I am always relieved to discover that it isn’t just me who reckons motor cars, for some of us anyway, are a bit too complicated for their own good. If your requirements are fairly modest and you want to spend money on a mortgage or food, then constantly upgrading to the latest model is not the best policy.
Steve is like me and wasn’t at all sure what he should do with his lovely 2003 Audi A4 in Ming Blue with 160,000 miles when he had the offer of a friend’s 2008 Jaguar X-Type Tourer with 50,000 miles, a full service history and new clutch. Both cars are diesels.
The issue was that Steve’s A4 has sickly air-con and fixing it is way more than the car is worth. But that is not necessarily the point. If a car is doing a job, then it’s often worth sticking with it. There is 160,000 on the clock of Steve’s A4, though, so maybe some bits are wearing out. More to the point, the X-Type he has been offered is in superb condition. So I told him he’s better off spending a bit more and going for the Jag.
Anyway, let’s stick with this, as that era of diesels did not deserve to die and, more lately, be drowned in AdBlue. Steve, like many others, needs a car that can cope with lots of short city work and doesn’t have a silly diesel particulate filter (DPF).
If you wanted a town runabout with 50mpg-plus potential and a very groovy on-trend boxy style that doesn’t cost £26,000 like one of those new-fangled Honda Es, what about a Lupo? These teeny Volkswagens came with a 1.4 engine and Pump Diesel technology. A 2002 one in tidy condition and with the Sport moniker starts at £595. More ambitious sellers try and get a more substantial £1500. It is tiny, though. Fun, but tiny.
I’d be inclined to go for a VW Passat, but then again, what could be more exciting than an Alfa Romeo badge? So why not go for a pretty 156 JTD? The Sportwagon is not the biggest estate car in the world, so just regard it as a largish hatch. I came across a 2002 example with a solid 160,000 miles and lots of recent work, such as clutch and cambelt, for £1200.