Cheap to run cars - Mark H
I drive 20,000 miles a year (mainly commuting/business) but have little money to spend on purchase of vehicles. I have found that large old Fords (Cortinas, Capris currently a Granada) to be reliable, durable and reasonably priced (sub £500). They have the disadvantage of sub 30mpg. When I have tried smaller more economical cars (Fiesta, Skoda, Renault 19) I have certainly spent less on petrol but have ended up spending much more on repairs. What cars do you recommend that could be purchased for little money, could run for 20,000 in a year without wearing out (as my smaller cars have always seemed to) and return in excess of 35mpg? I'd also like to be able to pick up spares/service parts easily and cheaply.
Re: Cheap to run cars - Andrew Barnes
It has to be the Golf MK2. I have an 8V GTI model and have spent about 300 quid on repairs over 3 years of ownership. I'd recommend a Gold river or something like that.

Re: Cheap to run cars - Matt
You could try a Peugeot 309 1.9D or a 405 1.9D or Turbo D. Both are very reasonably priced and from experience can do up to 50 mpg and don't do much in the way of breaking down either.

I now have a newer 306 TD and have no problems with it and I get up to 50mpg with that.

The 309 and 405 have been around for a good few years now so there are plenty in breakers yards for spares and the engine is pretty much the same in all of them so no problems with parts for that either.

Re: Cheap to run cars - Andrew Bairsto
We have a 405 diesel estate over ten years old and has now covered over 400000kms and costs almost nothing in repairs and is run totally on Aldi cooking oil..It cost us 1200dm thee years ago and is used by every one in the family and office ,it transports fruit machines ,jukeboxes and it just goes and goes.When you consider the depreciation on my Benz in its first year, that would buy 5 405s I must be daft.
Re: Cheap to run cars - Ian Aspinall
Early Cavalier Mk3? Cheap to service, spares cost peanuts from scrappers or non-Vauxhall dealers, choice of various petrol or diesel engines. Good on the fuel - even my 2.0 petrol model still returns 40 mpg on the motorway with over 150K miles on it, and has never broken down. A lot less rust-prone than Fords of a similar age as well.
Cooking oil?! - Mark
Does that seriously work fine? No starting problems or anything? Did the engine have to be modified to get it up and running? I'd love to know as I'm sure other people are...
Re: Cooking oil?! - Clive Bignell
Can we talk a bit more about running diesels on cooking oil: or any other cheap oil for that matter. This is theoretical of course because we are all law abiding citizens. If you run a car on cooking oil doe it have any adverse effects on the engine? What about its lubricating properties on the injector pump? Could you (in theory) add some cooking oil or indeed any other cheap fuel oil to good stuff in say 50/50 dilution? Does anyone have any answers?
Re: Cooking oil?! - Gwyn Parry
apparantly there is a risk of frying your injectors
Re: Fiat Tipo - I'm not kidding! - richard turpin
You can run a diesel on 1/3 Kerosene with no ill effects other than the smell. You can also use 100% central heating oil, which is the same colour as tractor or boat diesel, and is the same stuff except it's delivered in dirty tanks so fit a new filter often. Don't get caught!
Re: Cheap to run cars - Alan FC
Are you talking about Bio-diesel? I hear this has been readily available in Germany for 7 years or so. I 've read that ordinary cooking oil needs processing before it can be used in a diesel engine. is this so? So much for our 'Green taxes' here in the UK!
Re: Cheap to run cars - Tom Stoddart-Scott
Did you watch Top Gear last night and their disposable '84 Polo that they bought for £75 at this price it really doesn't matter what goes wrong with it and you may even make a profit if you come to sell it. Polos are quite good although only have 4 gears.
Re: Cheap to run cars - Gwyn Parry
Yes, I saw the TG article - be interesting to see whether "Top Gear today, Top Price tomrrow" holds true with second values for Polos now firming up somewhat........................!
Re: Cheap to run cars - Matt
Perhaps I should not admit this but before my 306 I had a Maestro 2.0 D and at eight years old when I got rid (having been in the family since new) it had only had a new radiator, an new alternator, and 6 tyres, a timing beltand a few services mainly done by me. It covered 80000 miles turned in 55 mpg and excluding rust would have easily done another 80000. You could pick one up now for.......... well they would pay you to take it away, but you can't argue with the facts.
Re: Cheap to run cars - Ian Aspinall
I forgot to say...when you do narrow down your selection, take a look at www.c*********.org - it has lots of useful opinions on most models of car from past and present owners.
Fiat Tipo - I'm not kidding! - Andrew Gordon
I've owned a 1990 1.6 carb version from new with almost no mechanical faults.

Plus 40 mpg, very few replacement parts ever needed, average of 15,500 miles per year.

It's just passed its MOT - never failed once - and has covered over 170,000 miles.

Although the interior is a bit fragile in places (brittle plastics) and its "extra" electrics like central locking go wrong sometimes, its body is very strong and mechanically it seems very robust. Bigger inside than you'd first think. In fact, I remember the motoring press describing it as "Tardis-like" on launch.

It had dealer servicing for the first 50,000 miles and, since then, I've done most of it myself alongside local mechanics for the tough stuff. Simple to work on too, although spares can be a bit pricey.

It's easy to forget that this was one of the first fully galvanised mainstream cars so rust is not a problem and it was European Car of the Year 1989.

I put the low running costs down to good quality servicing in the earlier years and mechanically sympathetic driving. If you go for one, look for these traits, i.e. service book and condition of tyres, etc. Fiats, being comparatively lively cars, can get thrashed a bit.

And no, mine isn't for sale! Although I'm moving to France, I'm keeping it here for UK driving.
Re: Cheap to run cars - Marcus
I agree that VW Golfs are good, but probably better value is a Passat, I bought a 1988 "F" registered one with 118000 miles on three years ago for £ 1000, I used it for a while and then passed it on to my father who uses it every day for work, it has now covered over 160 000 miles and still runs perfectly, the engine is 1800cc and goes very well, it has lots of room and gives at least 35mpg. there is no rust to worry about and they are not difficult to work on

Value my car