Bangernomics is all about saving money by buying and running the best used car for the lowest outlay; our guide explains how it's done
15 May 2013

Tough financial times have prompted Autocar’s Used Car Expert James Ruppert to reveal the secrets of Bangernomics.

It's all about getting yourself the most car for the least money. At a stroke, depreciation no longer becomes an issue, running costs are slashed and there are no monthly finance charges. It also contrasts the high costs of buying a new car with the supreme good sense of buying a well-used one. 

The full Bangernomics guide, published in the 15 May 2013 edition of Autocar, details our pick of the best city cars, people carriers, family cars, luxury saloons and performance cars. The feature also highlights common issues and faults to bear in mind when considering a competitively priced used car.

Not only will it save you money, but Bangernomics makes you feel good about owning a car. You'll be recycling a used car, prolonging its life and hopefully seeing a slightly larger balance in your bank account.

There are numerous BMWs, Mercedes and Audis available at very competitive prices. Savvy buyers could pick up a BMW 5-series from £595, a Mercedes from £395 and an iconic Volkswagen Golf from £495.

"You will own a car that will not drop in value much and will be cheap to run", explained James Ruppert.

Bangernomics isn't difficult either; it can be rewarding and enjoyable. You'll learn some skills, waste less money and have a new topic of dinner party conversation.

To learn more about the Bangernomics way, pick up this week's issue of Autocar magazine.

Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents, and available to download from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.

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15 May 2013

I like the idea of bangernomics.  I resent the amount of depreciation my cars have suffered over the years; money up in smoke you might say.

However, when it comes down to it, the hassle of having potentially unreliable motors with poor safety standards stops me from going down that route. 

Sooner or later with any car you're faced with the old chestnut of "do I fix it, scrap it or sell it on".  With old bangers that question comes up too often for my liking.

15 May 2013

All very well, this bangernomics, until you need a new ABS pump, costing £400, or a steering rack at £600 etc. Even a simple electronic problem, eg new horn, can turn into a £200 nightmare. I prefer to budget small cars at the 5 yrs old level, at approx £3-5k.


15 May 2013

im a big believer in bangernomics, I bought a mazda 626 two years ago and apart from tyres all thats needed spent is a new starter motor which cost £17, I understand the reticence about buying something older but looking at the long term test cars run by autocar and other magazines it seems that buying something where all the faults have been sorted by someone else and anything that needs replaced is cheaply available makes perfect sense. I understand that there are some parts thats may cost more than the value of the car but this tends to be the case if you buy new, At the same time the starter went on my car my boss needed a new starter on his rx8, the same seller that sold me my starter had one for his car but instead of buying used he went to the main dealer and with labour costs ended up paying £800 for the same fix that cost me 30. I  just dont understand why people just pay more. When my car was new it was a 20k car, its still the same car doing the same job

15 May 2013

The point about feeling good about owning your own car led me to mention about recently giving up my trade company car to buy a Rover 75. 

I realise most of you here are laughing... and laugh all you like. But have you ever actually driven one? I used to think they were crap, and Im not quite sure why because it was completely without foundation.

So I found a very clean 2003 Rover 75 Connoisseur SE CDT (diesel) auto, with Hi line Satnav in December last year, and I absolutely love it! Sitting in those comfortable cream leather armchairs, you tend to 'waft' around in it, but it actually handles very well indeed. The BMW diesel engine has plenty of torque, and im getting up to 47mpg on a run.. Ive covered 8,000 miles in it since December and its never missed a beat.

At the bottom of its depreciation, it costs me nothing - except usual servicable items and the cost of MOT. And its such a nice, luxurious car to drive, it makes me feel great Smile

Undoubtedly I will need to spend money on it eventually, and if I had to buy a new ABS pump at £400 (for example) its still better than losing half the value off a new car in 3 years! As it happens, there are plenty of places offering good second hand parts..

Old mans car, flat cap, Ive heard them all! I happen to think its a good-looking car, but natuarally if you're more concerned with street cred. and what other people think then maybe its not for you.

15 May 2013

simon your rover reminds me of one of my favourite bamgers, at auction i accidentally bought a 620i for £125, had a look and everything worked well, kept it for 18 months just needed oil brakes and tyres

15 May 2013

Sometimes it works and you feel you've got something for nothing. Other times it hasn't and you end up paying out to keep an old  shed on the road. My point is you need to know what you're doing/looking at. If in doubt, I wouldn't recommend it. Spend more, say £3k and get something that will last. My best 'bangers' were a Nissan Almera and Micra. The worst were Fords - Fiestas, an Escort and a Granada. Mechanical failure and body rot, two for the price of one. Tread carefully.

15 May 2013

ive had a fair few fords as they makea lot of sense, plenty about and cheap parts however there are specific issues, dual mass flywheels for example so have a look at the owners forums to see what people are looking for advice on.  Going japanese does tend to be a safer bet, if going fot a german car i would veer towrds mercedes as I have found them to be more repairable with better access points and cheaper and better availability of used parts. I would never go for an older vw or audi as minor parts are too dear

15 May 2013

For some time now, I've been running a Seven Series BMW of late nineties vintage.  In the last three years, it's cost £125.00 for an expansion tank.  Later this year I'm replacing the entire exhaust system and refurbishing the wheels.

Had I opted for a new version at that time, I'd have lost approximately thirty thousand pounds.  Even if I budget for a yearly spend of five thousand over the next three years, I'm still ahead of the game.  The sad fact is that while the newer versions made me look wealthier, the vehicle itself (new ones) haven't advanced the experience of driving to the point that I feel I am missing something important.


15 May 2013

totally agree James,

the older of my two ML's is now 13 years old and still looks and goes perfectly, and the 5 litre V8 is super creamy and smooth..

It has never failed a MOT and apart from routine servicing through my local specialist has rarely needed major repair...springs were the biggest item - (not surprising given the state of our roads), in 190k miles.

Sure she likes a drink (22-24  on good runs) but there is no depreciation to consider and this makes it a useful vehicle which is relatively cheap to run.

After years in the trade with new company cars every 3 months, latest model /registration no longer does it for me, so I get a perverse kind of pleasure through running my cars for many years!

My only concern going forward is that the current crop of vehicles arent going to be quite so easy to run on into old age...the complexity which is now standard combined with more comprehensive MOT tests will quickly make repair unviable meaning perfectly sound vehicles will go to the crusher, so I dont know how many more years bangeromics has left in it.

15 May 2013

289 wrote:

After years in the trade with new company cars every 3 months, latest model /registration no longer does it for me, so I get a perverse kind of pleasure through running my cars for many years!


Same here, having had just about every available Ford for the past 13 years, new cars just dont do it for me anymore!


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