Like fast food advertising, cars rarely look as delicious than their glossy posters and TV segments. Often showing immaculate, dirt-free body on the worlds great driving roads somehow free of traffic on a glorious sunset drive. These ads, designed to evoke the great drives of your life, put your mind behind the wheel of a brand new drive straight from the showroom floor. Though, there is more than one route to great motoring.
Often the first port of call for the newly minted driver, a cheap runabout to see out a few years with a little work and TLC can be had within the hundreds of pounds price bracket. As a blunt tool, a way to learn how to drive beyond the DVLA's prescribed codes and practices, the low-cost runabout is an ideal way to first get into enthusiastic motoring. Even for veteran drivers, there are plenty of great cars out there going for a song.
While the latest AMG, Aston, or Audi no-doubt offers sublime lap times in unparalleled comfort, style, and gadgetry—there are other ways to get out on the roads too. The latest models from the showroom floor may be priced well out of range, but enthusiastic motoring definitely is not. There are additional advantages to carefully selected online listing which neither money nor upgrades can buy for the latest models.
For Sale: Fastest Car In The World. One Carefree Owner
It's well-known fact that speed and acceleration scales inversely with price of every vehicle. The cheaper a car is, to you, the better it accelerates, turns, and handles speed bumps too. A cheap car, much like a rental, turns out to be one of the fastest performance cars on the planet.
The engine of a cheap car revs that much higher and louder than almost anything else you'll drive. The gear changes are that much more aggressive, the acceleration so much harder, and the stopping power so much more than a car you plan to own or sell well into the future. Parts suffer no wear and tear, mechanical sympathy: a concept left firmly outside the door.
Performance advantages don't stop inside the car either. The ability of a low-cost vehicle to squeeze into tighter parking spots, lumber through tight lanes, and travel over rougher roads than comparably sized cars is legendary.
Land Rover may as well keep their glossy Defender ads to themselves. Nothing quite bounces up a gravel lane, over potted roads, or through bramble thickets like an '06 Ford Ka.
King Of The Road
One of the key underappreciated, unsaleable features of low-cost motoring is how much space your vehicle commands on the road. When bodywork and paint is a semi-optional extra there's little to fear from other drivers encroaching inwards. In a who-blinks-first game of lane chicken, cheap cars have got precious little to lose. While a BMW financed to the hilt may believe it owns more road space there's precious little which can actually scare a £600 car.
Your car doesn't even have to be thought of as principally a car any more, it's as much recreational project as it is transportation. It's a chance to learn how to replace anything and everything from pistons and lights to buffing body panels and mirrors. Particularly as a first vehicle, a cheap runabout is a chance to get your hands dirty in oil and paint before spending the serious pennies on repairs to high-end vehicles.
A new car offers about as much mechanical teaching as a VR game. Very few parts are designed, or even available, to be worked on in dirty garages and driveways any more. Manufacturers would have you believe only the pristine polished floors of the name brand garage are good enough for the modern vehicle. With the number of plastic panels, breakable clips, and specialist bolts and screws they put their parts behind now, they've got a point.
An old cheap car offers something a new model can't or wont, a chance to learn what's underneath. It's a rare opportunity to discover the joy of fixing parts based on a couple short YouTube videos and a few faint hopes and prayers. Often, repairs and improvements are far easier than you think. Automotive DIY is a tried and tested way of making you more familiar and more comfortable with your own vehicle and others.
It's The Eco-Friendly Option
Forget smug Mr Eco-warrior in his brand new Prius, a cheap well-running vehicle is the first way you can benefit the environment on the road. The emissions and input required to manufacture a brand new vehicle outweighs the emissions benefits gained from putting newer tech on the road. Scrapping even your old diesel to jump in a brand new Prius is a comparative eco-disaster.
Unless your car is achieving a truly shocking MPG or spewing out black tar everywhere it goes, the most environmentally friendly option open to most is to run the car you have until they're no longer fit to run again. The strange secret that government scrappage schemes don't want to admit is that binning all our serviceable cars for new hunks of metal, particularly those filled to the brim with lithium, is mostly a net loss for the environment and a remarkable boost for only the economy.
It's A Virtual Fort Knox
The one feature new cars rarely seem to build on is security. Automotive locks are notoriously terrible, they offer little more than vague reassurance against someone entering your car by accident. Keyless entry systems and mobile phone unlocking have done nothing to improve car security either. Real-world practical security is where a decade-plus aged car comes into its own.
The old adage that your home doesn't need to be the most secure out there, only more secure than your neighbour holds especially true for vehicles. In a car-park full of high-end models, a ten-year-old battle-worn Focus is barely worth a second look. The boot space could be filled to the brim, and occasionally is, with drone parts, camera gear, and laptop computers; but why break into a scratched up Focus amongst a sea of wealthy alternatives.
On The Road
If the latest ad for a sleek new Mazda or bulky new Defender has got you pining for the roads in a stunning new ride, have a peek around for what is closer to home.
Keep an eye out for new cars breaking in to the marked and keep tabs on constantly shifting prices on your favourite models. The markets are filled with great little steals which will scratch that itch, get you out onto the road, and maybe even teach you a thing or two along the way.