I am not sure if there really is such a thing as a used car world atlas any more, where you can point at a region of the globe and declare that everything built there is as solid as a rock. Building cars is a complicated international business, but I still like suggesting that anything from the Far East is probably great. That doesn’t necessarily mean Japanese, and Korean cars don’t necessarily have to be Kias or Hyundais.
Remember Proton? They were big in Norfolk for a while and existed as a value brand, sometimes with added Lotus handling magic. The best thing about them, apart from second-hand Mitsubishi technology, was the fact that they were bought exclusively by family buyers on a budget. Today, these are great value, and I was rather taken by the marginal £745 wanted for a one-family-owned 2010 Gen-2 GLS with just 40,000 miles. The seller was honest enough to include the parking-by-touch damage to a lot of the bodywork. I was also attracted to a 2008 dealer-sold model with 74,000 miles and three owners for £920, which at least had a warranty. I like the small brick-like Savvy, too, and a 2009 54,000-mile example was just £1200, but I mustn’t fall down the Proton rabbit hole.
Still with a P: Perodua, anyone? These are reheated Daihatsus and were certainly cheap as chips new. The majority of them are the old Cuore, rebadged as a Kelisa. These are so good that the decent ones have not depreciated by very much at all. You will pay around £1800 to £2000 for quite a dated little shopper, although there are some very low-mileage examples. The later shape of its Myvi successor is a better buy, and I came across a 1.3 SXI example from 2010, a one-family-owned car with 73,000 miles. There was some service history, but it seemed a fine buy at £1495.
If you don’t want a happy shopper but something instead to tow and to work and to definitely not show off, then it has to be a Ssangyong. They are very much great-value 4x4s when brand new and also have a decent warranty, but they’re just as impressive as used cars. If you need seats, I came across a 2014 Turismo 2.0 with seven of them in leather and 75,000 miles for just £7000. Alternatively, for £250 less, a 2014 Rexton EX 2.0 also has seven seats and the one I saw has 98,000 miles under its wheels. If that’s too big, a hatchback Tivoli from 2017 with 14,000 miles is £8000.
Tales from Ruppert's garage