Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
I want: five-doors, diesel economy, everyday reliability, no surprise bills, preferably ABS and aircon. Not that bothered about miles - I'm doing probably less than 5k a year in it. But I only want to pay £1k-£2k. Am I a dreamer, or is it out there somewhere? Suggestions please...
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Humpy
Citroen ZX, a 306 in sheeps clothing. Probably lucky to find ABS and aircon since they were only options on the diesels but definitely available in your price range.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - No Do$h
Pretty much anything with a Daewoo badge.

You didn't feature styling or refinement in your list of wants.....
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
May be I should have mentioned style and refinement - still, beggars can't be choosers! Funnily enough the man at the garage mentioned Daewoos last weekend when I went sniffing, said they were sound motors but had low values because of low image.

Had thought about a ZX, Humpy, even a Xantia TD. Just worried about French 'lite' construction.

Both good options, though - anymore suggestions in same vein would be welcome (views on Astra TDs, anyone?).

Wot's everybody think about old (10-15yrs) 5 series with 100-150k on the clock? May be I'm dreaming again...

Morris Ox
Best buys for £1k-£2k - No Do$h
Wot's everybody think about old (10-15yrs) 5 series with 100-150k on
the clock? May be I'm dreaming again...

Uh-oh. It's thoughts like that resulted in my buying an Alfa 156 Sportwagon when I was originally looking at a Focus Estate or a V40.

Do it!

Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
Other than the fact it might have been involved in a drive-by shooting in a dodgy part of town, is there anything dumb in going down the old prestige route, considering circumstances I outlined above?

Or am I best being sensible and boring?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Maz
It depends on you really.

If you are happy to spend a couple hours a week under a bonnet, definitely go for older and higher quality. Generally, the older a car is the easier it is to understand and fix, plus parts will be very cheap and available from a breakers.

Don't buy a £1500 BMW and then take it to the main dealers for a £600 service, like a poor misguided friend did. He later commented on how polite they were whilst thinking he was an idiot.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Pugugly {P}
Cavalier...late M or N plate. Cheap bits, solid build available in a variety of engine, body configs. As previously stated on this site just purchased a M plater for the Office runs into twilight zones. A load of backstreet experts...what more can I say. Well, how about above standard safety and security for the age !
Best buys for £1k-£2k - No Do$h
I think PU has just hit the nail (no pun on the cavalier intended) on the head. Cav is perfect for the job in hand. So much so that Daewoo rebadged it as the Espero!
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
I thought I'd escaped from Cavalierdom in the mid 90s...and here it is about to squeeze me in its reassuringly bland embrace again!

But is it to be the 1.7TD (reasonably econ, copes well with short, stop-start journeys) or a 1.6/1.8 petrol?

And can I hang a jacket in the back?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Dynamic Dave
The only thing that let the Cavalier down was the lack of air con as standard. The only models with it fitted were the Diplomat and CDX, AFAICR. The Diplomat also had leather, on the CDX is was an optional extra.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - davie dodds
Why not buy a Mondeo? Great to drive, very comfortable and cheap to run (and buy if you shop in the right places). Not advisable to go for a diesel, but my 1.8 petrol does mid 30s on average.

I'm on my second, a 98R 1.8LX bought 18 months ago for a little over £2k, complete with FFSH, aircon and the abs you're after. Admittedly it had done 100k but (so far) there have only been minor probs.

Hoping to trade up to something else soon so trying to offload it if you're interested....
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
Thought about Mondeo (not least because HJ says it's a solid bet) but having seen what a large number of short journeys did to my wife's Civic 1.4 (i.e., crap economy, pinking, bring on the Redex) I'm worried my 10-20 miles a day would do the same to any petrol motor.

Stone age diesel aside, I do like the idea of a Mond. What's to watch out for on a high miler?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Dynamic Dave
If you want the ABS, the early Mondeo's never had is as standard kit. From "M" reg onwards, it was standard kit on the Cavalier though.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
I want the maximum kit I can get but reliable and something reasonably safe with it.

I guess I've got plenty of tin round me in a Cav, but I drove a 1.8LS for a short while in mid 90s and remember it being right up there with a Corolla on the interior/dynamic front.

Back to beggars can't be choosers again, I guess.

Still got this mad idea about an old 5 series buzzing around inside my head, though...

Best buys for £1k-£2k - DavidHM
Probably a Mondeo 2.0 Ghia then. Handles okay, not particularly high quality but fairly tough, modern and safe, with ABS as standard. (Mark I Mondeo LXs almost never had it, GLXs from 94, Si and Ghia I think all the time). Not too thirsty and should be available in good nick on an M or N plate within your budget for not too much haggling, or for about a grand on an L with high mileage.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
Still angling towards a diesel, guys, because of the economy/kiss the cat goodbye scenario in a low miles lifestyle.

Not seen anyone shout up for a VW TDi, then again their prices on Autotrader site do seem a bit comedy to me.

So which is best? Citroen ZX TD, Cav TD, Mondeo 1.8 petrol or my fantasy old 5 series?

Or summat completely different? I dunno...
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Pugugly {P}
If you want to be hated on the road and in the BR buy a BM. Otherwise gor for the Cav. I have driven the Cav all week ("shakedown") and the response from other motorists is just to ignore me - different story in the Beemer. Same driver, same roads, same driving habit,,,just clad in a different shell.
Best buys for £1k-£2k - DavidHM
ZX TD is a great car, tough, fun to drive (I learned in a non-turbo and still rate the handling), spacious, practical and dirt cheap. Unfortunately the odds of finding one with ABS are minimal and I don't think air con was even offered. If you're not too scared of the hydraulics, a Xantia VSX TD would probably suit you better.

VW TDis are great, but try finding a passable one for this money. You might find a 94 Passat, but it's a bit of a barge really, though great if you want masses of space and not much else.

If you want a diesel, I'd take a Cav CDX TD - shouldn't be too hard to find with Autotrader, over a Mondeo. To be honest, cat failure is possible but it's only a couple of hundred quid at most and far less than you'd be likely to spend in extra running costs going for the fantasy BM.

Overall, a petrol Mondy would still be my choice but if you want a BMW, go for it, as long as it's a 520 or 525 24v (H plate or newer).
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
One last thought here.

I haven't heard anybody mention anything Japanese (Daewoo's nearest, but it's GM in drag).

Is it because Jap cars were never designed to grow old, or because they've got no cred with weekend spanners?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
Have been kicking the tyres of a few Cavaliers and there seem to be tons of 1.8/2.0s around in the 80-120k band.

Not so many diesels though. Anybody got any info on what the 1.7TD was like? Is it a GM unit or an Isuzu?

What's it like for fuel consumption and what's the line on belt changes?

Have seen a Primera TD. Anyone got the gen on these?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - bazza
Was going to suggest an old Primera. I've heard only good things about them. But I believe the old TD is a bit of a nail and is belt driven, whereas the petrols are nice motors and chain drive (at least the newer ones are). The Primeras I've driven have been first rate drivers cars.
RE the Cavs, I think they are Isuzu units.

Best buys for £1k-£2k - No Do$h
Yeah, the Cav diesel is an Isuzu lump.

If you find a Primera D it is bound to be an ex mini-cab. No private punters bought 'em. I can't help but feel you want someone to say "buy the beemer!"

Well, if you really want one, "buy the beemer!". Just don't come to me with the bills. And yes, I did go with my heart and no, I haven't regretted it yet. Not that I would tell you lot if I did!

Best buys for £1k-£2k - bafta
*Not that I would tell you lot if I did!*
Now, ND, do you not appreciate our sardonic humour, wit and repartee?
Best buys for £1k-£2k - Morris Ox
Spot on there, ND - the Primera was white! Didn't ask about origins but it looked either in good nick or very well prepared. Don't remember any screw holes in the bumper but didn't look.

Reckon I've got an argument on my hands over the Beemer cos of the bills. What's a 525 tds like for juice anyone? And how does the body hold up on an F/G/H plater?

Best buys for £1k-£2k - DavidHM
Body's not bad on these cars but there's no such thing as a 525 tds before a K. Rust is usually only a problem on the back arches (sometimes) or where there's been accident damage, which is to be avoided.

The cheapest diesel 5 in Autotrader is a 98k M plater at £2950, a bargain compared to the next, a 92K with 175k and LHD for £3000.

Value my car