The weather is grim, but the nights are drawing out and Spring is on the way. It’s the ideal time to treat yourself to a cut-price roadster before prices, and the weather start to heat up. Here are our favourites.
1 - MG TF (2002-2006)
Mid-engined motoring does not come much cheaper than the MG TF (unless you go for the even cheaper MGF which preceded it). Given that the price difference between the two isn't that great however, we’d definitely opt for the later car. The TF has conventional steel springs rather than the hydraulic set up of the earlier cars, which helps make the MG TF a sharper, if harsher, drive than the car it replaced. It also has a four-star Euro NCAP crash rating, which is impressive for an open-top car that’s into its second decade.
The TF was the best selling two seater sports car for years, and as a result, supply is good and prices are low. There are very scruffy examples around for hundreds of pounds, but shabby ones should be ignored as good cars aren’t much more expensive and well sorted cars are available for our budget. All the manual gearbox models drive well, but the most fun is to be had from the 1.8-litre 160bhp version which gives the TF a reasonable turn of pace. The TF is surprisingly civilised too, with a spacious cabin and usable (if oddly shaped) boot.
On the downside, the driving position is distinctly non-sporty and head gasket headaches, while not quite as prevalent as folklore suggest, are pricey to fix properly. Finally, avoid the Stepspeed autos. Shift buttons on the steering wheel aren’t nearly as much fun as they sound.
For Great value, usable and fun. Loads to pick from.
Against Needs a bit of looking after