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I have £1000 to spend on a car, what is your advice?

My car has just been written-off (via an accident that wasn't my fault) and I need to buy a new car. I have a £1000 settlement and can also afford to get a loan of up to £2500. I'd rather not get a loan (or perhaps a smaller one) if possible, but I'm also nervous of getting an old car. I don't want anything flashy - I just want something for short journeys that is cheap to run and, most importantly, is reliable. What do you think would be the right amount to spend?

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£1000 gets you a perfectly acceptable runabout as long as you're not bothered about having the latest model. Buy on condition rather than anything else. Private sellers are better than traders at this price, as long as you're careful and know what to look out for. I'd be looking for something like a Honda Civic, ideally being sold by a caring private seller who has owned the car for a number of years and has lots of receipts for regular maintenance.
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