Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
We run a Mini and an MX-5 which cover almost all of our motoring needs. Occasionally though it would be useful to have a 3rd car to use for taking garden waste to the tip, bringing home the occasional Ikea flat pack and taking bikes out occasionally. Annual mileage would be very low - only a few thousand.

I'm thinking it may be cheaper to just hire when needed but it would be more convenient to have something available all the time.

I would be interested in suggestions - obviously older and cheap but also a low insurance group and (if chosen carefully) wouldn't cost a fortune to maintain.
Low cost work horse? - hugh
Why not buy a cheap van - I ran Citroen c15's for some years.They drive fairly well even when empty, build quality is doubtful, but they are fairly reliable and you can get a lot in them! Just watch out for the rear axle bearings - make sure the wheels are not leaning in.
Low cost work horse? - CJay{P}
Get a mondeo. Very reliable. Very cheap.
Low cost work horse? - jc2
Someone did work out that it would be cheaper to hire a car every weekend and for your holidays than to buy and run one.
Low cost work horse? - local yokel
If you have room on your drive to park a third car, you could consider a trailer, perhaps? Much easier to lead bikes/rubbish into, no tax/MoT, and will hold its price. Only downside is the towbar on the car.

I have one of these: www.barlowtrailers.co.uk/sales/iforwilliams/specia...m

which has a capacity of 350 kg, and weighs 500 kg fully laden.

Only problem is that they are very attractive to thieves.
Low cost work horse? - blue_haddock
The kind of things that spring to mind as cheap workhorses would be a diesel Citroen ZX or Xantia.
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
Excellent, thought provoking suggestions so far.

The trailer is a good idea but I don't want to fit a towbar.

Mondeo - isn't the subframe wear problem expensive on older cars?

Having had big bills on newer C5s I'm wary of a Xantia but the ZX and C15 are interesting.

A car with sensible parts prices, no "gotchas" and straight forward to maintain would be ideal. A modern day Marina would be about right.
Low cost work horse? - local yokel
If you got a 405 estate you'd find they all come fitted with a towbar as standard! Saw a very tidy 1.8 Quasar (base model) estate go through Ebay for £600, 12 months ticket, and immaculate if the photos were anything to go by.

405 diesels still sought after, but not of any benefit to you.
Low cost work horse? - stunorthants
Have you thought about a japanese pick-up? They take serious amounts of abuse and still carry on going, plus, you can chuck loads of junk in the back and not feel your ruining the interior of a car.
They also hold their value quite well because a solid pickup is always in demand.
Try Toyota, Nissan or Mitsubishi versions. Most likely to find a Toyota Hilux ( doesnt need to be the 4-wheel drive version ) which are used on many of the large country estates I do work at and they swear by them as workhorses. If you budget about £1000 you could get a fairly reasonable example although trawl ebay and you may get one even cheaper if you dont mind something untidy.
If you wanted a four-door one, they are about although have only became popular in last 10 years so older ones are harder to find.
Finally, if you want security for the load bay, find one with a truckman top on it.

Hope that helps.
Low cost work horse? - barchettaman
Red, have you got a friendly neighbour with something more practical? Whilst you´re in IKEA he could borrow your Mini or MX-5 for a sedate potter round the local country lanes.
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
None of my neighbours would lend me their car to use on a tip run with garden waste! lol. I appreciate the suggestion though.
Low cost work horse? - mss1tw
Try Toyota, Nissan or Mitsubishi versions.

Also the Proton Jumbuck or whatever it's called got a good review in Trail Bike Magazine.
Low cost work horse? - lordy
VW Transporter panel van? Dirt cheap. Great for Ikea and tip runs. Bullet proof diesel engine (get non turbo). I speak from experience.

let me be the last to let you down....
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
I'd thought of Japanese pick ups but thought they might be too expensive - the 4 doors are quite "lifestyle" aren't they?

I'll need to check insurance costs too.
Low cost work horse? - defender
volvo 940 would suit your needs ,very cheap to buy wont rust ,loads of room very comfy ,reliable,parts are plentiful with either new or second hand easy to get but never need much anyway .in the last 15 years my old faithfull had 2 breakdowns ,1 was a fuel choke in the tank filter and the other the clutch rod wore a hole in the operating lever but this is acceptable in 300k miles
Low cost work horse? - Nsar
i have a Land Rover SIII for this as well as fun and games, but on a purely cost/benefit basis it's madness.

I'd get a removable tow-bar fitted and use a trailer.

I'm thinking of selling the Landy and doing exactly this
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
i have a Land Rover SIII for this as well as
fun and games, but on a purely cost/benefit basis it's madness.

I'd thought of a Landy and reached the same conclusion.
Low cost work horse? - local yokel
www.bestbars.co.nz/News/June2002.htm gives details of a removable towbar for a MINI - only problem is it's in NZ, so some Eu jobsworth would kill it dead.

Low cost work horse? - local yokel
Removeable towbar with Eu approval for a Mini here at tinyurl.com/khtpb - no cut in the bumper, it says.

Low cost work horse? - stunorthants
An SIII Landy is fine in many ways although not that comfy - the insurance is only group 6-7 and if your doing low mileage, fuel consumption isnt an issue. And it doesnt require much in teh way of mechanical knowledge to fix it - simplicity has its advantages. I bought a fully MOT'd 1979 SIII for £750 - yes it was tatty but most of them are, its underneath you have to make sure its solid.

The jap pickups arent the expensive if you look around, it depends how much you want to spend.
Tata do a pick up and they are dirt cheap to buy but no fun as a motoring experience - they seem to accept a high level of abuse as builders wagons though.

Since what you are suggesting using this vehicle for, I would say your better off with a commercial vehicle of some description which is better built to take loads and general wear and tear.
Low cost work horse? - Cyd
Try one of these:


Later ones were well built, fits the bill for low cost and has plenty of carrying capacity. So simple to maintain as well.

Fits the description of a modern Marina too!
Low cost work horse? - George Porge
We ran a Volvo 240 estate when doing the majority of our house refurbishment. Insured as a classic cost £180 3 years ago. I'd recommend a well looked after 240 estate.
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
Wow - what interesting ideas. Thanks. The Montego is one of those unloved, unfashionable bargains. The Volvo 240, insured as a classic, is a great idea.

I had a Volvo 940 about 8 years ago and I remember electric window lifts being expensive (although I wouldn't bother replacing on a tip run special) and I had big bills for cambelt change and replacing self-levelling suspension. But otherwise it was one of those cars that I found hard to sell.

Mmmm, have to think about this.
Low cost work horse? - Xileno {P}
Montego - later ones weren't bad but suffered from very bad rust.

Volvo 940 would be my choice. You don't need to replace the self-levelling suspension. Standard shocks and larger coils does the trick, although obviously it won't self level anymore.
Low cost work horse? - Avant
I should have thought your best bet is to get an old estate car for a few hundred pounds which you could scrap if a major part failed or getting through the MOT became prohibitive. In this case the make matters less than being in reasonable condition and having a long MOT.

Maybe look and see what you can find in your local paper or Autotrader - there should be plenty around:

Volvo 245, 745 or 945 as suggested
Montego estate
Sierra or early Mondeo estate
Cavalier estate
VW Golf or Passat estate
Nissan Primera or even a Bluebird: our vicar ran a Bluebird estate for 10 years, including towing a caravan, and it then lasted several more years as second car to a Primera.
Perhaps a Subaru if you can find one

I think there was a farmer on this forum a year or so ago who buys a big banger every year to transport hay, then scraps it: I seem to remember his last find was a Granada estate for £100 or so.

Low cost work horse? - Sprice
You can pick up decent Toyota Carina E estates for peanuts, and they're good workhorses.
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
Thanks for the suggestions.

Interesting, HJ answered a query in today's DT from someone wanting similar with £1000 max budget - he suggested an ex-police Focus estate from auction.
Low cost work horse? - local yokel
Ex Police Focus fitted with the dog cage have no rear seats - the dog cage takes up the whole deck - police dogs are big, don't forget.

Guess you could remove the cage and get seats, belts etc from a breaker.
Low cost work horse? - Tiffx19
How about an early,or ex post-office Citroen Berlingo Multispace? all rubber mats in the boot,group 3 insurance,50 MPG and very hardy.I've got one and the whole family love it!Simple,cheap to fix,and very practical,even J.Clarkson likes 'em!!
Low cost work horse? - George Porge
If I had the choice of a well cared for but old cheapie or a newer abused example for the same money, I'd take the banger.
Low cost work horse? - Flying Red
I searched Auto Trader for Berlingo Multispace and locally there was nothing below the low £2,000s. I'll try widening the search and ebay.
Low cost work horse? - Tiffx19
Have seen a few on eBay for less than 2k,mostly early 3 door ones.The Royal Mail ssem to use them too,only difference is that they are all red..... and have twin rear doors.seen a few of these for £1500+ at dealers,so presumeably they are coming from auction.

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