2008 Suzuki Swift, price now £2000
Pocket-sized warm hatchback that is both practical and reliable? More spacious than a Mini and better value? The Suzuki Swift has it all. The Sport is the one to go for if you’re keen on driving hard, and hopefully the original owner shelled out £40 on a set of stripes. Unlike many motors, the go-faster additions really suit the Swift.
There are more hardcore and more credible small cars out there, but one of these costs far less and, most important, it’s a Suzuki. That means no matter how much you abuse it, a Swift will refuse to explode. Even the GL models came with six airbags, but not air conditioning; you need to trade up to a GLX for that. The 1.3 diesel is popular, but petrol models are both cheaper and better.
2009 Honda Accord, price now £5000
From the late 2000s comes this sharply styled, well-built executive car, which remains underrated and undervalued today. It’s way cooler than an Avensis, too. Honda has always fitted brilliant engines, and the Accord’s was no exception. The petrol engines are sporty, the 2.0 being adequate while the 2.4 delivers brisk performance, especially because the manual gearbox is so slick and easy to use.
But the pick of the range is the 2.2 i-CTDi diesel, which is refined, frugal and quicker in terms of acceleration than the 2.0-litre petrol unit. The Tourer is really nice, too, and still looks like the groovy future.
There isn’t much to worry about, apart from some rust around the sunroof. Find one with a full service history, then, and it will last for ever.
2010 Lotus Evora, price now £29,995
Here’s a controversial and unexpected entry, and it may never come to pass as a genuine banger. However, take a look at 1970s Lotuses, which are now unfashionable, cheap and prone to breaking down.
If the same brand snobbery conditions prevail in 30 years’ time, the Evora could potentially cost buttons, while the dream combination of a Toyota V6 and a composite body should mean it will last for ever. It isn’t a common-as-muck 911, Cayman, M3 or RS5, and that’s why you should find a place for an Evora on your ‘must have’ list. Quality is creaky, perhaps, but they don’t seem to explode. It’s just the niggly stuff that needs looking at, so think water leaks, door handles, air-con systems and gear cable rattles.
2011 Saab 9-5, price now £7000
Saab’s swansong was actually far better than anyone could have expected and different enough from the Germans for those who want to stand out from the executive crowd. It still looks special now. Like the previous 9-5, it is absolutely huge inside, which has to be a good thing. It is also as safe as houses, of course, and will cost far less to run, thanks to a claimed 53.3mpg from the diesel.
It needs regular servicing to last a lifetime, though, so a service history is vital, but most decent examples have only had a couple of owners. It’s advisable, though, to get a proper electronic diagnosis and troubleshooting inspection before buying. Parts are still available, and the value of owning something that isn’t an A6, E-Class or 5 Series is absolutely priceless.
2012 Infiniti G Coupé, price now £12,995
Tempted as I was to put the brutish Nissan 350Z in here, I may be the only person to appreciate the softer Infiniti version. You can’t fault the fit and finish, plus it has a link to the Nissan 200SX in that you really could do a bit of drifting in one of these — while wearing a straight face and a chest wig.