Tag Archive | "cheap cars"

Budget Buys

We all have dreams. Some are harmless fantasies others shouldn’t be written down at all. In the real world life shows us that dreams are just that and most of us have to live with the reality.

So it is with cars. If your unattainable object of desire is a Bugatti, or Maserati or, indeed, any car ending in ‘i’, don’t despair, because you can still enjoy your motoring in cars costing £500 or less.

There comes a point in a car’s life when it ceases to depreciate in value. Provided it is in generally good order there is no real reason why it shouldn’t go on providing reliable service. There’s plenty for sale on well known auction sites and apps like I Want A Car and there are even car sales sites specifically aimed at cars priced under £500.

How about the Audi 80? Built until 1996 with all the aero-dynamics of a house brick, it proved to be a reliable servant until superseded by the legendary A4. In fact, you can find early A4’s within this budget. Then there’s the Peugeot 306, which has always been the choice for people looking for an excellent car on a budget. Don’t forget the ubiquitous Clio and Corsa, the Fiesta and so many more. There’s loads of these little gems around. These compact cars have already developed a huge cult following due to their cheap-to-buy-and-run nature; and they are decent drivers too, once you get used to their peculiarities. With their cost-effective engines they are all decent economical choices. Be careful with your purchase and any of these, or similar, cars will do the job.

There are drawbacks of course. Aren’t there always? If you buy a cheap car don’t necessarily think the insurance will be cheap, so shop around. Undoubtedly, any car you buy for little money will have some niggles so it helps to have a bit of mechanical knowledge; but there is a lot an amateur can do with some borrowed tools, a Haynes manual and a bit of patience.

The point is that it is still possible to have the pleasure of car ownership when money’s tight. If you search diligently then hopefully you’ll find a clean example that you can wash and polish and take some pride in. You can of course, carry on dreaming but one day you are going to have to wake up.


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Low Cost Cars

Buying a new cooking pot with a fancy French name is likely to cost quite a lot of money but it hopefully will last for years. Buying one from somewhere like Quid Planet will be much cheaper but after a few weeks the handle will fall off and deposit your boiling vegetables all around the kitchen.

Similarly, if a chap goes out on a first date and believes that a bag of chips and an un-branded cola is the way forward, he shouldn’t be surprised if the evening ends in a manner not as desired, or – the night before – dreamed of. In short, cheap does not necessarily guarantee a good time.

Which all segues us nicely into singing the praises, or not, of the Dacia Sandero. You already know all about this car – the cheapest new car available in Britain today. The thing about this motor is that it goes along reasonably and holds its own on the motorway. It is not fast but rides adequately and is welled sized for a small family car. It has a decent sized boot and absolutely no pretensions.

This is a car for people who need a car but don’t really want one. They require it to start and go, be reasonably frugal, just generally do the job and last for ten years. There are plenty of people like that so it should sell well.

But what happens if you want a bit more? The entry-level Sandero does what it says on the tin but if you choose to select a version with more bells and whistles, the deal isn’t as clear cut. For the price of a top-of-the-range Sandero you can get the entry-level Ford Ka, Kia Rio or Hyundai i10 for slightly less money and they may have as standard some items that are extras on the Rumanian car.

For that sort of cash, buyers are getting close to the starting price for a Ford Fiesta – a far superior and more attractive car or alternatively would have enough money for a good used car well under two years old – a Fiesta again, or maybe the tried and tested VW Polo.

This seems to be the basic dilemma with the low-cost car sector. It shows that manufacturers are beginning to see the long term effects that recession and high taxation are having on customers. Even FIAT are considering reviving the Innocenti name with a low cost car built away from Europe. This is all good for buyers who just want some wheels but isn’t so good for the way in which cars are seen as lifestyle choices that bring a bit pf pleasure and luxury to our lives.

The idea here is not to denigrate cheap cars. They have their place on the forecourt. The basic Dacia Sandero is a decent car that is brilliant value for money but, like a cheap date, is never going to set your pulse racing.

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