The summer holidays are almost over, and university graduates and fledgling professionals may be after an affordable set of wheels that's also a hoot to drive. Buying new isn't an option for everyone, and for those seeking a second-hand bargain, these trusty but fun motors are well worth a look.
1 - Suzuki Swift 1.5 (2004-2010)
We’re huge fans of the Suzuki Swift. In terms of character, the Sport model is possibly the closest modern warm hatch to old-school gems such as the Citroën AX GT. But while the Sport may be out of reach for early 20-somethings, they could have the next best thing: a nippy and well-equipped 1.5-litre Swift GLX.
The 1.5 retains the Sport’s wide track and feelsome steering, making it a hoot to drive on challenging B-roads, and the 101bhp motor can average 44mpg and still push the Swift from 0-62mph in 10.0sec and on to a maximum of 115mph. We found a 2009 model with only 13,000 miles under its belt for £5k.
2 - Peugeot 106 Quiksilver (1998-2003)
Back in the late 1990s, Peugeot spotted a gap in the market for a watered down GTi model to rival Citroën’s Saxo Furio. The result was the limited edition 106 Quiksilver. It had the 106 GTi’s suspension and bodykit but was propelled by a 1.4-litre eight-valve engine instead of the GTi’s 1.6 16-valver.
The 75bhp Quiksilver is a sharp steer thanks to its 850kg kerb weight, and it feels much faster than its 11.2sec 0-62mph time suggests. Driveshaft problems and rear axle issues are common, but just under £1500 will get you a clean 2002 Quiksilver with a respectable 78,000 miles on the clock.
3 - Mini Cooper (2001-2007)