You will probably have been shocked to learn recently that British motorists spend an average of £695 every year looking after their cars.

For supercar owners, that might just be a tyre. For many Bangernomicists, that’s pretty much the maximum cost of their next motor, and if they were presented with a bill that large at any point in its life, it would be game over. What is much more of a worry is that this is 12% more than the global average. I say ‘worry’ because it suggests to me that we remain rip-off Britain when it comes to the cost of parts and servicing.

The challenge has to be going out and buying a sub-£700 motor that is interesting and won’t cost the same again within the next 12 months. As I often point out, buying used, especially cheap used, has a lot of luck involved, but as you continually prove on these pages, it is perfectly possible. 

I shouldn’t be looking at a Mazda RX-8 priced at £1000. It is a 2004 example and has had four owners. I’m not sure whether the owner is bailing on the grounds that something big is about to go wrong or that the oil and petrol consumption is rather disappointing. For those reasons, I would probably ask for £305 off the price to bring this genuinely interesting motor within budget. If it breaks down, you would probably just throw it away and kiss goodbye to that £695.