Car Choice: No need to replace your lovely old car – restore it instead

Helen McLennan is looking for a car to replace the family's old and ailing Peugeot 206 GTi. Ideally, she would like to buy exactly the same again, but failing that she wants a smallish hatchback with what her husband calls "a bit of poke". Helen mostly uses the car for shopping and occasional longer journeys. She would like to spend up to £10,000 but would consider a bit more.

A car for the head

The Peugeot 206 was a truly wonderful car and undoubtedly a modern classic. It was responsive, fast and uncluttered. This was a focused performance hatchback that made the equivalent Golf GTI seem slow and leaden by comparison. Indeed if Helen and her husband have £10,000 I would argue that a freshen up would be in order. Replacing the parts that need it would cost not that much at all. Clearly this is a car they both love, and what better than to have it returned to its former glory? There are plenty of decent Peugeot specialists out there who would help. Or maybe buying a later example in immaculate condition would be a good idea, as a 2006 206 GTi will only be around £4,000 from a dealer. If Helen didn't want to go to the bother of rebuilding their current GTI, why not buy one that is as good as new? It makes sense to me and effectively recycles an older car. Otherwise an up-to-date equivalent would be something like a Renault Clio Renaultsport which has great handling, a spacious interior and is lots of fun on a B road. There is also the Peugeot 207 GTI, pictured below, a great grandson of the 206. It should be better on motorways and a tad more refined.

A car for the heart

Although I've decided that the car for Helen's heart really would be her old GTi rebuilt or rebought, there may be rather more up-to-date cars that could fit into the family lifestyle. Because practicality is not a priority, I would be inclined to think that a Mini Cooper would be the answer, especially the quicker S. It has a 1.6 turbocharged engine, which is very eager, especially when you need it. Like the old Peugeot, the Cooper manages to combine a good turn of speed with absolutely superb handling. That means the Cooper is quick to react to all the driver inputs and it clings excitingly to corners. On the motor-way, the Cooper may generate a bit of wind noise and be firm on the road, but overall it is refined and well behaved. The only problem with the Cooper and the S version is that they are not that well equipped as standard and not that cheap either. So Helen will need to decide what specification she wants. A 2005 example, with well-equipped Chilli pack specification and 40,000 miles on the clock from a BMW Mini dealer will be within Helen's £10,000 budget.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

    £18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific