Looking through the autocar.co.uk forums, I’ve noticed a few of you asking fellow users for advice on what car to buy with a £3000 budget.

Having never spent more than that amount on a car – my low-price record is £97 for a Peugeot 106 – I did some investigating to see if I could be of some use.

I’ve divided my finds into three categories, two of my top tips in each section plus a wild card just in case you’re feeling brave…

Economical runabouts

1) Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet diesel: cheap to run (65mpg) and peanuts to tax (£30 for the year), a shade under £3k gets you a 2005 example with 70,000 miles and a new MOT. Despite being cramped inside, it’s durable and fun to drive.

2) Volkswagen Polo 1.2E: base-spec 2007 Polos with above average miles (around 90,000) are on the £3k list too. The popular hatchback offers bullet-proof reliability, safety and comfort. For your money, you’re looking at a two-owner car with a 12-month ticket and full service history.

The wild card – Reva G-Wiz: yup, the G-Wiz is my wild card choice. No fuel costs, road tax or London Congestion Charge to worry about, so you’ll be doing the planet and your wallet a favour (provided there’s a plug socket handy). A 2005 example is yours for £2500.