Cheap runaround - duncansand
I'm looking to get a cheap runaround to replace an ageing Rover 25. Generally this will be for around town and school drop-off. There will be the ocassional long run (e.g 100 miles), but maybe only 3 or 4 times a year. In total we'd probably struggle to put much more than 5000 miles on in the year. So far, my options are:

1. Get a pre-registered/ex-demo 'small car' - I've narrowed this down to VW Fox, Citroen C1(plus relatives), Fiat Panda. The plan would be to run for 4 years, chop in for another, thus hopefully meaning we won't be hit with anything other than a yearly service. Depreciation might be more of an issue.

2. Get a 3-year-old-or-so small car. Depreciation less of an issue, but more of a concern that I might get hit with maintenance costs. If I'm as unlucky as I have been with the Rover, the car may be effectively worthless when it gets to 9 years old.

3. Give up on a second car. Instead we would use the family car all the time and on the ocassions when two were required, use a cab. Slightly less convenient and I might feel a bit nervous about doing the tip-run in a posh car!

I'd be interested in others opinions and experiences of going through the same thought process......
Cheap runaround - Sofa Spud
5 year old VW Polo? Should see you beyond 5 further years at least.
Cheap runaround - adverse camber
On point 2 most cars are worth pretty much nothing when they get to 9 years old. When a new ka/clio whatever can be had for £6K/£7K why would anyone pay anything significant for a 9 year old car ?
Cheap runaround - local yokel
You are a prime candidate for bangernomics! Find a vehicle that was sold in some numbers (plenty of pattern parts/cars at scrap merchants) and off you go. I'd suggest a 405 petrol estate, for a start. I saw a very tidy, one owner, 70k car sell on Ebay for under £600 with a 12 month MoT. No need to get a diesel on your mileage. The Quasar version was a base model, and while there are lots of ones with dents, there are plenty in good condition.

Another idea would be a Jetta/Bora. Huge boot for the tip trips, but totally unloved by the market, all working parts are Golf, so again, loads of spare available.

Ask Honest John

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