Currently reading: Take it or leave it: used picks for 22 April
This Nissan 350Z stars this week

You don’t have to to break the bank for a satisfying dose of speed these days.

For proof, look no further than the Nissan 350Z – one of the Japanese firm’s most alluring junior performance packages that, even in its heyday, had an attainable price and bags of kerb appeal.

Propelled by a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, the early 350Z offered 276bhp. It was initially available as a coupé and all cars were rear-wheel drive with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Power was uprated in 2005 to a lusty 296bhp and a roadster was added to the line-up. Straight-line speed was quick enough to get your attention: with 296bhp, the model completed 0-62mph in 5.8sec in the coupé and 6.2sec in the roadster.

If that’s not enough poke, look for the HR (for ‘high response’) model. Produced from 2007, it received a comprehensive engine overhaul that boosted power to 308bhp.

The revised car also gained a new front bumper, bi-xenon headlights and updated LED tail-lights. And inside, the 350Z was equipped with a new sat-nav as well as larger door bins.

We thought the transmission was far smoother than the original car’s and road noise was reduced. In fact, we would certainly choose a later example, if funds allow, because of its vastly improved refinement and impressive engine reliability over those from launch.

We were tempted by a 2009 example that’s up for just £8495. Although it has covered 115,000 miles, it’s a one-owner car with no aftermarket additions, a full Nissan service history, a three-month warranty and 12 months of AA cover.

It’s also in GT spec, which adds features such as electric seats, leather upholstery and cruise control.

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With any 350Z, it’s wise to check the suspension bushes, because the ones on the lower control arms tend to fail at 75,000 miles. Ensure the power steering is in good nick, as well as the clutch, which might need replacing after around 45,000 miles at a cost of £600 or so.

Verdict: Take it

Suzuki Alto, £4560: The current owner describes this 2014 Suzuki Alto as “ultra-low” mileage, and it has covered a low-sounding 34,440 miles, but that’s only about 4500 below the typical mileage for an Alto of this age. It also suffered a category-S incident at some point (although it has been fully repaired), which makes its £4650 price seem less tempting.

Verdict: Leave it

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BMW 330Ci, £6250: This 2005 BMW coupé is a no-brainer. It has been routinely serviced, meaning its ‘M54’ 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine should be in excellent condition for its 86,900 miles. The advert also says the car has always been garaged and used sparingly in wet weather – and there’s certainly no sign of rust on the bodywork in the photos. So go on: you know you want to.

Verdict: Take it

Lotus Europa S, £24,995: The Europa S was meant to be a more comfortable alternative to the Lotus Elise, but the reality was blunted handling and not enough refinement, so sales were tiny. This 2007 example has done 57,800 miles and comes with a full (Lotus specialist) service history. But for less than its £24,995 price, you could – and, we think, should – get a 2007 Porsche Cayman instead.

Verdict: Leave it

 

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Paul Dalgarno 22 April 2022

No clue why anyone would recommend any car with 115k miles at £8.5k. There'll be a mountain of bills coming as various suspension and engine parts coming to the end of their life, let alone all the other various bits and pieces that will probably fail. I've owned a few that cost a couple of grand, and it was a never ending stream of expense due to age. Just daft advice without a rider that big bills will more than likely be coming soon. 

gavsmit 22 April 2022

£4560 for an 8 year old Suzuki Alto with Cat S damage and the base solid colour?!

Car prices have gone nuts which is impacting used car values. A friend of mine is after a cheap city car for their daughter and I had a quick look but was absolutely shocked at the prices of everything.

Even 7 year old models of my own car were selling for not that much less than what I paid for mine when brand new (which included a reasonable discount at the time).

The current situation is outrageous. If anyone didn't know better, you'd be convinced that someone is plotting the downfall of the Western world.......

 

 

The Apprentice 25 April 2022
gavsmit wrote:

£4560 for an 8 year old Suzuki Alto with Cat S damage and the base solid colour?!

Car prices have gone nuts which is impacting used car values. A friend of mine is after a cheap city car for their daughter and I had a quick look but was absolutely shocked at the prices of everything.

Even 7 year old models of my own car were selling for not that much less than what I paid for mine when brand new (which included a reasonable discount at the time).

The current situation is outrageous. If anyone didn't know better, you'd be convinced that someone is plotting the downfall of the Western world.......

I am on the look out for a cheap car for my next child to take up driving, after a shortage of small cars I am seeing dealers getting stuck with lot of cat S's they just can't shift, some reducing prices now and quite a few not even declaring as cat. S which I think is not legal, I do run a check before even considering a car and its always the case if its too cheap to be true, its cat S.Also the market has become a bit more sniffy, as prices are still quite high generally for a tidy older car due to demand, Japanese/Korean cars are asking higher prices and in short supply as everyone knows they are more likely to be reliable when older, good Picanto's for example are asking a lot of money for their age and mileage despite there being trillions on the road, same with Aygos. A lot of dross around without even basics like aircon.  Spec. listings are pretty unreliable, I depend on pictures a lot to see if aircon button or bluetooth phone buttons on steering wheel to be sure.

LucyP 22 April 2022

I'm not sure who wrote this article has researched the asking price of such Caymans versus their actual trade value. If you look at what Philip Schofield will offer or what Parkers say the asking price should be, the difference is about £10K. That's a very big mark up on an old car. It isn't sustainable. Prices are already falling. When you come to trade the car in, your loss with be huge, because you overpaid by £10K on the car. There is no value in Caymans at the moment.