Currently reading: Weird and wonderful secondhand Christmas cars
Autocar's guide to the weird and wonderful Christmas secondhand cars

Home is where Christmas dinner is, so it’s vital to get there in time. And what's the best way to do that? A stylish used car, of course.

Here are a few ways to make sure you're home while the turkey is still warm - bangernomically, against the odds. 

Best used roadsters and cabrios for (un)seasonal fun 

Audi A3 Cabriolet

The sensible prestige open-top of choice has four rings and a dumpy body. The fully automatic roof takes just nine seconds to erect, plus it has extra insulation and a proper heated rear window, so perfect for Yuletide trips. Clutch wear, steering racks, radiators and sensors can spoil the mood.

2014 1.8 TFSI S Line, 56,000 miles, £13,489 

Bentley Continental GTC

There are few opportunities to enjoy a 12-cylinder convertible. What a spectacular Christmas present to give to yourself. The roof takes 19 seconds at road speeds of up to 30mph to open. The mechanism’s microswitches can fail. You can manually open and shut it, but that isn’t so dignified (and is best done when stationary).

2013 6.0 W12, 118,000 miles, £35,000 

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Fiat 500 

Is this really a cabriolet? Doesn't matter: the massive roll-back roof is a delight and you can pretend you're driving Santa's sleigh. Not 100% in reliability terms, but prices are generally firm because it's cute and popular. Niggly electricals and there can be rust underneath. 

2018 1.2 S, 30,000 miles, £10,250 

Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Sporty Jaguars are going out of fashion (and production), but everyone would love one of these turning up at Christmas. An F-Type will put a big smile on your face, plus the full-fat V8 is the most fun of all. However, timing chains can jump due to tensioner and guide failure. 

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2018 5.0 V8 S, 50,000 miles, £27,999 

Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

There are times when you need to bring the family along. But don’t worry, the fully automatic hood is well lagged, so there’s no bother when it comes to the weather or noise, and there’s a ton of standard kit to keep everyone comfy. Beware of fuel pump failures and tired injectors.

2014 E250 CDI AMG Sport, 70,000 miles, £12,990 

Porsche Boxster 

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Sheer driving pleasure is delivered in the great-value package that is (still) the Boxster. Every journey will be fun; just make sure it’s wearing winter or cross-climate tyres. Plentiful electrical niggles include ignition switch failure.

2010 2.9 Sport Chrono, 64,000 miles, £16,950 

The Bangernomics Christmas box set


These are now looking like a half-decent Christmas cracker toy (micro Batmobile, anyone?) and are on the cusp of going from great value to appreciating classic. That's reason enough to find one, provided it isn't neglected with engine bore wear, shot suspension and 23 previous owners. 

2000 1.9, 93,000 miles, £2000

Ford Fiesta

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The supermini is dead; long-live the best supermini that ever lived. Still great value, easy to fix and all you need to get you home at Christmas. Fun to drive, too. Loads of spec options, but Zetec ticks most boxes, especially with air-con. Good things, small packages. 

2006 1.25 Zetec Climate, 102,000 miles, £695

Honda Accord 

The quality pseudo-mini cabbing saloon of choice. Picking up family fares and travelling significant distances when the buses and trains are having a festive rest is easy in one of these. Most importantly, it won't break down, and those Honda petrol engines are emission-friendly. 

2008 2.0 VTEC ES GT, 136,000 miles, £1900

Jeep Patriot

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Overlooked but cheap and unfashionably compact. Being a Jeep, it will get you out of a tight snowy spot but is fantastically plastic inside, with Christmas cracker-quality fittings. The Volkswagen Group-sourced 2.0 CRD diesel is unrefined but efficient. Limited specification is nothing of the sort. 

2008 2.4 Limited, 90,000 miles, £1995

Renault Laguna Coupe

Here's a two-door that's only a few inches short of the five-door hatch, so there's room for everyone inside, plus a bit of luggage. Even so, it wasn't very popular, because coupes need character. Lots of things to go wrong: avoid if the dash lights up like a Christmas tree. Otherwise worth the risk. 

2011 2.0 dCi Dynamique, 109,000 miles, £1695

Volkswagen Eos

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The Eos has none of the kudos of the proper Golf Cabriolet yet does the same job much more cost-effectively, albeit with a daft name. It having a coupe-convertible folding roof affair at least gives you some Yuletide weather flexibility. However, that massively complicated hood can cause problems. 

2008 1.4 TSI Sport, 98,000 miles, £1295 

Yuletide cargo mules


If there's a water hazard, there's eight-wheeled banana splits-style bathtubs are excellent. Will wade its way to homeward-bound glory, and if you need a boost, simply fit an outboard. There are 6x6 and 8x8 formats but only a 20mph top speed, so don't be in a hurry. Fabulously capable. 

2016 Argo Avenger 8x8, 3000 miles, £6500

Chrysler 300C Touring

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Slight undertaker vibes, but mostly it resembles a Bentley Continental with a tailgate, which, usefully, takes part of the roof with it. Consequently, fitting a big Christmas tree in the back isn't a problem. You can full your boots with V8s, but the Mercedes-sourced diesel is the best option. 

2007 3.5 Lux, 117,000 miles, £3995

Dutton Surf

Doubtless, there are going to be times you might need to cross an ocean or two, and while most old Amphicars are rusted to bits, a fantastic plastic Dutton Surf has unbreakable Suzuki Jimny running gear. On land, there's no danger of getting stranded. 

2019, 40,000 miles, £23,500

Ford Transit Custom

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Production vans with attitude are hard to find, but spotting a racing stripe Custom always gives you a lift in a haze of white panels. A crew cab is the perfect way to pick up relatives and all their luggage from the station. Some faulty turbos can spoil the fun.

2018 2.0 280 EcoBlue Xclusive Sports Crew, 35,000 miles, £23,600

JCB Fastrac

If you ever might need to take an as-the-crow-flies route home, get a tractor. The JCB 2135, made from 1998 to 2004, has four big wheels on 24in rims and a Perkins six-pot diesel making 135bhp so it will do 40mph - but that's all shortcuts, so your journey times will be halved. 

2001 2135, 8500 hours, £23,000

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

In effect a pregnant E-Class Estate. There's a slightly longer L-version too, but even the standard five-seater will take everyone and their holiday luggage with room to spare. Oh yes, and it's four-wheel drive so useful in the snow. Diesel is a common-sense purchase. 

2013 3.0 350L CDi, 75,000 miles, £10,995

Nissan Elgrand

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These imports from Japan are actually quite delightful to drive, especially with that big Z-related V6 petrol engine. Chintzy Christmassy chromework, plus there are some campervan conversions in circulation if you don't need eight seats. Nissan dependability is a boon.

2020 3.5 camper, 30,000 miles, £22,500

Pal-V Liberty

Flying cars are fantasy? Apparently not. The three-wheeled Liberty looks like a Reliant Robin autogyro. It has folding rotor blades on the roof for lift and an engine-powered rear propeller for thrust; another engine gets it along the road. It takes 10 minutes to swap modes. 

New, £425,000 

Renault Air4

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A rather more car-like way to take to the air would be in Renault's 4-inspired drone. You could call it a quadrocopter if you want, but really this is a drone that you can sit on. It's a carbon fibre creation with an imaginary battery capacity that allows a 58mph top speed and a 700m altitude. 

New, €4 million (and they’ll take Bitcoin)

Renault Kangoo

You don't really want a boomy old van as a Christmas companion, especially when emptied of sound-absorbing gifts and hampers. No, the standard people-carrier format is the best all-rounder and there are automatics and wheelchair-adapted options if you need one for an elderly or inform relative. 

2010 Expression Automatic, 75,000 miles, £5500

Stery-Puch Haflinger

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More proof that you don't need a tractor from Chelsea to get home for Christmas. Long before those things existed, here's a tiny flatbed Mini Moke on steroids that was a pukka all-terrain vehicle that kept farms and armies on the move. Shop in Europe for a decent choice. 

1968, 10k miles, £14,000

Volkswagen Transporter

There are vans and there are Transporters, which are particularly comfortable vans. If you can't stretch to a California camper, the Combis make great parcel carriers. Watch out for oil and coolant leaks, plus smoky diesels. 

2015 2.0 BiTDI T32 Highline Combi, 46,000 miles, £28,995

Join the debate

Add a comment…
FastRenaultFan 26 December 2023
At least get your facts right @Autocar.
The mk3 Renault Laguna and the Laguna Coupe which is based off it where no worse than any other car of the era. In fact they were far better than any car from any if the German brands for reliabi6and equal to the Japanese and Korean stuff because Renault had learned its lesson with the MK2 Laguna. It's the same even today. French cars are built better and more reliable than any if that German rubbish.
sabre 24 December 2023


Not Stery-Puch but Steyr-Puch

Haflinger is very slow. therefore Half_Linger

scotty5 24 December 2023

There was a short production period where some 1.4tsi Audi A3 facelift cabrios cost £20 or £30 to tax. 2016-2017 models?  If I had the space, I'd buy one of those as a fun car.