12 November 2004

With the new Ford Focus just around the corner, used prices for the current model (above) are looking more tempting than ever, with tidy examples up for as little as £3000. Best of all, there are hundreds out there. Typical of the deals we spotted was a 99/T 1.8 Zetec in metallic blue, being sold privately for £3000, though we’d have had to live with 100k on the clock.

However, for £195 more we could have bagged a 1.6 LX in silver on the same plate and 80,000 miles up. A similar car with optional air-con and 70k on the clock also looked tempting with a sticker price of £3495 at an independent dealer. Extend your budget a little and there are even more tempting deals on tidier, lower mileage examples – especially if you extend your shop to used car supersites. London’s Great Trade Centre is pretty typical of the deals on offer nationwide. We found a 00/X 1.8 LX 5dr with 50,000 miles. It looked pretty decent value with a £5499 sticker price. Also good value was the 02/02 1.6 Zetec 3dr with just 20,000 miles, up for £6499, though you’d have to live with a power-sapping automatic gearbox. Then again, with more to spend you’ll be better off looking for nearly new cars at main dealers. Less than £8000 will now get you an 04-plate 1.6 Zetec 5dr with around 5000 miles on the clock – and plenty of warranty left.

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