain electric front windows, DAB radio, and cruise control as standard. Air conditioning isn’t even optional on Touch trim – worth bearing in mind given those pop-out rear windows.

Suzuki Vitara: from £14,999Best budget family cars

Forget the Vitara from the late 1980s and early 1990s. There are no ultra-wide bodykits or rhino-branded spare wheel covers here. Today the Vitara is a family-friendly compact SUV, with a practical interior and a driving experience far more fun than you would ever believe. It might not have the biggest boot, at just 375 litres, but overall space is good for young families.

For a pound less than £15,000, you’ll be getting the Vitara in SZ4 specification. It means you miss out on the touchscreen multimedia system offered higher up the range, but do still get a DAB radio, cruise control, automatic air conditioning, and 16in alloy wheels. SZ4 trim limits engine options to just one: a 1.6-litre petrol with 120hp driving just the front wheels. Best keep your off-roading aspirations to a minimum, then.

Kia Cee’d: from £15,365Best budget family cars

The existing Kia Cee’d has been around since 2012, with an all-new version planned for next year. That doesn’t mean you should discount the current Cee’d though, as it still offers a pleasing blend of value and usability, plus good looks. It’s also impossible to rule out the value of the standard seven-year/100,000-mile warranty if you plan on keeping your Cee’d for the long haul.

Kia doesn’t do optional extras, meaning the trim level you pick is all-or-nothing. Entry-level ‘1’ specification comes with air conditioning, dual projector headlights, Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB radio as standard. There’s not even alloy wheels at this basic specification level, while the standard engine is a naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre petrol with 98hp and the potential for a combined 47.1 mpg. Take solace in the handsome styling, and make use of the luggage space that rivals a far costlier Volkswagen Golf.

Fiat 500X: from £15,430Best budget family cars

Forget ideas of the tiny Fiat 500 city car. The 500X is a compact crossover based on the Jeep Renegade, but undercutting its American rival by almost £3,000. It’s bigger than it looks in photos, meaning cabin space is capable of making adults feel well accommodated, both front and rear. Boot space of 350 litres is nothing to write home about, but retro styling and the potential for 4WD will always create limitations. The interior does at least feel well made, with added Italian design flair.

Shopping at this price point means buying a 500X in ‘City Look’, which means no off-road bravado. The entry-level ‘Pop’ model brings a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or 1.3-litre diesel engines, with the latter adding £1,585 to the price. Standard specification includes air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows, and a body-coloured dashboard. Plus, can you really put a price on retro charm?

Vauxhall Astra: from £16,535Best budget family cars

It’s built in Britain and was the 2016 European Car of the Year, fending off challengers like the Volvo XC90 and Mazda MX-5. Despite all that, the Astra tends not to rate too highly in terms of desirability, which does it something of a disservice. It’s a thoroughly competent family hatchback, provided you can see beyond the inevitable desire for a Volkswagen Golf.

With prices beginning at £16,535, the Astra costs some £1,230 less than the German machine, and is more than £3,000 cheaper than the lowliest Ford Focus. Proof that substantial savings abound if you can park your badge snobbery. The entry-level Design model comes with cruise control, air conditioning, and even Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard.

Skoda Octavia Estate: from £18,395Best budget family cars

If maximum load space is top of your priorities, say hello to the Octavia Estate. Visually it isn’t the most exciting car, and the use of the Octavia for everything from minicabs to ambulances and unmarked police cars certainly gives a it a blue-collar reputation. However, there’s a reason it gets picked for practical roles, and that’s its gigantic 610 litres of boot space with the rear seats up – swelling to a vast 1,780 litres with them folded flat.

With prices from £18,395, there is something of a compromise to pay for all that internal real estate. Basic ‘S’ trim means a 1.0-litre petrol engine with 115hp, but that’s still enough for the Octavia to achieve 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds and return an official 59mpg. You’ll also get air conditioning, an 8in touchscreen multimedia system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, DAB radio and 16in alloy wheels as standard.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer: from £18,685Best budget family cars

Previous generations of the Zafira have hardly had the greatest image, but at least the Tourer brings genuine good looks to the MPV party. It’s a full seven-seater, with over 1,800 litres of luggage space with the seats down – and is better to drive than you might imagine. If you can ignore any personal hang-ups about the Vauxhall badge, this may be the answer to your family needs.

As with the Astra, entry-level with the Zafira Tourer means Design trim. However, just like with the smaller hatchback, this is still very generous in terms of standard specification. Air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, 17in alloy wheels, cruise control and a DAB radio are all part of the kit. A 140hp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is the cheapest offering, capable of 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds with a combined 44mpg.

SEAT Alhambra: from £25,435Best budget family cars

Once upon a time, large MPVs roamed the retail parks and service station car parks of the nation in droves. Today, a big upmarket seven-seater MPV is something you turn to when you need a very particular set of skills. Fortunately, just like Liam Neeson in Taken, the Alhambra is rather good at taking care of your kids, with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

It might be the most expensive car here, with prices starting from £25,435, but that comfortably undercuts key competitors like the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan. Even with all seven seats in use, there’s still 267 litres of luggage space, while with the rear seats folded flat it becomes a gargantuan 2,297-litre-capacity van. All versions get alloy wheels, climate control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

Best budget cars for track days

Best budget cars for track daysWant to push your car to its limits in a safe environment – and without the risk of seeing flashing blue lights in your mirrors? A track day might be just what you’re looking for. Track days take place at circuits around the country throughout the year and typically cost around £200. For that, you can use the track all day and, on an ‘open pit lane’ event, you can go out onto the track and come back into the pits whenever you like.

Keep it cheapBest budget cars for track days

Still, you’re unlikely to want to thrash your daily-driver around a circuit. What would your other half say if they found out you’d been drifting the family motor? How would your boss react if you were asking for new tyres on your company car a little too often? And remember, your insurance won’t cover you on-track, so the lower the value of the car, the less you’ll worry about getting it wrong.

So here are some options for track day cars that cost buttons, but will still leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Mazda MX-5 (Mk1)Best budget cars for track days

There’s only one place to start a list like this and it’s with the venerable Mazda MX-5. There’s a reason you won’t go to a track day without seeing one of these. Rear-wheel drive makes it fun in the corners, and low weight means you’ll get plenty of track days from a set of tyres and brakes. It may not be the quickest on the straights, but the unstressed engine is practically bombproof. Just watch out for rust.

BMW 328i (E36)Best budget cars for track days

Want to keep that classic front-engine, rear-wheel-drive balance, but with a bit more oomph? The BMW 3 Series might be a bit of a barge in standard form, but budget for uprated suspension and brakes and you’ll be driving one of the best all-round track cars for a minimal outlay. What’s more, you can pretend you’re a 90s touring car driver while you do it.

Toyota MR2 (Mk2)Best budget cars for track days

The Toyota MR2 is the alternative for those who find the MX-5 just too obvious or, indeed, rusty. The mid-engined layout might make it intimidating for the first-time track day driver, but it provides a long-lasting appeal to those who like a challenge.

Renaultsport Clio 182Best budget cars for track days

If the classic rear-wheel-drive track car is the MX-5, the archetypal front-wheel-drive track car is the Clio 182. As the name suggests, its 2.0-litre engine produces a healthy 182bhp. Combine this with low weight, sharp handling an affordable purchase price, and you can see why hot Clios make a popular track-car choice.

Honda Civic Type R (EP3)Best budget cars for track days

The Civic Type R packs all the Clio 182’s pointiness and punch, but with the addition of Japanese reliability. Its high-revving VTEC engine is often criticised for lacking low-down torque on the road, but comes into its own on track, where you’re exploiting every last rpm.

Caterham SevenBest budget cars for track days

A price tag of around £15,000 for a track-worthy Caterham might be pushing the limits of what we can describe as a cheap track car, but the sub-600kg weight means it’ll look after its brakes, tyres and other consumable parts like nothing else. And let’s not forget the mind-blowing handling, acceleration and braking that this featherweight offers.

Lotus EliseBest budget cars for track days

The Elise is to the Caterham what the MR2 is to the MX-5. Uber-lightweight, direct and driver-focused, but with the engine in the middle instead of at the front. Also, like the MR2, we’d advise that the Elise isn’t for the inexperienced track driver – it can be notoriously snappy thanks to that mid-engined layout.

Toyota MR2 (Mk3)Best budget cars for track days

A saying you hear trotted-out about the Mk3 Toyota MR2 is: ‘80% of an Elise for 20% of the price’. While we’re not convinced this really is the case, we can’t deny that the Mk3 MR2 makes a fine track car, no doubt helped by the weight saving of 200kg compared to its predecessor.

BMW M3 (E46)Best budget cars for track days

We’ve already suggested the E36-generation 328i, but the E46 M3 has everything we like about its older brother turned up to 11. The screaming 3.2-litre straight-six pushes out 343hp which, combined with the M-car’s upgraded suspension and brakes, will put you straight to the top of the lap-time leaderboard. While these can be had for as little as £7,000, beware of the ‘M tax’ on consumable parts like brakes.

Subaru Impreza WRXBest budget cars for track days

The only four-wheel-drive car to make the list is the rally-derived Subaru Impreza WRX. While the Impreza may have cut its teeth on the dirt, it can hold its own on tarmac, too. On a wet track day, not many things will keep up with it. But be warned, that four-wheel-drive grip means tyres won’t last long in the dry.

Ford PumaBest budget cars for track days

With just 123hp, the Ford Puma may be the least powerfuk car on this list, but it punches above its weight on-track thanks to its rev-happy Yamaha-developed 1.7-litre engine, low weight and acclaimed handling. Like the MX-5, though, finding one without the dreaded tin worm could prove a challenge.

Mazda RX-8Best budget cars for track days

The Mazda RX-8 is powered by a rotary engine, rather than a conventional piston engine. It revs to a dizzying 9000rpm and, thanks to its compact dimensions, is fitted low in the chassis, improving the car’s handling. Every silver lining has a cloud, however, and the RX-8 is notoriously unreliable.

Porsche 944Best budget cars for track days

Porsche 944s are getting rarer by the day but, if you can find a clean one, you’ll have a worthy track car. The 3.0-litre versions produce a healthy 211hp, although on a car of this age the suspension is likely to feel tired and be in need of a refresh.

Porsche BoxsterBest budget cars for track days

The Porsche Boxster is one of the best performance bargains there is, with prices starting from as little as £3,000. A hardcore track-dayer may consider the Boxster a little soft for serious circuit work, but for someone wanting their track car to double up as weekend sports car, it could be the ideal choice.

Jaguar S-TypeBest budget cars for track days

And finally… the leftfield choice. The Jaguar S-Type, in V6 manual form, has all the right ingredients for a good track car: a reliable 250bhp engine, manual gearbox (essential), and its driven wheels at the back. Aftermarket parts may be hard to come by, but fit coilover suspension and strip out the interior to save weight and you’ll be embarrassing people in ‘faster’ cars.

Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy nowIf you fancy a new car but aren’t too bothered about being the first name on the logbook, a pre-registered car could offer exceptional value for money. A dealer registers the car – usually to meet monthly sales targets – and then passes a hefty discount on to what is now the second owner.

The savings can be significant, with otherwise new cars available for the price of something used. We spent a few hours on Auto Trader to see what’s available right now.

Suzuki Celerio SZ2: £5,989Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Around a third of new cars sold in this country are pre-registered, so you’re never short of options. While you won’t be able to choose the colour, trim or add any factory-fitted options, you might drive away with a significant discount.

Right now, there are 246 pre-registered Suzuki models for sale on Auto Trader, and while an entry-level Celerio is hardly exciting, the £1,010 saving is hard to ignore. At £5,989 its cheaper than the Britain’s lowest price new car: the Dacia Sandero Access.

 

Fiat Panda Pop: £7,200Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Another advantage of buying a pre-reg car is the immediate delivery, meaning you won’t have to wait weeks, possibly months for your new car to arrive. Check out this Fiat Panda Pop, which is available with a £2,000 discount.

The Pop specification is hardly generous – central locking, radio/CD player and power steering is as good as it gets – but it remains one of our favourite city cars.

Vauxhall Viva SE A/C: £7,290Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

A dealer will be keen to sell a pre-reg car simply to create space for new stock. This means you might be able to negotiate a further discount, or add some dealer-fit accessories to sweeten the deal. If you don’t ask…

While we appreciate you’re unlikely to dream about owning a Vauxhall Viva, the £2,380 saving on this SE A/C model is certainly eye-catching.

Toyota Aygo X: £6,695Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Buying a pre-reg car means you’re taking ownership of what is essentially a used car – the dealer is the first name on the logbook. It’s worth keeping this in mind, as when it comes to selling the car, you’ll have to list it as ‘two owners’ and not one. This will have an impact on the valuation.

It’s swings and roundabouts, mind, as you’ll have saved a significant sum on the original price. The Toyota Aygo X is a basic city car, but it does offer LED daytime running lights and remote central locking. This 66-plate car has just five miles on the clock and is available with a £1,800 saving.

Peugeot 108 3-door Active: £7,494Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Another thing to bear in mind with a pre-reg is that a warranty and free breakdown cover will apply from the date of first registration, not the date when you collect the car. This could be a few days, but equally it could be a few weeks or months removed from the cover.

A small price to pay for a big discount? In the case of this Peugeot 108 Active, the saving is a chunky £2,811. Not bad for a car with just one mile on the clock.

Fiat Punto Pop: £7,800Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Yes, Fiat still builds the Punto supermini. Perhaps unsurprisingly, securing a discount won’t be a massive test of your negotiating skills, as demonstrated by this 66-plate with a single mile on the clock.

The list price is £11,635, but this dealer in the north east is offering the car for just £7,800. That’s a pre-reg discount of £3,835.

Vauxhall Astra GTC: £11,500Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

This is a curious one. The seventh generation Vauxhall Astra was launched at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, but it’s still possible to buy the GTC sports coupe version of the Mk6 model.

In fairness, the GTC still looks good today, but it comes as no surprise to discover it being offered with a massive £10,000 discount.

Fiat 500 Pop: £9,000Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

For most Fiat 500 owners, part of the joy of ownership will come from spending time with the configurator and creating something special using the countless colour, wheel and trim options. So you might think a pre-reg 500 would be a hard sell.

This 66-plate example looks pretty basic, but it does come with a £2,000 discount and you won’t have to wait for it to be built and delivered.

Suzuki Ignis SZ-T: £9,999Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

The Suzuki Ignis is one of the newest cars on the block, but that doesn’t mean that pre-reg bargains are hard to find. Indeed, there are 20 examples for sale with fewer than 100 miles on the clock.

This one caught our eye and not just because of the Flame Orange paintwork. The SZ-T is a feature-packed trim level that will normally set you back at least £11,499. Stonecare is offering the 66-plate car with a £1,500 discount.

Ford Fiesta ST3: £15,995Pre-reg bargains: discounted new cars to buy now

Ford unveiled a new Fiesta ST at the Geneva Motor Show, but you won’t be able to buy one until 2018. This gives you plenty of time to revel in what remains the best-value hot hatch on the market.

You could spend £20,145 on the flagship ST3. Alternatively, you could save £4,150 and buy this 66-plate pre-reg. Wow.

 

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy nowThere are certain cast-iron truths of the used-car market. If a car looks too good to be true, it will probably bankrupt you. Every old banger becomes a classic if you wait long enough. And buying a convertible in the depths of winter is a great idea.

Convertibles are cheapest at this time of year, and there are some tempting bargains to be had. We’ve picked 20 of the best available on Auto Trader right now. But you’d better be quick…

Mazda MX-5 (Mk2)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Where else to start but with the venerable MX-5? The world’s best-selling sports car is fun, plentiful and cheap to buy. Early Mk1 versions (1989-1997) are becoming scarce and the Mk3 (2005-2015) isn’t as enjoyable to drive, so we’ve opted for the Mk2 (1998-2005), otherwise known as the NB.

There are more than 1,200 MX-5s for sale on Auto Trader at the time of writing, so you can afford to be picky. While this 2004 car isn’t the cheapest, we find the “ultra low mileage”, 1.8-litre engine and near one-owner status rather appealing. It also helps that it looks incredibly tidy.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Vauxhall VX220Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

The Vauxhall VX220: a two-seat sports car, based on the S2 Elise and built at the Lotus factory in Hethel. A cut-price Elise, then? Launched in 2000 with the 2.2-litre Ecotec engine found in Vauxhall’s more mundane motors, the VX220 was later treated a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, giving it genuine supercar-taming credentials.

Again, it’s possible to buy cheaper, but this looks like one of the best naturally aspirated VX220s on sale. If the mileage stacks up and a history check doesn’t reveal any previous damage, this could be a wise investment. Looks great in Rabiata Red, too.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Mercedes-Benz SL (R129)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Few cars of the 1990s have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL, internal name R129. While its predecessors might be well beyond ‘bargain’ territory, the R129 remains affordable, while offering genuine everyday usability. Performance from the six-cylinder is adequate, while the V12 is best described as ‘excessive’. Our pick would be a V8.

With this Mercedes-Benz SL500 we’re really spoiling you. The dealer claims that it comes with a full service history, while the 107,000 miles is nothing for a car of this quality and engine size. We believe R129 prices are only going to go one way, making the £6,450 asking price seem like a bargain.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

BMW 3 Series Convertible (E46)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

At the turn of the millennium, this was the convertible to be seen in. The 3 Series Convertible offered a supreme combination of image, build quality and, crucially, driving dynamics that were almost on a par with the hardtop version of the E46 3 Series. Opt for the 320i if you’re in search of the best all-rounder.

There are so many 3 Series Convertibles for sale on Auto Trader, but this out certainly stands out. The engine and specification are desirable, and it has covered a mere 40,000 miles in a little over a decade.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Audi A4 CabrioletWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

If one four-seat convertible could challenge the 3 Series of the day it was the Audi A4 Cabriolet. Unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the A4 Cabriolet was the long overdue replacement for the ageing 80-based Audi Cabriolet, and was launched just as Audi’s brand image headed into orbit.

You’ll either love or hate the colour, but you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd. And because it’s not silver or black, there’ll be fewer people chasing this particular model. A potential bargain at just £2,150.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Volkswagen Golf CabrioletWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Looks like a Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Mk4, right? Peel away the covers and you might be disappointed, because it’s actually a Mk3 Golf, dressed up to look like a Mk4. A kind of Mk3.5, if you like. If you can put up with a Mk3 chassis and interior, the Golf Cabriolet is hard to ignore.

Would it be fair to say this looks as good as any other topless VWs of recent years? Why buy a new Golf Cabriolet or used Eos, when a 1998 car looks this good? Being a 2.0-litre Avantgarde model simply adds to the appeal.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Porsche BoxsterWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

You can buy an original Porsche Boxster (986) for stupidly low money, but we don’t want to give you that. Instead, we recommend opting for the much-improved second generation 987, launched in 2005. The standard 2.7-litre engine is a great choice if you intend to drive your Boxster everyday, but the S – initially a 3.2, but later a 3.4 – is the car to covet.

As a 3.4-litre car, this Boxster S benefits from 295hp, up from 280hp in the 3.2-litre version, while the relatively high mileage means that it could be yours for the same price as a much earlier example. If it has been well maintained using the right parts, this might be worth a look.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Honda S2000Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

A future classic, if ever there was one. If you’re after a lazy performance car, the Honda S2000 isn’t for you. But if you fancy a sports car that needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck, the S2000 is almost without peer. The magic happens above 6,000rpm, at which point the VTEC delivers the fireworks.

The final S2000 rolled off the production line in 2009, so finding one for sale at a Honda dealer is becoming increasingly difficult. This 2006 has covered 69,735 miles and is up for sale at a Honda dealer in the South East. Silverstone Metallic and red leather is a nice combination.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Toyota MR2 (Mk3)Winter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

Thanks to the shadow created by the Mazda MX-5, the Toyota MR2 is so often overlooked, but dismiss this bundle of joy and you’ll be missing out. This mid-engined two-seater is a roadster in the truest sense, with a lightweight feel and a free-revving engine. Just don’t expect to pack much more than your toothbrush.

Third generation MR2 prices vary considerably, ranging from £1,500 to around £5,000. At £2,295, this 2002 example is sensibly priced, and with just 77,000 miles on the clock, there’s still plenty of life in the 1.8-litre VVTi engine.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Audi TT RoadsterWinter warmers: 10 bargain convertibles to buy now

There’s no doubt the original TT lost some of its purity when Audi removed the roof, but in just about every other respect, the TT Roadster is as good as the Coupe. You still get the gorgeous interior, while the familiar 1.8-litre turbocharged engine is cheap to run and widely available.

OK, we’ll admit it: we’ve been seduced by the red paint. But scroll through the photos and you’ll see why we’ve selected this 2005 TT from the countless others on sale. The spec and condition are – on the evidence of the description and images – hard to beat.

Buy this car on Auto Trader

Best first cars for new drivers

Best first cars for new drivers

Best first cars for new driversResearch from HPI discovered that 21% of UK drivers have paid more for a car than its true value. However, that figure was markedly higher (30%) among 18-24 year olds, with 17% of that demographic admitting they rushed the purchase of their first car out of eagerness to get on the road.

Helpfully, HPI has also compiled a list of the cheapest new cars to run, to make that decision process a little easier. The data takes into account price, depreciation (loss in value over time), insurance, fuel economy and, tax. Join us as we count down the top 10 cars.

10. SEAT Ibiza Sport CoupeBest first cars for new drivers

In at number 10 is the SEAT Ibiza Sport Coupe 1.0 E petrol, a stylish supermini based on the Volkswagen Polo. The more practical five-door Ibiza is only marginally more expensive to run.

Over a typical three-year/60,000-mile ownership period, the Ibiza would cost £261.60 a month, or 31p a mile. The total cost of ownership works out at £9,417.56.

9. Nissan NoteBest first cars for new drivers

Nissan is actually phasing out its Note mini-MPV in favour of the more upmarket new Micra. So if you want one, you’ll need to be quick.The 1.2 Visia petrol has the lowest running costs.

The practical Note will cost you £9397.25 over three years and 30,000 miles of motoring. That equates to £261.03 a month and 31p a mile.

8. Suzuki SwiftBest first cars for new drivers

Choose the Swift with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and this supermini struggles to live up to its name. However, it is very cost-effective to run, with the SZ2 version offering the most for your money.

The cost of running a Swift over three years ducks under £9,000 – at £8,949.02. Your total monthly bill should be £248.58, or 30p a mile.

7. Nissan MicraBest first cars for new drivers

We’re not big fans of the outgoing Micra, but it is cheap to run. As with the Nissan Note, the 1.2 Visia petrol is the cheapest version for new drivers.

You could be driving a Nissan Micra for £228.81 a month all-in. Over three years and 30,000 miles that means a total bill of £8237.02 – a modest 27p a mile.

6. Citroen C1Best first cars for new drivers

The sixth-placed Citroen C1 is twinned with the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108 city cars, both of which appear slightly further up this list.

Choose the C1 and running costs are almost identical to the Micra, at £228.42 and 27p a mile. Your total outlay over three years and 30,000 miles would be £8222.97.

5. Toyota AygoBest first cars for new drivers

We’d have an Aygo 1.0 over the equivalent C1. It’s funkier-looking and the Toyota badge probably boosts resale values. The Aygo retains 40% of its original purchase price after three years and 30,000 miles, versus 38% for the C1.

Your total bill for driving an Aygo adds up to £8,123.97, which breaks down as £225.67 a month and 27p a mile. But there are four new cars that are cheaper still…

4. Dacia Logan MCVBest first cars for new drivers

Up until this point, every car on our list has been a small hatchback. But you can run a versatile estate car on a tight budget, too. Meet the Dacia Logan MCV (that’s ‘Maximum Capacity Vehicle’, in case you were wondering).

Interestingly, the most cost-effective Logan is the 1.5 dCi – the first diesel in our list. Getting some Maximum Capacity into your life will set you back a modest £223.30 a month, or 27p a mile. The overall, three-year bill is £8,038.70.

3. Peugeot 108Best first cars for new drivers

Here’s the last of the C1/Aygo/108 – and the Peugeot takes the title as the cheapest to run. The best 108 to go for is the 1.0 Access, which finishes third in HPI’s list.

While both the Citroen and Toyota will cost you 27p a mile, the 108 comes in at just 25p – thanks in part to a strong 45% retained value after three years and 60,000 miles. The monthly cost is £212.42, while the overall figure is £7,646.97.

2. Dacia SanderoBest first cars for new drivers

In entry-level Access spec, the Dacia Sandero is Britain’s cheapest new car. However, stronger resale values for the Sandero Ambiance mean this plusher version works out cheaper overall. As with the Logan MCV, the 1.5 dCi diesel is the engine to go for.

It won’t make your neighbours jealous, but after three years/60,000 miles the Sandero will owe you just £7,212.17. Not bad for three years of driving in a brand new car. That cost breaks down as £200.35 a month and 24p a mile.

1. Suzuki CelerioBest first cars for new drivers

The Celerio blotted its copybook early with a highly-publicised brake test failure. Thankfully, those issues have now been resolved and this likeable city car redeems itself with first place in the HPI list.

A Celerio makes an excellent first car for drivers on a tight budget. Opt for the 1.0 SZ2 and you’ll pay £7,099.95 over three years and 30,000 miles. That equates to £197.22 a month and a mere 24p a mile. It’s cheaper than walking… almost.

Van insurance costs rise in 2016

Van insurance costs rocket 11.7% in a year

Van insurance costs rise in 2016The cost of insuring a van has vastly outstripped inflation, rising by 11.7% in the 12 months to October 2016.

That’s according to Consumer Intelligence, which reveals the average van insurance policy is now priced at £1,591 – double the typical ‘best-buy premium’ for insuring a car.

Unsurprisingly, under-25s pay the most to insure their vans: a whopping £4,770 a year. However, costs for this age-group have risen by a relatively modest 3.6% – still above inflation, but lower than for van drivers overall.

Rising costs haven’t harmed van sales in the UK, though. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that 318,664 new vans have left showrooms so far this year – an all-time high. 

Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence, said: “Van drivers are paying double the average car insurance premium of £788, and with more people using their vans for work that adds to the costs of doing business.”

Consumer Intelligence suggests that drivers opt for ‘carriage of own goods’ cover to save money. This is suitable for ‘workers such as builders, plumbers, carpenters and shopkeepers who commute to work’ and has an average premium of £1,364.

By contrast, drivers who choose ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ insurance are stumping up £2,529, with premiums up by 15% in the past year.

Clarifying the difference between the two types of cover, Mr Hughes said: “Carriage of own goods cover can also include social, domestic and personal use. Drivers opting for social domestic and pleasure use generally have pastimes or hobbies that suit having a van as either their sole vehicle or as a second vehicle.”

Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOWFeeling slightly mischievous this week, we set ourselves a particularly challenging, er… challenge. Armed with a virtual wad of £2,000, we wandered through the lower reaches of Auto Trader in search of performance bargains. We emerged with everything from a pint-sized hot hatch to a lazy, all-American Cadillac. As always, inclusion does not represent an endorsement.

Ford Mondeo ST220: £2,000Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

We’re tempted to conclude this gallery here and suggest you go out and buy a Ford Mondeo ST220. This thing has got it all: a delightful 3.0-litre V6 engine, a terrific chassis and – just as importantly – a bargain basement price tag.

This is one of a number of ST220s available on Auto Trader, but it looks like an absolute steal. The Essex number plate is a bonus, too.

Jaguar X-Type 3.0 V6: £1,999Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Fancy a sleeper? The 3.0-litre V6 in the Jaguar X-Type is significantly faster than the 2.5-litre version, with only a marginal difference in terms of economy. You also get the benefits associated with all-wheel drive in a body that could pass as a standard diesel repmobile.

This 2004 example benefits from the lavish SE spec, including upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels, full leather, climate control, and electric everything. A steal at just under £2,000

Lexus IS300 SportCross: £1,495Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

The Lexus IS300 SportCross won’t be able to offer proper estate levels of practicality, but if your idea of ‘lifestyle’ extends to carrying the odd mountain bike and space for the dog, it could be the ideal chariot.

It’s another 3.0-litre V6 engine, although the SportCross is able to add rear-wheel drive to the mix. The 0-60mph time is polished off in 8.4 seconds, but don’t ask about fuel economy. It’ll only put you off.

Mazda RX-8: £1,949Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

We recently covered the Mazda RX-8 as a Retro Road Test and concluded that, if you buy a good car, it’ll be an enjoyable (and unusual) car to own. We appreciate a RX-8 is more of a heart than a head purchase, but good cars do appear in the classifieds.

This might be one such car. Yes, it’s an earlier RX-8 – some folk advise buying a later car – but it has three things going for it. Firstly, the mileage is sensible. Secondly, it has had just one previous keeper. And finally, the MOT history check is rather promising. Worth a look?

Proton Satria GTi: £1,995Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

You don’t need a gazillion horsepower to have fun. With the right chassis, even a mediocre hot hatch can provide the necessary thrills – and none of the spills – on a British B-road. Cars like the Proton Satria GTi, then?

You might not like the styling and the cheap-looking bodykit. You probably won’t be too keen on the quality of the interior. The Mitsubishi-sourced 1.8-litre engine isn’t the most refined unit, either. But Lotus worked some magic with the chassis, which is something you’ll discover when you reach the first corner. Try it. You might like it.

MG ZR: £1,250Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

The MG makeover could only achieve so much, which is why the ZR still has the look of a Rover 25. You’ll know about the issues associated with the K-series engine, but in ZR 160 guise, this was a properly quick car.

Sadly, this example isn’t powered by the 1.8-litre engine, meaning you’ll have to make do with the 105 1.4-litre unit. But look on the bright side: it’ll be cheaper to insure, it has had “one careful owner from new” and there’s only 43,900 miles on the clock.

Skoda Octavia vRS: £1,695Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

The Skoda Octavia was the first car to wear the vRS badge, taking its running gear from the Volkswagen Golf GTi of the time. This means you get a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine developing 180hp, although some cars have been tuned to 225hp, giving them Audi S3 levels of performance.

We like the look of this 2005 example as it has had just one owner from new and comes with full Skoda service history. If it’s as good as it looks, this might be a performance bargain.

Subaru Forester S-Turbo: £1,950Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

And now for something completely different. Back in the day, the Subaru Forester S-Turbo was a bit of a (sound the cliché klaxon) wolf in sheep’s clothing, thanks to its 170hp ‘boxer engine’ and ability to cover ground – rough or smooth – at an alarming pace.

The black alloy wheels and aftermarket exhaust suggest this Forester may have been owned by an ‘enthusiastic’ owner, but it looks to be in great condition. The perfect winter hack?

Suzuki Swift Sport: £2,000Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

The Suzuki Swift Sport is one of our favourite junior hot hatches of all-time, with an ability to deliver ‘scruff of the neck’ old-school thrills. Prices of the earliest cars are edging temptingly close to the £2,000 mark.

Some, like this 2010 car, are already at the £2,000 mark. OK, so the category D status might be an issue (the seller claims it has a dent on the boot lid), but the MOT history is almost faultless. What’s more, it has a mere 47,000 miles on the clock. Further investigation is required, but this might be a bargain.

Rover 200 BRM: £1,995Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Before the MG ZR there was this: the Rover 200 BRM. The special edition was based on the Rover 200vi and featured a Torsen differential from the 220 Turbo. A bright orange grille was added to pay homage to the BRM F1 cars of the 1960s.

Sadly, somebody has painted the orange grille on this example, but fortunately the ‘Marmite’ red interior remains in place. A future classic for £1,995. Where do we sign?

Toyota MR2: £1,995Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

The Mk3 version of the MR2 is the last one Toyota built and is therefore the most sensible choice if you intend to use it everyday. Unless you want to carry any luggage, that is. There are dozens of similarly priced MR2 for sale on Auto Trader, but this has strong appeal.

Silver over red is a classic combination, while the MOT history makes for good reading. Winter is a good time to buy a roadster, so get haggling.

BMW 328i: £895Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

A gallery on cheap fast cars – ideal territory for the BMW 328i and 330i. Or so you might think. Sadly, a few minutes desktop research suggests that many of the cars on sale haven’t exactly been treated to a pampered lifestyle.

Which is why we’re proposing a 328i convertible. The chances are it will have led a more relaxed life, while the seller claims it comes with full dealer history. The one downside is that it needs a new roof. But look on the bright side: it’s only £895.

Saab 9-5 Aero: £1,695Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when Saabs were driven by nice people. You always knew where you stood with Mr Saab (the majority were driven by men). Buying a Saab from a main dealer or directly from a seller was a pleasurable experience.

Sadly, those days have gone, not least because the majority of cars have fallen into banger territory. But gems do exist, like this 2004 Saab 9-5 HOT Aero. The description reads like it has been written by a seller who’s rather reluctant to part with the car. This is always a good thing.

Volvo V70 T5: £1,999Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

From one desirable Swede to another: this Volvo V70 T5 ticks many boxes. With acres of space and 250hp on tap, it’s little wonder they were firm favourites of the nation’s traffic cops.

The gold paint gives this 2002 added stealth appeal, while the specification and seven-seat factor means this could be all the family car you could ever need. Few cars offer such a compelling mix of space, comfort and pace.

Ford Puma: £1,495Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Again, the Ford Puma isn’t the fastest car on the planet, but its chassis means you can cover ground rather quickly. If it’s not the best front-wheel-drive coupe ever built, there can’t be too many cars above it.

A price tag of £1,495 is punchy for a Puma, but sub-£1k cars tend to be high-milers with more than a little body rot. Which means paying extra for a 26,000-mile car might be a wise investment. Green isn’t the Puma’s nicest colour, but the 1.7-litre Yamaha engine is the one to have

SEAT Toledo V5: £1,000Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

You want a sleeper? Have we got a sleeper for you. The SEAT Toledo V5 is essentially a Volkswagen Golf V5 in a more sombre and less desirable suit. All of which means nobody will know you’re packing a 170hp 2.3-litre five-cylinder engine until you disappear into the distance.

This 2002 car has covered 131,605 miles, which won’t be an issue if it has been serviced correctly. There’s an old-school performance saloon feel to the Toledo V5 and we’re very tempted to make an enquiry about this stealth weapon.

Audi TT: £1,850Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

In standard 180hp form, the 1.8-litre Audi TT is more pose than power, but with 225hp on tap, things get a little more interesting. There are many TTs available for this sort of price, so you can afford to be selective.

This 2001 example looks to be in good condition. As for its performance credentials: bank on a 0-60mph time of 6.6 seconds.

Fiat Stilo Abarth: £1,550Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, the Fiat Stilo Abarth could be the car for you. Contemporary reviews criticised the Italian warm hatch for looking a little plain, but to our eyes it has aged rather well. You’ll also be able to enjoy the soundtrack from a 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine.

Sadly, the engine only manages to rustle up a mere 170 raging horses, delivering a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds. On the plus side, this 2003 car has been treated to some subtle modifications and looks to be in good order.

Ford SportKa: £1,995Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

Much like the aforementioned Ford Puma, it might be worth spending a little extra to secure a good SportKa. Rust is the big issue, while many cars will have been well used and abused. Find a tidy SportKa and you’ll be rewarded with a terrific junior hot hatch.

A price knocking on the door of £2,000 is bold, but it’s a late, 2008 car with a mere 40,000 miles on the clock. What’s more, we can’t see any tell-tale signs of rust on the wheelarches and around the filler cap. Looks great in red, too.

Cadillac CTS 3.6: £1,990Performance per pound: cheap fast cars for sale NOW

And so to our final car: the curveball, or leftfield choice. This time we’re offering something American: the full-fat Cadillac CTS 3.6-litre V6. Check out the performance figures: 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 145mph. Best we gloss over the 24.4mpg and 275g/km CO2 figures.

As you’d expect, the Cadillac CTS is a rare sight in the UK, with many customers preferring the more economical, but rather lethargic 2.8-litre version. But if straight line speed and the ability to waft floats your boat, a CTS might be an inspired (if brave) choice.

Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500Want a new car but don’t want to spend more than £1,500? We’ve assembled a list of budget cars that won’t break the bank. In fact, they cost less than a typical downpayment on a PCP deal. Ever helpful, we’ve selected two cars from each class, kicking off with a pair of bargain MPVs.

MPV: Vauxhall Zafira

Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500Why you want it: the innovative ‘Flex 7’ seating is brilliant; prices start from £500; it’s based on the Astra, giving it compact dimensions.

Why you don’t: it’s about as cool as a centre crease on a pair of jeans; the rearmost seats are suitable for small children only; it will look and feel very tired.

MPV: SEAT AlhambraBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: it’s a proper seven-seater, feels like a car to drive; cheaper than the Volkswagen Sharan and Ford Galaxy.

Why you don’t: you might have to live with a few battle scars; not immune to mechanical problems; feeling dated now.

SUV: Subaru ForesterBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: part estate, part SUV; superb on-road manners; great for light off-roading; excellent reliability; flat-four engine.

Why you don’t: not exactly cheap to run; styling is a little oddball for some; may have led a tough life.

SUV: Honda CR-VBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: two decades on, it retains a strong image; one of the original crossovers; typical Honda reliability; good value for money.

Why you don’t: original CR-V was petrol only; not exactly cheap to run; not a true off-roader.

Estate: Skoda OctaviaBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: massive 580-litre load space; cheaper to buy than a Golf estate; excellent range of engines and specs; people love Skoda dealers.

Why you don’t: more mechanical gremlins than you might think; interior is showing its age; to some, the badge is still a problem, which is their loss.

Estate: Ford MondeoBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: brilliant to drive; cavernous boot; cheap to buy; plenty of choice; TDCi engines blend performance with economy.

Why you don’t: that TDCi engine can be troublesome; many will have been run on a budget.

Family hatchback: Volkswagen GolfBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: it’s a Golf; for this budget you can buy a Mk3 or a Mk4; solid build quality, plenty of choice; excellent interior; strong image.

Why you don’t: not as reliable as the image makes out; Mk3 and Mk4 are stodgy and not that great to drive; image keeps prices relatively high.

Family hatchback: Ford FocusBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: still looks great today; brilliant to drive; 1.6 and 2.0 Zetec are terrific drivers’ cars; plenty of choice; cheap to run.

Why you don’t: many tired examples out there; lacks the image of the Golf, although this could be a positive.

Supermini: Skoda FabiaBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: it’s a Volkswagen Polo in a cheaper suit; well built; good range of engines and specs; vRS is a fast and frugal hot hatch.

Why you don’t: dull styling; interior is showing its age; Volkswagen Polo will look better on your driveway, if that kind of thing matters to you.

Supermini: Honda JazzBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: innovative and spacious interior; many will have led an easy life; cheap to run; utterly reliable if well maintained.

Why you don’t: people will think you’ve given up on life; pint-size MPV styling; ride is a little unforgiving; incapable of travelling at more than 42mph on a B-road, probably.

City car: Ford KaBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: one of the greatest city cars ever built; brilliant fun to drive; cute styling; cheap to buy and run; plenty of choice.

Why you don’t: rust is a menace, rendering some cars beyond economical repair; original 1.3-litre not without issues; dated interior; cheap build, and it shows.

City car: Fiat PandaBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: a few million Italians can’t be wrong; fun to drive; narrow dimensions make it brilliant in the city; good size cabin; chic styling.

Why you don’t: not the biggest boot in the world; interior might be showing its age; split-folding rear seats aren’t standard.

Sports car: Mazda MX-5Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: because it’s the definitive affordable sports car; Lotus Elan for a new generation; choice; value for money.

Why you don’t: beware of imports without history; hardly exclusive; rust is a big issue; taller drivers might struggle to get comfortable.

Sports car: MG FBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: more practical than an MX-5; mid-engined, plenty of choice; far better to drive than it’s given credit for; excellent parts and specialist support.

Why you don’t: sorry, MG owners, but we have to mention head gasket failure; build quality is patchy; you might wish you had bought a Mazda MX-5.

Convertible: Saab 9-3Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: gilt-edged image; solid build quality; supremely comfortable; Saab’s demise means prices remain depressed; it’s a Saab, so safety is guaranteed.

Why you don’t: not particularly great to drive; lack of specialist support; parts and servicing can be expensive.

Convertible: Peugeot 306Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: just look at it, the Pininfarina-styled 306 has aged beautifully; surprisingly practical; excellent ride quality; good value for money.

Why you don’t: some of the electrics might not work; interior won’t have aged well; some tatty examples out there.

Saloon: Honda AccordBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: because it’s probably the most reliable car in the world; even older Accords offer total reliability; many cars will have led an easy life; premium feel.

Why you don’t: high-mileage diesel engines could be troublesome; not the biggest boot in the world; firm ride, especially when on larger alloy wheels.

Saloon: Toyota AvensisBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: because Colin in accounts drives one.

Why you don’t: because Colin in accounts drives one.

Executive: BMW 5 SeriesBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: strong image; superb to drive; has aged beautifully; a range of brilliant engines.

Why you don’t: some quality issues; hold their value extremely well, so prices are relatively high; parts and servicing can be expensive.

Executive: Audi A6Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: superb build quality; currently the best badge in the business; superb interior; classy styling.

Why you don’t: not as great to drive as a 5 Series; even more sought-after than a 5 Series, so prices are high.

Luxury: BMW 7 SeriesBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: because the godfather of Bangernomics, James Ruppert, owned one; you can pretend to be James Bond; sense of genuine luxury; great to look at.

Why you don’t: because you’re not James Bond; you can’t control it via your Sony Ericsson brick-phone; there’s a lot to go wrong.

Luxury: Lexus LS400Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: it’s a “Japanese Mercedes”, Lynn.

Why you don’t: it’s a “Japanese Mercedes”, Lynn.

Coupe: Ford PumaBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: one of the best small coupes ever built; it’s based on a Fiesta, so parts and servicing are cheap; Steve McQueen drove one, of sorts; cheap as chips.

Why you don’t: rust; some flaky examples in the classifieds; 1.4 and 1.6 not as good as the 1.7.

Coupe: Vauxhall CalibraBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: excellent styling; four-seat practicality; on the verge of classic status?

Why you don’t: prices appear to be on the up; it’s a Vauxhall; other 90s coupes are sharper to drive.

Classic: Austin MetroBangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: undervalued part of British motoring history; cheap to buy; excellent starter classic; Princess Diana owned one; full of character.

Why you don’t: rust is a big issue; potential issues with the Hydragas suspension; the looming cloud of head gasket failure; gearbox problems.

Classic: Saab 9000Bangers, no cash: budget cars for £1,500

Why you want it: supremely comfortable; extremely well built, non-turbo versions are very cheap to buy; everyday classic.

Why you don’t: parts can be expensive; non-turbo versions are rather sluggish; not exactly cheap to run.

50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

50 cars you can buy with 0% financeIf you’re in the market for a new car, you might be tempted by a 0% finance deal. Over the course of the agreement, typically between 12 and 60 months, you’ll pay no more than the original list price. We’ve included typical examples, but you should consult your local dealer for more information. In the case of a Personal Contract Plan (PCP) deal, you’ll be restricted to a set number of miles per annum, while a hire purchase agreement lifts the restriction. Read on to discover 50 cars you can buy with 0% finance.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Progression50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The Alfa Romeo MiTo might not be the best supermini you can buy, but it’s one of the best looking. Right now, Alfa Romeo is offering a £2,250 deposit contribution and 0% finance on the TwinAir Progression. All you need to do is find £999 for the deposit and £159 a month for 48 months. At the end of the contract, you can decide whether or not to pay the £3,813 final fee.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

There’s a similar offer available on the Giulietta 1.4 TB. If you can find £1,549 for the deposit, Alfa Romeo will add £2,500 to the pot, leaving you with 48 monthly payments of £199. As with all the promotions featured here, there’s an expiry date, which in this case is the end of September 2016.

BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupe50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

How much of your disposable income are you prepared to spend on a car? If the answer is £559 for 48 months, the BMW 640d M Sport Gran Coupe is within reach. Your deposit is £8,979, but BMW will add a chunky £11,189.65, making a total deposit of £20,168.65. You can drive up to 10,000 miles per year and the optional final payment is £19,593.35. Tempted?

Citroen C350 cars you can buy with 0% finance

There’s a new Citroen C3 waiting in the wings, so the French company will be doing everything it can to shift stock of the outgoing model. Whether you opt for a hire purchase deal or PCP plan, there are a range of 0% finance offers to be found. Question is: would it be better to wait for the new model?

Citroen C4 Cactus50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The new C3 will feature Airbumps, but the C4 Cactus got there first. Take out a hire purchase agreement on the funky compact crossover and you can take advantage of 0% finance. An example is the mid-range C4 Cactus Flair with 1.2-litre petrol engine and metallic paint, which is yours for £289.75 per month. Deposit is £6,954 and at the end of three years, the Cactus is yours.

Citroen C450 cars you can buy with 0% finance

There are many offers available on the C4, including the entry-level Feel with a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine for £449.38 a month. This is spread across 36 monthly payments, with a deposit of £1,797.32. Total amount payable: £17,975. In three years, the car is yours.

Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, for something a little larger, you might want to consider the Citroen C4 Picasso or the seven-seat Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Both have been refreshed and are available with 0% finance. The mid-spec C4 Picasso Flair, with a 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel engine, could be yours for £683.61 a month after a £500.04 deposit. Hefty payments, but in three years the car is yours.

Citroen Berlingo Multispace50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

If practicality is your thing, the Citroen Berlingo Multispace might be right up your street. The monthly repayments start from £315 a month, based on the entry-level Feel with a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine. Payments are spread over 36 months with a deposit of £315.

Fiat Tipo50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The paint has barely dried on the new Fiat Tipo, but it’s already available with 0% finance. The five-door hatchback offers air conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and steering wheel mounted audio controls as standard, with monthly payments starting from £159. That’s based on a 24-month PCP deal on the Tipo Easy with a 95hp 1.4-litre petrol engine. Optional final payment: £6,589.

Hyundai i10 Premium 1.050 cars you can buy with 0% finance

There’s a refreshed Hyundai i10 waiting in the wings, but if you can’t wait until the Paris Motor Show, there’s 0% finance available on selected models. Order the generously equipped Premium 1.0 and – assuming you can find £3,648.50 for the deposit – you can drive away for 25 monthly payments of £86. Optional final payment: £5,062.50.

Hyundai i2050 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, the larger i20 Premium 1.2 supermini could be yours for 25 monthly payments of £145. The PCP deal is based on 8,000 miles and a deposit of £5,079.50. Upgrade to the Premium SE 1.2 and the monthly payments increase to £153 a month, with a deposit of £5,284. An extra £8 a month secures heated front seats, heated steering wheel, parking sensors and a panoramic sunroof.

Hyundai Tucson S 1.7 CRDi Blue Drive50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The Hyundai Tucson is a one of our favourite mid-sized SUVs and, whisper this, we’d probably choose it over the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai. To take advantage of 0% finance, you’re going to need to part with at least £7,207.50 for the deposit, with an optional final payment of £10,167.50 in 25 months time. The monthly payments are a manageable £130.

Jaguar XJ Luxury SWB50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Here’s a 0% finance offer you probably weren’t expecting. The Jaguar XJ Luxury SWB 275PS is available for £598.86 a month, based on a 37-month agreement and a deposit of £9,999. On the plus side, Jaguar will add £7,420 to the pot – a fairly significant reduction on the £58,690 list price. That said, the £19,712 optional final payment is similarly weighty.

Jeep Cherokee 2.2 Overland50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

If you fancy taking your 0% finance car off road, look no further than the Jeep Cherokee 2.2 Overland. The 200hp off-roader features a nine-speed automatic transmission and is available for £559 a month. As a bonus, you won’t even have to find the money for a deposit, with Jeep contributing £3,000 to the deal. Nice.

Jeep Renegade 2.0 Longitude50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, if you fancy something a little smaller, the Jeep Renegade – which is based on the same platform as the Fiat 500X – is available for a more manageable £175 a month. It’s swings and roundabouts, mind, because you will need to find £6,299 for the deposit. On the plus side, Jeep will add a further £2,000, leaving you to decide whether or not to pay the optional £12,171 in two years time.

Kia Soul Urban50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The Kia Soul Urban offers 17-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, reversing camera, Bluetooth and a unique ‘Urban’ styling pack. If you’re willing to pay 50% of the £15,500 list price, Kia will offer the remainder on a 0% finance deal.

Mazda 250 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The Mazda 2 is one of the nicest cars to drive in the supermini sector, not to mention one of the sharpest looking. Right now, Mazda is offering a range of six different 0% finance deals on selected models, with repayments starting from £119 a month.

Mazda 350 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, the Mazda 3 family hatchback is also available with 0% finance…

Mazda 650 cars you can buy with 0% finance

As is the Mazda 6. For example, the SE model, which features 17-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, DAB radio and a 7-inch touchscreen, is yours for £219 a month. You just need to find a deposit of £4,190.50 and be aware that mileage is limited to 9,000 per annum.

MG350 cars you can buy with 0% finance

If the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa are a little too obvious for you, the MG3 is worth a look. Prices start from £8,399 and, right now, you can take advantage of 0% finance and free insurance for a year.

MG GS50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, the new MG GS SUV is available with 0% finance over 36, 48 or 60 months. Monthly payments for the entry-level Explore start from £199.93 after a £2,999 deposit. You also get a five-year warranty and a £250 Hilton Hotel voucher.

MG623_0%_finance

The MG6 might be getting a little long in the tooth, but it is possible to drive away in a S model for £186.60 a month. This is spread over 60 months and after a £2,799 deposit. Because it’s 0% finance, you’ll pay no more than the £13,995 list price and – at the end of the agreement – the car is yours.

Nissan Micra Acenta 1.224_0%_finance

Next we bring you half a dozen 0% finance deals on selected Nissan models, kicking off with the smallest of the group – the Micra 1.2 Acenta. The on-the-road price is £11,670, with Nissan chipping in with an £850 deposit. All you need to do is find £3,958.50 up front and – after 37 payments of £89.00 and an optional final payment of £3,657.50 – the car is yours.

Nissan Note Acenta 1.225_0%_finance

There’s a similar deal available on the Nissan Note 1.2 Acenta. Nissan will add £1,150 to your deposit of £4,626, which brings the monthly payments down to £109. You’ll have to decide if you want to pay the £4,085 final payment in three years time.

Nissan Juke DIG-T 115 Acenta26_0%_finance

The Nissan Juke crossover remains as popular as ever, with a range of tempting finance offers to encourage people to get behind the wheel. Buy a DIG-T 115 Acenta and Nissan won’t contribute anything to the deposit, meaning you’ll have to find the entire £4,485.75 up front. There are 37 monthly repayments of £149 and an optional final payment of £5,961.25.

Nissan Pulsar DIG-T 115 Acenta27_0%_finance

Nissan is a little more generous with the Pulsar, throwing £1,000 into the deposit pot. You’ll need to find a further £4,780.85 and £149 a month for three years. The Pulsar might not be the best choice of family hatchback, but it does offer acres of rear legroom.

Nissan Qashqai dCi 110 Acenta28_0%_finance

The Qashqai remains Britain’s favourite crossover and is therefore the car to beat in a fiercely competitive sector. A Qashqai dCi 110 Acenta costs £21,960, or 37 payments of £199 after a total deposit of £5,700.04, of which Nissan will contribute £500. The optional final payment is a hefty £9,095.96.

Nissan X-Trail dCi 130 Acenta50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

We conclude the Nissan 0% finance extravaganza with the X-Trail SUV. The two-wheel drive, five-seat dCi 130 Acenta costs £25,545. Nissan will add £500 to your £5,403.13 deposit to deliver monthly payments of £229. In three years you can decide whether or not to pay the final payment of £11,397.87.

Peugeot 300850 cars you can buy with 0% finance

A new Peugeot 3008 will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show and – on the face of it – the new version is likely to be much improved. Gone is the frumpy MPV styling, in favour of a more SUV-like appearance. It makes it hard to recommend the outgoing model, but Peugeot – keen to shift old stock – is offering 0% finance on selected models. For example, the Active 1.2 PureTech in Bianca White is available for 48 payments of £334.00.

Peugeot 50850 cars you can buy with 0% finance

As the world continues its love affair with crossovers and SUVs, cars like the Peugeot 508 are becoming dinosaurs. Which is why Peugeot is offering 0% on 508 saloons and estates. The 508 saloon in Active trim and with the 1.6-litre BlueHDi engine is available for £376 a month over four years. You’ll need to find £4,504.88 for the deposit, although Peugeot will add a further £500.

Peugeot 500850 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Like the 3008, there’s a new Peugeot 5008 on the way, which once again ditches the ‘plain Jane’ styling in favour of something altogether more crossovery. If you can’t wait for the new 2017 Peugeot 5008, there’s a range of 0% finance deals available on the outgoing model. Our advice would be to wait for the new model, or negotiate an excellent deal.

Renault Clio50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Fancy a Renault Clio? The 1.2 Play is available with 0% finance over two years when you pay £2,306 for the deposit. Your friendly Renault dealer will add £1,000 plus an extra £500 if you take a test drive before 26th September.

Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Can’t wait for the new Renault Scenic – you can buy the current Scenic and Grand Scenic with 0% finance. The Scenic Dynamique Nav dCi 110 is available for £430 a month, spread over 48 months. The Renault dealer handles the deposit and in five years the car is yours.

Skoda Citigo 3 Door Colour Edition50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

You can always rely on Skoda to deliver a range of strong offers. We kick off with the Citigo Colour Edition, which is available with a range of 0% finance deals and a number of different deposits. In all cases, Skoda will contribute £500 towards your finance deposit and – if you order before the end of September – there’s an additional £500 towards your fuel bill.

Skoda Fabia 1.0 Colour Edition50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

It’s a similar story with the Skoda Fabia. Based on a 42-month, 35,000-mile agreement, Skoda will give you £500 towards your deposit and £500 of free fuel. Opt for a mid-range deposit of £1,395 and the monthly payments are £189, with an optional final payment of £5,259.60.

Skoda Rapid Sport/Rapid Spaceback50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The Rapid and Rapid Spaceback are the less illustrious members of the Skoda range, which is why the finance deals are even more generous. Skoda is offering a minimum £2,500 part-exchange on your old vehicle and £500 of free fuel when you order before 30th September. And, yes, there’s 0% finance, too.

Skoda Octavia50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

You might think that Skoda is reserving the 0% finance deals for the cheaper, lower trim level models, but you’d be wrong. The Skoda Octavia vRS hatch is available for £289 a month after a total deposit of £4,146.59, of which Skoda will contribute £1,000. What’s more, you’ll even get £500 of free fuel. Still want that Golf GTI?

Skoda Superb50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

A 0% PCP deal isn’t available on the Skoda Superb, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a seriously tempting offer. Opt for a more traditional hire purchase agreement and you can take advantage of 0% finance and £500 of free fuel. There’s a minimum 30% deposit to pay, with a contract ranging from 12 to 36 months. At the end of the agreement, the car is yours. Sorted.

Skoda Yeti50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

It’s been on sale a while, but the Skoda Yeti remains one of our favourite crossovers. Right now, Skoda will contribute £1,000 towards the deposit and offer £500 of free fuel if you order before the end of September.

Toyota Yaris50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Toyota is offering % finance on new retail orders of Yaris (excluding Active grade) until the end of September, based on a two-year PCP plan with 0%-37% deposit. On a Yaris Design – which features cruise control, reversing camera and DAB radio – the monthly payments are £159.

Toyota Auris50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

In common with the Yaris, the 0% finance deals on the Auris are also available on the hybrid models. Typical example: a deposit of £6,640.50 on an Auris Design results in 24 monthly payments of £219.

Toyota RAV450 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Alternatively, for £199 a month, you could drive away in a Toyota RAV4 Business Edition. The deposit is £7,874.25 and – in common with all the Toyota deals – there’s an optional final payment in 24 months time.

Toyota Verso Icon50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Fancy a seven-seat Toyota Verso Icon with 0% finance? The MPV features Toyota’s clever Easy Flat seat system and is priced at £22,295. Find a deposit of £6,240 and you’ll pay just £199 over three years.

Toyota Avensis Touring Sports Excel50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

“Just one look says premium quality”, says Toyota. The Avensis Touring Sports Excel is available with 0% finance over two years. You’ll need to find a deposit of £9,715.50 to bring the payments down to a manageable £239 a month.

Vauxhall Adam50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Vauxhall is offering up to five years 0% finance on the Vauxhall Adam, plus £500 of free fuel if you order between the 8th and 12th September 2016. Over 60 months, you’ll pay £159 for an Adam Jam 1.2, after a deposit of £2,799. In 2021, the car is yours.

Vauxhall Astra50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

The free fuel offer is also available on the Vauxhall Astra, but you’ll have to be quick, as it expires on the 12th September. On an Astra SRi and a 0% finance deal spread over 60 months, the deposit is £4,999 and the monthly payments are £219. As with all the offers mentioned here, this is just a typical example. Contact your local dealer for a tailored quote.

Vauxhall Cascada50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Remember the Vauxhall Cascada? The summer might be over, but if you’re looking to enjoy some warm autumn evenings, the topless Cascada might be right up your boulevard. The free fuel offer is available, along with 0% finance. Choose a term between 24 and 60 months and, at the end of the agreement, the car is yours.

Vauxhall Corsa50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

To some people, the idea of a owning a car at the end of the finance agreement is more appealing than a PCP deal. You can choose your deposit and a payment term between 24 and 60 months to suit you. The new Vauxhall Corsa is rather good and could be yours for less than £200 a month.

Vauxhall Mokka50 cars you can buy with 0% finance

There’s a new Vauxhall Mokka X on the way, but the current Mokka is available with 0% finance. Vauxhall’s Flexible Finance is a simple thing: you choose the car, deposit and length of agreement. What could be easier? Best of all – it’s 0% finance and you get £500 of free fuel.

Volvo XC6050 cars you can buy with 0% finance

Finding a 0% finance deal on a Volvo was never going to be easy, but we found one. The XC60 might not be as appealing as the new XC90, but the PCP offers are rather tempting. As a representative example, a D4 SE Nav is available for £299 per month, with a deposit consisting of £7,125 from you, £1,834 from the dealer and £1,500 from Volvo. After two years, the optional final payment is £15,675 and you’re limited to 10,000 miles per annum.

5 ways to save money on a new car

5 ways to save money on a new car

5 ways to save money on a new carSeptember is nearly upon us: the month of children returning to school, X Factor returning to our screens and, er, a registration-plate change.

If you’re keen to buy a new 66-plate car, follow our guide to get the best deal from your local dealer.

Buy the outgoing model5 ways to save money on a new car

Manufacturers replace their cars every six years on average, with facelifts half-way between – plus minor tweaks to specifications every year. Just like with phones and gadgets, some of us have to have the latest version. But cars don’t suddenly become irrelevant just because they’re not this year’s model.

If you’ve decided which car you want, do some research about how old it is. Is it due to be replaced? If so, use this as a negotiating point. The dealer will want to shift soon-to-be-outdated cars and might offer a big discounts if it’s about to be replaced.

Sell your part-ex car privately5 ways to save money on a new car

Unless the car you’re selling fits in with the dealer’s stock, they’re unlikely to put it on the forecourt. Instead, they’ll punt it on at auction at trade price – so don’t expect to get anywhere near a private-sale price if you have a part-exchange.

While there are companies that will buy your car for cash, they’re just as likely to sell your car through auction. That means they’re unlikely to offer more than a dealer for a part-ex. With more and more people buying via finance, the days of turning up cash-in-hand and expecting a huge discount are over.

Shop around5 ways to save money on a new car

In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to shop around. We do it with everything, from groceries to electrical appliances. So why not cars? Brokers such as DrivetheDeal.com can find you enormous savings on new cars, while Carwow.co.uk lets dealers ‘bid’ for your custom.

You might not feel comfortable buying a car online, but websites like these should give you an idea of the savings available. If it’s a new car and marginal savings are available online, the salesman at your local dealer won’t have a lot to play with either. Conversely, if larger discounts are available, ask your dealer to match them. They’ll probably be able to get very close.

Choose a petrol engine5 ways to save money on a new car

Diesel cars are being given an increasingly rough time. The Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal, along with an ongoing NOx emissions crackdown in London, means running a diesel could work out more expensive than you think. Add to that an increased likelihood to go wrong thanks to temperamental particulate filters a few years down the line, and you could well be much better off with a petrol – especially if you don’t cover high miles.

Petrols are generally cheaper than their diesel equivalents to buy when new, and bad press for diesels could mean they hold their value better long-term. Petrol fuel is also usually cheaper to buy, plus efficient downsized petrol engines can be just as cheap to run.

Be friendly5 ways to save money on a new car

Yes, it might sound odd, but it pays to be friendly towards the salesman. They want to build a rapport with you – and if you’re pleasant and honest with them, they’ll try their to best to get you a good deal. If you go in pretending to be a hardened negotiator, they’ll be less likely to play ball.

Be open about any deals you’ve seen elsewhere and give yourself plenty of time to negotiate. It’ll be more pleasant for all concerned if you visit during a quiet period with a couple of hours set aside – rather than trying to order a new car 10 minutes before closing time.