The Coupé is popular for its blend of handsome looks and capable road manners. It comes with good handling, limited body lean, a comfortable ride and precise, well-weighted steering, although the set-up offers limited feedback. The 2.0-litre petrol model is the best bet because the 1.6 is underpowered and the 2.7-litre V6 isn’t that fast.
The Coupé is well made and reliable, with only the odd electrical gremlin reported by owners. Our budget gets you into a 2004 2.0 SE with 77,000 miles on the clock.
3. Peugeot 406 Coupé (1996-2004)
In a Pininfarina face-off with the Hyundai Coupé, the 406 Coupé goes head-to-head for the best Ferrari impersonation. There is no denying the catwalk beauty and graceful lines of this Peugeot.
It handles well and has lots of grip while, in true French fashion, lumps and bumps are ironed out by a smooth ride.
The interior is less inspiring, with too many buttons and dominated by dark plastics. There can also be concerns over reliability, so if you’re considering buying one, make sure you check thoroughly that it’s mechanically sound, especially the engine.
Search well and you’ll get a 2.2-litre SE for under £1000, but you may want to spend a little more for a pristine one.
4. Mazda RX-8 (2003-2011)
Four-door coupés were as rare as hen’s teeth when Mazda introduced the RX-8 in 2003. Rarer still were Wankel engines, the 1.3-litre powerplants capable of producing 189bhp or 228bhp.
The world has moved on and now there are plenty of four-door coupés on offer and a 1.0-litre turbo engine can now produce 200bhp, as seen in the Formula Ford Ecoboost, but none of them can be yours for £1000 like the RX-8 can.
It’s an entertaining drive and is as practical as coupés get. Running costs are steep, though, due to its ability to guzzle petrol and engine oil at an alarming rate.
We saw a 2005 car with 66,000 miles in 228bhp guise for a grand.
5. Ford Puma (1997-2002)
British designer Ian Callum may be better known and highly lauded for his creations at Aston Martin and Jaguar, but his early works included the great looking Ford Puma.
Based on the humble underpinnings of the Fiesta, this two-door coupé got a razor-sharp repackaging of the best-selling supermini. With kart-like steering, brilliant handling, strong brakes and a spot-on gearshift, the Puma quickly became a favourite among keen drivers.
It started life as a Fiesta, so you’ll find that parts and servicing are cheap and the engines are economical, too. Inside, there are flashes of aluminium trim to add some sporty pizzazz. We found a 1.7-litre Puma from 1999 with 77,000 miles on the clock that fell within our £1000 budget.