Recommend a small, reliable car for under £1000?

My granddaughter's boyfriend managed to upend her Micra and she is now looking for a sensible replacement. She is keen on a Fiesta but her mother and I, who will be funding and thus have the last say, think that a Japanese make, ie Toyota, Honda, Nissan etc, would be a better choice, as they are extremely reliable. The Micra didn't give one day's problems in its 10 years or so. The car must be under £1000, otherwise no strings. Your advice would be extremely welcome.

Asked on 10 August 2013 by RS, via email

Answered by Honest John
The Yaris is the best in this class, but UK Yaris' are not Japanese. They are made in France. The problem is that the Yaris' reputation is so good that the cars are very expensive. She'll get better value in a Fiesta 1.25 (NOT a 1.3). Just check very carefully for rust in the rear wings, sills, doors and doorframes, particularly the 'A' pillars.
Similar questions
I have the opportunity of purchasing a Ford Fiesta 1.4 with 44,000 on the clock. It's a 2001 and the vendor has owned it from new. The purchase would be for my granddaughter to learn to drive. Would this...
My mechanic says that all modern cars are trouble, so I now long for an older and really well-made car with a dash clock that I can look at anytime I like. I'm now considering a diesel W124 - maybe from...
I've been happy with my 2011 Nissan Pathfinder Tekna 2.5 manual, which has been owned from nearly new and has always been serviced by Nissan. I've become concerned by recent reports of failure of the rear...
Related models
Good handling and comfortable ride. Tidy design. Reasonably spacious. Plenty of choice second-hand. Good reputation for reliability.
 

Value my car