I know there’s an awful lot of hustle and bustle around rock-hard and rising used car values.
Autocar has noticed, commented and advised, but that ‘nearly new’ end of the market is fairly irrelevant in my view. The really interesting area to behold is the banger one. That’s because cheap cars are under attack. If it isn’t cars being expelled from the ULEZ, it’s now the petrol ones that can be killed by E10 fuel and just about any old diesel.
A lot of cars from the early 2000s are becoming worthless, while so many from the 1990s are not just obsolete but almost extinct. So there are tons of cheap motors to buy right now.
That all explains the £300 1999 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 I stumbled across in west London, which had to go because of the wicked ULEZ. It represented the very best small hatchback purchase, being a welllooked-after family runabout. It’s always important to read the advert in full. Doing so here revealed the Polo to be another catalytic-converter theft victim. But don’t worry: there are plenty of other cheap shopping cars available.
There’s no shortage of Nissan Micras. These are great little things, not to drive but just to own, which is the way it should be. Searching through the examples on offer, I was drawn to an 89,000-mile 2003 1.0 being offered by a dealer (which explains the slightly higher price of £550). It came with a year’s worth of MOT, so there was a certain amount of reassurance, even if the cosmetics were compromised by a few inches of gaffer tape on the front bumper. I suppose that improved its looks somewhat.
Cheap small cars are easy but cheap family hatchbacks are even better, because they get you more square footage for not much money. That’s why a 2007 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8i with 99,000 miles at £400 was so tempting. It was a private sale, but it seemed honest enough, right down to the scraped front bumper, which the seller reckoned knocked £200 off the asking price. That’s his loss.