The day before the Christmas break I was in the local Volvo service centre. I picked up the photocopied list of the local dealer’s used car stock.

At the top of the list was a V70 T6 AWD, virtually identical to the car I ran as a long termer. It was 16 months old, had just 11,000 miles on the clock was well stocked with extras including built-in sat-nav.

When it was new, that V70 would have cost around £42,000. Volvo Leatherhead wanted £21,950. Surely £20,000 would have taken it?

If you feel pretty secure about your job, and have the wherewithal, 2009 will be a year of second-hand bargains.

At the other end of the scale, it’s amazing what £2500 will buy. I stumbled across a number of 190bhp V6 MG ZT-T estates for less than £2500. All had under 80,000 miles on the clock and one was a one-owner car.

I also ran one of these as a long termer in 2002. The engine was a little lacking in torque and the tyre noise could be annoying, but it was handsome and beautifully engineered. At those prices, it has to be worth a punt for a year’s interesting motoring. Personally, I’ve always has a soft spot for the original Volvo V70 ever since I drove one of the launch cars. Rumoured to have been styled by Iain Callum, the C70 had the V70’s lovely interior and warbling five-pot engines and a stylish coupe body. Not a great driving machine, but a lovely place to spend long hours at the wheel.

As I write, there’s a 1999 2.5 20v auto C70 for sale at a dealer just a few miles from my house. It has a full Volvo history and a sensible 98,000 miles on the clock.

Price? £1999. And very nearly irresistible.