Estate car recommendations? - owen
We've just bought a house that needs some renovation, and could do with a good, reliable vehicle for carting stuff about. I originally planned to get an old transit, but my car insurance company won't transfer the policy onto a commercial vehicle. I don't want to cancel the policy (and lose about 8 months NCB) so i thought about getting a big estate car instead.

So, does anybody have any recommendations? It needs to be very, very cheap (£300-£400 max!), be reliable and have plenty of load space. Image isn't important, and neither is fuel economy, since i won't be doing that much mileage - having said that, i'd prefer a deisel, but know nothing about buying a cheap deisel, so would be wary. My first thoughts have been an old Volvo estate (740, 940, 960, they all look the same to me?), Sierra estate, Pug 405 estate - any other ideas? I suppose a Jap car would be best (against all my principles, but that's being done to death on another thread!) but i can't think of many jap cars around that sort of price?

Not the most interesting thread i know, but any help will be greatly appreciated!!
Estate car recommendations? - Cambridge
I would get a diesel 405. The engine is superb (55 mpg, cruise at 80 all day) and very long-lived. Repairs are cheap.

I've got a 205 diesel with the same engine. It is 1990, 100k, runs and looks perfect. Probably worth £500 max. Insane world.

For that sort of money, a Volvo will be very knakcered...

Estate car recommendations? - mal
Owen, is you'r present car not big enough to tow a trailer.
For £3-400 you could kit yourself out with a tow-bar and decent s/h trailer to carry building materials.
It is much easier on the old back loading a trailer than it is loading a car.
And most importantly there is only the wheels and lighting to maintain!.
Estate car recommendations? - manwithtool
I always like the Vauxhall Carlton Estate, I think it looks good, parts are cheap, should be cheap to buy ?
Good point about the trailer though !! Probably best option, and a towbar can save quite a bit of damage (to you at least) in a rear shunt ( I speak from experience !)

Estate car recommendations? - DavidHM
If you could find a Toyota Camry estate, it would be a great luxobarge and might be achievable for that money. They're as rare as hen's teeth in a duckpond though. This one is in Taunton:

The fact is that at your budget you've got very little to choose from, because it's usually wise to spend a couple of hundred on preventative maintenance when buying a car anyway.

Probably the 405 is the best car you could get for the budget, although another slightly wacky choice would be a 505, which is extremely unpopular, but massive and has very soft suspension. Be flexible about petrol or diesel - what you want is the least tired car for your money, probably from an auction. Any diesel of that age (12 years plus) is likely to have quarter of a million on it, or at least look like it does, so petrol will probbaly actually cost you less.
Estate car recommendations? - owen
I'm in the process of buying a trailer cheaply off my brother in law, but the car is a 1989 1.1 Fiesta, which is not exactly in the prime of it's life. Presuming I could find enough metal to actually bolt the towbar to, i don't think it'll do the clutch much good, which is starting to judder. Also, with compression down in one cylinder, i think sticking a trailer on the back will pretty much see it off. This is why i'm tempted to get something a bit bigger and more powerful- and loads of these type of cars already have towbars fitted. The Pug 405 is sounding the best bet so far, especially since i've just bought a 306 as our "nice" car and am very pleased with it.
Estate car recommendations? - DavidHM
I'm considering getting rid of my car - I haven't made up my mind yet. It's a 1989 Renault 19 1.7 TXE with a towbar (!), leccy windows, alloy wheels, remote central locking, electric sunroof, split rear seats, power steering and a decent amount of loadspace.

It's had a new clutch and starter motor recently, plus plugs, air filter, oil changes and a cambelt change as service items.

There are a couple of very small dents, it's got 9 months' MoT (it passed the last one first time) but other than that it's as close to a minter as you can get at this age. It only has 84k on the clock and the only fault I can think of is that the fuel gauge doesn't work.

I'm in the London area by the way and I'd be looking for something at the top end of your budget. E-mail me on if you're interested.
Estate car recommendations? - rg

Mine went to 250K and could carry serious amounts of stuff. Roofbars make it even better.

I know of a good one in Teesside..

Estate car recommendations? - M.M
At £500 or less the actual car condition is more likely to be important rather than any wish list of models.

In Cambs a friend has just finished with a super Volvo 740 Estate Auto. 1987 but looks years newer in metallic green with leather seats and all the gear.

Less than £400 I think.

Estate car recommendations? - Bromptonaut
405 or BX, latter has he advantage that you can drop the suspension to load, but the disadvantage that the hydraulics may be knackered at your price range. Hydropneumatics are however much more reliable than urban myth suggests.
Estate car recommendations? - blank
There's a Toyota Camray estate abandoned in my work carpark. It's been there about 6 months, no tax, unlocked and the security boys seem to be doing little to get it shifted. If I'd known it was that rare I'dve rescued it sooner (well, maybe not)
Estate car recommendations? - rg
Excellent machine.

Check the archive, as I asked about these last year and noting bad came back at all.

Estate car recommendations? - Cyd
How about a Montego turbo diesel estate. These have no image and so can be picked up dirt cheap. They are also cheap to run & easy to maintain and make good tow cars (I used to tow the rally car with one). Do a search on - there's bound to be a few.
Estate car recommendations? - googolplex
Friend of mine had an old Passat diesel which was making good use of all the digits on the odometer... Loads of room.

Estate car recommendations? - Dave_TD
There's a white Carlton turbo diesel estate, K reg, for sale at £275 just up the road from me. Ex-taxi, mega miles, perfect as a van though. :-) Corner of Kempston Road and Cauldwell Walk, Bedford, in the daytime only.
Estate car recommendations? - owen
OK, the shortlist so far:

Carlton - Insurance group 12 is a bit steep (i'm only 23, and that's a little high for me, although it would depend on how cheap the car was)
Passat - Sounds a good bet, but not many around for this price
Peugeot 405 - Looking a definite favourite, especially being much lower insurance group than the others (6 for a 1.6, up to 9/10 for a 2.0)
Peugeot 505 - Not sure about parts availability
Still not had much input about the volvo option - i know they will drive terribly, but i could fit a small country in the back.
Sierra estate? Or shall i get my coat?

Thanks for the offers, but i'm near leicester, and won't be travelling far to get this car, as there's definitely not a shortage of cheap crap cars round here!
Estate car recommendations? - blank

Have a look at this site for loads of advice on buying a cheap and not-too-crap car

Estate car recommendations? - DavidHM
Hmmm.... Volvos are good, but if you can get a Passat it would probably be even better. Neither is exactly abundant though, so good luck. Your best bet for a cheap Volvo would probably be a 240, rather than a 740, although the 240 is probably slightly smaller it has even less image and therefore would be cheaper. £500 is the entry level for a working 740, and even then you'll be looking for ages.

Sorry if all the advice is a bit too vague, but like people have said, buy on condition, not model, spec or anything else.

At this money, there's nothing wrong with buying a Sierra, either - it's essentially a disposable car and you don't care if you get 6 months or 6 years out of the car. If you want a long term buy (3 years plus), start thinking 4 figures...
Estate car recommendations? - Soupytwist
Surely at this price range you'll be on third party only insurance ?
Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.
Estate car recommendations? - owen
I will be, but it can still be expensive, even with 3 years NCB. Also, from my past experience, insuring a cheap car TPO is sometimes MORE EXPENSIVE than TPFT, or at least the difference is negligible. I hate insurance companies...
Estate car recommendations? - owen
Well, after narrowing the search down i've bought a B reg Audi 100 Avant estate, 106k miles, 5 months MOT and tax, towbar and roof bars, for £200. A lovely comfortable car, and it's already shifted a good few tons of crap! Looks solid enough to last a good few years, but if it only lasts till the MOT's up it'll have paid for itself.

Many thanks to all who gave their advice, and if anyone's thinking about buying very cheap cars, the bangernomics site is excellent!

Value my car