Toyota Rav 4


Steve Simpson wants a cheap car for winter that's less than £1,000 and must be a 4x4.

A car for the head

If Steve has his heart set on a cheap car, it has to be a Japanese one, especially as it has the added complication of four-wheel drive. The oily bits have to be utterly reliable and it is possible to find Subarus and Suzukis at great value. The engine will be petrol and thirsty, but it won't break down. I would go for a Subaru Legacy, which looks like a normal saloon or estate car. A 2001 2.5 GX with 100,000 miles and a year's MOT comes in on budget.

A car for the heart

Then again, Steve just might want a 4x4 that actually looks like an off-roader, and he couldn't do better than an early Toyota Rav 4. The funky styling was a revelation in the 1990s, and still looks pretty cool today. Being a Toyota, there's no question over the engineering quality or reliability. Provided the condition is sound and there are recent bills for work, there should not be a problem. Steve can buy a 1996 2.0 example with 89,000 miles that has a full MOT and even air-conditioning. James Ruppert

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad@independent., giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget

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