If you’re a bit of a petrolhead like me, there’s a good chance you’ll often find yourself relentlessly thumbing up and down apps from AutoTrader, Gumtree, FreeAds and the like, drooling over various cars you don’t really have the money for. Imagine you won £20,000 on one of these daytime TV shows. Naturally, you would immediately think of using it to pay off your student loan. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t be that sensible, but just say you had £10,000 left and fancied buying a seriously cool car. Here are my picks from this week’s classifieds, with a focus on cars with low-ish mileages and smaller engines meaning they should be reasonable to insure – apart from one more powerful oddball I’ve thrown in, too.
Alfa Romeo MiTo Sportiva TwinAir
Jeremy Clarkson often says that every petrolhead should own an Alfa Romeo at least once in their lifetime and I reckon the pick for younger or newer drivers is the MiTo. Small enough to manoeuvre, economical at under 1-litre and with looks blending pretty and sporty, you can’t argue that it’s a desirable car. Being Italian, red would be the obvious choice but I spotted this black one on a ’62 plate with gorgeous 18” alloy wheels and only 17,000 miles on the clock for £9,995.
The snag with this one is that it’s more than ten years old on a ’54 plate, but Audi did stop making the adorably cute A2 in 2005, which means that on the flip-side, they are rare and hold onto their value nicely. Finding a low mileage A2 is quite tricky but I managed to find this one with 58,000 miles recorded, in blue (the joint best colour alongside silver, IMHO) and with the very rare option of half-leather seats. A doddle to top up with oil and water thanks to clever designing, backed by Audi’s legendary build quality, this one at only £4,995 will leave you with plenty of change for petrol.
I’ve not gone completely mad and have a reason for including this very odd car, which is guaranteed to attract loads of stares if you’re behind the wheel. It’s tiny so can be parked anywhere, looks pretty sporty with go-faster stripes, twin exhausts, alloys and a contrasting roof, and has a diddy 0.4-litre engine, meaning you can drive it at 16 years of age on a moped license. It does only go 30mph, though, but unlike a moped, means you’ll arrive at your destination without getting wet through. A year old with only 7 miles done, save yourself £1,300 versus a brand new one and get this one for £8,690.
Citroen DS3 Cabrio
You won’t have any trouble finding this bright yellow Citroen DS3 Cabrio in a car park, that’s for sure. If you like driving around with the wind in your hair in the hot weather, this convertible with a folding roof would be ideal. They’re comfortable to drive and this DStyle Plus model I found comes with a nice pile of gadgets, plus it’s got seats in the back, which are fine for shortish trips. It’s listed at £9,975 with 18,548 miles on it.
Nissan Cube Kaizen
Oh dear, I hope I haven’t got you rushing off to be sick again, but I think Nissan Cubes are funky. With a square silhouette, they look like little urban tanks and have a clever asymmetric design to them. Cubes are extremely popular in Japan but you hardly see any in the UK. Funnily enough, though, there’s often one parked at my local supermarket. The only car like it is the Daihatsu Materia (go Google it!) and this 2011 Nissan Cube Kaizen with only 11,000 miles on it and advertised at £7,479 is posh all the way, with reclining rear seats, cruise control, sat nav, automatic headlights and keyless entry. Hopefully now you’ll see why the Cube makes my list.
Daihatsu Terios Kiri
If you live on a farm or own a horse and regularly drive to the stables, this unusual car would be quite a cool choice. Reliable, fairly economical and easy to park thanks to its high-up ride and compact dimensions, this little 4×4 is capable of going where the poshest off-roaders go. I would have included a Suzuki Jimny in my list but the Terios has rear doors and can be found at slightly cheaper prices, like this 2009 ‘Kiri’ edition with 31,000 miles for £6,995.
Mercedes G Wagen
I know, I know – there’s little chance Carrot Insurance would be able to cover you, but I love G Wagens so much that I couldn’t resist including this one I found for £9,790. New G Class Mercedes cost between £87,000 and £130,000 and are so rare and desirable that they can go up in value, but for a £10,000 budget you’d have to make do with this right-hand drive 1990 example with only 87,000 miles on it. They can go almost anywhere, are made as solidly as a proverbial rock and the great thing is that the new model looks more or less the same as this one!
Suzuki Swift Sport
If fun’s what you’re after, the Suzuki Swift Sport is an absolute cracker. I reviewed one for a week back in 2012 and didn’t want to give it back, as it was that much of a hoot, with sharp handling and enough pace for country lanes, backed up with decent fuel economy and a feeling of solidity about it. This 1.6-litre Swift Sport from 2013 is priced at £9,451 and comes with xenon headlights, Bluetooth, sports exhaust and sports seats. It’ll put a smile on your face.
Unbelievably, Peugeot’s sexy, stylish coupe has been around for five years, now, and this lovely blue 2010 model I found with 60,000 miles on the clock is priced at £8,975. With a gorgeous ‘double bubble’ roof and a low down, sporty interior with a slick gearbox, whoever buys this punchy 1.6-litre sports car will be chuffed, I’m sure.
Skoda Fabia vRS
I can’t stand the sickly, bright green colour they sell this car in, so have picked a Skoda Fabia vRS with a black paint job, which looks rather menacing. Part of the Volkswagen family, it’s sturdy and built to last, is small enough to manoeuvre and park and has a 1.4-litre engine which is relatively cheap to insure but has plenty of poke if you put your foot down. With bucket seats, hill hold and black alloy wheels, this 2012 model with 22,000 miles is priced at £9,491.
So, there we have it – ten cool cars for under £10k, which are all relatively economical, small enough for younger and newer drivers and more affordable to insure; okay, perhaps excluding the G Class. If you want to send us links to any other stylish motors costing less than £10k, go for it and send us your suggestions via Twitter or Facebook. Have a fantastic weekend and tune in for the next edition of The Root on Friday.