Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 22 February
The advert for this utilitarian Citroen 2CV is fantastically honest, but that doesn't mean you should buy blind

Citroën 2CV, £5000: An honest classified ad showing a car warts ’n’ all is always an encouraging sign. 

One like the ad we came across for a Citroën 2CV Special. It’s a 1986 car with just 79,000 miles, up for £5000. So far so good but we know enough about 2CVs to know that these butter-wouldn’t-melt classics can knife you in the back and cost you dear. 


So we were pleased by the private seller taking the trouble to not only supply clear photos of its engine but also of rust breaking out on the rear wing, the dimpled but rust-free floor (it’s galvanised, apparently), and sundry seams and mounting points. 

They say the car is “absolutely reliable and in good working order”. Given their transparency so far, it’s a claim we’re inclined to believe. It might be worth a look-see but we’d have our 2CV feelers on high alert. 

Starting with the engine, we’d be listening for rattles on start-up, checking for crankcase oil pressure problems and inspecting the condition of the heater hoses, which can catch fire. 

Then we’d have a play with the gearbox, feeling for a smooth dogleg change and listening out for a crunchy third-gear synchro. On the test drive, we’d be listening for creaky suspension (loose axle bolts or poorly lubricated spring cylinders) and feeling for heavy steering suggesting the chassis is bent. The brakes should be smooth and efficient. 

Citroen 2cv 1


Read our review

Car review
Peugeot 108
The Peugeot 108 is the French car firm's rival to the Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10

New-shape baby Peugeot fares well with improved rear end and small engines. Can it threaten the class leaders?

Back to top

Now the big one: the chassis and body. The car has a replacement galvanised chassis, which is good, so we’d turn our attention to common rust zones, including rear seatbelt mounts, boot floor, bonnet hinge, sills, door bottoms and windscreen surround. Fingers crossed…

Jaguar x type

Jaguar X-Type 2.2D Premium, £4500: This luxuriously appointed baby Jag, a 2008/08 car with 73,000 miles, has had 11 documented services, or around one every 6500 miles. The X-Type wasn’t the last word in Jagness but Premium spec brings leather seats that wouldn't disgrace a Bentley. 

Porsche 911

Back to top

Porsche 911 (996), £11,000: Thank heavens so few like the 996-series 911 (1997-2004): it means bargains for the rest of us, like this 1998 Carrera 2 with 102,000 miles. The ad says it has a full service history with invoices. We don’t expect many to be main dealer but reputable specialists would be reassuring.

Ford focus zetec s

Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost Zetec S, £7990: We like spotting discreet warm hatches like this. Its engine produces 177bhp, which is even more appealing in a car as well sorted as a Focus. It’s a 2012, one-owner car with full service history. Downside? It’s done 20,000 miles so it has been worryingly idle. 

Lupo gti

Back to top

Volkswagen Lupo 1.6 GTI, £1150: Are you sitting down? This ancestor of the Up GTI has done almost 250,000 miles. It was registered in 2001 and the seller, who is responsible for 200,000 of them, has owned it for 15 years. “Don’t be put off. She drives like a peach,” they say. It has full service history, apparently.

Auction watch 

Bmw 328 coupe

BMW 328i M Sport Coupé: Honest, low-mileage E36-generation 3 Series coupés like this are rare. The 1998 car fetched £5000 – not stupid money, given its modest 40,000 miles and good service history. It’s in the right colour, too, and the nappa leather looks fresh. Add the electric sunroof and BBS alloys, and it’s a bargain, especially when the classifieds yield so little. Closest we came was a 1996 328i coupé with full service history and 99,000 miles for £5495. Mind you, we did find a later, one-owner, 2000-reg E46-gen 323i auto with 70,000 for £2995. Rather have that thuggish 328i manual, though.

Get it while you can

108 0

Back to top

Peugeot 108 1.0 72 Allure 5dr, price new - £13,049, price now - £8700: You can have any engine you like in a new 108 so long as it’s the 1.0 72. The earlier 1.0 PureTech 68 and 1.2 PureTech 82 are no more. If that spoils your appetite for a 108, then consider this: it’s possible to secure a discount as high as £4349 on one. It brings the price of a new and amply equipped Allure five-door (air-con, richly featured infotainment system, reversing camera, alloy wheels and auto headlights) to £8700, from £13,049. That’s a big saving at this price level, although you can pick up a nearly new 1.2 Allure from £7350. 

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me a cheap-as-chips, fully loaded, premium bruiser that makes a mockery of buying new.


Jaguar XJ 2.7 TDVi Sovereign, £5495: If you’re after a bargain bruiser that’s also stuffed with gadgets, then look no further than a used Jaguar XJ. The crazy thing is that there are still good examples to be snapped up. We found an economical 2007 2.7 TDVi with just 77,000 miles on it for only £5495. And it’s a Sovereign, which means it comes with everything including sat-nav, voice activation, electric seats and heated bum warmers all round. Plus, you can find plenty of Sovereigns with a wire mesh grille and not the horrible, plasticky alternative found on lesser models. Max Adams

Back to top


BMW M5, £11,995: Holy moly, a V10 in good nick for under £12k! And furthermore, it’s under the bonnet of this über-popular and super-cool E60-generation M5. Think of a naturally aspirated 507bhp and suitably brutal performance, with 0-60mph in 4.7sec. Think immense grip and sharp handling – and four doors so you can blow your family’s minds as well. This 2005 Banglewagen is barely run in and comes with a full history. If you’re looking for a full-time bruiser it’s the only way to go: it’s fully loaded, cheap as chips and as premium as they come. Mark Pearson

Verdict: ‘Bruiser’ – not a word that springs to mind when considering a Jag but what value. No, it has to be the M5, even if its price is more battered cod than soggy fries. 

Read more

Used car buying guide: Citroen 2CV​

The road to Worthersee in a Volkswagen Lupo - the wheels go on​

In pictures: Autocar's history of the BMW M5

Join the debate

Add a comment…
WallMeerkat 22 February 2019

Surely a mistake with the 2CV

Surely a mistake with the 2CV - an extra 0 perhaps? Have they really risen in value that much?? A few years ago they were bangers that people were embarrassed to drive.

X type is nice, though for a wafty Jag experience you need an autobox - were these available in later diesels? (And kudos on no mention of Mondeos - it was a minority of parts, the Mondeo was a good car anyway, and VW have been getting away with it for years with Audis and Skodas sharing major components and platforms)

LP in Brighton 22 February 2019

2CV - no thanks!

Must admit that I enjoyed driving a 2CV back in the day. It was cheap and cheerful, good clean fun and surprisingly comfortable. And in those days nobody was much concerned with safety, emissions, connectivity etc. But I can't see the point of paying a premium for a 30-year old example in need of work, especially when today's equivalents - like the Dacia Sandero, Hyundai i10, or Peugeot 108 also featured - can be had for little more money. These cars are simple and efficient, will still have remaining warranty and in their own way are quite fun to drive also.