The simple truth is that if you really want to know which cars you should be buying and running, you need to check out what a decent car dealer is steering.
That’s why I had a quick chat with Bradley Mitchell, who runs Hunter’s Lodge Cars in the Midlands. Indeed, his opening line to me was that he had “bought a couple of high-mileage cars this year in the name of Bangernomics”.
That’s nice to hear, especially from someone who pretty much has the pick of whatever is passing through. Except that old Bradders isn’t so old school that he’s only going to smoke around in whatever has the longest ticket and fullest tank. He buys cars because he loves them. Not all car dealers do.
He says: “The first Bangernomics purchase was a family wagon and also a dog-carrier: a 59 plate Volvo XC70 D5 auto with 125,000 miles, full history and the all-important cambelt change at 100,000 miles. I paid £5700 for it a few months back. It has now done 130,000 and hasn’t cost me a bean apart from some new tyres on the front. I think if you are talking fitness for purpose, then it’s one of the best cars I’ve owned.”
They are pretty good and a cursory glance at the classifieds certainly proves that they are funky to look at. Dial all the way back to 2009 and £4995 gets you a 2.4 D5 SE Geartronic with 140,000 miles. Sorted out by a dealer, it looked more than ready for winter.
Then there are Minis, finally affordable, but caution is advised when you are paying a grand or so. They are also perfect to be mucked about with, as Bradley has proved.