In this, the final part of this used car buying odyssey for now, MotorMartin has spent time looking over what’s available at the most common (bargain) price points on the used car buying journey, from very basic £200 vehicle up to the £2000 dream cars featured in this, the final piece of the jigsaw.
It’s been said before in this series but those of you out there with a modicum of mechanical ability and a willingness to spend time searching and travelling can end up with quite the bargain. The thing is, with £2000 burning a hole in your pocket the temptation is to rush out and spend. But hold on for a moment, check out AutoTrader, make a cup of tea, don’t pick the first car from the top end of your budget and go and view when in a rush. Picture the scene, it’s dark and raining and you buy the first car you see, only to get home on the back of a breakdown truck with your lovely new/old car haemorrhaging it’s vitals on the flatbed as you eventually arrive home. Far fetched? You’d be surprised at how often this scenario continues to happen over and over again up and down this green and pleasant land of ours.
Now I’m not here to tell you how to suck eggs but do your homework, do your sums and research the model that you’re after as £2000 is a lot of money to spend and potentially throw away due to poor preparation.
MotorMartin’s Top £2000 Bargains
In a slight change to previous editions of this series, I’ve looked this time at Manufacturers from different Countries for vehicles under our £2000 budget rather than individual best buys or car types. Which must mean that the sensible Country to start with has got to be Germany. With brands such as Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the forefront of peoples’ minds, we’ve all been brought up to believe that German cars have that undeniable aura of reliability and power built up over many years and as such, will often be found at the top of many a wish list. With our £2000 budget cap, there is still a vast amount of German metal out there ready for purchase but which to go for? The obvious has got to be the BMW 3 series which, for our £2000 budget, will sit you in a superb condition, FSH, 1.8 or 2.0 litre compact 3 door with around 80-85000 miles on the clock. Obviously there are cars out there with better specification for the same price but you’ll be looking at a far higher mileage and slightly less reliable providence. For those of you with a goodly level of mechanical ability and confidence in spotting a bargain motor car, then you may well be interested in something from the top end of the scale. What about a Mercedes-Benz S Class 3.2 S320 for exactly £2K? 100,000+ miles on the clock, of course, but this being an S Class it’s Diesel engine is only just run in at this mileage, more toys than you can shake a stick at and almost mythical levels of comfort and ride quality. Something a little more sporty perhaps? An Audi TT 1.8 T Roadster for bang on £2K, how about a FSH, MOT May ’18 and in immaculate. 110,000 miles but good for another 20-30,000 miles with just the basics to worry about. The list goes on and on with quality engineering and style in abundance.
France also has a reputation when it comes to their own car manufacturers, a reputation for quirky and unusual design mixed with styling and engineering choices that could only be produced by those displaying their Gallic flair. At this price point the options are as varied as they are interesting with perhaps Citroën’s Xsara Picasso 1.6i representing superb value for money on an 07/57 plate and the obligatory 75,000, some service history and a good 6 months left on your MOT. The Xsara offering plenty of room for family and luggage and a mile eating ability that’s up there with cars costing three or four times as much. Concerned about cars with slightly higher mileages? Our agreed budget can still, rather unbelievably, sit you in a car with less than 10,000 miles on the clock in the shape of a classic Peugeot 106 1.4 Zest 3 automatic. What you are searching for of course is that mythical one owner, immaculate bodywork, totally original, FSH car with recent MOT and you know what? This Peugeot is most definitely it and I absolutely love it. Small but still offering the bargain hunter 5 doors, reliability, economy and that French sense of passsion and bohemian sensibility, this little Peugeot is that gem hidden in plain sight, the stunner that makes the hunt so satisfying. But that’s not all, for fans of Renault you could be driving away in a 70,000 mile 1.1 Clio or 1.2 GT Twingo, both could be classed as drivers’ cars, offering taught handling, willing engines and yet are still immensely practical. MOT, Service history and a thorough check that no accidents have been hidden behind filler and poor repairs. Check under the bonnet, always check shut lines for evidence of twisting or badly fitted panels and keep your wits about you.
There are plenty of Japanese cars on offer at £2000 and they’re certainly something all car buyers at this cheaper end of the spectrum need to be considering as their enviable reputation for reliability isn’t something earned overnight. Nissan have the perennial Micra of which our budget will secure up to a 56 plater which, let’s be honest here, will not have been thrashed about by a youth and will probably have spent most of it’s time driving slowly between home and the local pharmacy. Don’t get me wrong, any Micra will be a fantastically reliable and an eminently sensible choice and if all you want out of a car is transport to and fro then you absolutely won’t be disappointed. But for me, a car is something more, something to desire, to search out, to enjoy and that’s why my next choice is a 2004 Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC Type R. Yes it’ll have 100,000 miles on the clock and may display the odd car park bumps and scrapes and yes it will have been thrashed to within an inch of it’s life by a youth wearing unusual trousers and perhaps a hat, but look at the badge, Hondas don’t go wrong, ever (well sometimes.) Toyota Aygos, Auris’ or Yaris’ can all be found in exceptional condition at £2K with MOT and service history and less than 70,000 miles showing and very much like Honda, Toyota have a superb reputation when it comes to build and design quality and for producing cars that will still be drivable when you sell them on again.
So there you have it, Germany, France and Japan. Three distinct and very different car countries for you to chose from. Our budget allows for choices to be widened and small adds to be scoured until that special car comes your way. Stay tuned for part 2 when the rest of the world is to be searched.
Where will you go?