Most fun for £15K - arnold2
OK, fun topic !

Will be replacing my (not fun, apart from vvti engine) (old shape) Corolla soon....

I need something that will carry 2.5 people (2 adults and small person), some luggage ... so no superminis and I but don't need the size of a Passat.... but must be fun to drive (do 35K a year) and not use up too much juice...

Current front runner is 140bhp Celica - just under £15K from

What else should I test drive ? !

Most fun for £15K - Phil G
Skoda Octavia vRS. 180bhp (can be chipped to crazy bhp numbers too) plus plenty of usuable space and a nice interior. Should still be good for 35mpg driven sensibly.

I've seen them as low as £13838 from a broker.
Most fun for £15K - RickyBoy
What he said!...
Most fun for £15K - Thommo
Yep, what he said. The Skoda is a beautiful car (IMHO) and beautifully made. Those in the know will nod sagely as you pass, those not in the know will ignore you and lets face it with all the cameras out these days you don't want to be too visible on the road.

Goes like a scalded cat, has four seats, and all for the price of a MINI. What more could you ask for?

Think Skoda are doing a lot of zero interest deals these days as well, so if you were planning to borrow the cash it might work out better to pay list from an official dealer and recoup the difference on the financing.
Most fun for £15K - arnold2
hmmm... I test drove a Octavia a while ago - not the turbo, mind, and I didn't think it handled very nicely... I think they stretched the Golf too much - a bit ponderous ... presumably the turbo is better, though ...
Most fun for £15K - CM
Seat Leon (maybe too small)
Honda Civic Type R
Most fun for £15K - peterb
What sorts of roads do you drive on?
Most fun for £15K - arnold2
I drove the Skoda on winding back roads (clear, though) - felt as if the back wasn't in tune with the front ... which makes sense if you see how much 'extra' Skoda added onto the Golf !

Type R - can I get one for under £15K ? What's the fuel consumption like ?

Leon is a thought - even the base model handles really well - the big diesel is a idea, or one of the turbo's...

... wonder how much the Golf 5 will be for the nicer versions... anyone heard ?

Hyundai is a bit thirstier than the Celica...

Rover/MG - reliability scares me there !
Most fun for £15K - tunacat
Initially thought of the Seat Ibiza Tdi sport, but you don't want a supermini. Still, the Leon's out soon/now with the 130hp diesel.

Civic Type R undeniably, if the ride's not too hard for you.
Seat Leon Cupra for 'easier', turboed performance.

I've read the 140hp Celica FEELS underpowered, and the Hyundai Coupe 2.0 is better to drive.

And for something that maybe doesn't initially spring to mind but is a heckuva drive, the MG ZS 180 ? (fuel costs not brilliant though)
Most fun for £15K - HisHonour {P}
Most fun for 15k? A 5 metre RIB with 150hp Honda outboard on the back. Magic!
Most fun for £15K - Phoenicks
Nice answer HH!!

Or perhaps a trip to bangkok......

Anyway, i rudely go off the point!

You can have a lot of fun whilst not foregoing depreciation and reliability.

Regards MG, Skoda, Seat and Hyundai i would have a big issue with depreciation, image and residuals. Also, none are class leaders, but the Skoda does very well. To term it 'Beautiful' is perhaps an offence under the trades descriptions act!

The Toyota is reliable, lowish depreciating car, but with a pretty low rent interior. It may need to be revved but thats half the fun of driving - using the engine/gearbox etc. A pretty sound choice.

The Civic Type R would be great and drive the deal can get a dealer to do it for £15.5k so nearly there.

Why buy brand new? For £15k you could get a 2nd hand a BMW M3 or C36/C43 AMG. Not much more on the insurance than the Honda but a lot quicker! Or maybe a Porsche 968 (see this months EVO). Rock solid residuals with good reliability. Also use a specialist as the servicing costs for these arent a lot more than mentioned new car dealers cost.

I would say brand new i'd go Civic. 2nd Hand it would have to be the M3. The figures of 155mph. 0-60 in 5.3 and one of the best engines in the world must be tempting...

hmmm. choices, choices.
Most fun for £15K - Mattster
Points to bear in mind if going for the:

Type-R - facelift version coming out in February with revised bumper, lights, grill. Has mirror-mounted indicators and 0-60 is improved from 6.8 to 6.6. I know 'cos I ordered one (expected on Wednesday) and then started hearing rumours. I got it (with air-con and metallic paint) for £16k, which is £200 more than Drive-the-Deal. I went for it anyway to give me a local to shout at if things go wrong. They also gave me 10% off servicing (parts and labour) so I figured I'd save(ish) the £200 eventually. Apparently there's also a more powerful Type-R on the horizon too...

Seat Leon - new model coming out (late I think) next year. However, that's a long time to wait and I would personally steer clear of the very first of a new model until teething problems are ironed out. I speak after a bad Alfa experience.

I chose the Type-R over the Leon (despite £2000 extra cost) due to reliability record of Honda, looks of Type-R, apparent race-breeding of Type-R as opposed to bolt-on-turbo-to-normal-car impression of Leon and concerns over VAG 1.8T engine. They're very different drives - Honda has 6 closely-spaced gears allowing you to do 40 in 6th easily and still pull away - Leon is more like normal (but fast!) car - 6th is not feasible until 60mph. Leon caught my attention quicker due to low-down burst of turbo. Both are much fun - test drive them!

Ashamed to say I didn't consider Skoda because of expected taunts from friends and 'cos I'm a snob and wanted something flash on the drive.
Most fun for £15K - Phil G
Octavia vRS residuals are excellent, apparently there is a 2 month waiting list.
Most fun for £15K - LongDriver {P}
Honda Accord 2.4 Type S - you can get one for a smidge over 15k
Most fun for £15K - arnold2
hmm.. Type R 'top of the pops' here... better wing it to my local Honda for a blast...

I think the M3 might be a bit thirsty... !

Might hang on for the Golf 5, though...
Most fun for £15K - SR
Not sure of your priorities or definition of "fun".

I would agree with the Civic Type R if you're looking for very sharp handling and a screamer of an engine. Trouble is, it really needs to be revved.

Personally, I'd trade the handling for a bit more comfort and practicality in the Leon Cupra/Octavia vRS, knowing I still have effortless performance available when I want it.
Most fun for £15K - Phoenicks
Just for info on the depreciation front, here are the suggested cars values from Parkers (not as good as Glasses and CAP but its all relative)

All cars based on 51 plate (2001) on above average condition with 20,000 miles (new rrp in brackets):

Skoda - (£15,100) - £10,135

Toyota - (16,890) - £13,530

Seat -(£14,995) - £9,550

Hyundai (old shape but only equal comparison) - (£16,299) - £10,630

Honda - (15,995) - £12,150.

So Toyota 1st, Honda 2nd, Skoda and Seat joint 3rd and Hyundai last.

Based on the fun requirement i'd go honda, but It proves that the skoda's really dont hold value that well (as any discounts now given will translate in to poorer residuals in future regardless of waiting list) and neither do seats.

hyundai's, well its not really surprising because the image is a lot better but still not great.
Most fun for £15K - arnold2
Depreciation is an issue for me, as I have to run this as a private purchase - and that's always the problem of any 'cheaper' car sold as a gti/turbo, etc.... of course, they are great s/h buys !

I wonder if the Seat with the 130bhp diesel would have better residuals - bet it would - wonder if it's 2004 emission standard ?

Still, think I prefer revs to grunt, so to speak, although 50mpg+ could be useful !

Most fun for £15K - Phoenicks
Well for a diesel there are some BMW's (320 or older 330d) that are available 2nd hand for around £15k that are great. depreciations is very good on them (an oxymoron me thinks) so maybe if you're happy with a dieel, give them a try.
Most fun for £15K - RichardW
I don't think the 1.9 TDi 130 is Euro 4 compliant, but according to Audi the new 2.0 TDI 140 fitted to the new A3 is. Don't know if that will filter back into existing VAG models, or if you will have to wait for the new models to come out.

Grunt makes for relaxed driving for to 90% of the time you are commuting / taxing M-i-L etc.

Revs makes for satisfying driving the other 10% of the time.

50mpg makes for smiles 100% of the time....


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Most fun for £15K - RickyBoy
I've never fully appreciated this pre-occupation with 'residuals' OK. I know everyone wants to protect there investment, etc., etc. but you're surely always going to take a 'hit' on a motor, particularly a new one. I'm more interested in the 'here and now' and my vRS is currently giving me enormous pleasure. Stop smoking, cut back on the drinking, don't eat out as much as you once used to, cheat the taxman! Make up the depreciation in another way.

Don't misunderstand me ? I'm a 'tight-wad' Northerner who will fight tooth and nail for a 'deal' on almost everything but in this instance what something 'might' be worth in three years time didn't preclude me from buying it three months ago!

Right on...

Value my car