The question this week is: how do you replace a great big Korean-American saloon? This is a close-to-home project requiring an automatic gearbox and no more than £3500. It can be smaller than a four-door, too. I have a consultancy role but won’t be getting a fee. Let’s see where we can go with this.
I have a lot of time for the Volvo C30: it’s such a great-looking hatchback, plus it’s solid, sensible and practical. For £3000, it’s possible to get a 2009 2.0D R-Design Sport with a Powershift gearbox. It has had three owners and done 103,000 miles, and as a bonus it has Serapis alloy wheels, which look better than they sound. Leather upholstery and Volvo’s Intelligent Driver System, too. Yet more good news is that it should average more than 45mpg.
Here’s a weird one: what about the Skoda Roomster? Is it a bit too older- person wagon? I reckon it looks quite cool, but then I’m ancient. In black, though, with alloys or some painted steelies, why not? Just £3000 buys a 2007 1.6V Scout with the Tiptronic ’box. It’s a 91,000-miler with three previous owners, being sold privately. Otherwise, a dealer-sold 2007 car 87,000 miles but five ex-owners is £2495. There are plenty to pick from.
When in doubt, always tempt a youngster with an Alfa Romeo. If they get cars even a bit, they will understand the appeal, and the odd-looking Mito is a great funster. There aren’t many at the price point, but a 2011 1.4 Multiair Veloce with 104,000 miles and the all-important automatic box is £2999 at a dealer. Alternatively, a privately advertised 2010 1.4 car with 52,000 miles, just two ex-owners and a full service history is the better buy, I reckon – especially at a little over £3000.
If we wanted to remain on-brand with a Kia, there’s the boxy little Soul crossover and the Rio supermini. The latter is a bit dull, and I like the Soulsters. For £2495, we can get a 1.6 CRDi example from 2011 with just under 100,000 miles. It’s easy to own and it officially scores 45mpg, so it won’t be too bad on the pocket.
It’s always hard to go wrong with the Honda Civic. Let’s make it interesting with a 1.8i-VTEC Type S that has the all-important i-Shift ’box – a 2009 example with 108,000 miles. This conveniently three-door motor has four previous owners and is up for £3500. It should be possible to bid the dealer down a few hundred.