Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 8 February
At less than £4000, this sporty Clio seems almost suspiciously cheap. Is it worth the risk?

Renault Clio Renaultsport 182, £3990: Good Renault Clio Renaultsport 172 and 182 models of 1998-2005 are rare, which is why this particular 182 leapt out.

Remarkably, it’s a one-owner car; an FF Cup, so the fully loaded version with part-leather interior and optional Cup chassis but not the purer, stripped-out and supposedly lighter Cup version, if that makes sense. It’s a phase two car registered in 2004, when the more powerful 182 engine replaced the 172, and it has done a perfectly reasonable 85,000 miles. 

All good – and it gets better. The tyres are the correct Renaultsport Michelins and it has just had the cambelt, water pump, dephaser and auxiliary belt changed by a Renault specialist. And it’s in totally standard and unmarked condition. Basically, it looks like it has been owned by an intelligent enthusiast. 

Renault clio rs

It prompts the question: why sell it? After all, it’s being sold by a dealer so its owner can’t have got much for it. Suspicions suitably aroused, we’d start by checking its engine, looking for oil leaks and ensuring the engine doesn’t rock on its mounts. Otherwise, in changing the belts, water pump and dephaser, the previous owner has addressed the RS’s common must-dos. 

Next, the gearbox, where we’d listen for worn bearings and synchros and feel for loose gearbox mounts. Turning to the suspension, we’d check the front springs and bushes for wear, and then the steering rack, also for worn bushes. 

Rust can break out around the rear arches and behind the bodykit. Inside, rubber thumb grips on the steering wheel can deform. An aftermarket tiller is the only solution – but a good one. You wouldn’t want to spoil it. 

Holden maloo


Read our review

Car review

New Renaultsport hot hatch has sophistication, but can it excite when direct rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST have perfected the formula?

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Holden Maloo, £15,995: The 2004 ad slogan for the Aussie-born-and-bred Maloo pick-up was “I just want one”. Not hard to see why. Its 400bhp 6.0-litre V8 is good for 0-62mph in a tyre-smoking 5.5sec. And, good news, it fits UK roads perfectly. It’s even right-hand drive.

Porsche boxster 0

Porsche Boxster, £2950: It’s a 21-year-old Porsche. It’s done 178k miles. It’s had five owners. Your head says no but it has full service history, it drives well and it’s a private sale, so you can quiz the owner directly. And in silver with red leather, it looks great. Oh, go on, then…

Mitsubishi starion

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Mitsubishi Starion 2.0 Turbo EX, £3995: Welcome to the mid-1980s when the Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7 and this, the Mitsubishi Starion, traded blows. The Starion has a 177bhp turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-litre engine, rear-wheel drive, aggressive looks and lots of kit. 

Rr shadow

Rolls-Royce Shadow II, £25,950: Surely, there’s little point buying a Rolls Shadow unless it’s in some knock-out colour, such as this 1978 example in beautiful Le Mans blue with a cream leather interior. It has been totally overhauled, including an engine rebuild by specialist Hanwells.

Auction watch

Ex-police Ford Mustang: Looks like cuts have extended to the plod’s patrol cars, with this unmarked Mustang being a 2.3 Ecoboost rather than the full-fat 5.0-litre. Still, it must have been fun with the Bullitt theme blasting out and pulling over youths in saggy STs. 

Auction watch mustang

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Cop cars have a hard life but, unless savings have hit repairs and servicing, want for little. This one’s a 2015 car with an auction guide price of £19,950 – a few thou less than average, at least for pukka right-hand-drive ones. For other ex-police bargains, try West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions, which holds sales twice a month. 

Get it while you can

Audi tt 2 0 tdi ultra sport 2dr 313544653 1

Audi TT 2.0 TDI Ultra Sport, price new - £32,080, price nearly new - £23,900: The anti-diesel lobby has claimed another scalp in the shape of the Audi TT 2.0 TDI. The arrival of the mildly facelifted model has allowed Audi to dump it from the line-up. It means that if you want a torquey TT with a new smell, the only place to look is nearly new. We found a 2018/18-reg 2.0 TDI Ultra Sport with 8000 miles for £23,900, a saving of more than £8000. Doubtless, Audi dealers were discounting new ones ahead of the model’s withdrawal but that was then and this is now.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me a compact but practical ‘activity’ vehicle for a camping-mad family. Your budget is £15,000.


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Toyota Land Cruiser BJ42 pick-up truck, £15,000: Camping isn’t something I’ve done much of, so forgive me if I go a little overboard with this 1982 Land Cruiser. I assume sleeping under the stars is quite a hardy thing to do so the simplicity and reliability of this Toyota might come in handy. As will the bed at the back if you can’t find a level spot to pitch your tent. Solid axles and leaf springs mean you can attack any trail in search of the most remote and picturesque of camping locations without fear of breaking this rig. Max Adams


Honda Element, £3000: No modern activity vehicle can match the Honda Element’s practicality, with that huge clamshell tailgate, an interior you can literally hose down, those rear-hinged back doors, the missing B-pillar, a massive internal space with a flat floor and those flexible rear seats. Space-wise, it’s like driving the Tardis. There’s even a VTEC engine. Perhaps best of all, though, this car is a mere £3000, leaving you £12,000 to spend on proper family holidays, ones involving sunshine and hotels. Mark Pearson

Verdict: So… the Honda leaves change to book into a luxury hotel when one more night in a tent is as appealing as one more mile in a Land Cruiser pick-up? I’ll take it. John Evans

Read more

Used car buying guide: Renaultsport Clio 197​

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sipod 8 February 2019

Honda Element?

thats a new one on me! Never heard of it until now. TT looks great value for basically a new car. 

Sonic 8 February 2019

That Maloo

As magnificent as it is, you'd be better off waiting for a VE-based Maloo (or even an SS or SS-V Holden) to come on sale - Build quality and materials are a million times better.